Moths of North Carolina
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Petrophora Members:
43 NC Records

Petrophora divisata Hübner, [1811] - Common Petrophora Moth

Superfamily: Geometroidea Family: GeometridaeSubfamily: EnnominaeTribe: LithininiP3 Number: 911235.00 MONA Number: 6803.00
Comments: A smallish genus of some 7 species distributed from Africa through Europe and into North America. Two species occur in the eastern United States but we have confirmed records of a single species in North Carolina.
Species Status: Specimens from North Carolina have been examined and are similar to those from elsewhere; there is no evidence for multiple complexes within this species.
Field Guide Descriptions: Covell (1984)Online Photographs: MPG, BugGuide, iNaturalist, Google, BAMONA, GBIFTechnical Description, Adults: Forbes (1948; as Lithina extremaria)                                                                                 
Adult Markings: The delicate pinkish color of this moderately sized geometrid together with its flight period, early spring should served to differentiate it from most other species. It might be confused with reddish individuals of Erastria cruentaria but in that species the forewing crosslines are not parallel. Sexes are similar.
Wingspan: 25-30 mm (Forbes, 1948)
Adult Structural Features: Both the male and female genitalia are quite distinct. Note the setose condition of the valvae and the dual projections from the furca. These are characteristic of most members of this tribe, Lithinini.
Structural photos
Adult ID Requirements: Identifiable from good quality photos of unworn specimens.
Immatures and Development: Larvae do not appear to have been described.
Distribution in North Carolina
Distribution: All of our records come from the Coastal Plain, including the 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: Adults are active from late February through May with occasional stragglers in later months.
Habitats and Life History
Habitats: Most of our records come from Longleaf Pine habitats, including Wet Savannas, Flatwoods and Sandhills. A few also come from Barrier Islands, peatlands, and pond and lake shorelines. All of these sites support populations of ferns, particularly Bracken.
Larval Host Plants: The genus is characterized by its capacity to feed on ferns in the larval stages. The specificity of this adaptation in North Carolina is unknown. Our records are restricted to the Coastal Plain and eastern Piedmont which might be a clue to the species of fern that is being used by the larvae. Bracken has been implicated for the other species in the Eastern U.S. but we have no specific records for P. divisata. It should be noted that Bracken occurs throughout the state.
Observation Methods: Adults have been recorded in light traps and are unlikely to be attracted to bait. Occasionally, adults can be flushed during the day. Larvae should be sought in April as adults are active from late February through early April.
See also Habitat Account for General Coastal Plain Fernlands
Status in North Carolina
Natural Heritage Program Status:
Natural Heritage Program Ranks: G4 [S4]
State Protection: Has no legal protection, although permits are required to collect it on state parks and other public lands.
Comments: This species is regionally restricted in North Carolina and appears to be at least somewhat of a habitat specialist. However, it is distributed over most, if not all, of the Coastal Plain and occupies a wide-range of fern-containing habitats. It appears to be secure within the state.

 Photo Gallery for Petrophora divisata - Common Petrophora Moth

Photos: 5

Recorded by: Ken Kneidel on 2021-04-13
Richmond Co.
Recorded by: Erich Hofmann on 2021-03-10
Columbus Co.
Recorded by: Roger Shaw on 2017-02-25
Moore Co.
Recorded by: Newman, Randy on 2007-03-24
Carteret Co.
Recorded by: J.B. Sullivan on 1995-03-30
Craven Co.