Moths of North Carolina
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44 NC Records

Argyrostrotis quadrifilaris (Hübner, [1831]) - Four-Lined Chocolate Moth

Superfamily: Noctuoidea Family: ErebidaeSubfamily: ErebinaeTribe: PoaphiliniP3 Number: 930954.00 MONA Number: 8762.00
Comments: One of six species in this genus, all of which occur in central and eastern North America, including North Carolina (Sullivan and Lafontaine, 2011).
Field Guide Descriptions: Covell (1984); Beadle and Leckie (2012)Online Photographs: MPG, BugGuide, iNaturalist, Google, BAMONA, GBIFTechnical Description, Adults: Forbes (1954); Sullivan and Lafontaine (2011)Technical Description, Immature Stages: Wagner et al. (2011)                                                                                 
Adult Markings: A medium-sized, dark brown Erebid with the forewings crossed by straight, pale antemedian and postmedian lines; the fringe may also be pale but there are no other markings. In typical specimens, these lines are contrastingly white, but in Florida specimens (= Poaphila obsoleta), they may be yellowish-brown and only slightly paler than the ground color (see illustrations in Sullivan and Lafontaine, 2011). Sexes are similar. Argyorostrotis anilis has a similar color and pattern, but has an incomplete postmedian line, reaching only part way across the wing.
Adult Structural Features: Genitalia are illustrated but not described in Sullivan and Lafontaine (2011). All species in this genus appear to be quite distinct genitalically.
Adult ID Requirements: Identifiable from good quality photos of unworn specimens.
Immatures and Development: Larvae are pin-striped with dark and light gray above, with a prominent pale sub-spiracular stripe (Wagner et al., 2011). Due to the similarity between Argyrostrotis larvae, Wagner et al. recommend that they be reared to adulthood in order to confirm their identities.
Larvae ID Requirements: Identifiable only through rearing to adulthood.
Distribution in North Carolina
Distribution: All of our current records come from the southern Outer Coastal Plain and Fall-line Sandhills, although there is one historic record (reported by Brimley, 1938) from Cherokee County.
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: Flies primarily from late March through May, with at least some stragglers appearing later in the summer.
Habitats and Life History
Habitats: All records in North Carolina, except for Brimley's record from the Mountains, come from Longleaf Pine habitats. Most are from wet-mesic savanna and flatwoods habitats, which either support populations of their host plants or where the host plants occur in ecotones adjoining pocosins and other peatlands. Records are lacking, however, from pure peatland habitats or from blackwater swamp forests, both of which support populations of Lyonia species and Eubotrys (=Leucothoe). Lyonia ligustrina also occur in montane habitats, but we only have one historic record from the Mountains, which needs to be confirmed.
Larval Host Plants: Apparently not recorded in the wild, but in captivity, larvae feed on Maleberry (Lyonia ligustrina) and to a lesser extent on Staggerbush (Lyonia mariana) and Swamp Doghobble (Eubotrys racemosa) (Wagner et al., 2011). Earlier reports that it feeds on cotton appear to be in error.
Observation Methods: Appears to come fairly well to blacklights but like other members of this genus can be seen flying during the day. We have no records from bait although other members of this genus come at least occasionally to it.
See also Habitat Account for Sandy Fire-maintained Shrublands
Status in North Carolina
Natural Heritage Program Status: SR
Natural Heritage Program Ranks: G4 S3
State Protection: Listed as Significantly Rare by the Natural Heritage Program. That designation, however, does not confer any legal protection, although permits are required to collect it on state parks and other public lands.
Comments: This species appears to be a fairly uncommon specialist of Longleaf Pine flatwoods and savannas or peatland ecotones. Like Datana ranaeceps, it may be a fire-follower, making use of the fresh foliage of Lyonias and other heaths that sprout following a fire. Even if not, it is probably dependent on a metapopulation strategy to cope with its frequently burned habitats and is probably at risk due to the extreme reduction and fragmentation of its habitats that have taken place over the past several centuries.

 Photo Gallery for Argyrostrotis quadrifilaris - Four-Lined Chocolate Moth

Photos: 2

Recorded by: ASH on 2013-05-03
Moore Co.
Recorded by: ASH on 2012-04-10
Cumberland Co.