Moths of North Carolina
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View PDFErebidae Members: 403 NC Records

Orgyia leucostigma (J.E. Smith, 1797) - White-marked Tussock Moth


Taxonomy
Superfamily: Noctuoidea Family: ErebidaeSubfamily: LymantriinaeTribe: OrgyiiniP3 Number: 930168.00 MONA Number: 8316.00
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: Covell (1984); Beadle and Leckie (2012)Online Photographs: MPG, BugGuide, iNaturalist, Google, BAMONATechnical Description, Adults: Forbes (1948); Ferguson (1978)Technical Description, Immature Stages: Ferguson (1978); Wagner (2005)                                                                                 
Adult Markings: Males are primarily grayish brown with a fairly smooth appearance and lacking strong contrasts between the median area and basal and subterminal areas. The antemedian and postmedian are both fairly narrow and black. The postmedian tends to be more pointed opposite the discal spot than broadly rounded as in definita (Ferguson, 1978), and runs more obliquely to the inner margin rather than transversely as in detrita (Forbes, 1948). The white spot in the tornal area is usually conspicuous, which helps distinguish this species from detrita, where it is usually missing. Leucostigma is distinguished from definita by its grayer coloration, lack of strong contrasts, thinner lines, and lack of prominent dashes or streaks in the subterminal area. Females have only rudimentary wings, similar to the females of Phigalia species; there are no known characters that allow the females of our Orgyia species to be distinguished from one another (Ferguson, 1978).
Adult Structural Features: Orgyia species have a single dorsal tuft on their abdomens, whereas Dasychira have two. Adults lack functional mouthparts.
Adult ID Requirements: Identifiable from good quality photos of unworn specimens.
Immatures and Development: Larvae have bright red heads and yellow bodies with a well-defined mid-dorsal black stripe, a combination not shared by the other species of Orgyia.
Larvae ID Requirements: Identifiable from good quality photos, especially where associated with known host plants.
Distribution in North Carolina
Distribution: Occurs statewide.
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 appear to be continuously present throughout the growing season within the Coastal Plain but possibly has two flights in the Mountains.
Habitats and Life History
Habitats: Nearly ubiquitous in natural habitats as well as in residential neighborhoods.
Larval Host Plants: Polyphagous, feeding on both conifers and hardwood species, as well as on herbaceous plants (Ferguson, 1978).
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:
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: With its nearly ubiquitous occurrence throughout the state and use of nearly all natural and many artificially altered habitats, this species appears to be one of the most secure in the state.

 Photo Gallery for Orgyia leucostigma - White-marked Tussock Moth

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

Recorded by: Jim Petranka on 2021-10-15
Madison Co.
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Recorded by: Jim Petranka on 2021-10-15
Madison Co.
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Recorded by: Jim Petranka on 2021-10-12
Madison Co.
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Recorded by: David George, L. M. Carlson on 2021-10-02
Orange Co.
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Recorded by: tom ward on 2021-10-01
Buncombe Co.
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Recorded by: Mark Shields on 2021-10-01
Onslow Co.
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Recorded by: Russell James on 2021-09-28
Cumberland Co.
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Recorded by: Russell James on 2021-09-28
Cumberland Co.
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Recorded by: Dean Furbish on 2021-09-25
Wake Co.
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Recorded by: Dean Furbish on 2021-09-23
Wake Co.
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Recorded by: Steve Taylor on 2021-07-21
Beaufort Co.
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Recorded by: Owen McConnell & Solly Beachler on 2021-06-18
Durham Co.
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Recorded by: Dean Furbish on 2021-06-17
Wake Co.
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Recorded by: Dean Furbish on 2021-06-05
Wake Co.
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Recorded by: Dean Furbish on 2021-06-01
Wake Co.
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Recorded by: Simpson Eason on 2021-05-29
Durham Co.
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Recorded by: Dean Furbish on 2021-05-19
Wake Co.
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Recorded by: Gary Maness on 2021-05-18
Guilford Co.
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Recorded by: Ken Kneidel on 2021-05-18
Mecklenburg Co.
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Recorded by: Dean Furbish on 2021-05-17
Wake Co.
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Recorded by: Dean Furbish on 2021-05-16
Wake Co.
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Recorded by: Dean Furbish on 2021-05-14
Wake Co.
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Recorded by: David L. Heavner on 2021-04-25
Chatham Co.
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Recorded by: Stephen Hall on 2020-11-21
Orange Co.
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Recorded by: JIm Petranka on 2020-11-09
Madison Co.
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Recorded by: Gary Maness on 2020-11-07
Guilford Co.
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Recorded by: Simpson Eason on 2020-10-26
Durham Co.
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Recorded by: Simpson Eason on 2020-10-26
Durham Co.
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Recorded by: Jim Petranka on 2020-10-25
Madison Co.
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Recorded by: Gary Maness on 2020-10-22
Guilford Co.
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