Moths of North Carolina
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30 NC Records

Scopula purata (Guenée, [1858]) - Chalky Wave Moth

Superfamily: Geometroidea Family: GeometridaeSubfamily: SterrhinaeTribe: ScopuliniP3 Number: 910566.00 MONA Number: 7158.00
Comments: One of 26 species in this genus that occur in North America north of Mexico (Pohl et al., 2016), seven of which have been recorded in North Carolina
Field Guide Descriptions: Covell (1984)Online Photographs: MPG, BugGuide, GBIF, BOLDTechnical Description, Adults: Covell (1970)                                                                                 
Adult Markings: A strikingly and distinctively patterned, medium-small Geometrid. The ground color is a shiny, pure white, covering the basal and medial areas of the forewing. The inter-antennal ridge is also pure white as is the thorax and the abdomen except for a dorsal row of dark spots. The antemedian is represented by a few black dots and the median line is absent. The postmedian, however, is blackish-brown and continuous over most of the wing, fading out towards the costa. Beyond the postmedian, the subterminal area is filled with the same blackish-brown shade, coalescing into a series of large spots, followed by a series of smaller dark spots running along the terminal line. The hindwing has a similar pattern. No other Geometrid in our area has a similar pattern.
Forewing Length: 9.0 - 10.0 mm, males; 9.8 - 11.3 mm, females (Covell, 1970)
Adult Structural Features: Male and female reproductive structures are described and illustrated by Covell (1970) and appear to be distinctive
Adult ID Requirements: Identifiable from good quality photos of unworn specimens.
Immatures and Development: Immature stages are unrecorded (Covell, 1970)
Distribution in North Carolina
Distribution: All of our records come from the southern half of the Coastal Plain, including the Fall-line Sandhills and Outer Coastal Plain
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 fairly continuously from April to September, with suggestion of three different peaks
Habitats and Life History
Habitats: All of our records come from open, wet or mesic, herb-rich habitats. These include wet savannas dominated by Longleaf Pines, Pond Pines, or Pond Cypresses. A number of our records also come from the edges of shallow ponds, including beaver ponds and borrow pits, but in all cases where they adjoin or are embedded within savanna or sandhill habitats.
Larval Host Plants: Unknown; most of our Scopula species feed on Dicots (Robinson et al. 2010) - View
Observation Methods: Comes to blacklights and individuals can also be found resting on vegetation during the day
Status in North Carolina
Natural Heritage Program Status: W3
Natural Heritage Program Ranks: G4 S2S3
State Protection: Has no legal protection, although permits are required to collect it on state parks and other public lands.
Comments: This species appears to be strongly associated with wet, fire-maintained habitats. While it is fairly frequently observed in large tracts of such habitats -- including military bases, national forests, and state game lands in North Carolina -- it appears to be essentially absent outside these areas, especially where the natural fire regime has been significantly altered. While it appears to be secure within these large preserves, its status -- along with those of all species associated with fire-dependent habitats -- needs to be monitored, especially in areas where increased development threatens to curtail the use of prescribed burning to maintain natural habitats.

 Photo Gallery for Scopula purata - Chalky Wave Moth

Photos: 3

Recorded by: Erich Hofmann and Kayla Weinfurther on 2024-04-22
Brunswick Co.
Recorded by: Mike Turner on 2023-06-25
Richmond Co.
Recorded by: Alicia Jackson on 2021-09-08
Hoke Co.