Moths of North Carolina
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754 NC Records

Halysidota tessellaris (J.E. Smith, 1797) - Banded Tussock Moth



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Taxonomy
Superfamily: Noctuoidea Family: ErebidaeSubfamily: ArctiinaeTribe: ArctiiniP3 Number: 930360.00 MONA Number: 8203.00
Comments: One of five species in this genus that occur in North America (Lafontaine and Schimdt, 20010), three of which have been recorded in North Carolina
Identification
Field Guide Descriptions: Covell (1984); Beadle and Leckie (2012)Online Photographs: MPG, BugGuide, GBIF, BOLDTechnical Description, Adults: Forbes (1960)Technical Description, Immature Stages: Forbes (1960); Wagner (2005)                                                                                 
Adult Markings: Adults of all three of our species of Halysidota are highly similar to one another, possessing long, pointed wings that are translucent yellow and marked with bands of slightly darker, offset cells forming a tessellated pattern. The markings of tessellaris and harrisii are virtually identical and they cannot be identified based on photographs alone (in some cases, we assume an individual is tessellaris if found at a site far from any Sycamores).
Forewing Length: 23-27 mm, males (Watson, 1980)
Adult Structural Features: Males of tesselaris can be distinguished from harrisii by the slightly different shapes to the tips of their valves, which can be seen by brushing away the scales at the ends of the abdomens (see illustration in Forbes, 1960, and Watson, 1980). In tesselaris, the upper, costal process extends farther distally than the lower, saccular process, with the situation reversed in harrisii. The valves of tessellaris are also less incurved than those of harrisii, which can sometimes be detected without dissection. No characters are known that distinguish the females of these two species.
Adult ID Requirements: Identifiable from photos showing hindwings, abdomen, or other specialized views [e.g., frons, palps, antennae, undersides].
Immatures and Development: Larvae, in contrast to the adults, are easy to tell apart: those of tesselaris are yellowish-brown to gray, with conspicuous white and black pencils at the anterior end (Forbes, 1960; Wagner, 2005); larvae of harrisii are yellowish or white with white and rust colored anterior pencils.
Larvae ID Requirements: Identifiable from good quality photos, especially where associated with known host plants.
Distribution in North Carolina
Distribution: Probably occurs statewide, though we are missing records for a number of counties in the coastal plain (which may just be a result of undersampling in this area).
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: Appears to have two flights in the Coastal Plain and Piedmont but probably just one in the Mountains
Habitats and Life History
Habitats: With the exception of peatlands, where we have only a single record, tessellaris uses virtually all habitats found in the state, from maritime scrub and forests on the barrier islands, to Longleaf Pine habitats, bottomland hardwoods, to xeric sandhills, barrens and upland ridges and summits.
Larval Host Plants: The larvae are polyphagous on woody shrubs and trees (Wagner, 2005). In North Carolina, they have been recorded feeding on elm, hawthorn, maple, oak, persimmon, sweetgum, and willow, and likely utilize many other plants. The adults commonly visit milkweeds at night and may be important pollinators. Frost (1965) examined 1,911 specimens that were captured in light traps and found that 290 specimens had milkweed pollinia attached to them. - View
Observation Methods: Comes well to blacklights, with over 30 individuals collected in single traps. Adults feed on flowers beginning at dusk (Forbes, 1960) and for the first few hours after dark, but we have only one record from bait.
Wikipedia
See also Habitat Account for General Forests and Shrublands
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: Ubiquitous, abundant, and widespread across the entire state, this is one of our most secure species

 Photo Gallery for Halysidota tessellaris - Banded Tussock Moth

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

Recorded by: Jim Petranka on 2024-07-09
Madison Co.
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Recorded by: Jim Petranka, Mark Basinger and Becky Elkin on 2024-06-25
McDowell Co.
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Recorded by: Mark Basinger on 2024-06-23
Yancey Co.
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Recorded by: Terrell Tucker on 2024-06-22
Moore Co.
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Recorded by: Jim Petranka and Becky Elkin on 2024-06-19
Madison Co.
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Recorded by: Jim Petranka on 2024-06-17
Madison Co.
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Recorded by: Jim Petranka on 2024-06-14
Madison Co.
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Recorded by: Jim Petranka on 2024-06-01
Madison Co.
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Recorded by: Stephen Dunn on 2024-05-29
Orange Co.
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Recorded by: Jim Petranka on 2024-05-28
Madison Co.
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Recorded by: Mark Basinger on 2024-05-28
Wilson Co.
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Recorded by: Mark Basinger on 2024-05-28
Wilson Co.
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Recorded by: Jim Petranka, Mark Basinger and Becky Elkin on 2024-05-16
Buncombe Co.
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Recorded by: Mark Basinger on 2024-05-15
Buncombe Co.
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Recorded by: Mark Basinger on 2024-05-15
Buncombe Co.
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Recorded by: Mark Basinger on 2024-05-14
Buncombe Co.
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Recorded by: Mark Basinger on 2024-05-14
Buncombe Co.
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Recorded by: Stephen Hall, David George, and David Bradley on 2024-05-07
Durham Co.
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Recorded by: Stephen Hall, David George, and David Bradley on 2024-05-07
Durham Co.
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Recorded by: Mark Basinger on 2024-05-03
Wilson Co.
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Recorded by: Mark Basinger on 2024-05-03
Wilson Co.
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Recorded by: Jim Petranka on 2024-04-29
Madison Co.
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Recorded by: David George, Becky Watkins on 2023-11-05
Durham Co.
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Recorded by: David George, Stephen Dunn, Jeff Niznik, Larry Chen on 2023-10-28
Orange Co.
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Recorded by: Morgan Freese on 2023-10-23
Buncombe Co.
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Recorded by: David George, Stephen Dunn, Jeff Niznik on 2023-10-06
Orange Co.
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Recorded by: Stephen Dunn on 2023-09-05
Orange Co.
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Recorded by: David George, Jeff Niznik on 2023-09-04
Orange Co.
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Recorded by: Stephen Hall on 2023-08-18
Orange Co.
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Recorded by: Stephen Hall on 2023-08-18
Orange Co.
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