Moths of North Carolina
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55 NC Records

Zale squamularis (Drury, 1773) - Gray-banded Zale


Taxonomy
Superfamily: Noctuoidea Family: ErebidaeSubfamily: ErebinaeTribe: OphiusiniP3 Number: 931035.00 MONA Number: 8700.00
Comments: One of 39 species in this genus that occur north of Mexico, 23 of which have been recorded in North Carolina. Zale squamularis and obliqua are closely related and apparently form a species complex with one or more undescribed species (Wagner et al., 2011)
Identification
Field Guide Descriptions: Covell (1984)Online Photographs: MPG, BugGuide, BAMONATechnical Description, Adults: McDunnough (1943); Forbes (1954); Rings et al. (1992)Technical Description, Immature Stages: Wagner et al. (2011)                                                                                 
Adult Markings: Belongs to a group of pine-feeding Zales, all of which possess a sharp, outward-pointing tooth on the antemedian line where the radial vein crosses. Squamularis is smoothly patterned pale brown and gray, with a strong contrast between the antemedial and postmedial areas (before and after the medial line). The medial line is contiguous with the inner edge of the reniform, as in Z. obliqua but different from the other members of this group where the line crosses the wing before the reniform. Squamularis is reportedly smaller than obliqua, although there are forms in North Carolina that appear to be equally large (sometimes considered an undescribed species). Squamularis also differs from obliqua by having a much more contrasting medial line (blackish in squamularis) and showing much more contrast between the pale antemedial area and the darker postmedial area. Male reproductive structures are illustrated by McDunnough (1943) and Forbes (1954), but the main differences between squamularis and obliqua is size.
Adult ID Requirements: Identifiable from good quality photos of unworn specimens.
Immatures and Development: Larvae of squamularis are very similar to those of obliqua and some of the other pine-feeding Zales and identification requires rearing them to the adult stage (Wagner, et al., 2011).
Larvae ID Requirements: Identifiable only through rearing to adulthood.
Distribution in North Carolina
Distribution: Probably occurs statewide except for the Outer Banks and other barrier islands and from the High Mountains
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: Appears to have just a single brood in the Mountains but may have a spring and summer brood in the Piedmont and Coastal Plain
Habitats and Life History
Habitats: Occurs primarily in wetter or more mesic sites than obliqua. In the Coastal Plain, we have records from Pond Pine Woodlands and other peatland habitats where Pond Pine is present; blackwater floodplain forests and Non-riverine Swamp Forests; and Wet Longleaf Pine Savannas and Flatwoods (but none from more xeric sandhill habitats). Riparian or shoreline forests are also used in the Piedmont and Mountains and there is at least one record from an upland site at Slick Rock in the Mountains.
Larval Host Plants: Stenophagous, apparently feeding on just a few species of pine. Wagner et al. (2011) specifically mention Pitch Pine (Pinus rigida), Pond Pine (Pinus serotina), and state that perhaps other species of hard pine are also used. While we have records for several peatland habitats where Pond Pine is the sole species of pine, at many other sites Loblolly is the most likely host plant. Unlike obliqua, none of our records come from sites where Longleaf is the sole pine present; even where we have recorded it in Longleaf Pine Savannas and Flatwoods, there are almost always Pond Pines present in closely adjoining peatlands.
Observation Methods: Appears to come moderately well to blacklights, although in lower numbers than obliqua. Also comes well to bait.
Wikipedia
See also Habitat Account for General Pine Forests and Woodlands
Status in North Carolina
Natural Heritage Program Status:
Natural Heritage Program Ranks: G5 S4S5
State Protection: Has no legal protection, although permits are required to collect it on state parks and other public lands
Comments: Given that squamularis occurs across much of the state in a wide variety of pine-containing habitats, this species appears to be secure.

 Photo Gallery for Zale squamularis - Gray-banded Zale

Photos: 11

Recorded by: Dean Furbish on 2021-04-25
Wake Co.
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Recorded by: Stephen Hall on 2020-07-15
Orange Co.
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Recorded by: Gary Maness on 2020-03-13
Guilford Co.
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Recorded by: Gary Maness on 2020-03-13
Guilford Co.
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Recorded by: Gary Maness on 2020-03-13
Guilford Co.
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Recorded by: Gary Maness on 2019-04-28
Guilford Co.
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Recorded by: Gary Maness on 2019-04-28
Guilford Co.
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Recorded by: Darryl Willis on 2017-03-27
Cabarrus Co.
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Recorded by: T. Nergart on 2014-06-30
Transylvania Co.
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Recorded by: K. Bischof on 2013-04-18
Transylvania Co.
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Recorded by: Steve Hall on 1999-06-22
Carteret Co.
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