Moths of North Carolina
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18 NC Records

Erastria coloraria (Fabricius, 1798) - Broad-lined Erastria Moth


Taxonomy
Superfamily: Geometroidea Family: GeometridaeSubfamily: EnnominaeTribe: CaberiniP3 Number: 911125.00 MONA Number: 6704.00
Comments: One of four species in this genus that occur in North America, of which two are found in North Carolina
Identification
Field Guide Descriptions: Covell (1984)Online Photographs: MPG, BugGuide, iNaturalist, Google, BAMONA, GBIFTechnical Description, Adults: Forbes (1948, as Catopyrrha coloraria); Schweitzer et al. (2011)Technical Description, Immature Stages: Forbes (1948); Wagner et al. (2001); Schewitzer et al. (2011)                                                                                 
Adult Markings: A medium-sized, broad-winged Geometrid, with two seasonal forms: a grayish brown spring form and a yellowish to olivaceous summer form (dissimilaria). The diffuse, reddish-brown postmedian line is the most conspicuous marking, but an excurved antemedian and a fairly straight median line may be evident, although often obscure (Forbes, 1948). The undersides of the wings -- which are often displayed when the wings are held upright -- are a much brighter yellow and pink. Erastria cruentaria is similar but has a more sharply defined postmedian line that is located further out towards the outer margin; contrasting dark spots may also be present just beyond the postmedian in cruentaria but are not present in coloraria, or representing just a widening of the postmedian (Forbes, 1948).
Adult Structural Features: Antennae of the male are strongly pectinate.
Adult ID Requirements: Identifiable from good quality photos of unworn specimens.
Immatures and Development: Larvae illustrated by Wagner et al. (2001) and Schweitzer et al. (201) are gray with bands of lighter and darker gray and narrow whitish lines running the length of the body. Schweitzer et al. state that larvae are recognizable particularly in association with their host plants.
Larvae ID Requirements: Identifiable from good quality photos, especially where associated with known host plants.
Distribution in North Carolina
Distribution: Despite the statewide distribution of its host plant, our records for coloraria come from just the eastern Piedmont and Fall-line Sandhills.
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
Flight Comments: Bivoltine, with corresponding seasonal forms
Habitats and Life History
Habitats: Recent records come from Longleaf Pine sandhills habitat; the habitats where historic records come from the Piedmont were not recorded but are likely to be the dry, open woodlands, edges, or glades preferred by its host plants (see Weakley, 2016). These are similar to the habitats used elsewhere within its range (Schweitzer et al., 2011).
Larval Host Plants: Monophagous, feeding solely on New Jersey Tea (Ceanothus americanus). Populations in the Sandhills probably use C. americanus var. intermedius, which is associated with sandy soils.
Observation Methods: Adults fly during the day, but also come to lights to some extent. Schweitzer et al. (2011) also mention that the come to bait and visit flowers.
Wikipedia
See also Habitat Account for Ceanothus Thickets
Status in North Carolina
Natural Heritage Program Status: SR
Natural Heritage Program Ranks: G3G4 S2S3
State Protection: Listed as Significantly Rare by the Natural Heritage Program. That designation does not confer any legal protection, however, although permits are required to collect it on state parks and other public lands.
Comments: This species has declined across much of its range, apparently correlated with declines in its host plant populations due to fire suppression and over-browsing by White-tailed Deer (Schweitzer et al., 2011). This species appears to have been frequently collected in the first half of the Twentieth Century, particularly in the eastern Piedmont. However, we have very few recent records, all from Fort Bragg, where prescribed burning and deer-hunting are both practiced extensively. The status of coloraria elsehwere in the state needs much more documentation, with searches conducted in the same habitats where Mottled Duskywing skippers -- another declining Ceanothus-feeder -- have been documented.

 Photo Gallery for Erastria coloraria - Broad-lined Erastria Moth

Photos: 2

Recorded by: C.S. Brimley on 1943-08-11
Wake Co.
Comment: NCSU Insect Museum specimen; originally from the NCDA Collection. Determined by W.T.M. Forbes in 1905 as form dissimilaria. Wingspan = 3.1 cm; forewing length = 1.7 cm.
Recorded by: C.S. Brimley on 1943-08-11
Wake Co.
Comment: Underside