Moths of North Carolina
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Cutina Members:
91 NC Records

Cutina distincta (Grote, 1883) - Distinguished Cutina

Superfamily: Noctuoidea Family: ErebidaeSubfamily: ErebinaeTribe: PoaphiliniP3 Number: 930964.00 MONA Number: 8729.00
Comments: One of four species in this genus that occur in North America north of Mexico (Lafontaine and Schmidt, 2010). All are restricted to the southeastern United States and have been recorded in North Carolina (Pogue and Ferguson, 1998).
Field Guide Descriptions: Leckie and Beadle (2018)Online Photographs: MPG, BugGuide, GBIF, BOLDTechnical Description, Adults: Pogue and Ferguson (1998)Technical Description, Immature Stages: Wagner et al. (2011)                                                                                 
Adult Markings: A medium-small, contrastingly marked, Erebid. The basal area is strongly marked with black, as is the the metanotum; blackish patches are also located in the subterminal area below the costa and along the inner margin at the tornal angle (Pogue and Ferguson, 1998). The basal line, antemedian, and postmedian lines are also black; the antemedian is usually straight, running straight across the win, the postmedian more undulating and excurved. The median area is pale, either whitish or pale gray just beyond the antemedian line but shading to darker gray or tan towards the postmedian; orbicular and reniform spots are absent. The postmedian line is usually bounded externally with white, especially before the dark patches at the costa and tornus. Apart from the blackish patches, the subterminal area is shaded with brown. Hindwings are pale brown. The contrast between the basal and medial areas, along with the straightness of the antemedian line, usually are enough to distinguish this species from other members of this genus. However, some specimens may have a more irregular antemedian and a more mottled pattern overall (see Figure 16 of Pogue and Ferguson). In those cases, dissection may be needed to identify the species.
Forewing Length: 9.6-11.8 mm, males; 10-11.6 mm, females (Pogue and Ferguson, 1998)
Adult Structural Features: The outer margin of the forewing is angulate, as in other members of this genus. The reproductive structures of both sexes are distinctive and are described and illustrated by Pogue and Ferguson (1998). The uncus is narrow and of equal width over its length, distinguishing this species from albopunctella. Differences in the valves and their processes serve to separate distincta from arcuata and aluticolor. In females, the lobes of the eighth sternite and sclerotization of the sinus vaginalis can be used for identification (Pogue and Ferguson, 1998)
Adult ID Requirements: Identifiable from good quality photos of unworn specimens.
Immatures and Development: Larvae are green with pale stripes, helping them blend in with the foliage on which they feed. Prolegs on A4 are rudimentary and there is a slight hump on the dorsum of A8. See Wagner et al., 2011 for description and an illustration. Larvae of the four species of Cutina are very similar to one another and should be reared to maturity in order to accurately identify the species (Wagner et al., 2011). In one such rearing attempt by George Smiley (BugGuide, 2014), pupation was found to take place on a twig, with the larva weaving plant debris to form a camouflaged shelter. Pupating above ground is most likely an adaptation to living in swamps.
Larvae ID Requirements: Identifiable only through rearing to adulthood.
Distribution in North Carolina
Distribution: Probably occurs throughout the Coastal Plain, including the Fall-line Sandhills, as well a a few sites in the Piedmont where natural cypress swamps exist
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: We have records from early April to early September, with indications of up to three peaks in activity
Habitats and Life History
Habitats: Most of our records come from riverine swamp forests, but we also have a few from non-riverine and tidal swamp forests and at least one from a pond cypress savanna
Larval Host Plants: Larvae have been found on Bald Cypress but at least a few records come from sites where Pond Cypress is the most likely host plant - View
Observation Methods: Comes well to blacklights; we have no records from bait
See also Habitat Account for Cypress Swamps and Savannas
Status in North Carolina
Natural Heritage Program Status:
Natural Heritage Program Ranks: G4 [S4]
State Protection: Has no legal protection, although permits are required to collect it on state parks and other public lands.
Comments: This species is a strong host plant and habitat specialist, but on species and habitats that are still widespread in at least the outer third of the state. Several threats exist, however, including sea-level rise and salt-water intrusion along the Coast; draining and conversion of Carolina Bays and other cypress-savannas to agriculture and silviculture; and loss of deep swamp habitats due to timber harvest and creation of impoundments. Despite these threats, and past losses of habitat due to massive timber cutting in bottomland forests, this species currently appears to be relatively secure within the state.

 Photo Gallery for Cutina distincta - Distinguished Cutina

Photos: 8

Recorded by: Thomas Reed on 2024-05-30
Wake Co.
Recorded by: David George, Jeff Niznik on 2023-09-04
Orange Co.
Recorded by: R. Newman on 2023-08-24
Carteret Co.
Recorded by: Stephen Hall on 2023-08-18
Orange Co.
Recorded by: Stephen Hall on 2023-06-14
Orange Co.
Recorded by: Jeff Niznik on 2022-06-15
Chatham Co.
Recorded by: Ed Corey on 2015-06-09
Washington Co.
Recorded by: K. Bischof on 2010-08-22
Beaufort Co.