Moths of North Carolina
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Dasychira Members:
56 NC Records

Dasychira dorsipennata (Barnes & McDunnough, 1919) - Sharp-lined Tussock Moth

Superfamily: Noctuoidea Family: ErebidaeSubfamily: LymantriinaeTribe: OrgyiiniP3 Number: 930145.00 MONA Number: 8293.00
Comments: One of 16 species in this genus that occur in North America, 10 of which have been recorded in North Carolina.
Field Guide Descriptions: Covell (1984)Online Photographs: MPG, BugGuide, iNaturalist, Google, BAMONA, GBIF, BOLDTechnical Description, Adults: Forbes (1948); Ferguson (1978)Technical Description, Immature Stages: Both Forbes (1948) and Ferguson (1978) provide keys to the larvae.                                                                                 
Adult Markings: Males are light grayish-fuscous with a greenish tint and usually only a small amount of whitish in the median area (Forbes, 1948; Ferguson, 1978, however illustrates two males with a pale area extending from the costa to the inner margin). The antemedian line is crenulated (but not dentate) and the postmedian is fairly sinuous -- convex in the upper half and concave below with no special tooth at M3 (Forbes, 1948; Ferguson, 1978, states that it is more concave than in other similar species, especially on the underside of the wings). No barred forms apparently exist in this species (Ferguson, 1978); the common name Sharp-lined Tussock Moth does not refer to the bar (which is sharply pointed only in obliquata) but rather to the sharply defined antemedian and postmedian (Covell, 1984). Females are larger than the males and similarly colored, but typically with more white in the median area.
Adult Structural Features: Dasychira species have two dorsal tufts on their abdomens, whereas Orgyia have just one. Adults lack mouthparts. Males cannot be distinguised from related species based on genitalia and females only exhibit slight differences (Ferguson, 1978).
Adult ID Requirements: Identifiable from good quality photos of unworn specimens.
Immatures and Development: Larvae are covered in gray or white hair (occasionally brown), with two black anterior hair pencils and three at the posterior end; the plumose setae composing the hair pencils have a black shaft and a dark tip. Larvae of D. tephra are similar but only have a single median hair pencil at the posterior end and the shafts of the plumose setae are yellowish instead of black (see Ferguson, 1978, and Wagner, 2005, for details).
Larvae ID Requirements: Identifiable from good quality photos, especially where associated with known host plants.
Distribution in North Carolina
Distribution: Found throughout the Mountains, including at high elevations. Also recorded disjunctly in the lower elevation but still montane-like habitats of Sauratown range of monadnocks in the western Piedmont.
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: Probably has a single adult flight in North Carolina.
Habitats and Life History
Habitats: Habitats in the Mountains include both riparian habitats at lower elevations and mesic slopes at high elevations.
Larval Host Plants: Polyphagous, feeding on a broad range of hardwood trees and shrubs. Ferguson (1978) reared larvae on oak, hazel, shadbush, and willow. Other hosts he mentioned from other sources include birch, poplar, beech and Chinese elm. - View
Observation Methods: Appears to come moderately well to 15 watt UV lights. Adults do not feed, so do not come to bait or to flowers. Larvae are distinctive and should be looked for on low-growing trees and shrubs. The hair of all Lymantriinae larvae are possibly urticating, however, and should be handled with care (Ferguson, 1978).
Status in North Carolina
Natural Heritage Program Status:
Natural Heritage Program Ranks: G4G5 [S4]
State Protection: Has no legal protection, although permits are required to collect it on state parks and other public lands.
Comments: This species has a fairly restricted range in North Carolina but ranges widely throughout the Mountains and occurs in at least one location in the western Piedmont. It does not seem to be strongly restricted by either habitat type or host plants and appears to be secure within the state.

 Photo Gallery for Dasychira dorsipennata - Sharp-lined Tussock Moth

Photos: 3

Recorded by: Owen McConnell on 2019-07-28
Graham Co.
Recorded by: Jim Petranka and Becky Elkin on 2013-07-16
Madison Co.
Recorded by: Jim Petranka and Becky Elkin on 2013-07-15
Madison Co.