Moths of North Carolina
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7 NC Records

Acronicta sinescripta Ferguson, [1989] - No Common Name


Taxonomy
Superfamily: Noctuoidea Family: NoctuidaeSubfamily: AcronictinaeP3 Number: 931486.00 MONA Number: 9272.10
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. Sinescripta is a member of Species Group V of Forbes (1954), which in North Carolina also includes impleta, noctivaga, impressa, longa, oblinita, and lanceolaria.
Identification
Field Guide Descriptions: Not in either field guideOnline Photographs: MPG, BugGuide, iNaturalist, Google, BAMONA, GBIFTechnical Description, Adults: Ferguson (1988); Schweitzer et al. (2011); Schmidt and Anweiler (2020)                                                                                 
Adult Markings: A medium sized, pale gray Acronicta. Sinescripta is similar to both A. oblinita and A. lanceolaria in possessing narrow forewings with little or no transverse lines, and whitish hindwings. However, it has a less pointed apex on the forewing than both of those species, particularly lanceolaria (Ferguson, 1988). It also possess a long basal dash and a fine dark horizontal streak running through the end of the cell but broken where the reniform spot would be located (usually not visible in sinescripta). Other dark streaks may be located in the subterminal area, but it lacks the dotted postmedian and series of terminal dark spots found in oblinita (Ferguson, 1988).
Wingspan: 35-43 mm
Adult Structural Features: Genitalia are described and illustrated by Ferguson (1988). Both appear to be distinctive, but the female structures show at least some similarities to those of A. oblinita.
Adult ID Requirements: Identifiable from good quality photos of unworn specimens.
Immatures and Development: Larvae have not been found or described.
Distribution in North Carolina
Distribution: Appears to be restricted to the Outer Coastal Plain, from Carteret County southward.
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: We have records from May to September but there are too few to detect any pattern of flight periods.
Habitats and Life History
Habitats: Our records all come from Longleaf Pine Savannas. In Florida and Louisiana, records come from Pitcher Plant bogs, which are likely to have a similar composition of herbaceous plants to our coastal savannas, which also possess populations of Pitcher Plants.
Larval Host Plants: Unknown (Ferguson, 1988). Schweitzer et al., 2011, erroneously state that Ferguson had reported the host plant as possibly Froelichia arizonica, but that record, along with another unidentified succulent herb, both refer to plants fed upon by the larvae of Acronicta kendallorum, which was described in the same paper by Ferguson. The two other members of this group, Acronicta oblinita and A. lanceolaria, feed on a variety of herbs and shrubs, respectively, which does not help narrow down the likely hosts used by sinescripta.
Observation Methods: All of our records come from blacklight traps, but Schweitzer et al. (2011) suggest that it is very difficult to trap except possibly where mercury vapor is used. They were also unaware that any records have been obtained through use of bait. As in the case of Acronicta lanceolaria, it may turn out that larvae are much easier to find than the adults once the host plants are determined Schweitzer et al., 2011).
Wikipedia
See also Habitat Account for Wet, Sandy, Fire-maintained Herblands
Status in North Carolina
Natural Heritage Program Status: SR
Natural Heritage Program Ranks: G3G4 SH
State Protection: Listed as Significantly Rare by the Natural Heritage Program. That designation, however, does not confer any legal protection, although permits are required to collect it on state parks and other public lands.
Comments: Although Acronicta sinescripta may turn out to be difficult to observe, partially accounting for its apparent rarity, it nonetheless appears to be strongly dependent on high quality Longleaf Pine Savannas, a habitat type that has undergone severe reduction, degradation, and fragmentation since Colonial settlement and is now one of our rarest kinds of natural community. If associated with herbaceous species or heaths, it is likely to be highly dependent on natural fires to maintain its habitats, but is also likely to be directly vulnerable to fire as eggs, larvae, or pupae. Species-specific fire management plans need to be developed to help protect this species, including the protection of refugia habitats during any one prescribed burn and the use of three-year burn rotations that will allow sufficient time for recolonization to occur from those refugia before they, in turn, are burned.

 Photo Gallery for Acronicta sinescripta - No common name

Photos: 1

Recorded by: SPH & DFS on 1992-06-24
Brunswick Co.
Comment: Wingspan = 3.5cm; forewing length = 1.7cm