Moths of North Carolina
Scientific Name:
Common Name:
Family (Alpha):
« »
View PDFGeometridae Members:
Lambdina Members:
188 NC Records

Lambdina pellucidaria (Grote & Robinson, 1867) - Yellow-headed Looper


Taxonomy
Superfamily: Geometroidea Family: GeometridaeSubfamily: EnnominaeTribe: OurapteryginiP3 Number: 911331.00 MONA Number: 6892.00
Comments: One of nine members of this genus that occur in North America, four of which have been recorded in North Carolina.
Species Status: There are several lines of evidence that indicate that Lambdina fervidaria and pellucidaria may be conspecific. Sperling et al. (1999) found virtually no difference in the mitochondrial DNA between the two species and Duff et al. (2001) found no differences between their mating pheromones, flight seasons, and diel activity patterns, all of which might serve as important isolating mechanisms. Although host plant and habitat differences have been claimed to separate the two, Wagner et al. (2001) and Wagner (2005) concluded that much work still needs to be done to demonstrate that the larvae can actually be segregated based on host plants. In the eastern Piedmont of North Carolina, we collect both species in the same samples from typical stands of hardwoods with pines either mixed in or in pure stands located in close proximity. At least some individuals in these samples appear to share characteristics of both species, i.e., dark brownish gray ground color but yellow edged lines. On the other hand, pellucidaria appears to be essentially single-brooded in North Carolina and has a range that covers the Coastal Plain; fervidaria, in contrast, flies during most of the growing season and appears to be rare in the Coastal Plain. We agree with Wagner et al. (2001) that a revision of this genus is badly needed.
Identification
Field Guide Descriptions: Covell (1984)Online Photographs: MPG, BugGuide, BOLDTechnical Description, Adults: Forbes (1948)Technical Description, Immature Stages: Forbes (1948); Wagner et al. (2001); Wagner (2005); Maier et al. (2013)                                                                                 
Adult Markings: A medium-sized, grayish-brown Geometrid. The head and antennae are yellow, contrasting with the darker, gray-brown ground color of the wings and body. As in other members of this genus, the wings are dusted in gray but in pellucidaria, the contrast with the ground color is much less noticeable and the wings have a smoother appearance, becoming translucent with wear (Forbes, 1948). Unlike other members of this genus, the dark brown antemedian and postmedian lines are supposedly not edged with yellow or cream (Forbes, 1948). While most of our specimens from the Coastal Plain conform to this pattern, at least a few specimens in the Piedmont and Mountains have pale edging to their lines on a ground that is otherwise typical of pellucidaria.
Adult Structural Features: Antennae are pectinate in the males, simple in the females.
Structural photos
Adult ID Requirements: Identifiable from good quality photos of unworn specimens.
Distribution in North Carolina
Distribution: Recorded statewide, including from the Barrier Islands and High Mountains.
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: Flies primarily in the spring with stragglers occasionally reported in the summer.
Habitats and Life History
Habitats: Occurs across the state in a variety of habitats containing species of yellow pines. In the Coastal Plain, pellucidaria occurs in Pond Pine Woodlands and other peatlands where Pond Pine is the sole or dominant species of pine; in Coastal Fringe Evergreen Forests and floodplain forests where Loblolly is the sole species; and in both wet and dry Longleaf Pine communities, where Longleaf is the dominant species but where Pond Pine also usually occurs in adjacent peatlands. In the Piedmont, pellucidaria has been recorded in both bottomlands, where Loblolly is likely to be the only pine present, but also in dry glades and ridges, where Shortleaf and Virginia Pine both occur along with Loblolly. In the Mountains, it also occurs in both lowland habitats, where Loblolly is present, as well as dry ridges and summits, where Shortleaf, Pitch, and several other species of pines are present.
Larval Host Plants: Stenophagous, feeding on yellow pines (Forbes, 1948). Wagner et al. (2001) specifically list Loblolly, pitch, shortleaf, and Virginia Pine. Our records suggest that Pond Pine and Longleaf may also be important hosts in North Carolina.
Observation Methods: Comes well to 15 watt blacklight traps. Not recorded at bait or at flowers.
Wikipedia
See also Habitat Account for General Pine Forests and Woodlands
Status in North Carolina
Natural Heritage Program Status:
Natural Heritage Program Ranks: G5 [S5]
State Protection: Has no legal protection, although permits are required to collect it on state parks and other public lands.
Comments: This species is both widespread in North Carolina and uses a variety of habitats, undoubtedly including pine plantations as well as natural, pine-containing communities. It appears to be quite secure.

 Photo Gallery for Lambdina pellucidaria - Yellow-headed Looper

Photos: 27

Recorded by: Dean Furbish on 2022-04-24
Wake Co.
Comment:
Recorded by: John Petranka on 2022-04-12
Bladen Co.
Comment:
Recorded by: Dean Furbish and Joy Wiggins on 2022-04-04
Wake Co.
Comment:
Recorded by: Dean Furbish on 2021-05-02
Wake Co.
Comment:
Recorded by: Gary Maness on 2021-04-30
Guilford Co.
Comment:
Recorded by: Dean Furbish on 2021-04-30
Wake Co.
Comment:
Recorded by: Dean Furbish on 2021-04-29
Wake Co.
Comment:
Recorded by: Dean Furbish on 2021-04-13
Wake Co.
Comment:
Recorded by: David L. Heavner on 2021-04-12
Chatham Co.
Comment:
Recorded by: Dean Furbish on 2021-04-11
Wake Co.
Comment:
Recorded by: Steve Hall and Bo Sullivan on 2021-04-07
Moore Co.
Comment:
Recorded by: Jim Petranka and Becky Elkin on 2020-05-02
Madison Co.
Comment:
Recorded by: L. M. Carlson on 2019-07-27
Orange Co.
Comment:
Recorded by: Jim Petranka and Becky Elkin on 2019-04-22
Madison Co.
Comment:
Recorded by: Jim Petranka and Becky Elkin on 2019-03-28
Madison Co.
Comment:
Recorded by: Vin Stanton on 2018-06-24
Buncombe Co.
Comment:
Recorded by: Jim Petranka and Becky Elkin on 2018-05-24
Madison Co.
Comment:
Recorded by: B. Bockhahn, K. Kittelberger on 2017-04-12
Gates Co.
Comment:
Recorded by: F. Williams, S. Williams on 2015-05-14
Wilkes Co.
Comment:
Recorded by: Steve Hall on 2015-04-25
Orange Co.
Comment:
Recorded by: T. DeSantis on 2014-04-27
Durham Co.
Comment:
Recorded by: Jackie Nelson / Doug Blatny on 2013-06-04
Ashe Co.
Comment:
Recorded by: Paul Scharf on 2011-04-21
Warren Co.
Comment:
Recorded by: Paul Scharf on 2011-04-17
Warren Co.
Comment:
Recorded by: K. Bischof on 2011-04-05
Beaufort Co.
Comment:
Recorded by: T. DeSantis on 2010-04-24
Camden Co.
Comment:
Recorded by: S. Hall on 2000-03-23
Moore Co.
Comment: