Moths of North Carolina
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10 NC Records

Abrostola ovalis Guenée, 1852 - Oval Abrostola Moth

Superfamily: Noctuoidea Family: NoctuidaeSubfamily: PlusiinaeTribe: AbrostoliniP3 Number: 931161.00 MONA Number: 8880.00
Comments: One of four species in this genus that occur in North American north of Mexico (Lafontaine and Poole, 1991), two of which have been recorded in North Carolina.
Field Guide Descriptions: Beadle and Leckie (2012)Online Photographs: MPG, BugGuide, GBIF, BOLDTechnical Description, Adults: Forbes (1954); Lafontaine and Poole (1991)Technical Description, Immature Stages: Forbes (1954); Lafontaine and Poole (1991); Wagner et al. (2011)                                                                                 
Adult Markings: A medium-small Looper with a distinctive buff-colored, strongly ovate patch at the base of the otherwise dark forewings; hindwings are grayish brown, lighter at the base, and bordered by a pale fringe. Members of this genus have the antemedian, postmedian, and other maculations composed of raised black scales; no silver stigma is present as is usually found in members of this subfamily (Forbes, 1954; Lafontaine and Poole, 1991). The antemedian is strongly arched, projecting out approximately 1/3 of the winglength and fusing with the inner side of the orbicular spot (Forbes, 1954).
Wingspan: 30 mm (Forbes, 1954)
Forewing Length: 13-16 mm (Lafontaine and Poole, 1991)
Adult Structural Features: Male and female reproductive structures area illustrated by Lafontaine and Poole (1991) and appear to be distinctive
Adult ID Requirements: Identifiable from good quality photos of unworn specimens.
Immatures and Development: Larvae are green with oblique, pale subdorsal lines. Abrostola ovalis can be distinguished from A. urentis by its possession of bright white or yellow subdorsal spots on the first two abdominal segments (see Wagner et al., 2011, for illustrations and more detailed descriptions).
Larvae ID Requirements: Identifiable from good quality photos, especially where associated with known host plants.
Distribution in North Carolina
Distribution: Probably restricted to the 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: We have records from late May to late August; we do not have enough information, however, to determine whether there are distinct broods
Habitats and Life History
Habitats: Our records come from stands of mesic hardwoods, including riparian forests, cove forests, and northern hardwoods
Larval Host Plants: Stenophagous, feeding on both Stinging Nettles (Urtica spp.) and Wood Nettle (Laportea canadensis) (Wagner et al., 2011). In North Carolina, both Urtica gracilis and U. chamaedryoides are rare. Laportea, on the other hand, is common in both the Mountains and Piedmont and extends into the Coastal Plain within the floodplains of brownwater rivers. BugGuide also has records for hog peanut (Amphicarpaea bracteata).
Observation Methods: All of our records were obtained through use of blacklights.
See also Habitat Account for Rich Montane Hardwood Forests
Status in North Carolina
Natural Heritage Program Status: W3
Natural Heritage Program Ranks: G4 S2S3
State Protection: Has no legal protection, although permits are required to collect it on state parks and other public lands.
Comments: We have very few records so far for this species. If is actually associated primarily with Urtica rather than Laportea, that could account for its rarity -- both of our native species of Urtica are listed as S1 by the Natural Heritage Program, with few documented populations even in the Mountains. If it does well on Laportea, on the other hand, it should be widespread in the Mountains and potentially present even in the Piedmont. In that case, it may be that it is simply comes poorly to blacklights. Larval searches in large concentrations of Laportea (requiring either a very thick skin or very heavy clothing) may be needed to answer that question.

 Photo Gallery for Abrostola ovalis - Oval Abrostola Moth

Photos: 1

Recorded by: tom ward on 2021-07-14
Buncombe Co.