Moths of North Carolina
Scientific Name:
Common Name:
Family (Alpha):
« »
View PDFErebidae Members:
Metalectra Members:
22 NC Records

Metalectra albilinea Richards, 1941 - White-lined Fungus Moth

Superfamily: Noctuoidea Family: ErebidaeSubfamily: BoletobiinaeP3 Number: 930684.00 MONA Number: 8504.00
Comments: One of eleven species in this genus that occur in North America (Lafontaine and Schmidt, 2010), six of which have been recorded in North Carolina.
Field Guide Descriptions: Online Photographs: MPG, BugGuide, iNaturalist, Google, BAMONA, GBIF, BOLDTechnical Description, Adults: Richards (1941); Brower (1941)Technical Description, Immature Stages: Wagner et al. (2011)                                                                                 
Adult Markings: Metalectra albilinea is one of two small, similarly patterned and colored Fungus Moths, the other being M. richardsi. Both species have reddish-brown forewings and paler, relatively unmarked hindwings; in other species of Metalectra, the hindwings are more similar in pattern and color to the forewings (Forbes, 1954). As described by Richards (quoted by Brower, 1941), albilinea usually has a redder shade between the reniform and postmedian, a more grayish-brown shade in the subterminal area, a weaker or more narrow median line, a more prominently checkered fringe, and a somewhat more marked hindwing. The white subterminal line is also more prominent and continuous in albilinea.
Wingspan: 15-17 mm
Adult Structural Features: Male genitalia are distinctive (see Richards, 1941, for a detailed description and illustrations). The apical process of the valves are narrow and pointed, in contrast to those of M. richardsi, which are broader and more rounded (see description and illustrations in Brower, 1941).
Adult ID Requirements: Identifiable from photos showing hindwings, abdomen, or other specialized views [e.g., frons, palps, antennae, undersides].
Immatures and Development: A larva illustrated in Wagner et al. (2011) is dark brown with a subdorsal row of pale, yellowish-tan spots; no description is given, however, and larvae probably need to be reared to adulthood to confirm their identities.
Larvae ID Requirements: Identifiable only through rearing to adulthood.
Distribution in North Carolina
Distribution: All but one of our records come from sites located along the mouth of the Cape Fear River, including Bald Head Island as well as sites located on the mainland as far upstream as the Roan Island area. It has also been recorded at a site in Pender County, again located within just 10 miles of the ocean.
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: This species appears to fly throughout most of the growing season in North Carolina, with no evidence of separate flights.
Habitats and Life History
Habitats: Most of our records come from Maritime Evergreen Forests on the barrier islands and from the similar Coastal Fringe Evergreen Forests on the mainland; a couple of records come from swamp forest or bottomland forest habitats a short distance inland.
Larval Host Plants: Feeds on fungus and bark algae (Wagner et al., 2011). - View
Observation Methods: Appears to come well to blacklights and probably also comes to bait, as do other members of this genus.
See also Habitat Account for Live Oak Forests and Maritime Scrub Thickets
Status in North Carolina
Natural Heritage Program Status: SR
Natural Heritage Program Ranks: GNR S1S2
State Protection: Listed as Significantly Rare by the Natural Heritage Program. That designation, however, does not confer any legal protection, although permits are required to collect it on state parks and other public lands.
Comments: This species appears to have a very limited range in North Carolina, where it occupies a narrow range of habitats at sites located mainly along the mouth of the Cape Fear River. The reasons for these apparent limitations are not known, with no help provided by the general description of the larval foods. However, both the scarcity of records, its apparent high habitat specificty, and the fact that most of the sites where it occurs in the state are threatened by either sea level rise or coastal development indicate that it should be considered to be of significant conservation concern within North Carolina.

 Photo Gallery for Metalectra albilinea - White-lined Fungus Moth

Photos: 2

Recorded by: David George, Jeff Niznik, Rich Teper on 2023-05-21
New Hanover Co.
Recorded by: JBS on 1994-08-25
Brunswick Co.