Moths of North Carolina
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20 NC Records

Acronicta rubricoma Guenée, 1852 - Ruddy Dagger

Superfamily: Noctuoidea Family: NoctuidaeSubfamily: AcronictinaeP3 Number: 931420.00 MONA Number: 9199.00
Comments: One of 74 species in this genus found in North America north of Mexico (Schmidt and Anweiler, 2020), 42 of which have been recorded in North Carolina. Rubricoma belongs to Forbes's Group I, which in North Carolina also includes americana, hastulifera, dactylina, and lepusculina.
Field Guide Descriptions: Covell (1984); Beadle and Leckie (2012)Online Photographs: MPG, BugGuide, iNaturalist, Google, BAMONA, GBIFTechnical Description, Adults: Forbes (1954); Schmidt and Anweiler (2020)                                                                                 
Adult Markings: A medium-large Dagger with pale gray to darker brownish-gray forewings. The antemedian and postmedian are double, with a white filling. The antemedian is strongly looped, with particularly long loops located on the lower half of the wing. The orbicular is usually ocellate -- pale with a darker gray center. The reniform is large, horseshoe-shaped and marked with a dark shade. The veins in the subterminal area characteristically have heavy dark lines, typically originating from black dots on the subterminal (Forbes, 1954). Hindwings are gray with darker veins and a dark postmedian band. Acronicta americana, hastulifera, and dactylina are similar in pattern bur are larger and have a generally smoother appearance. Acronicta impleta is similar in size and color and also has an ocellate orbicular and darkened reniform. However, it has narrower wings and either lacks or has more obscure subterminal dashes. Impleta also has more uniformly colored hindwings, lacking the postmedian band found in rubricoma.
Wingspan: 40 mm (Forbes, 1954)
Adult ID Requirements: Identifiable from good quality photos of unworn specimens.
Larvae ID Requirements: Identifiable from good quality photos, especially where associated with known host plants.
Distribution in North Carolina
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
Habitats and Life History
Habitats: Piedmont records come primarily from rich bottomland forests. Mountain records, however, come mainly from upland forests
Larval Host Plants: Larvae feed on Celtis species (Sugarberry and Hackberries) and also on Elm (Wagner et al., 2011)
See also Habitat Account for Rich Wet-Dry Hardwood Forests
Status in North Carolina
Natural Heritage Program Status:
Natural Heritage Program Ranks: G4 S3S4
State Protection: Has no legal protection, although permits are required to collect it on state parks and other public lands.

 Photo Gallery for Acronicta rubricoma - Ruddy Dagger

Photos: 11

Recorded by: David George, L. M. Carlson on 2022-07-23
Orange Co.
Recorded by: Simpson Eason on 2022-05-04
Durham Co.
Recorded by: Gary Maness on 2021-05-22
Guilford Co.
Recorded by: Gary Maness on 2021-05-18
Guilford Co.
Recorded by: Gary Maness on 2021-05-02
Guilford Co.
Recorded by: Gary Maness on 2020-07-29
Guilford Co.
Recorded by: Gary Maness on 2019-05-19
Guilford Co.
Recorded by: Julie Tuttle on 2017-06-24
Orange Co.
Comment: On Sugarberry growing in a rich bottomland
Recorded by: Doug Blatny/Jackie Nelson on 2012-07-06
Ashe Co.
Recorded by: Darryl Willis on 2011-06-13
Cabarrus Co.
Recorded by: SPH on 2006-08-25
Orange Co.
Comment: from a stand of rich bottomland forest