Moths of North Carolina
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125 NC Records

Grammia virgo (Linnaeus, 1758) - Virgin Tiger Moth


Taxonomy
Superfamily: Noctuoidea Family: ErebidaeSubfamily: ArctiinaeTribe: ArctiiniP3 Number: 930244.00 MONA Number: 8197.00
Comments: One of 36 species in this genus that occur in North America (Schmidt, 2009), nine of which have been recorded in North Carolina. Our populations may all belong to subspecies gigas, recently described by Schmidt (2009). This form is much larger and more intensely colored than the nominate subspecies, which occurs across Canada and extends southward in the East to at least West Virginia.
Identification
Field Guide Descriptions: Covell (1984); Beadle and Leckie (2012)Online Photographs: MPG, BugGuide, BAMONATechnical Description, Adults: Forbes (1960); Schmidt (2009)Technical Description, Immature Stages: Forbes (1960); Wagner (2005)                                                                                 
Adult Markings: A boldly marked Tiger Moth and the largest species in this genus. Easily recognizable from a good quality photograph where both the hindwings and forewings are in view. The hindwings are usually red or pink (rarely yellow) and have a row of black spots located along both the outer margin and in the ante-median area, the second of which is missing in the similarly colored G. parthenice. The forewings are black with both narrow yellow lines along the veins and a set of broader yellow bands running longitudinally and transversely. In virgo, the post-median line (terminology following Schmidt, 2009) is strongly bent at the middle, similarly to anna but contrasting with parthenice, whose post-median is much straighter. In virgo, the line running along the median vein is usually wider than the one along the anal vein, whereas in parthenice (and apparently anna), these two lines are both equally thin (Schmidt, 2009).
Adult ID Requirements: Identifiable from photos showing hindwings, abdomen, or other specialized views [e.g., frons, palps, antennae, undersides].
Immatures and Development: Larvae are black and bristly, with orange-brown spiracles; setae on below the spiracles may be orange (Wagner, 2005). Grammia larvae are generally similar to one another (Wagner, 2005) and should be reared in order to determine their identity.
Larvae ID Requirements: Identifiable only through rearing to adulthood.
Distribution in North Carolina
Distribution: Probably occurs statewide except possibly on 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: Has one primary flight: late July-August in the Mountains and late August-September in the Piedmont and Coastal Plain. but with at least one specimen collected in May in the Coastal Plain. Overlaps but is usually earlier than Grammia parthenice.
Habitats and Life History
Habitats: According to Schmidt (2009), "Grammia virgo is essentially a species of mesic deciduous and mixed forests, associated with natural forest openings such as wetlands and meadows, and disturbed habitats such as pastures and roadsides." In addition to hardwood forests -- both upland and lowland -- we have numerous records from Longleaf Pine savannas, flatwoods, and sandhills, as well as peatland habitats and diabase barrens. We do not, however, have any records from the Outer Banks or other barrier islands.
Larval Host Plants: Members of this genus are highly polyphagous, feeding on a wide range of herbaceous plants, with Dicots possibly preferred (Schmidt, 2009). Wagner (2005) mentions that Bedstraw (Gallium sp.) is favored in some areas, although that species is missing from a number of sites where we have recorded this moth.
Observation Methods: Comes well to blacklights, with 56 having been caught in a single trap. The mouthparts are non-functional (Singer, 2000, cited in Schmidt, 2009), so it does not come to bait.
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: Occurs across most of the state and occupies a wide range of habitats; appears to be secure

 Photo Gallery for Grammia virgo - Virgin Tiger Moth

Photos: 21

Recorded by: K. Bischof on 2022-07-25
Transylvania Co.
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Recorded by: K. Bischof on 2022-07-25
Transylvania Co.
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Recorded by: Gary Maness on 2020-09-08
Guilford Co.
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Recorded by: Gary Maness on 2020-09-08
Guilford Co.
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Recorded by: Roy Carlson on 2019-08-30
Guilford Co.
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Recorded by: Steve Hall and Bo Sullivan on 2016-08-02
Ashe Co.
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Recorded by: K. Bischof on 2015-09-10
Burke Co.
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Recorded by: J.B. Sullivan on 2014-09-20
Mecklenburg Co.
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Recorded by: J.Wyche on 2013-09-10
Gates Co.
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Recorded by: Paul Scharf on 2013-09-01
Warren Co.
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Recorded by: Jim Petranka and Becky Elkin on 2013-08-03
Madison Co.
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Recorded by: Jim Petranka and Becky Elkin on 2013-08-03
Madison Co.
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Recorded by: K. Bischof on 2013-07-29
Transylvania Co.
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Recorded by: T. DeSantis on 2012-08-31
Camden Co.
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Recorded by: Doug Blatny / Jackie Nelson on 2011-09-04
Ashe Co.
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Recorded by: Paul Scharf on 2009-09-01
Warren Co.
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Recorded by: Paul Scharf on 2009-08-27
Warren Co.
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Recorded by: Darryl Willis on 2008-08-17
Cabarrus Co.
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Recorded by: B. Anderson on 2005-09-05
Wake Co.
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Recorded by: SPH on 1992-09-04
Granville Co.
Comment: Male; typical pattern; wingspan = 6.7 cm; forewing length = 2.9 cm
Recorded by: Steve Hall on 1991-09-11
Pender Co.
Comment: Found on the ground next to a blacklight trap