Moths of North Carolina
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90 NC Records

Apantesis carlotta Ferguson, 1985 - Carlotta's Tiger Moth


Taxonomy
Superfamily: Noctuoidea Family: ErebidaeSubfamily: ArctiinaeTribe: ArctiiniP3 Number: 930281.00 MONA Number: 8171.10
Comments: One of four species in this genus that occur in North America, all of which are found in North Carolina. Carlotta was described fairly recently by Ferguson (1985), who noted the possible existence of additional species in the Middle Atlantic States. Based on conversations we had with Ferguson, we tentatively identified the form associated with Longleaf Pine habitats in the Coastal Plain as separate from the one -- presumably the described species -- that occurs in the Mountains; in the NHP Rare Animal Books up through 2012, this form was referred to as Apantesis new species near carlotta. Apart from the strikingly disjunct distribution, however, there appears to be too little evidence -- including from genetic bar-coding -- to support their continued separation; we treat them here as a single species.
Identification
Field Guide Descriptions: (Not in either field guide)Online Photographs: MPG, BugGuide, BAMONATechnical Description, Adults: Forbes (1960); Ferguson (1985)Technical Description, Immature Stages: Ferguson (1985); Wagner (2005)                                                                                 
Adult Markings: Species of Apantesis and Grammia resemble one another, but Apantesis are generally smaller and the pattern of yellow lines is usually much more reduced, with the median, lower portion of the post-median, and fine vein lines always missing in Apantesis. A good quality photograph showing the forewing pattern is usually enough to distinguish between these genera. However, the hindwings must also be visible to distinguish between the species of Apantesis, and even then only the males can usually be diagnosed; photographs must show the hindwings to be acceptable as records for this genus. In his description of the Apantesis carlotta, Ferguson (1985) notes that there are no single characters that can reliably separate it from the other three species of Apantesis. In carlotta, both sexes have similar wing patterns, with a relatively complete set of pale stripes on the forewings, usually including the zig-zag sub-terminal line. One consistent feature of this species is the presence of a complete, if narrow, black edge along the costa; photographs used to identify carlotta must be clear enough to make out this line. Not all Apantesis that have this feature belong to carlotta, though: the costal edge can be either black or yellow in the other species, although it is usually yellow in nais, the species that is otherwise the most similar to carlotta (Ferguson, 1985). Hindwings are typically pale yellow, but can be orange in the males and red in the females. A row of separated black spots borders the outer margin, occasionally forming a confluent band in the females. The yellow on the hindwing is usually pale compared to brighter, more solid yellow of nais. A. carlotta is also smaller than nais but unfortunately, no genitalic differences exist between males of these species or vittata. Although small genitalic differences exist between the females of carlotta and nais, (Ferguson, 1985), they require comparisons among a large series of specimens to be useful.
Adult ID Requirements: Identifiable from photos showing hindwings, abdomen, or other specialized views [e.g., frons, palps, antennae, undersides].
Immatures and Development: Larvae are grayish black with dark setae and a wide, pale, mid-dorsal stripe (Ferguson, 1985; see photo in Wagner, 2005); in nais, the mid-dorsal stripe is absent and in phalerata (and probably vittata) is narrower and discontinuous. Rearing is necessary for reliable identification.
Larvae ID Requirements: Identifiable only through rearing to adulthood.
Distribution in North Carolina
Distribution: Populations may be widely distributed in the Mountains. In the Coastal Plain, they appear to be more restricted to the southern half, including the Fall-line Sandhills. Currently, carlotta is only known from Hanging Rock State Park in the Piedmont.
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: Ferguson (1985) and Wagner (2005) state that carlotta has two flights, which is consistent with our data.
Habitats and Life History
Habitats: Ferguson (1985) thought this species was primarily a grassland species, which is consistent with our records. Coastal Plain populations appear to be strongly tied to wet Longleaf Pine savannas, with no records from more xeric habitats; the one record we have from the Fall-line Sandhills was from an extensive seepage slope Mountain populations appear to be associated with old pastures, or grassy areas along rivers (e.g., New River State Park). At least some of these records come from high elevation meadows (e.g., Purchase Knob, Rich Mountain Gap).
Larval Host Plants: Ferguson (1985) reared larvae on weedy Composites; Wagner (2005) just lists forbs. Probably polyphagous on many low-growing species of herbaceous plants.
Observation Methods: Appears to come to blacklights moderately well but usually in small numbers. Does not come to bait.
Wikipedia
Status in North Carolina
Natural Heritage Program Status: W3
Natural Heritage Program Ranks: G5 [SU]
State Protection: Has no legal protection, although permits are required to collect it on state parks and other public lands
Comments: The Coastal Plain form was previously tracked as Significantly Rare by the Natural Heritage Program, due to its tight association with Longleaf Pine savannas, a habitat type that has undergone severe reduction in range historically and which is continuing today. By treating all forms of carlotta as a single entity, however, the species appears to be more secure in the state, although questions remain to be answered about its distribution, abundance, and habitat specificity across the entire state. Currently, we recommend that this species be placed on the NHP Watch List as a W3 species.

 Photo Gallery for Apantesis carlotta - Carlotta's Tiger Moth

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

Recorded by: Jim Petranka on 2022-07-15
Madison Co.
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Recorded by: Jim Petranka on 2022-07-10
Madison Co.
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Recorded by: Jim Petranka on 2022-07-10
Madison Co.
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Recorded by: Vin Stanton on 2021-09-18
Buncombe Co.
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Recorded by: tom ward on 2021-09-18
Buncombe Co.
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Recorded by: tom ward on 2021-07-25
Buncombe Co.
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Recorded by: tom ward on 2021-07-13
Buncombe Co.
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Recorded by: Jim Petranka on 2021-06-12
Madison Co.
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Recorded by: tom ward on 2021-05-24
Buncombe Co.
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Recorded by: Jim Petranka on 2021-05-17
Madison Co.
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Recorded by: Jim Petranka on 2021-05-15
Madison Co.
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Recorded by: Jim Petranka and Becky Elkin on 2020-09-16
Madison Co.
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Recorded by: Vin Stanton on 2020-09-06
Buncombe Co.
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Recorded by: Jim Petranka and Becky Elkin on 2020-08-29
Madison Co.
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Recorded by: Heather Burditt on 2020-07-17
Buncombe Co.
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Recorded by: Heather Burditt on 2020-07-17
Buncombe Co.
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Recorded by: Heather Burditt on 2020-07-17
Buncombe Co.
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Recorded by: Jim Petranka and Becky Elkin on 2020-07-04
Madison Co.
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Recorded by: David L. Heavner on 2019-07-06
Buncombe Co.
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Recorded by: Gary Maness on 2019-07-05
Guilford Co.
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Recorded by: Gary Maness on 2018-08-26
Guilford Co.
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Recorded by: Steve Dowlan on 2018-08-04
Watauga Co.
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Recorded by: Steve Dowlan on 2018-08-04
Watauga Co.
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Recorded by: Ken Kneidel on 2018-08-04
Yancey Co.
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Recorded by: Jim Petranka and Becky Elkin on 2018-05-28
Madison Co.
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Recorded by: Jim Petranka and Becky Elkin on 2018-05-24
Madison Co.
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Recorded by: Jim Petranka and Becky Elkin on 2018-05-03
Madison Co.
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Recorded by: Jim Petranka and Becky Elkin on 2018-05-03
Madison Co.
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Recorded by: K. Bischof on 2017-05-04
Burke Co.
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Recorded by: Steve Hall and Bo Sullivan on 2016-08-02
Ashe Co.
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