Moths of North Carolina
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62 NC Records

Pero honestaria (Walker, 1860) - Honest Pero Moth

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Superfamily: Geometroidea Family: GeometridaeSubfamily: EnnominaeTribe: AzelininiP3 Number: 911182.00 MONA Number: 6753.00
Comments: One of nineteen species in this genus that occur in North America north of Mexico (Poole, 1987; Pohl et al., 2016), four of which have been recorded in North Carolina
Field Guide Descriptions: Covell (1984); Beadle and Leckie (2012)Online Photographs: MPG, BugGuide, iNaturalist, Google, BAMONA, GBIF, BOLD                                                                                 
Adult Markings: Partially sexually dimorphic. Most males have a coal-black to blackish-gray ground color, which sets them apart from our other species of Pero (Grossbeck, 1910; Forbes, 1948; Poole, 1987). Females and a small number of males are light brown (see photo on MPG from Jim Vargo) rather than blackish gray and are more difficult to distinguish particularly from Pero ancetaria. In all forms, the subterminal area is contrastingly pale and lacks the mottling that is often found in the two other species. Honestaria also lacks the pale, strongly mottled costal margin that usually found in morrisonaria and at least occasionally inancetaria. Some forms of ancetaria that have a pale, non-mottled subterminal area are probably best distinguished by structural differences (see below). However, the course of the postmedian line (the outer edge of the dark median area) may help separate these two species, although that needs to be confirmed based on specimens confirmed through their structural features. In our dark gray males, at least, the postmedian line has a strong inward bend at the middle, with the upper and lower sections of the line nearly straight; a female collected by Jim Vargo shown on MPG has this same pattern. In ancetaria, the postmedian is much more undulating, often with two large, outwardly bulging curves. More females and males of the brown form need to be examined to see if the same pattern exists.
Wingspan: 36-40 mm (Grossbeck, 1911)
Adult Structural Features: Males can be distinguished by the wide, truncate tips of their abdomens; in females, the tip is bluntly rounded and a short, conical ovipositor is usually visible. In males, the eighth sternite is bilobed, the features of which are useful for identifying our three members of this genus. In honestaria, the lobes are narrow but rounded at the tip and are separated at their base by a u-shaped gap. In ancentaria, the lobes are wider and more-or-less diverging at the tip and separated by a much narrower cleft at the base. In morrisonaria, the two lobes are widely separated, strongly bifurcated at the tip, and with the outer process somewhat curved (see illustrations in Poole, 1987 and on the Moth Photographers Group website). Male and female genitalia are also distinctive.
Structural photos
Adult ID Requirements: Identifiable from good quality photos of unworn specimens.
Distribution in North Carolina
Distribution: Most of our records come from the Mountains but we also have good records (blackish males) from as far east as Orange County (Brimley, 1938 also listed records from Wake and Richmond Counties).
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
Habitats and Life History
Habitats: Records from the mountains come primarily from high elevation hardwood forests, cove forests, and montane riparian forests. The record from Orange County comes from a mature stand of boottomland hardwoods and records from Cumberland County come from streamhead peatlands.
Larval Host Plants: Grossbeck (1911, and repeated by Forbes) listed Black Cherry as the host, based on one rearing that produced an adult. However, he also lumped ancetaria together with honestaria, so its unclear what species the reared specimen actually represented as currently defined. According to Wagner (2005) larval records are probably confused with those for morrisonia and ancetaria and this species is likely to feed on a variety of hardwood trees and shrubs. - View
See also Habitat Account for General Wet-Mesic Hardwood Forests
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.

 Photo Gallery for Pero honestaria - Honest Pero Moth

Photos: 2

Recorded by: Robert Gilson on 2015-04-22
Mecklenburg Co.
Recorded by: SPH on 2007-04-25
Orange Co.