Moths of North Carolina
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Lycomorpha Members:
17 NC Records

Lycomorpha pholus (Drury, 1773) - Black-and-yellow Lichen Moth

Superfamily: Noctuoidea Family: ErebidaeSubfamily: ArctiinaeTribe: LithosiiniP3 Number: 930201.00 MONA Number: 8087.00
Comments: One of six members of this genus that occur in North American and the only one that has been recorded in North Carolina.
Field Guide Descriptions: Covell (1984); Beadle and Leckie (2012)Online Photographs: MPG, BugGuide, GBIF, BOLDTechnical Description, Adults: Forbes (1960)Technical Description, Immature Stages: (mentioned but not described in detail by Forbes, 1960)                                                                                 
Adult Markings: Wings are opaque and strongly bicolored: orange, yellow, or red basally and blue-black on the outer half. On the forewing, the colored basal portions extends from the costa to the inner margin; on the hindwing, only the basal portion of the costa is colored. Head and body are also blue-black. Similar but somewhat larger than Pyromorpha dimidiata, which also has a orange basal area and smoky black outer area on its wings. Pyromorpha is more translucent, however, and not as brightly colored. The colored portion of the wing also does not extend all the way across the wing, with the smoky dark coloration running along the inner margin all the way to the base (Forbes, 1923); the hindwings are completely dark. Male Pyromorpha can also be easily distinguished by their pectinate antennae. Both of these moths resemble species of Net-winged Beetles (Lycidae) and other flower-feeding beetles, all of which are probably involved in a mimicry complex. Should be identifiable based on a good photo, but sight records need to be accompanied by a detailed description that clearly considers the differences between this species and Pyromorpha.
Adult Structural Features: The antennae are thickened and biserrate in both sexes (Forbes, 1960). In Pyromorpha, the antennae are pectinate in the male but thickened in the female and more closely resembling those of Lycomorpha.
Adult ID Requirements: Identifiable from good quality photos of unworn specimens.
Immatures and Development: Larval descriptions are apparently unavailable.
Distribution in North Carolina
Distribution: Most records are from the Mountains or from Hanging Rock but specimens have been collected as far east as Bladen County in the 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: Not enough reliable records to determine a flight pattern.
Habitats and Life History
Habitats: Records for adult habitats have not been recorded in detail but appear to include open, herbaceous habitats as well as woodlands. Habitats used by larvae are not recorded.
Larval Host Plants: Like most Lithosiines, larvae probably feed on lichens, bark algae, and Cyanobacteria (Covell, 1984; Wagner, 2005)
Observation Methods: Strictly diurnal; virtually all records are based on chance encounters rather than trapping or baiting; reported to visit flowers, unlike most other members of Lithosiini
See also Habitat Account for General Successional Fields and Forblands
Status in North Carolina
Natural Heritage Program Status:
Natural Heritage Program Ranks: G5 S2S3
State Protection: Has no legal protection, although permits are required to collect it on state parks and other public lands.
Comments: Appears to be rare to uncommon, but is probably undersampled. Too little information currently exists on its distribution, abundance, and habitat associations in North Carolina to estimate its conservation status

 Photo Gallery for Lycomorpha pholus - Black-and-yellow Lichen Moth

Photos: 5

Recorded by: Morgan Freese on 2022-09-16
Buncombe Co.
Recorded by: tom ward on 2021-09-02
Buncombe Co.
Recorded by: J. Buie on 2020-09-16
Stokes Co.
Recorded by: Vin Stanton on 2012-06-15
Madison Co.
Recorded by: M. Haynes on 2000-09-14
Stokes Co.
Comment: Found on the backside of the lake.