Moths of North Carolina
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Common Name:
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View PDFNoctuidae Members: 26 NC Records

Acronicta funeralis Grote & Robinson, 1866 - Funerary Dagger

Superfamily: Noctuoidea Family: NoctuidaeSubfamily: AcronictinaeP3 Number: 931438.00 MONA Number: 9221.00
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. Included in subgenus Jocheaera by Schmidt and Anweiler (2020),which has three other members, including A. perblanda in North Carolina.
Field Guide Descriptions: Covell (1984); Beadle and Leckie (2012); Leckie and Beadle (2018)Online Photographs: MPG, BugGuide, iNaturalist, Google, BAMONATechnical Description, Adults: Forbes (1954); Schmidt and Anweiler (2020)Technical Description, Immature Stages: Wagner et al. (2011); Schmidt and Anweiler (2020)                                                                                 
Adult Markings: A very distinctive species, typically with a white ground color on head, thorax, and the forewings and a contrasting black bar along the inner margin of the forewings and strong tornal dashes; some individuals have a darker gray ground color but are still recognizable by their pattern.
Forewing Length: 15.8 mm, males; 17.0 mm, females (Schmidt and Anweiler, 2020)
Adult Structural Features: Male reproductive structures are distinctive (see description and illustrations in Schmidt and Anweiler, 2020)
Adult ID Requirements: Identifiable from good quality photos of unworn specimens.
Immatures and Development: Larvae are highly distinctive. Early instars resemble bird droppings but late instars are black with a mid-dorsal row of yellow spots, each with a black, spatulate seta.
Larvae ID Requirements: Identifiable from good quality photos, especially where associated with known host plants.
Distribution in North Carolina
Distribution: Most records come from the Mountains but there are also a few from lower elevation, including the lower slopes of the Blue Ridge escarpment and from at least one monadnock in the western Piedmont
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: Univoltine, with adults observed from May to August
Habitats and Life History
Habitats: Schmidt and Anweiler (2020 describe the habitat of this species as open woodlands with a diverse shrub or small tree component. In North Carolina, records come mainly from mesic and riparian stands of hardwoods, including cove forests, northern hardwood forests, and floodplain forests.
Larval Host Plants: Larvae are highly polyphagous on hardwood trees and shrubs. Preferences include members of the the Birch, Rose, and Oak families (Wagner et al., 2011; Schmidt and Anweiler, 2020).
Observation Methods: Adults come well to black lights
See also Habitat Account for General Montane Mesic Forests
Status in North Carolina
Natural Heritage Program Status:
Natural Heritage Program Ranks: G5 S3S4
State Protection: Has no legal protection, although permits are required to collect it on state parks and other public lands.
Comments: Although restricted to montane forests, this species utilizes a wide range of host plants and forested habitats; consequently, it appears to be fairly secure within the state

 Photo Gallery for Acronicta funeralis - Funerary Dagger

Photos: 13

Recorded by: Jim Petranka and Bo Sullivan on 2021-08-02
Ashe Co.
Recorded by: Kyle Kittelberger, Brian Bockhahn on 2020-07-16
Polk Co.
Recorded by: Kyle Kittelberger, Brian Bockhahn on 2020-07-15
Polk Co.
Recorded by: Stephen Hall on 2019-06-30
Ashe Co.
Recorded by: David L. Heavner on 2018-08-11
Buncombe Co.
Recorded by: J. A. Anderson on 2017-05-17
Surry Co.
Recorded by: Steve Hall and Bo Sullivan on 2016-08-02
Ashe Co.
Recorded by: Steve Hall and Bo Sullivan on 2016-08-02
Ashe Co.
Recorded by: Steve Hall and Bo Sullivan on 2016-06-15
Ashe Co.
Recorded by: B. Bockhahn, K. Kittelberger, P. Scharf on 2015-06-18
Avery Co.
Recorded by: Kyle Kittelberger on 2013-08-27
Surry Co.
Recorded by: Darryl Willis on 2013-08-16
Cabarrus Co.
Comment: The site where this specimen was collected is located well away from the mountains and is based on a single individual. The existence of a resident population in the Piedmont needs more verification [eds.]
Recorded by: Doug Blatny / Jackie Nelson on 2013-08-15
Ashe Co.