Moths of North Carolina
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View PDFErebidae Members:
Macrochilo Members:
4 NC Records

Macrochilo santerivalis Ferguson, 1982 - An Owlet Moth

Superfamily: Noctuoidea Family: ErebidaeSubfamily: HerminiinaeP3 Number: 930507.00 MONA Number: 8359.10
Comments: One of seven species in this genus that occur in North America north of Mexico (Lafontaine and Schmidt, 2010), six of which have been recorded in North Carolina
Field Guide Descriptions: Online Photographs: MPG, BugGuide, GBIF, BOLDTechnical Description, Adults: Ferguson (1982)                                                                                 
Adult Markings: A medium-sized, pale brown Deltoid. The ground color of the forewings is light brown, with two dark brown dos in the discal area. Transverse lines are absent, but a diffuse dark streak extends from the discal dots outward to the subterminal area, where it make a bend up to the apex (Ferguson, 1982). Macrochilo louisiana is similar in color but is smaller; lacks the dark horizontal streak; and in the males has at least a broken postmedian line, bordered with brown. M. bivittata is also very similar but has not been recorded in our area. Other species of Macrochilo have well-defined transverse lines.
Wingspan: >=24 mm (Ferguson, 1982)
Forewing Length: 12.5 mm, males; 12.5-13.5 mm, females (Ferguson, 1982)
Adult Structural Features: Male and female reproductive structures are described and illustrated by Ferguson (1982) and can be used to distinguish santerivalis from M. louisiana and other members of this genus. The palps are longer than those of louisiana and can also help distinguish this species (Ferguson, 1982).
Adult ID Requirements: Identifiable from good quality photos of unworn specimens.
Immatures and Development: Apparently undescribed
Distribution in North Carolina
Distribution: Restricted to the Tidewater area of the state
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: In South Carolina, there appear to be two flights, one in the spring and one in late summer (Ferguson, 1982). Our three records come from May-July, probably corresponding the first flight period observed further south
Habitats and Life History
Habitats: All known records for this species come from coastal marshes, including freshwater as well as brackish varieties
Larval Host Plants: Unknown, but possibly withered graminoids, as has been reported for other species of Macrochilo - View
Observation Methods: Comes to light but we have too few records to know how strongly
See also Habitat Account for Coastal Freshwater and Low-Salinity Marshes
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: We have very few records for this species, which also appears to be true for its entire range. However, this may be an artifact resulting from the low level of moth surveys that have been conducted in coastal marsh habitats. More intensive surveys are needed both to determine its host plants as well as to determine its actual distribution and abundance within the state.

 Photo Gallery for Macrochilo santerivalis - An Owlet Moth

Photos: 1

Recorded by: Morgan Freese on 2022-04-27
New Hanover Co.