Moths of North Carolina
Scientific Name:
Common Name:
Family (Alpha):
« »
View PDFNoctuidae Members:
Acronicta Members:
16 NC Records

Acronicta tristis Smith, 1911 - No Common Name

Superfamily: Noctuoidea Family: NoctuidaeSubfamily: AcronictinaeP3 Number: 931469.00 MONA Number: 9247.00
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. This species is placed in subgenus Lepitoreuma by Schmidt and Anweiler (2020), and in the Increta Species Group. Other members of this group in North Carolina include Acronicta albarufa, A. ovata, A. modica (=haesitata), A. immodica (=modica), A. increta, and A. exilis.
Field Guide Descriptions: Online Photographs: MPG, BugGuide, iNaturalist, Google, BAMONA, GBIF, BOLDTechnical Description, Adults: Forbes (1954); Schmidt and Anweiler (2020)                                                                                 
Adult Markings: A medium-sized, dark gray Dagger. The ground color is ash-gray to coal black, without any tinge of green or yellow (Forbes, 1954). The basal area is darker than the rest of the wing and the pattern of lines and spots is similar to other members of the Modica group, particularly the Acronicta increta complex. Dark phase specimens of A. increta are especially difficult to distinguish from A. tristis, but usually have some tinge of green or are else a paler gray (Forbes, 1954; Rings et al., 1992).
Wingspan: 35 mm (Forbes, 1954)
Adult Structural Features: Apart from size -- which distinguishes A. exilis from the others -- members of the Increta Species Group show essentially no structural differences, including reproductive structures (Schmidt and Anweiler, 2020)
Adult ID Requirements: Identifiable from good quality photos of unworn specimens.
Distribution in North Carolina
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
Habitats and Life History
Habitats: Acronicta tristis appears to be less tolerant of xeric habitats than other members of the Increta Species Group (Schmidt and Anweiler, 2020). Except for two low-elevation Piedmont sites, our records come from cool, mesic hardwood forests in the Mountains and from higher monadnocks in the western Piedmont.
Larval Host Plants: Larvae have been recorded on oak and beech (Wagner et al., 2011). We do not have any feeding records in North Carolina. - View
See also Habitat Account for General Mesic Hardwood Forests
Status in North Carolina
Natural Heritage Program Status:
Natural Heritage Program Ranks: GNR 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 tristis - No common name

Photos: 3

Recorded by: Darryl Willis on 2023-07-30
Cabarrus Co.
Recorded by: David George, Stephen Dunn, Jeff Niznik, Rich Teper, Becky Watkins on 2023-07-30
Swain Co.
Recorded by: Darryl Willis on 2019-04-17
Cabarrus Co.