Moths of North Carolina
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View PDFGeometridae Members: 131 NC Records

Phigalia denticulata Hulst, 1900 - Toothed Phigalia Moth


Taxonomy
Superfamily: Geometroidea Family: GeometridaeSubfamily: EnnominaeTribe: BistoniniP3 Number: 911080.00 MONA Number: 6659.00
Comments: One of four members of this genus that occur in North America, three of which are found in North Carolina
Species Status: Genetic bar-coding,including North Carolina specimens, indicates that this species is homogeneous throughout its range, with no cryptic siblings.
Identification
Field Guide Descriptions: Covell (1984); Beadle and Leckie (2012)Online Photographs: MPG, BugGuide, BAMONATechnical Description, Adults: Forbes (1948; Rindge (1975)Technical Description, Immature Stages: Wagner et al.(2001); Wagner (2005)                                                                                 
Adult Markings: Phigalia are among the very few geometrids that fly during mid-winter to early spring. They can be distinguished from Alsophila and Paleacrita, which also fly during this period and are similarly pale gray, by their blackish antemedian, median, and postmedian lines. In Phigalia denticulata, the ground color of the wings is grayer or browner than in the other two species, particularly in the median area. The postmedian line is strongly toothed and the portion towards the inner margin usually has a strong inward bulge coming close to or touching the median line (Rindge, 1975; Covell, 1984). Denticulata is generally more mottled than Phigalia strigataria, which also has a toothed postmedian; the lower part of the postmedian in strigataria is also usually straighter or less strongly bulging than in denticulata. Females of all three species of Phigalia have stubby, non-functional wings (which are virtually absent in female Alsophila and Paleacrita). Rindge (1975) describes the females as dark gray with two poorly defined spots on the thorax and a faint, black, geminate dorsal line.
Adult Structural Features: Both male and female denticulata possess large spines on the dorsal surface of the abdomen, unlike titea but similar to strigataria (Forbes, 1948; Rindge, 1975). Males can be distinguished genitalically based on the spine of the aedeagus: in denticulata it is short and curved, whereas is is strongly coiled in titea and much larger in strigataria (see Ringe, 1975, for a key and illustrations). The wings of the females are inconspicuous, from 2.0 to 2.6 in length (Rindge).
Structural photos
Adult ID Requirements: Identifiable from good quality photos of unworn specimens.
Immatures and Development: Larvae of denticulata are apparently not well known but Wagner describes one suspected to be this species as smokey gray and less strongly marked but otherwise similar to strigataria (Wagner et al., 2001; Wagner, 2005); the orange patches typical of titea are absent in denticulata (Sullivan, pers. obs). Pupation occurs in the soil or litter.
Larvae ID Requirements: Identifiable from close inspection of specimens or by DNA analysis.
Distribution in North Carolina
Distribution: Probably occurs across the entire state, including both the Barrier Islands and High Mountains.
County Map: Clicking on a county returns the records for the species in that county.
Flight Dates:
 High Mountains (HM) ≥ 4,000 ft.
 Low Mountains (LM) < 4,000 ft.
 Piedmont (Pd)
 Coastal Plain (CP)

Click on graph to enlarge
Immature Dates:
 High Mountains (HM) ≥ 4,000 ft.
 Low Mountains (LM) < 4,000 ft.
 Piedmont (Pd)
 Coastal Plain (CP)

Click on graph to enlarge
Flight Comments: One flight, beginning as early as late October in the Mountains and in January in the Piedmont and Coastal Plain. The first of the three Phigalia to fly during the year.
Habitats and Life History
Habitats: Found in peatlands, maritime scrub, and sandhills habitats in the Coastal Plain but less often in xeric longleaf habitats than P. titea. In the Piedmont and Mountains, our records come from mesic to dry-mesic hardwood habitats. Seen in residential neighborhoods as well as natural areas.
Larval Host Plants: Larvae have been rarely observed in the wild, but Wagner (2005) describes it as a general feeder.
Observation Methods: Adults have short, non-functional mouthparts (Forbes, 1948); consequently, they do not come to bait or show up at flowers. They appear to come fairly well to blacklights but usually only in small numbers; our records show a maximum of 5 captured in a single trap.
Wikipedia
See also Habitat Account for General Forests and Shrublands
Status in North Carolina
Natural Heritage Program Status:
Natural Heritage Program Ranks: G5 [S5]
State Protection: Has no legal protection, although permits are required to collect it on state parks and other public lands
Comments: Although more needs to be learned about the host plants used by this species, it appears to be broadly distributed in the state and occupies a wide range of habitats. It thus appears to be secure.

 Photo Gallery for Phigalia denticulata - Toothed Phigalia Moth

113 photos are available. Only the most recent 30 are shown.

Recorded by: Dean Furbish on 2022-01-14
Wake Co.
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Recorded by: Dean Furbish on 2022-01-13
Wake Co.
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Recorded by: Simpson Eason on 2022-01-01
Durham Co.
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Recorded by: Simpson Eason on 2021-12-29
Durham Co.
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Recorded by: John Petranka on 2021-12-29
Orange Co.
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Recorded by: Dean Furbish and Joy Wiggins on 2021-12-29
Wake Co.
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Recorded by: Dean Furbish and Joy Wiggins on 2021-12-26
Wake Co.
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Recorded by: Simpson Eason on 2021-12-05
Durham Co.
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Recorded by: Jim Petranka on 2021-02-27
Madison Co.
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Recorded by: David L. Heavner on 2021-02-24
Chatham Co.
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Recorded by: Gary Maness on 2021-02-24
Guilford Co.
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Recorded by: Mark Shields on 2021-02-16
Onslow Co.
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Recorded by: Dean Furbish on 2021-02-10
Wake Co.
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Recorded by: Dean Furbish on 2021-02-09
Wake Co.
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Recorded by: Gary Maness on 2021-02-05
Guilford Co.
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Recorded by: Simpson Eason on 2021-01-27
Durham Co.
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Recorded by: Simpson Eason on 2021-01-27
Durham Co.
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Recorded by: Simpson Eason on 2021-01-22
Durham Co.
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Recorded by: Dean Furbish on 2021-01-22
Wake Co.
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Recorded by: Gary Maness on 2021-01-21
Guilford Co.
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Recorded by: Dean Furbish on 2021-01-21
Wake Co.
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Recorded by: Dean Furbish on 2021-01-19
Wake Co.
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Recorded by: Simpson Eason on 2021-01-16
Durham Co.
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Recorded by: Simpson Eason on 2021-01-14
Durham Co.
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Recorded by: Dean Furbish on 2021-01-14
Wake Co.
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Recorded by: Gary Maness on 2021-01-12
Guilford Co.
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Recorded by: Simpson Eason on 2021-01-08
Durham Co.
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Recorded by: Simpson Eason on 2020-12-31
Durham Co.
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Recorded by: Simpson Eason on 2020-12-29
Durham Co.
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Recorded by: Simpson Eason on 2020-12-25
Durham Co.
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