Moths of North Carolina
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Litoprosopus Members:
11 NC Records

Litoprosopus futilis (Grote & Robinson, 1868) - Palmetto Borer

Superfamily: Noctuoidea Family: ErebidaeSubfamily: EulepidotinaeTribe: (incertae sedis) Grp. 2P3 Number: 931160.00 MONA Number: 8556.00
Comments: One of five species in this genus that occur in North America north of Mexico (Lafontaine and Schmidt, 2010)
Field Guide Descriptions: Covell (1984)Online Photographs: MPG, BugGuide, BOLDTechnical Description, Adults: Grote and Robinson (1868)Technical Description, Immature Stages: Wagner et al. (2011)                                                                                 
Adult Markings: A medium-sized, light grayish- to yellowish brown Erebid. The head, body, and wings are concolorous, "greyish fawn" (Grote and Robinson, 1868); transverse lines are darker brown, double, and often incomplete; the orbicular and reniform are also darker brown. The most conspicuous marking are dark eyespots located at the anal angle of the hindwngs. Photographs are acceptable as records for this species where they show the hindwings.
Wingspan: 38 mm (Grote and Robinson, 1868)
Adult ID Requirements: Identifiable from photos showing hindwings, abdomen, or other specialized views [e.g., frons, palps, antennae, undersides].
Immatures and Development: Larvae are dark brown, striped with narrow yellow, and possess sparse but conspicuous long, pale setae. The head is shiny and deep reddish brown and the pro-thoracic shield and anal plate are shiny black (see Wagner et al., 2011, for illustrations and a detailed description)
Larvae ID Requirements: Identifiable from good quality photos, especially where associated with known host plants.
Distribution in North Carolina
Distribution: Found mostly along the coast but migrants have been observed in the mountains (J.B.Sullivan, pers. obs.) and can potentially show up anywhere within the state as migrants
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: Probably univoltine; our records for adults come from mid-June to mid-October
Habitats and Life History
Habitats: A breeding population has only been recorded in Beaufort in North Carolina, where it larvae were found feeding on planted Cabbage Palms. So far we do not have any records from Bald Head Island where our only native population of Cabbage Palm occurs.
Larval Host Plants: Larvae bore into the inflorescences of Cabbage Palm (Wagner et a., 2011), but have not been recorded on Dwarf Palmettos, our most common species
Observation Methods: This species appears to come poorly to lights. Caterpillars are known to come to bait (Wagner et al., 2011; J.B. Sullivan, pers. obs.)
See also Habitat Account for Live Oak Forests and Maritime Scrub Thickets
Status in North Carolina
Natural Heritage Program Status: W3
Natural Heritage Program Ranks: G4 SU
State Protection: Has no legal protection, although permits are required to collect it on state parks and other public lands.
Comments: Although larvae of this species have been found in Beaufort (J.B. Sullivan, pers. obs.), this species has yet to be observed at Bald Head Island -- despite extensive sampling -- where it could have its northernmost naturally occurring population. If documented, its population at that site would be of at least some conservation significance; continued efforts should be made to determine its presence and breeding status at that site. Elsewhere in the state, this species is mainly a migrant, where it has no conservation value; populations established on planted populations of Cabbage Palm along the coast likewise have little to no relevance for conservation.

 Photo Gallery for Litoprosopus futilis - Palmetto Borer

Photos: 4

Recorded by: R. Newman on 2022-07-30
Carteret Co.
Recorded by: R. Newman on 2021-03-26
Carteret Co.
Recorded by: R. Newman on 2021-03-26
Carteret Co.
Recorded by: Newman, Randy on 2006-06-28
Carteret Co.
Comment: FOMA - Attracted to mercury vapor light