Moths of North Carolina
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View PDFGeometridae Members: 26 NC Records

Mesoleuca ruficillata (Guenée, [1858]) - White-ribboned Carpet Moth

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Superfamily: Geometroidea Family: GeometridaeSubfamily: LarentiinaeTribe: HydriomeniniP3 Number: 910150.00 MONA Number: 7307.00
Comments: A rather unique looking genus of six species of which two occur in the United States and one in North Carolina. The others are in Europe, India, China and Russia. Our species looks much like the European one but differs in genitalia and barcodes.
Species Status: Specimens from North Carolina barcode with those from elsewhere in the eastern US and show no significant heterogeneity.
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)                                                                                 
Adult Markings: Adults easily distinguished by their large expanses of white, which is unique among our Geometrids. Elements of the pattern are reminiscent of Dystromma, another high altitude Geometrid genus in our fauna.
Adult Structural Features: The genitalia are quite distinct. In the male the costa has several ornate sclerotized projections and the juxta has a large medial extension. In the female the signum is comet-like.
Structural photos
Adult ID Requirements: Identifiable from good quality photos of unworn specimens.
Immatures and Development: The lime-green green inchworm has a distinctive wine-colored anal plate (Wagner et al., 2001).
Larvae ID Requirements: Identifiable from good quality photos, especially where associated with known host plants.
Distribution in North Carolina
Distribution: Restricted to the Mountains in North Carolina.
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: There seem to be two broods, one in May and a second in July.
Habitats and Life History
Habitats: The moth occurs from about 3000’ upward in wooded, often moist habitats, including Cove Forests and Northern Hardwoods. Its foodplants are common species and we know little about any specific requirements.
Larval Host Plants: Polygphagous. Larvae are reported to feed on alder, birch and blackberry (Wagner et al, 2001) but no specific reports of larvae found on these plants are given.
Observation Methods: Adults respond to light but have not been recorded to be active diurnally which their pattern would indicate might be the case. They would not be expected to come to bait.
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 associated with high elevation mesic forests, which are threatened to some extent by global climate change. For the moment, however, this species still has a wide range within the Mountains of North Carolina. This lovely moth deserves further study in the state to pin down its host plants and habitat associations.

 Photo Gallery for Mesoleuca ruficillata - White-ribboned Carpet Moth

Photos: 10

Recorded by: tom ward on 2022-05-02
Buncombe Co.
Recorded by: tom ward on 2021-08-01
Buncombe Co.
Recorded by: tom ward on 2021-07-05
Buncombe Co.
Recorded by: tom ward on 2021-05-31
Buncombe Co.
Recorded by: tom ward on 2021-05-14
Buncombe Co.
Recorded by: tom ward on 2021-05-14
Buncombe Co.
Recorded by: Jim Petranka on 2021-04-27
Madison Co.
Recorded by: Ken Kneidel on 2019-05-04
Yancey Co.
Recorded by: Paul Scharf, B.Bockhahn, K.Kittelburger on 2014-06-09
Avery Co.
Recorded by: E. Corey on 2007-07-12
Alleghany Co.