Moths of North Carolina
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Acronicta Members:
136 NC Records

Acronicta brumosa Guenée, 1852 - Charred Dagger

Superfamily: Noctuoidea Family: NoctuidaeSubfamily: AcronictinaeP3 Number: 931472.00 MONA Number: 9255.00
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. Placed in subgenus Lepitoreuma by Schmidt and Anweiler (2020), which contains nine species in North Carolina, and further joined by Acronicta afflicta to form the Afflicta Species Group.
Field Guide Descriptions: Leckie and Beadle (2018)Online Photographs: MPG, BugGuide, iNaturalist, Google, BAMONA, GBIFTechnical Description, Adults: Forbes (1954); Schmidt and Anweiler (2020)Technical Description, Immature Stages: Forbes (1954); Wagner et al. (2011); Schmidt and Anweiler (2020)                                                                                 
Adult Markings: The ground color of the forewings is charcoal- to bluish-gray with no brownish or greenish shading (Forbes, 1954; Schmidt and Anweiler, 2020). A black basal dash is present and the antemedian line is also blackish although somewhat diffuse; an anal and subapical dash may also be present but are usually indistinct and imbedded in areas with darker shading. The orbicular spot is oval in shape and filled with gray. The hindwings are white with veins and subterminal area shaded with dark gray. Acronicta afflicta is similar but smaller and usually has a brownish shading and has a rounder orbicular spot that has a white filling. Acronicta impressa is also similar but has fuscous hindwings and a smaller, rounder orbicular spot with a sharper dark pupil (Schmidt and Anweiler).
Wingspan: 40 mm (Forbes, 1954)
Forewing Length: 18.8 mm, males; 20.0 mm, females (Schmidt and Anweiler, 2020)
Adult Structural Features: Reproductive structures are distinctive in both males and females and can be used to distinguish this species from afflicta.
Adult ID Requirements: Identifiable from good quality photos of unworn specimens.
Immatures and Development: Larvae are similar to those of afflicta but have two pairs of spatulate setae located dorsally on each segment, whereas on a single pair per segment is present in afflicta.
Larvae ID Requirements: Identifiable from good quality photos, especially where associated with known host plants.
Distribution in North Carolina
Distribution: Most of our records correspond to the distribution of Turkey Oak in North Carolina, but there are also at least a few records from the western part of the state where some other species of oak -- perhaps Blackjack Oak -- may be the host species.
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: Adults occur throughout the spring and summer, with perhaps two to three peaks in activity
Habitats and Life History
Habitats: Xeric oak woodlands, barrens, and savannas (Wagner et al., 2011). The vast majority of our records come from xeric sand ridges but we also have records from monadnocks and montane ridges in the western part of the state.
Larval Host Plants: Larvae have been observed feeding on Turkey Oak in North Carolina (M. Robinson, cited in Wagner et al., 2011) and possibly also on Blackjack Oak in New Jersey.
Observation Methods: Comes fairly well to blacklights but we do not have any records from bait
See also Habitat Account for Xeric-Mesic, Sandy Woodlands and Scrub
Status in North Carolina
Natural Heritage Program Status:
Natural Heritage Program Ranks: G4 S4
State Protection: Has no legal protection, although permits are required to collect it on state parks and other public lands.
Comments: This species is a habitat specialist but those habitats are still fairly widely distributed, particularly in the Fall-line Sandhills and Outer Coastal Plain. Consequently, we do not regard it as a high conservation concern in North Carolina.

 Photo Gallery for Acronicta brumosa - Charred Dagger

Photos: 2

Recorded by: Steve Hall, Bo Sullivan, and Todd Pusser on 2020-09-09
Scotland Co.
Recorded by: B. Hartness on 2006-09-14
Moore Co.