Moths of North Carolina
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Zale Members:
31 NC Records

Zale confusa McDunnough, 1940 - No Common Name

Superfamily: Noctuoidea Family: ErebidaeSubfamily: ErebinaeTribe: OphiusiniP3 Number: 931036.00 MONA Number: 8701.00
Comments: One of 39 species in this genus that occur north of Mexico, 23 of which have been recorded in North Carolina
Species Status: 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.
Field Guide Descriptions: (Not in either field guide)Online Photographs: MPG, BugGuide, GBIF, BOLDTechnical Description, Adults: McDunnough (1943); Forbes (1954); Rings et al. (1992)Technical Description, Immature Stages: Wagner et al. (2011)                                                                                 
Adult Markings: Confusa is a light brown member of this group, closely resembling both metatoides and particularly metata. According to McDunnough (1953), confusa is the most poorly maculate of these species, but our specimens are only slightly larger, paler, and less reddish than metata and otherwise so close that we recommend dissection to confirm their identities.
Structural photos
Adult ID Requirements: Identifiable from photos showing hindwings, abdomen, or other specialized views [e.g., frons, palps, antennae, undersides].
Immatures and Development: Larvae of confusa are also similar to those of the other pine-feeding Zales with identification generally requiring them to be reared to the adult stage (Wagner, et al., 2011).
Larvae ID Requirements: Identifiable only through rearing to adulthood.
Distribution in North Carolina
Distribution: Probably occurs over most of the state except the Lower Coastal Plain, where Shortleaf Pine is scarce.
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 has two broods
Habitats and Life History
Habitats: Except for a Craven County record, all of our records come from fairly dry upland habitats in the Piedmont and Mountains. Shortleaf Pine is uncommon in the Coastal Plain and the habitat where this species was recorded in Craven County is uncertain (P. echinata has not been recorded from Craven County -- UNC Herbarium Atlas, 2014)
Larval Host Plants: Essentially monophagous, feeding mainly on Shortleaf Pine (Pinus echinata) and perhaps occasionally other hard pines (Wagner et al., 2011).
Observation Methods: May come poorly to lights, which could explain the scarcity of records for what should be a fairly common species. Probably comes well to bait, like other members of this genus.
See also Habitat Account for General Dry-Xeric 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: Although seemingly an uncommon species in North Carolina, too little is known about the distribution and habitat affinities of metata to estimate its conservation needs

 Photo Gallery for Zale confusa - No common name

Photos: 13

Recorded by: Simpson Eason on 2022-08-19
Durham Co.
Recorded by: David George, Lior Carlson, Brian Bockhahn on 2022-08-09
Rockingham Co.
Recorded by: David L. Heavner on 2021-07-11
Chatham Co.
Recorded by: Dean Furbish on 2021-04-29
Wake Co.
Recorded by: Darryl Willis on 2020-07-18
Cabarrus Co.
Recorded by: Vin Stanton on 2020-07-14
Buncombe Co.
Recorded by: J.B. Sullivan on 2013-05-10
Mecklenburg Co.
Recorded by: Paul Scharf on 2011-05-02
Warren Co.
Comment: DNA Barcoded by JBS. Wingspan = 3.9 cm
Recorded by: Paul Scharf on 2010-07-19
Warren Co.
Comment: DNA barcoded by JBS. Wingspan = 4.5 cm
Recorded by: Paul Scharf on 2010-07-19
Warren Co.
Comment: Same specimen as the one shown spread; confirmed by barcoding
Recorded by: Steve Hall on 2008-07-19
Orange Co.
Comment: Photographed at porch light. Identified as confusa by its pale coloration and lack of well-defined markings. Both Shortleaf and Scrub Pine occur nearby.
Recorded by: Steve Hall, Scott Hartley, Chris Helms on 2000-06-24
Moore Co.
Comment: Female; confirmed by checking genital plate. Collected in fire suppressed stand of hardwoods dominated by Southern Red Oak. Wingspan = 4.0.
Recorded by: JB Sullivan on 1978-07-24
Craven Co.
Comment: Wingspan = 4.2 cm