Moths of North Carolina
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View PDFErebidae Members: 227 NC Records

Pyrrharctia isabella (J.E. Smith, 1797) - Isabella Tiger Moth


Taxonomy
Superfamily: Noctuoidea Family: ErebidaeSubfamily: ArctiinaeTribe: ArctiiniP3 Number: 930335.00 MONA Number: 8129.00
Comments: The only member of its genus north of Mexico
Identification
Field Guide Descriptions: Covell (1984); Beadle and Leckie (2012)Online Photographs: MPG, BugGuide, BAMONATechnical Description, Adults: Forbes (1960)Technical Description, Immature Stages: Forbes (1960); Wagner (2005)                                                                                 
Adult Markings: The forewings are pointed at the apex and colored apricot-yellow to buff-brown, marked to a varying extent with angulate rows of darker spots or lines. Hind-wings are constrastingly light: salmon-tinted in females and pale whitish in males, also marked with darker spots. Head and thorax are darker brown; the abdomen is colored similarly to the forewings and has a series of dark, dorsal spots. Legs are black with bright scarlet tibiae.
Adult ID Requirements: Identifiable from good quality photos of unworn specimens.
Immatures and Development: Caterpillars are the familiar Wooly Bears, with dark brown head- and tail-ends with rusty red in between.
Larvae ID Requirements: Unmistakable and widely known.
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) ≥ 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: Reported to have two broods over most of the East (Forbes, 1960; Wagner, 2005). Our records may be consistent with that pattern but adults appear to be present throughout most of the growing season.
Habitats and Life History
Habitats: Wagner (2005) lists habitats as including "fields, bottomlands, woodlands, and forests." Our records come primarily from open areas, ranging from beach dunes to high-elevation fields and clearings; larvae are often seen in old-field habitats. We have very few records, however, from naturally open Longleaf Pine savannas, flatwoods, and sandhills, or from peatland habitats, possibly indicating a lack of fire-tolerance. On the other hand, we have at least some records from forested habitats, although usually where fields are located nearby or where there is a dense ground-cover of herbaceous species (e.g., in forested sedge-mires in the lower Roanoke River floodplain).
Larval Host Plants: Polyphagous, feeding on many low-growing forbs and graminoids, as well as woody plants, including some tree species (Wagner, 2005).
Observation Methods: Comes moderately well to blacklights but not to bait. Larvae are active during the day, and are especially conspicuous when seeking sites for pupation or overwintering
Wikipedia
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: Widely distributed across the state, common, and using a broad range of open habitas, including disturbed areas, this species appears to be secure within the state. It may be somewhat vulnerable, however, to changes in farming practices that reduce the amount of fallow land, including old-field habitats, or to the use of herbicides and pesticides applied both to croplands and tree farms, including recent clearcuts.

 Photo Gallery for Pyrrharctia isabella - Isabella Tiger Moth

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

Recorded by: Jim Petranka and Becky Elkin on 2022-06-07
Madison Co.
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Recorded by: Owen McConnell on 2022-05-30
Durham Co.
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Recorded by: tom ward on 2022-05-27
Buncombe Co.
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Recorded by: Jim Petranka on 2022-05-11
Madison Co.
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Recorded by: David George, L. M. Carlson on 2022-05-03
Orange Co.
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Recorded by: Simpson Eason on 2022-04-29
Durham Co.
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Recorded by: Dean Furbish on 2022-04-23
Wake Co.
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Recorded by: David George, L. M. Carlson on 2022-04-12
Orange Co.
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Recorded by: Dean Furbish and Joy Wiggins on 2022-04-04
Wake Co.
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Recorded by: Simpson Eason on 2021-10-27
Durham Co.
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Recorded by: Dean Furbish on 2021-10-01
Wake Co.
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Recorded by: David George, L. M. Carlson on 2021-09-03
Orange Co.
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Recorded by: David George, L. M. Carlson on 2021-09-03
Orange Co.
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Recorded by: Jim Petranka on 2021-08-18
Madison Co.
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Recorded by: Jim Petranka on 2021-07-28
Madison Co.
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Recorded by: Lior Carlson on 2021-07-24
Orange Co.
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Recorded by: Owen McConnell on 2021-07-19
Graham Co.
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Recorded by: Dean Furbish on 2021-07-16
Wake Co.
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Recorded by: Simpson Eason on 2021-07-13
Durham Co.
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Recorded by: Jim Petranka on 2021-07-06
Madison Co.
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Recorded by: tom ward on 2021-05-31
Buncombe Co.
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Recorded by: K. Bischof on 2021-05-29
Transylvania Co.
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Recorded by: Gary Maness on 2021-05-23
Guilford Co.
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Recorded by: Dean Furbish on 2021-05-16
Wake Co.
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Recorded by: Jim Petranka on 2021-05-15
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: Owen McConnell on 2021-05-02
Durham Co.
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Recorded by: Simpson Eason on 2021-04-27
Durham Co.
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Recorded by: Simpson Eason on 2021-04-10
Durham Co.
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Recorded by: R. Newman on 2021-04-06
Carteret Co.
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