Moths of North Carolina
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View PDFErebidae Members: 83 NC Records

Zale horrida Hübner, 1819 - Horrid Zale


Taxonomy
Superfamily: Noctuoidea Family: ErebidaeSubfamily: ErebinaeTribe: OphiusiniP3 Number: 931053.00 MONA Number: 8717.00
Comments: One of 39 species in this genus that occur north of Mexico, 23 of which have been recorded in North Carolina
Identification
Field Guide Descriptions: Covell (1984); Beadle and Leckie (2012)Online Photographs: MPG, BugGuide, BAMONATechnical Description, Adults: Forbes (1923)Technical Description, Immature Stages: Wagner (2005); Wagner et al. (2011)                                                                                 
Adult Markings: Adults are unmistakable: dark umber to lustrous coal black over the basal and medial portions of the wings, with an undulating, contrasting yellow-brown border along the outer margin on both the fore- and hindwings. Other blackish Zales lack this contrasting edge. Scale tufts on the thorax and abdomen and raised scales on the outer border give horrida a highly sculpted, ornamented appearance; despite its somber coloration, it is one of our more gaudy species of moths.
Adult ID Requirements: Unmistakable and widely known.
Immatures and Development: Caterpillars are a nondescript grayish to reddish (see photos in Wagner et al., 2011) and are probably best distinguished by their host plants, horrida being the only specialist among the Zales on Viburnums (but some of the host plant generalists, e.g., Z. lunata, might also occasionally be found on Viburnums).
Larvae ID Requirements: Identifiable from good quality photos, especially where associated with known host plants.
Distribution in North Carolina
Distribution: Probably occurs statewide, although we do not have any records for the northern 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 be single-brooded in the Mountains but multiple-brooded in the Piedmont and Coastal Plain
Habitats and Life History
Habitats: The majority of our records come from wet, acidic habitats in the Coastal Plain, including pocosins and other peatlands, blackwater floodplains, and Sandhill streamheads. In all of these cases, Viburnum nudum is a common species and is the most likely host plant. Away from the Coastal Plain, horrida has been reported from both wetland and upland habitats. In some areas, such as the Mason Farm Biological Preserve, it may be associated with mafic habitats where V. rafinesquianum is particularly common. However, it also occurs in other upland areas where the substrates are much more likely to be more felsic, e.g., Satullah Mountain and Slick Rock in the Mountains.
Larval Host Plants: Stenophagous, only reported on Viburnums (Covell, 1984; Wagner, 2005; Wagner et al., 2011). Covell stated that Nannberry (V. lentago) is used, but that species does not apparently grow in North Carolina (Weakley, 2012); Viburnum nudum, a related species, appears to be far more likely to be a host plant, particularly in the eastern part of the state. Additionally, Wagner et al. reported that most of their collections come from V. dentatum and related species, several of which are widely distributed across the state.
Observation Methods: May come to lights, including blacklights, fairly sparingly; the largest number recorded in a single trap is three, with single specimens collected most commonly. Baiting is much more productive, as is true for most Zales.
Wikipedia
See also Habitat Account for General Viburnum Thickets
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: This species does not appear to be common, but that may be due to it's being poorly sampled by lights. Although it is specialized on Viburnums, the species it uses are apparently widely distributed and occur in a number of different habitat types. Except in the Coastal Plain, where it occurs in successional wetlands, most of records from the rest of the state come from stands of mature hardwoods with a well-developed shrub layer. It may therefore be vulnerable to the effects of clear-cutting and conversion of hardwoods to pine plantations and other heavily managed forests. Given its wide range in the state and use of a number of different habitats, however, horrida appears to be relatively secure.

 Photo Gallery for Zale horrida - Horrid Zale

34 photos are available. Only the most recent 30 are shown.

Recorded by: Jim Petranka on 2021-07-28
Madison Co.
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Recorded by: Jim Petranka on 2021-06-30
Madison Co.
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Recorded by: Jim Petranka on 2021-05-15
Madison Co.
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Recorded by: Jim Petranka on 2021-04-28
Madison Co.
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Recorded by: Vin Stanton on 2021-04-26
Buncombe Co.
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Recorded by: tom ward on 2021-04-26
Buncombe Co.
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Recorded by: Jim Petranka on 2021-04-18
Madison Co.
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Recorded by: Jim Petranka on 2021-04-12
Madison Co.
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Recorded by: Jim Petranka on 2021-04-08
Madison Co.
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Recorded by: Jim Petranka on 2021-04-05
Madison Co.
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Recorded by: Jim Petranka on 2021-03-26
Madison Co.
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Recorded by: Jim Petranka on 2021-02-28
Madison Co.
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Recorded by: David George on 2020-09-05
Durham Co.
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Recorded by: Jim Petranka and Becky Elkin on 2020-07-19
Madison Co.
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Recorded by: Jim Petranka and Becky Elkin on 2020-05-14
Madison Co.
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Recorded by: Jim Petranka and Becky Elkin on 2020-04-03
Madison Co.
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Recorded by: Jim Petranka and Becky Elkin on 2020-03-26
Madison Co.
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Recorded by: Gary Maness on 2020-03-25
Guilford Co.
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Recorded by: Jim Petranka and Becky Elkin on 2020-03-19
Madison Co.
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Recorded by: Jim Petranka and Becky Elkin on 2019-04-04
Madison Co.
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Recorded by: David L. Heavner on 2018-09-26
Buncombe Co.
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Recorded by: Sam Woolwine on 2018-08-29
Forsyth Co.
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Recorded by: J. A. Anderson on 2018-05-19
Surry Co.
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Recorded by: Jim Petranka and Becky Elkin on 2018-05-08
Madison Co.
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Recorded by: Paul Scharf on 2015-05-07
Warren Co.
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Recorded by: Lenny Lampel on 2015-04-16
Mecklenburg Co.
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Recorded by: Jim Petranka and Becky Elkin on 2014-04-25
Madison Co.
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Recorded by: Jim Petranka and Becky Elkin on 2013-07-15
Madison Co.
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Recorded by: Darryl Willis on 2012-06-18
Cabarrus Co.
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Recorded by: Paul Scharf on 2011-04-08
Warren Co.
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