Moths of North Carolina
Scientific Name:
Common Name:
Family (Alpha):
« »
View PDFErebidae Members:
Virbia Members:
557 NC Records

Virbia opella (Grote, 1863) - Tawny Holomelina Moth


Taxonomy
Superfamily: Noctuoidea Family: ErebidaeSubfamily: ArctiinaeTribe: ArctiiniP3 Number: 930297.00 MONA Number: 8118.00 MONA Synonym: Holomelina opella
Comments: One of fourteen species in North America, five of which occur in North Carolina. In addition to the nominate form, Brimley (1938) listed V. opella nigricans as occurring in North Carolina. However, this record probably refers to what is now regarded as just a black-winged form of opella (as described by Forbes, 1960). Virbia nigricans currently refers to a species that is found only in a small area of New Jersey and Pennsylvania (see Zaspel et al., 2008).
Identification
Field Guide Descriptions: Covell (1984; as Holomelina opella); Beadle and Leckie (2012)Online Photographs: MPG, BugGuide, GBIF, BOLDTechnical Description, Adults: Forbes (1960); Zaspel et al. (2008)Technical Description, Immature Stages: Forbes (1960)                                                                                 
Adult Markings: Virbia opella is similar to several other orange-brown Virbias, but is generally larger and duskier. Fore-wings range from ochre- to blackish-yellow in males; females are usually cinnamon brown and have a vague, crescent-shaped discal spot. Hind-wings in the male usually are brown, similar in color to the forewings or darker. Hind-wings in the female usually have some reddish or pinkish and a variable amount of fuscous or black, including a diffuse discal spot, but the markings are not as sharply defined as in some of the other species. Specimens may be identifiable from photographs -- especially the males -- if the hindwings are visible. Males can also be identified on the basis of their genitalia (see Forbes, 1960 and Zaspel et al., 2008). Both sexes can be distinguished from aurantiaca and ferruginosa by their forewing venation (see Zaspel et al., 2008).
Forewing Length: 11 mm, males; 12 mm, females (Zaspel et al., 2008)
Adult ID Requirements: Identifiable from photos showing hindwings, abdomen, or other specialized views [e.g., frons, palps, antennae, undersides].
Immatures and Development: A larva described by Forbes (1960) was dull gray with black spines; the head was black with a brown front. Given the lack of information on Virbia larvae, rearing to adulthood is needed to confirm their identities.
Larvae ID Requirements: Identifiable only through rearing to adulthood.
Distribution in North Carolina
Distribution: Probably occurs statewide
County Map: Clicking on a county returns the records for the species in that county.
Flight Dates:
 High Mountains (HM) ‚Č• 4,000 ft.
 Low Mountains (LM) < 4,000 ft.
 Piedmont (Pd)
 Coastal Plain (CP)

Click on graph to enlarge
Flight Comments: Has two flights in the Coastal Plain and Piedmont but apparently just one mid-season flight in the Mountains
Habitats and Life History
Habitats: Virtually ubiquitous. Our records come from nearly all types of habitats in the state, including open beach dunes, Longleaf Pine habitats, and barrens, as well as densely wooded peatlands, riparian hardwoods, and both dry and mesic uplands.
Larval Host Plants: Host plant use has apparently not been observed in the wild, but probably feeds on low forbs, as reported for other members of this genus (see Forbes, 1960 and Wagner, 2005). - View
Observation Methods: Comes well to blacklights, with up to 45 collected in a single trap. Adults do not feed, so do not come to bait. Most Virbias can be flushed from their habitats during the day, indicating they are at least partially diurnal (Zaspel et al., 2008)
Wikipedia
See also Habitat Account for General Mixed Habitats
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: Given its abundance, widespread distribution, and generalized habitat use, this species appears to be one of our most secure species.

 Photo Gallery for Virbia opella - Tawny Holomelina Moth

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

Recorded by: Mark Basinger on 2024-06-24
Yancey Co.
Comment:
Recorded by: Mark Basinger on 2024-06-24
Yancey Co.
Comment:
Recorded by: Emily Stanley on 2024-06-01
Buncombe Co.
Comment:
Recorded by: Emily Stanley on 2024-06-01
Buncombe Co.
Comment:
Recorded by: David George, Jeff Niznik on 2024-05-25
Chatham Co.
Comment:
Recorded by: David George, Rich Teper on 2024-05-13
Chatham Co.
Comment:
Recorded by: Stephen Hall, David George, and David Bradley on 2024-05-07
Durham Co.
Comment:
Recorded by: David George, Jeff Niznik on 2024-04-29
Chatham Co.
Comment:
Recorded by: David George, Stephen Dunn, Jeff Niznik on 2024-04-29
Chatham Co.
Comment:
Recorded by: David George, Jeff Niznik, Rich Teper on 2024-04-16
New Hanover Co.
Comment:
Recorded by: David George, Jeff Niznik, Rich Teper on 2024-04-16
New Hanover Co.
Comment:
Recorded by: Stephen Hall on 2023-09-16
Orange Co.
Comment:
Recorded by: Stephen Hall on 2023-09-16
Orange Co.
Comment:
Recorded by: Mark Basinger on 2023-09-14
Wilson Co.
Comment:
Recorded by: Mark Basinger on 2023-09-14
Wilson Co.
Comment:
Recorded by: David George, Jeff Niznik on 2023-09-11
Orange Co.
Comment:
Recorded by: David George, Stephen Dunn, Jeff Niznik on 2023-09-07
Chatham Co.
Comment:
Recorded by: Stephen Dunn on 2023-09-05
Orange Co.
Comment:
Recorded by: David George, Jeff Niznik on 2023-09-04
Orange Co.
Comment:
Recorded by: Chuck Smith on 2023-08-24
Davidson Co.
Comment:
Recorded by: David George, Stephen Dunn, Jeff Niznik on 2023-08-18
Caswell Co.
Comment:
Recorded by: Stephen Hall on 2023-08-18
Orange Co.
Comment:
Recorded by: Owen McConnell on 2023-08-06
Graham Co.
Comment:
Recorded by: David George, Stephen Dunn, Jeff Niznik, Rich Teper, Becky Watkins on 2023-07-30
Swain Co.
Comment:
Recorded by: David George, Stephen Dunn, Jeff Niznik, Rich Teper, Becky Watkins on 2023-07-30
Swain Co.
Comment:
Recorded by: R. Teper, D. George, J. Niznik, S. Hall on 2023-07-29
Swain Co.
Comment:
Recorded by: David George, Stephen Dunn, Jeff Niznik, Rich Teper, Becky Watkins on 2023-07-29
Swain Co.
Comment:
Recorded by: David George, Stephen Dunn, Jeff Niznik on 2023-06-25
Orange Co.
Comment:
Recorded by: Stephen Hall on 2023-06-18
Orange Co.
Comment:
Recorded by: Stephen Dunn on 2023-06-18
Orange Co.
Comment: