Moths of North Carolina
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39 NC Records

Zale buchholzi McDunnough, 1943 - Buchholz's Zale

Superfamily: Noctuoidea Family: ErebidaeSubfamily: ErebinaeTribe: OphiusiniP3 Number: 931041.00 MONA Number: 8706.00
Comments: One of 39 species in this genus that occur north of Mexico, 23 of which have been recorded in North Carolina. An almost identical undescribed species has also been found in North Carolina; the two are distinguished primarily by genitalic features and different flight dates.
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 included in either field guide but good photos of adults are provided by Wagner et al., 2011)Online Photographs: MPG, BugGuide, GBIF, BOLDTechnical Description, Adults: McDunnough (1943); Forbes (1954)Technical Description, Immature Stages: Wagner et al. (2011)                                                                                 
Adult Markings: Buchholzi (and the undescribed species) is the most plainly marked species in the group, with a dull brown ground color covering the entire wing with none of the contrasting light and dark zones shown by the other species. The median line is typically obscure and both the antemedian and postmedian are also usually inconspicuous. The reniform is narrow and dark and has the usual yellowish patch located just beyond it, but neither are as contrasting as in the other members of this group. While a good photograph can be used to distiguish buchholzi from all of the named pine-feeding Zales, dissection is the only definitive way to tell it apart from the undescribed species, although flight dates usually offer a good clue.
Adult ID Requirements: Identifiable only by close inspection of structural features or by DNA analysis.
Immatures and Development: Larvae are distinctively marked with green, reddish-brown, and white stripes and when found on Pitch or Pond Pine can probably safely be identified as buchholzi; larvae of the new species have yet to be described (Wagner et al., 2011).
Larvae ID Requirements: Identifiable from good quality photos, especially where associated with known host plants.
Distribution in North Carolina
Distribution: With the exception of one record from Hanging Rock State Park in the western Piedmont, all of our records come from the Coastal Plain
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
Immature 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: True buchholzi has an early spring flight, with most adults out in March and April; adults found in May and June probably all represent the undescribed species (D. Schweitzer, pers. comm. to J.B. Sullivan, 1999).
Habitats and Life History
Habitats: Most of our records come from Longleaf Pine habitats. While Pond Pine (P. serotina) is also probably present at many of these sites -- associated with peatlands that usually closely adjoin Longleaf communities -- we do not have any records from Pond Pine Woodlands or other purely peatland habitats. In the Roanoke floodplain site, Loblolly is the most likely host plant. At Hanging Rock and the Mountains, a variety of pines are present, including Pitch Pine (P. rigida), believed to be the host farther north.
Larval Host Plants: Probably stenophagous, feeding on a narrow range of hard pines. Wagner et al. (2011) report it feeding on Pitch Pine and Pond Pine in New Jersey but associated with Longleaf and Loblolly southward. - View
Observation Methods: Appears to come moderately well to blacklights, with up to ten having been caught in a single trap. Probably comes well to bait, like other Zales.
See also Habitat Account for General Pine Forests and Woodlands
Status in North Carolina
Natural Heritage Program Status:
Natural Heritage Program Ranks: G5 [S4]
State Protection: Has no legal protection, although permits are required to collect it on state parks and other public lands
Comments: Although a uncommonly collected species in North Carolina, too little is known about the distribution and habitat affinities of buchholzi to estimate its conservation needs.

 Photo Gallery for Zale buchholzi - Buchholz's Zale

Photos: 7

Recorded by: David George, Stephen Dunn, Jeff Niznik on 2023-06-03
Orange Co.
Comment: on Loblolly
Recorded by: Steve Hall and Bo Sullivan on 2021-04-07
Moore Co.
Recorded by: Dean Furbish on 2021-04-07
Wake Co.
Recorded by: Dean Furbish on 2021-03-23
Wake Co.
Recorded by: Mark Shields on 2020-03-20
Onslow Co.
Recorded by: L. Amos on 2014-04-07
Vance Co.
Recorded by: T. DeSantis on 2014-04-03
Durham Co.