Moths of North Carolina
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281 NC Records

Automeris io (Fabricius, 1775) - Io Moth


Taxonomy
Superfamily: Bombycoidea Family: SaturniidaeSubfamily: HemileucinaeTribe: HemileuciniP3 Number: 890055.00 MONA Number: 7746.00
Comments: One of seven species in this genus found north of Mexico but the only one found east of the Appalachians (Tuskes et al., 1996). Ferguson (1971) recognized two subspecies along the Atlantic Slope: A. io io from Maine to South Carolina and A. io lilith from South Carolina to Florida and west to Louisiana. Tuskes et al. (1996), however, did not find any consistent geographic differences between these forms and did not recognize lilith as a distinct subspecies.
Identification
Field Guide Descriptions: Covell (1984); Beadle and Leckie (2012)Online Photographs: MPG, BugGuide, BAMONATechnical Description, Adults: Forbes (1923), Ferguson (1971), Tuskes et al. (1996)Technical Description, Immature Stages: Forbes (1923), Ferguson (1971), Covell (1984), Tuskes et al. (1996), Wagner (2005)                                                                                 
Adult Markings: Adults are unmistakeable: medium-large moths with yellow (males) or reddish-brown (females) forewings and large black, pale-centered eyespots on the hindwings.
Wingspan: 60 mm, males; 80 mm, females (Forbes, 1923)
Adult ID Requirements: Unmistakable and widely known.
Immatures and Development: The larvae, with their branched stinging spines, are only likely to be confused with those of the Buck moth. Late instars are mostly green and possess a white-and-red stripe along the sides; in the Buck moth, larvae are mostly dark brown, densely flecked with white dots, with some possessing a broad white stripe along the sides but no red striping (Wagner, 2005).
Larvae ID Requirements: Identifiable from good quality photos, especially where associated with known host plants.
Distribution in North Carolina
Distribution: Probably statewide except possibly the Outer Banks and other barrier islands
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
Immature 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: Double-brooded in the Coastal Plain and possibly the Piedmont but apparently single-brooded in the Mountains
Habitats and Life History
Habitats: The Io moth occupies a wide variety of habitats throughout its range, including residential areas and croplands in addition to natural ecosystems (Ferguson, 1971; Tuskes et al., 1996; Wagner, 2005). In North Carolina, records are missing from the Outer Banks and barrier islands but otherwise include xeric sandhills and wet savanna, peatland, and bottomland habitats in the Coastal Plain; upland forests and lakeshores in the Piedmont, and dry to mesic slopes in the Low and High Mountains.
Larval Host Plants: Broadly polyphagous, feeding on many species of hardwood trees, shrubs, forbes, and graminoids; does not feed on conifers, however (see Ferguson, 1971 and Wagner, 2005 for extensive lists of host plants)
Observation Methods: Adults of both sexes come well to blacklights and incandescent lights but since they do not feed, they do not come to bait. Larvae are gregarious in the earlier instars and are often quite conspicuous. Pupation occurs in leaf litter.
Wikipedia
See also Habitat Account for General Forests and Fields
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: Populations are locally vulnerable to the effects of weather, outbreaks of disease, parasites, and predators, and to the effects of pesticides. However, given the commonness of their host plants, wide habitat range -- including suburban areas -- and statewide distribution, this species can easily recover from localized losses. In the Northeast, however, this species is declining and becoming more localized in Connecticut and other areas where it once occurred (Wagner, 2012), possibly due to parasitism by a Tachinid fly, Compsilura concinnata, that was widely introduced in the Northeast to control Gypsy Moths and other pest Lepidoptera. This fly represents a serious and pervasive threat for many species of moths and is suspected to be responsible for the marked declines in several Saturniids. While such impacts have not yet been documented in North Carolina, Compsilura has spread as far south as Virginia (Kellogg et al., 2003) and will probably continue to expand its range southward. The situation in North Carolina needs to be monitored.

 Photo Gallery for Automeris io - Io Moth

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

Recorded by: Jim Petranka, Bo Sullivan, and Steve Hall on 2022-07-25
Scotland Co.
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Recorded by: Jim Petranka, Bo Sullivan, and Steve Hall on 2022-07-24
Moore Co.
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Recorded by: Richard Teper on 2022-06-26
Avery Co.
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Recorded by: Jim Petranka on 2022-06-25
Madison Co.
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Recorded by: David George, L. M. Carlson on 2022-06-22
Caswell Co.
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Recorded by: David George, L. M. Carlson on 2022-06-21
Caswell Co.
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Recorded by: Jim Petranka on 2022-06-21
Madison Co.
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Recorded by: David George, L. M. Carlson on 2022-06-20
Caswell Co.
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Recorded by: David George, L. M. Carlson on 2022-06-20
Caswell Co.
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Recorded by: Jim Petranka on 2022-06-16
Madison Co.
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Recorded by: Jim Petranka and Becky Elkin on 2022-06-07
Madison Co.
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Recorded by: Jim Petranka on 2022-06-04
Madison Co.
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Recorded by: Jim Petranka on 2022-05-14
Madison Co.
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Recorded by: Owen McConnell on 2021-07-19
Graham Co.
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Recorded by: Jim Petranka on 2021-07-11
Madison Co.
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Recorded by: Jim Petranka on 2021-07-05
Madison Co.
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Recorded by: Jim Petranka on 2021-06-26
Madison Co.
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Recorded by: tom ward on 2021-06-21
Buncombe Co.
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Recorded by: Jim Petranka on 2021-06-20
Madison Co.
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Recorded by: Jim Petranka on 2021-06-16
Madison Co.
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Recorded by: Jim Petranka on 2021-06-14
Madison Co.
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Recorded by: Jim Petranka on 2021-06-12
Madison Co.
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Recorded by: Jim Petranka on 2021-06-05
Madison Co.
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Recorded by: Jim Petranka, Bo Sullivan and Steve Hall on 2021-05-10
Scotland Co.
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Recorded by: Ed Corey on 2020-07-21
Onslow Co.
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Recorded by: Jim Petranka and Becky Elkin on 2020-07-08
Madison Co.
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Recorded by: Jim Petranka and Becky Elkin on 2020-07-04
Madison Co.
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Recorded by: Jim Petranka and Becky Elkin on 2020-06-29
Madison Co.
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Recorded by: Jim Petranka and Becky Elkin on 2020-06-13
Madison Co.
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Recorded by: Jim Petranka and Becky Elkin on 2020-05-24
Madison Co.
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