Moths of North Carolina
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Zale Members:
16 NC Records

Zale curema (Smith, 1908) - Black-eyed Zale

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Superfamily: Noctuoidea Family: ErebidaeSubfamily: ErebinaeTribe: OphiusiniP3 Number: 931044.00 MONA Number: 8709.00
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 (2005); Wagner et al. (2011)                                                                                 
Adult Markings: Curema is a small species, similar in size and pattern to metatoides, metata, and confusa but is a darker, smoky purplish brown. The reniform is typically prominent and dark brown to black and like other members of this group, it has a patch of contrasting yellow or orange following the reniform (McDunnough, 1943).
Adult Structural Features: Both male and female genitalia are described and illustrated by McDunnough (1943); male structures are also included in a key and illustrated by Forbes (1954). Specimens of females can be brushed to expose the genital plate, which has smaller "ear-like" flanges than those of metatoides extending from the sides. The suture that runs down the center of the plate is similarly straight and axially oriented and there is a small notch located at the cephalic margin of the plate (McDunnough, 1943).
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 are distinctively green with narrow white stripes (Wagner et al., 2011).
Larvae ID Requirements: Identifiable from good quality photos, especially where associated with known host plants.
Distribution in North Carolina
Distribution: Possibly will turn up in most areas of the state, but currently not enough is known about its host plants and habitats to be sure
County Map: Clicking on a county returns the records for the species in that county.
Flight Dates:
 High Mountains (HM) ‚Č• 4,000 ft.
 Low Mountains (LM) < 4,000 ft.
 Piedmont (Pd)
 Coastal Plain (CP)

Click on graph to enlarge
Flight Comments: Probably has just a single flight in late spring
Habitats and Life History
Habitats: Our records come from both floodplain and dry ridge habitats.
Larval Host Plants: Probably stenophagous, feeding only on hard pines like most of the pine-feeding group. Wagner et al. (2011) specifically mention Pitch Pine (p. rigida), which may be used in the Mountains. That species does not occur, however, in the Piedmont and Coastal Plain where we also have records for curema. In those areas, Pond Pine (P. serotina) or Loblolly (P. taeda) are possibilities. - View
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 Pine Forests and Woodlands
Status in North Carolina
Natural Heritage Program Status:
Natural Heritage Program Ranks: G5 S2S4
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 curema - Black-eyed Zale

Photos: 10

Recorded by: David George, Rich Teper on 2024-05-13
Chatham Co.
Recorded by: David George, Jeff Niznik on 2023-06-06
Durham Co.
Recorded by: Jim Petranka on 2019-04-17
Madison Co.
Recorded by: Darryl Willis on 2015-08-15
Cabarrus Co.
Recorded by: Stephen Hall on 2015-06-28
Orange Co.
Comment: Female; identity confirmed by dissection; wingspan = 3.5 cm
Recorded by: Stephen Hall on 2015-06-12
Orange Co.
Comment: Female; confirmed by dissection. Wingspan = 3.9 cm; forewing length = 2.0 cm
Recorded by: JB Sullivan on 2013-05-09
Rutherford Co.
Comment: Wingspan = 3.6 cm
Recorded by: JB Sullivan on 2013-05-08
Rutherford Co.
Comment: Wingspan = 3.5 cm
Recorded by: Darryl Willis on 2013-04-22
Cabarrus Co.
Recorded by: JB Sullivan on 2008-06-06
Craven Co.
Comment: Wingspan = 3.4 cm