Moths of North Carolina
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3 NC Records

Apamea inebriata Ferguson, 1977 - Drunk Apamea

Superfamily: Noctuoidea Family: NoctuidaeSubfamily: NoctuinaeTribe: ApameiniP3 Number: 932295.00 MONA Number: 9327.00
Comments: A Holacrtic genus of about 140 species, with 63 recorded in North America (Mikkola et al., 2009); 17 occur in North Carolina. Inebriata was placed in the Verbascoides Species Group by Mikkola et al., of which verbascoides, nigrior, vulgaris, cristata, cariosa, and quinteri have also been recorded in North Carolina.
Field Guide Descriptions: Not in either field guideOnline Photographs: MPG, BugGuide, iNaturalist, Google, BAMONA, GBIFTechnical Description, Adults: Ferguson (1977); Mikkola et al. (2009)                                                                                 
Adult Markings: A medium-sized, reddish-tan Noctuid, with dark brown streaks on the forewing and brownish-gray hindwings. Inebriata is very similar in color and pattern to A. verbascoides, which has been recorded in the Mountains of North Carolina. Inebriata is slightly smaller; lacks the white overlay on the veins at the fork between M3 and C1; and has a much weaker, more diffuse basal dash, if present at all (see Ferguson, 1977 and Mikkola et al., 2009, for other differences).
Adult Structural Features: Ferguson (1977) describes differences in both the male and female genitalia that distinguish inebriata from verbascoides (see Ferguson, 1977, and Mikkola et al., 2009, for illustrations and detailed descriptions).
Adult ID Requirements: Identifiable from good quality photos of unworn specimens.
Immatures and Development: Larvae are not yet described (Mikkola et al., 2009).
Distribution in North Carolina
Distribution: Our records come solely from the Fall-line Sandhills.
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: Probably univoltine, flying only in late spring and early summer.
Habitats and Life History
Habitats: Two of our records come from grass- and sedge-dominated wetlands and the third was from a site located within 60 meters of such habitat. All are from the Fall-line Sandhills, where graminoid-rich wetlands are created and maintained by a combination of beaver activity, ground-water seepage, and frequent fire (at one site located within a powerline, mowing has taken the place of the fires that once kept the site open). Similar habitats are occupied by this species in the Pine Barrens of New Jersey, but it also occurs in dry coastal grasslands at Block Island in Rhode Island (Schweitzer, in NatureServe 2015). Ferguson (1977) reported collecting his original specimens in a Canadian Zone woodland composed of northern hardwoods and Hemlocks; however, his site was also apparently located close to a lake, and sedgy wetlands could also have been located within the woods themselves. One of our sites in the Sandhills has a closed canopy of swamp forest hardwoods but has extensive patches of Carex still present in the ground layer.
Larval Host Plants: Host plants are unknown, but members of this genus typically feed on grasses and sedges (Mikkola et al., 2009).
Observation Methods: Comes at least to some extent to blacklight traps. Ferguson captured his five original specimens using bait.
See also Habitat Account for Wet, Sandy, Fire-maintained Herblands
Status in North Carolina
Natural Heritage Program Status: SR
Natural Heritage Program Ranks: G3G4 S1S2
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: Populations of this species are highly localized and disjunct across its range. The North Carolina populations are, in fact, the most disjunct of all, with no other populations having been found south of New Jersey. Ferguson (1977) speculated inebriata might represent a relict from a Pleistocene distribution where they survived in restricted refugia, presumably where they still occur today. We favor an alternative hypothesis, however, proposed by Hall (2003) to explain the distribution of the federally Endangered butterfly, Neonympha mitchellii: that they were originally associated with beaver-created sedge meadow habitats and became relictualized following the great demise of beavers in eastern North America due to the fur trade. While beavers have now been restored in many areas of their former range, some of the insect species we believe were originally associated with beaver-created wetlands are still among the most restricted species we know of, e.g., Lemmeria digitalis, an undescribed species of Macrochilo, and Neonympha mitchellii itself. As in other relictualized species, dispersal abilities may have been selected out of the populations or the species may have become highly specialized to habitat features of their local environments. More information is needed for Apamea inebriata before we can determine the causes of its rarity. However, the habitats used by this species in the Sandhills are among the most extensively sampled in the state (due to their connection to Neonympha mitchellii), at least using blacklight trapping.

 Photo Gallery for Apamea inebriata - Drunk Apamea

Photos: 2

Recorded by: SPH on 2009-06-17
Moore Co.
Comment: Wingspan = 3.4cm; forewing length = 1.6cm
Recorded by: SPH on 2001-06-19
Harnett Co.
Comment: Wingspan = 3.7cm; forewing length = 1.7cm