Moths of North Carolina
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123 NC Records

Caripeta divisata Walker, [1863] - Gray Spruce Looper



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Taxonomy
Superfamily: Geometroidea Family: GeometridaeSubfamily: EnnominaeTribe: OurapteryginiP3 Number: 911296.00 MONA Number: 6863.00
Comments: A moderately sized New World genus with 15 species described from northern Mexico, Canada and the U.S. We have verified 3 species within the state; two more are reported from websites but we have not seen authenticated specimens.
Species Status: Specimens from North Carolina have been included in barcode analysis and this species and C. angustiorata show almost identical sequences although their phenotypes are strikingly different. Furthermore, this species is found down both eastern and western mountain ranges and there are populations across Canada. Some of these are as different from each other as is C. angustiorata from C. divisata.
Identification
Field Guide Descriptions: Covell (1984); Beadle and Leckie (2012)Online Photographs: MPG, BugGuide, iNaturalist, Google, BAMONA, GBIFTechnical Description, Adults: Forbes (1948)Technical Description, Immature Stages: Wagner et al. (2001); Wagner (2005); Maeier et al. (2011)                                                                                 
Adult Markings: A medium-sized Geometrid with strongly marked brown-and-white forewings. Similar in size and pattern to other members of this genus but the forewings are dull brown without the red tint found in the others (Forbes, 1948). The hindwing is pale whitish. The color and pattern of this species as shown in the accompanying photographs should readily identify this species. Sexes are similar.
Wingspan: 27-38 mm (Forbes, 1948)
Adult Structural Features: The defining character in the valve seems to be the furcula (process of the juxta) which is much shorter than that of C. angustiorata and much thinner than that of C. aretaria. Characters of the vesica and aedeagus are not definitive. Female genital characters are similar but probably not identical as indicated by the ostial plate and the signum (see pictures attached).
Structural photos
Adult ID Requirements: Identifiable from good quality photos of unworn specimens.
Immatures and Development: Larvae vary from red to brown, with pale patches ranging from gray to yellow (Wagner et al., 2001). Larvae of our three species are quite similar and need to be reared to adulthood to determine the species (Wagner et al., 2001).
Larvae ID Requirements: Identifiable only through rearing to adulthood.
Distribution in North Carolina
Distribution: Essentially confined to the Mountains where it is found throughout and is certainly our commonest of the three species. Our one Piedmont record was from a site near the foot of the Blue Ridge.
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: This species is single brooded.
Habitats and Life History
Habitats: We have records from essentially the entire spectrum of conifer-containing habitats in the mountains, from low elevation sites dominated by pines and hemlocks to the sites over 6,000' dominated by spruce-fir forests.
Larval Host Plants: While some of our species of Caripeta have caterpillars that may feed on pines, this species is apparently more associated with hemlocks, spruce, and fir (Wagner et al., 2001; Maeir et al., 2011). This range of foodplants is consistent with the habitats where we found this species in North Carolina, but we do not have any observational records for which evergreen species this species utilizes in our state.
Observation Methods: Adults come readily to lights but should not be expected at bait.
Wikipedia
See also Habitat Account for Montane Cool Mesic Conifer Forests
Status in North Carolina
Natural Heritage Program Status:
Natural Heritage Program Ranks: G5 [S4S5]
State Protection: Has no legal protection, although permits are required to collect it on state parks and other public lands.
Comments: Although confined to the mountains, it occurs throughout that region and occupies a wide range of elevations and habitats. It still appears to be quite common, although that may change as stands of Hemlocks disappear due to the onslaught of the Hemlock Wooly Adelgid. If this species feeds well on pines and spruce, it may remain secure within our state despite the loss of Hemlocks.

 Photo Gallery for Caripeta divisata - Gray Spruce Looper

Photos: 23

Recorded by: Jim Petranka on 2022-09-06
Madison Co.
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Recorded by: Jim Petranka on 2022-08-22
Madison Co.
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Recorded by: David George on 2022-08-14
Avery Co.
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Recorded by: Jim Petranka and Becky Elkin on 2022-08-09
Watauga Co.
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Recorded by: John Petranka on 2022-08-07
Watauga Co.
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Recorded by: Jim Petranka on 2021-08-28
Madison Co.
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Recorded by: Jim Petranka on 2021-08-18
Madison Co.
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Recorded by: Jim Petranka and Becky Elkin on 2020-08-26
Madison Co.
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Recorded by: Jim Petranka and Becky Elkin on 2020-08-11
Madison Co.
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Recorded by: Jim Petranka and Becky Elkin on 2019-08-25
Madison Co.
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Recorded by: Owen McConnell on 2019-07-31
Graham Co.
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Recorded by: David L. Heavner on 2018-08-29
Buncombe Co.
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Recorded by: Ken Kneidel on 2018-08-18
Yancey Co.
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Recorded by: Jim Petranka and Becky Elkin on 2018-08-15
Madison Co.
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Recorded by: Steve Hall and Bo Sullivan on 2016-08-01
Ashe Co.
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Recorded by: Steve Hall and Bo Sullivan on 2016-08-01
Ashe Co.
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Recorded by: K. Bischof on 2015-09-10
McDowell Co.
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Recorded by: Stephen Hall on 2015-08-11
Cherokee Co.
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Recorded by: Paul Scharf,B. Bockhahn, K. Kittelberger on 2014-06-07
Avery Co.
Comment: 4100'
Recorded by: Paul Scharf,B. Bockhahn, K. Kittelberger on 2014-06-07
Avery Co.
Comment: 4100\' Maybe different individuals
Recorded by: Jim Petranka and Becky Elkin on 2013-08-12
Madison Co.
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Recorded by: Doug Blatny / Jackie Nelson on 2012-08-26
Ashe Co.
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Recorded by: Doug Blatny / Jackie Nelson on 2011-07-22
Ashe Co.
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