Moths of North Carolina
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64 NC Records

Orgyia detrita Guérin, 1831 - Live Oak Tussock Moth


Taxonomy
Superfamily: Noctuoidea Family: ErebidaeSubfamily: LymantriinaeTribe: OrgyiiniP3 Number: 930165.00 MONA Number: 8313.00
Comments: One of ten species in this genus that occur in North America, four of which have been recorded in North Carolina.
Identification
Field Guide Descriptions: Online Photographs: MPG, BugGuide, iNaturalist, Google, BAMONA, GBIF, BOLDTechnical Description, Adults: Ferguson (1978)Technical Description, Immature Stages: Ferguson (1978); Wagner (2005)                                                                                 
Adult Markings: Males are grayish-brown with a somewhat mottled or striate appearance, especially compared to the fairly smooth appearance of leucostigma but not as constrasting or as dark as definita. The tornal spot is typically missing, which sets it apart from leucostigma and many definita. The postmedian is black, thin, and finely dentate; thinner than in definita and more transverse compared to leucostigma where it is more oblique (Forbes, 1948). Females have only rudimentary wings, similar to the females of Phigalia species.
Adult Structural Features: Orgyia species have a single dorsal tuft on their abdomens, whereas Dasychira have two. Adults lack functional mouthparts. Males have two pair of spurs on their hind legs, similar to leucostigma but contrasting with definita, which only have a single pair (Ferguson, 1978). Males have much large juxta than the other species and there are no teeth on the sclerotized flap on the dorsal side of the aedeagus (Ferguson, 1978). Females are indistinguishable from those of definita and leucostigma.
Adult ID Requirements: Identifiable from good quality photos of unworn specimens.
Immatures and Development: The larvae possess distinctively gray bodies with a narrow black dorsal stripe. and bright orange or yellow tubercles. They are otherwise similar to those of leucostigma in possessing a red head, a black anterior pair of hair pencils and a single posterior pencil, and in having four pale mid-dorsal tufts.
Larvae ID Requirements: Identifiable from good quality photos, especially where associated with known host plants.
Distribution in North Carolina
Distribution: Most of our records come from the Coastal Plain, but with few were recorded during the All Taxa Biological Survey conducted in the Great Smokey Mountains National Park.
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: Adults fly mainly during the summer but there appears to be a second flight, or at least stragglers, in the fall.
Habitats and Life History
Habitats: A large number of records come from xeric habitats on Barrier Islands, where it may be associated with Live Oak or Sand Live Oak. Inland, most of our records come from wetter sites. In the Coastal Plain, it occurs in riparian forests where Bald Cypress may be the host, but is particularly abundant in peatland habitats, including Pond Pine Woodlands, High Pocosins, and stands of Peatland Atlantic White Cedar, where neither oaks nor cypress occur. In the Mountains, our records come from sites located near the north shore of Fontana Reservoir and our one Piedmont record also comes from a reservoir shoreline.
Larval Host Plants: Probably polyphagous. Ferguson (1978) mentions that Live Oak and Bald Cypress were the only two known host plants, but we have many records from habitats lacking either of those species. Like other members of this genus, detrita is likely to feed on a variety of woody trees and shrubs, including both conifers and hardwoods. In 2016, Bo Sullivan found larvae feeding on Blueberry, a host plant that occurs in many of the sites where adults have been collected.
Observation Methods: Our records all come from 15 watt UV light traps. 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).
Wikipedia
Status in North Carolina
Natural Heritage Program Status: W3
Natural Heritage Program Ranks: G3G4 S2S3
State Protection: Has no legal protection, although permits are required to collect it on state parks and other public lands.
Comments: The full range of habitats used by this species need to be better documented. It appears to be much less common than the other two species but is probably not limited due to host plant or habitat restrictions.

 Photo Gallery for Orgyia detrita - Live Oak Tussock Moth

Photos: 21

Recorded by: David George, Jeff Niznik, Rich Teper, Erich Hofmann, Jesse Anderson on 2023-05-22
New Hanover Co.
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Recorded by: David George, Jeff Niznik, Rich Teper on 2023-05-21
New Hanover Co.
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Recorded by: David George, Bo Sullivan on 2023-05-02
Carteret Co.
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Recorded by: K. Sanford on 2023-04-27
Camden Co.
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Recorded by: R. Newman on 2022-06-04
Carteret Co.
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Recorded by: Lior Carlson on 2021-07-24
Johnston Co.
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Recorded by: K. Sanford on 2021-05-31
Camden Co.
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Recorded by: K. Sanford on 2021-05-25
Camden Co.
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Recorded by: Nicolette L Cagle on 2020-05-12
Columbus Co.
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Recorded by: Nicolette L Cagle on 2020-05-12
Columbus Co.
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Recorded by: Bo Sullivan on 2016-04-11
New Hanover Co.
Comment: Found feeding on Blueberry
Recorded by: Bo Sullivan on 2016-04-11
New Hanover Co.
Comment: Found feeding on Blueberry
Recorded by: Ed Corey on 2013-06-05
Bladen Co.
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Recorded by: Chris Helms on 2011-05-17
Columbus Co.
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Recorded by: Newman, Randy on 2007-06-12
Carteret Co.
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Recorded by: Newman, Randy on 2006-06-04
Carteret Co.
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Recorded by: Newman, Randy on 2005-06-22
Carteret Co.
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Recorded by: Newman, Randy on 2005-06-21
Carteret Co.
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Recorded by: Newman, randy on 2005-06-01
Carteret Co.
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Recorded by: Newman, Randy on 2004-06-21
Carteret Co.
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Recorded by: Newman, Randy on 2004-05-02
Carteret Co.
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