Moths of North Carolina
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View PDFGeometridae Members: 140 NC Records

Synchlora aerata (Fabricius, 1798) - Wavy-lined Emerald


Taxonomy
Superfamily: Geometroidea Family: GeometridaeSubfamily: GeometrinaeTribe: SynchloriniP3 Number: 910639.00 MONA Number: 7058.00
Comments: One of eight species in this genus that occur north of Mexico (Ferguson, 1985), two of which are found in North Carolina.
Species Status: Two subspecies have been described, of which only the nominate form occurs in North Carolina (Ferguson, 1985).
Identification
Field Guide Descriptions: Covell (1984); Beadle and Leckie (2012)Online Photographs: MPG, BugGuide, iNaturalist, Google, BAMONATechnical Description, Adults: Forbes (1948); Ferguson (1969, 1985)Technical Description, Immature Stages: Forbes (1948); Ferguson (1969, 1985); Wagner et al. (2001); Wagner (2005)                                                                                 
Adult Markings: This species and Synchlora frondaria are both small, bright green Emeralds, with narrow white antemedian and postmedian lines, a dorsal white stripe on the abdomen, and with little or no red on the wings (Ferguson, 1985). In S. aerata, the lines on the wings are fairly even, particularly on the forewing, and are usually only slightly dentate or waved, if at all. In S. frondaria, the lines are much more conspicuously dentate and there is a strong outward bulge in the postmedian of both wings located between M3 and Cu2 (some aerata show a slight offset in the postmedian on the hindwings but not on the forewings). Nemoria bifilata has a similar white abdominal stripe, but has a red terminal line that is absent in both of our Synchlora species.
Forewing Length: 7-10.5 mm, males; 8.5-12 mm, females (Ferguson, 1985)
Adult Structural Features: Antennae of the males are broadly bipectinate basally but become abruptly simple in the outer half, unlike the more uniformly bipectinae antennae of Nemoria. Male reproductive structures are also easily distinguished from those of our other species of Geometrinae in their lack of a terminal process on the uncus. Both male and female reproductive structures, however, are indistinguishable between our two species of Synchlora (Ferguson, 1985).
Adult ID Requirements: Identifiable from good quality photos of unworn specimens.
Immatures and Development: Larvae are mottled brown, white, and black with a series of white stripes; Forbes (1948) notes their possession of very high, white, conical, subdorsal tubercles. Most characteristic, however, is their use of fragments of petals and other plant fragments to decorate their dorsal surface, providing a strong degree of camouflage on flowers upon which they feed (Ferguson, 1985; Wagner et al., 2001; Wagner, 2005). Larvae of both species of our Synchlora are very similar and cannot be identified without rearing them to adulthood (Wagner, 2005).
Larvae ID Requirements: Identifiable only through rearing to adulthood.
Distribution in North Carolina
Distribution: Probably occurs statewide except possibly in the 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 throughout the growing season from March to October; no strong evidence of separate flights. Broadly overlaps with Synchlora frondaria.
Habitats and Life History
Habitats: Most of our records come from open, forb-rich habitats. These include old fields and disturbed areas but also natural habitats such as maritime dunes and marshes; Longleaf Pine savannas, flatwoods, and sandhills; and lake and river shorelines. Very few of our records come from deep within closed-canopy forests, especially where herbaceous species are scarce. Habitats used by Synchlora aerata strongly overlap with those used by S. frondaria.
Larval Host Plants: Both of our species of Synchlora are polyphagous, feeding on the flowers and seed heads of many species of herbaceous plants. Composites may be favored, with many species listed by Ferguson (1985) and Wagner et al. (2001). Blackberries (Rubus spp.) are also used, as are Rose, Sage, St. John's Wort, and other species (Wagner et al., 2001). No distinction has been reported between the host plants favored by our two species of Synchlora.
Observation Methods: Comes well to blacklights but we have no records from bait or flowers. Wagner (2005) reports good success in looking for larvae on flowers, using anomalous collections of plant fragments as a cue.
Wikipedia
See also Habitat Account for General Successional Fields and Forblands
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 widespread, polyphagous on a extensive range of common plants, and occupies a broad set of habitats, including disturbed areas. Consequently, it appears to be secure within our state.

 Photo Gallery for Synchlora aerata - Wavy-lined Emerald

49 photos are available. Only the most recent 30 are shown.

Recorded by: Jim Petranka on 2021-10-06
Madison Co.
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Recorded by: David George on 2021-09-20
Durham Co.
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Recorded by: Jim Petranka on 2021-09-12
Madison Co.
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Recorded by: Jim Petranka on 2021-09-07
Madison Co.
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Recorded by: Gary Maness on 2021-05-02
Guilford Co.
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Recorded by: Dean Furbish on 2021-04-30
Wake Co.
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Recorded by: Gary Maness on 2021-04-28
Guilford Co.
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Recorded by: Gary Maness on 2020-10-01
Guilford Co.
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Recorded by: tom ward on 2020-09-13
Buncombe Co.
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Recorded by: Jim Petranka and Becky Elkin on 2020-09-12
Madison Co.
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Recorded by: Heather Burditt on 2020-09-04
Buncombe Co.
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Recorded by: Simpson Eason on 2020-08-28
Durham Co.
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Recorded by: Steve Taylor on 2020-08-12
Beaufort Co.
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Recorded by: Gary Maness on 2020-07-12
Guilford Co.
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Recorded by: Gary Maness on 2020-07-02
Guilford Co.
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Recorded by: Gary Maness on 2020-05-04
Guilford Co.
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Recorded by: Gary Maness on 2020-05-04
Guilford Co.
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Recorded by: L. M. Carlson on 2019-10-12
Orange Co.
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Recorded by: Gary Maness on 2019-09-29
Guilford Co.
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Recorded by: Jim Petranka and Becky Elkin on 2019-09-21
Madison Co.
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Recorded by: Gary Maness on 2019-09-20
Guilford Co.
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Recorded by: Jim Petranka and Becky Elkin on 2019-09-17
Madison Co.
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Recorded by: Vin Stanton on 2019-09-16
Buncombe Co.
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Recorded by: Gary Maness on 2019-07-01
Guilford Co.
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Recorded by: Jim Petranka and Becky Elkin on 2019-05-23
Madison Co.
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Recorded by: Gary Maness on 2019-05-07
Guilford Co.
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Recorded by: Jim Petranka and Becky Elkin on 2018-09-24
Madison Co.
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Recorded by: Jim Petranka and Becky Elkin on 2018-09-03
Madison Co.
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Recorded by: David L. Heavner on 2018-09-02
Buncombe Co.
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Recorded by: Jim Petranka and Becky Elkin on 2018-08-29
Madison Co.
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