Moths of North Carolina
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View PDFErebidae Members: 37 NC Records

Arugisa latiorella (Walker, 1863) - Watson's Arugisa Moth


Taxonomy
Superfamily: Noctuoidea Family: ErebidaeSubfamily: ScoleocampinaeP3 Number: 930635.00 MONA Number: 8510.00
Comments: One of three species in this genus that occur in North America north of Mexico (Lafontaine and Schmidt, 2010). Wagner et al. (2011) place this genus in the Hypenodinae, along with Nigetia, Sigela, and Abablemma.
Species Status: Richards (1941) described this species as Arugisa watsoni, but Lafontaine and Schmidt (2010) noted that it matches the holotype of Arugisa latiorella, a name that had been widely applied to what is now known as A. lutea. Based on this discovery, watsoni is now considered a synonym of latiorella. Richards placed the two species in different subgenera, based on the features of the palps and forelegs; latiorella belongs to subgenus Arugisa (see Structural Features below).
Identification
Field Guide Descriptions: Covell (1984, as Arugisa watsoni)Online Photographs: MPG, BugGuide, BOLDTechnical Description, Adults: Richards (1941); Forbes (1954, as Arugisa watsoni)                                                                                 
Adult Markings: A medium-small, medium brown Erebid. The ground color of the forewings is a fairly even reddish to slightly bronzy brown. The transverse lines are all single, thin, and dark brown. Both the orbicular and reniform are represented by dark points; the orbicular may be surrounded with a dark suffusion (Richards, 1941). The head, thorax, and abdomen are also fairly uniform brown, but with dark speckling; the thorax has a small posterior tuft with a whitish tip. Hindwings are grayish brown. Arugisa lutea is smaller but somewhat similar in coloration and patterning, but usually has a more yellowish tint and more extensive dark shading on the inner sides of the transverse lines, particularly the subterminal (Richards, 1941). Forbes (1954) also notes that lines are less continuous in lutea and often accented by dark spots. Worn males can be distinguished by the structural features of the palps and leg tufts; females may need to be dissected.
Wingspan: 21-23 mm (Richards, 1941)
Adult Structural Features: The male and female reproductive structures are described and illustrated by Richards (1941); those of the male are particularly distinct from those of A. lutea, but differences also exist that distinguish the females. The males of the two species differ externally in the shape and orientation of the palps: those of latiorella are porrect (projecting forward), the first segment of which is heavily fringed; those of lutea are ascending and only lightly fringed on the first segment. Males are more easily distinguished by eye by the heavy tufting on the legs of the male, which is absent in lutea. A tuft of dark gray scales on the foretibiae are especially prominent but there are also tufts or fringes on all of the legs. A photograph showing any of these tufts clearly distinguishes latiorella from lutea.
Adult ID Requirements: Identifiable from good quality photos of unworn specimens.
Immatures and Development: Apparently undescribed
Distribution in North Carolina
Distribution: Found from one end of the state to the other but not yet recorded over large areas
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
Flight Comments: Records in North Carolina come from late May to October. We have too few records, however, to determine if there are any separate flights
Habitats and Life History
Habitats: Most of our records come from fairly xeric sandhills habitats, including a large number from the sand rims bordering Carolina Bays. At least a few records, however, come from peatlands and other wet to mesic habitats.
Larval Host Plants: Unknown, but Arugisa lutea appears to feed primarily on grasses
Observation Methods: Comes to blacklights to some extent and we have at least one record from bait
Wikipedia
Status in North Carolina
Natural Heritage Program Status: W3
Natural Heritage Program Ranks: G4 S3?
State Protection: Has no legal protection, although permits are required to collect it on state parks and other public lands.
Comments: We have few records for this species, especially compared to the number we have for Arugisa lutea. Although latiorella appears to be more of habitat specialist than lutea, we do not know if it is actually as rare as the number of records indicate, or is simply more difficult to detect. More information on the host plants and habitat associations might help clarify its status.

 Photo Gallery for Arugisa latiorella - Watson's Arugisa Moth

Photos: 12

Recorded by: Jim Petranka on 2020-10-23
Madison Co.
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Recorded by: Jim Petranka on 2020-10-23
Madison Co.
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Recorded by: Jim Petranka on 2020-10-23
Madison Co.
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Recorded by: Jim Petranka and Becky Elkin on 2020-08-22
Madison Co.
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Recorded by: Jim Petranka and Becky Elkin on 2020-06-11
Madison Co.
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Recorded by: Jim Petranka and Becky Elkin on 2019-08-07
Madison Co.
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Recorded by: Vin Stanton on 2019-08-04
Buncombe Co.
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Recorded by: Mark Shields on 2019-08-03
Onslow Co.
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Recorded by: Vin Stanton on 2019-06-17
Buncombe Co.
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Recorded by: Vin Stanton on 2018-08-19
Buncombe Co.
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Recorded by: Stephen Hall and Ed Corey on 2016-10-01
Bladen Co.
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Recorded by: T. DeSantis on 2012-08-03
Camden Co.
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