Moths of North Carolina
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View PDFNoctuidae Members: 28 NC Records

Acronicta hamamelis Guenée, 1852 - Witch Hazel Dagger

Superfamily: Noctuoidea Family: NoctuidaeSubfamily: AcronictinaeP3 Number: 931461.00 MONA Number: 9248.00
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. Hamamelis is a member of Species Group II of Forbes (1954), which includes 17 additional species in North Carolina.
Field Guide Descriptions: Covell (1984; as Acronicta subochrea)Online Photographs: MPG, BugGuide, iNaturalist, Google, BAMONATechnical Description, Adults: Forbes (1954); 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) ≥ 4,000 ft.
 Low Mountains (LM) < 4,000 ft.
 Piedmont (Pd)
 Coastal Plain (CP)

Click on graph to enlarge
Habitats and Life History
Habitats: Schmidt and Anweiler (2020) describe this species as associated with rich, mesic hardwood forests. This description fits the majority of the sites where this species has been recorded in North Carolina, despite the fact that its host plant appears to use a much wider range of forest types (see Vascular Plants of North Carolina). Coastal Plain records come from brownwater river floodplains; Piedmont records from mesic slopes; and Mountain records from cove forests, particularly in the Amphibolite Mountain region.
Larval Host Plants: Larvae are monophagous on Witch-Hazel (Wagner et al., 2011)
See also Habitat Account for Rich Wet-Mesic 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 hamamelis - Witch Hazel Dagger

Photos: 5

Recorded by: tom ward on 2021-05-21
Buncombe Co.
Recorded by: tom ward on 2021-05-21
Buncombe Co.
Recorded by: tom ward on 2021-05-16
Buncombe Co.
Recorded by: Steve Hall and Bo Sullivan on 2016-08-03
Ashe Co.
Recorded by: Paul Scharf on 2011-07-22
Warren Co.