Moths of North Carolina
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16 NC Records

Lomographa semiclarata (Walker, 1866) - Bluish Spring Moth

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Superfamily: Geometroidea Family: GeometridaeSubfamily: EnnominaeTribe: BaptiniP3 Number: 911088.00 MONA Number: 6666.00
Comments: One of four species in this genus that occur in North America north of Mexico (Pohl et al., 2016). Three have been recorded in North Carolina.
Field Guide Descriptions: Covell (1984); Beadle and Leckie (2012)Online Photographs: MPG, BugGuide, GBIF, BOLDTechnical Description, Adults: Forbes (1948)Technical Description, Immature Stages: Wagner et al. (2001)                                                                                 
Adult Markings: A moderately small Geometrid with glistening white on its hindwings and portions of its forewings. Although it lacks any actual blue coloration, the sooty brown shading on the upperside of the forewings apparently gives this species a bluish appearance when flying. When active, the wings are held upright in a closed, butterfly-like fashion. Sexes are similar.
Wingspan: 22 mm (Forbes, 1948)
Adult ID Requirements: Identifiable from good quality photos of unworn specimens.
Immatures and Development: Wagner et al. (2001) describe the larvae as sea-green to emerald green, with a distinctive mid-dorsal row of yellow spots that are sometimes edged with red (see that reference for an illustration and more detailed description).
Larvae ID Requirements: Identifiable from good quality photos, especially where associated with known host plants.
Distribution in North Carolina
Distribution: Most of our records come from the Mountains, but there are -- surprisingly -- several from the eastern Piedmont
County Map: Clicking on a county returns the records for the species in that county.
Flight Dates:
 High Mountains (HM) ‚Č• 4,000 ft.
 Low Mountains (LM) < 4,000 ft.
 Piedmont (Pd)
 Coastal Plain (CP)

Click on graph to enlarge
Flight Comments: Univoltine. This is a spring flying species, but flying at successively later months from the Piedmont to the Low Mountains, to the High Mountains.
Habitats and Life History
Habitats: Occurs at both low and high elevations in the Mountains, including above 6,000 feet in the Great Smokey Mountains National Park (Clingman's Dome, Forney's Ridge) and at Grandfather Mountain. At least some of these records appear to come from disturbed, open areas, e.g., parking lots, and the same is also true for the few records we have from the Piedmont.
Larval Host Plants: Oligophagous, feeding on shrubby members of the Rose family (Rosaceae). Wagner et al. (2002) specifically mention the following species as host plants: Cherry, Chokeberry, Hawthorn, Mountain Ash, and Ninebark. - View
Observation Methods: This species appears to be primarily diurnal but comes to lights -- including both blacklights and incandescent lights -- at least to some extent. Its resemblance to butterflies, particularly Spring Azures and other blues, has been noted by several authors (Covell, 1984; Wagner et al., 2002). Like butterflies, it also visits flowers and engages in mudpuddling, i.e., extracting nutrients from wet soil.
See also Habitat Account for General Rosaceous Thickets
Status in North Carolina
Natural Heritage Program Status:
Natural Heritage Program Ranks: G5 S3S4
State Protection: Has no legal protection, although permits are required to collect it on state parks and other public lands.
Comments: This species was probably originally associated with native Cherries and other members of the Rosaceae occurring in the Mountains. It may now be expanding its range to the east, where it may be feeding on ornamental species of Cherry. We have relatively few records for this species, possibly because it flies mainly during the day and may only come to light traps more rarely. Diurnal observations may also be fairly scarce due to its resemblance to Spring Azures and other small Blues that fly at the same times and places. The surprising discovery of this species in the eastern Piedmont indicates that there is still a lot to be learned about this species and its status in North Carolina.

 Photo Gallery for Lomographa semiclarata - Bluish Spring Moth

Photos: 10

Recorded by: Emily Stanley on 2024-04-19
Buncombe Co.
Recorded by: Jim Petranka on 2024-04-14
Madison Co.
Recorded by: John Petranka on 2023-03-28
Orange Co.
Recorded by: Jim Petranka and Becky Elkin on 2021-05-21
Madison Co.
Recorded by: Jim Petranka and Becky Elkin on 2019-04-10
Madison Co.
Recorded by: Stephen Hall on 2016-04-01
Orange Co.
Comment: Attracted to a window light at night. Black Cherry is probably the only native member of the Rosaceae that grows in the vicinity (located within 20 feet of where the sighting was made), but both ornamental Cherries, Bradford Pears, and Crab Apples occur within 50 yards of the site. Apart from cultivated Roses, no other members of the Rosaceae appear to be likely host plants within the area.
Recorded by: K. Bischof on 2014-05-26
Yancey Co.
Recorded by: K. Bischof on 2014-05-26
Yancey Co.
Recorded by: Taylor Piephoff on 2014-04-03
Mecklenburg Co.
Recorded by: Steve Hall on 2011-04-03
Orange Co.
Comment: Observed mudpuddling in a parking lot of a small nature preserve. Black Cherry is present within the preserve but there is also a residential area located nearby where there may be cultivated Cherries, Pears, or other members of the Rosaceae growing in yards.