Moths of North Carolina
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Melanapamea Members:
9 NC Records

Melanapamea mixta (Grote, 1881) - No Common Name


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Taxonomy
Superfamily: Noctuoidea Family: NoctuidaeSubfamily: NoctuinaeTribe: ApameiniP3 Number: 932362.00 MONA Number: 9361.00 MONA Synonym: Apamea mixta
Comments: Melanapamea mixta is the sole member of its genus, to which it was moved from Apamea by Mikkola et al. (2009) based on significant genitalic differences. The authors further suggest that Melanapamea may not, in fact, be closely related to Apamea but has at least some traits that link it to Oligia. Forbes (1954) had also concluded that mixta was not related to other members of Septis (= Apamea) but linked it more to Resapamea (=Luperina) passer than Oligia.
Identification
Field Guide Descriptions: Online Photographs: MPG, BugGuide, iNaturalist, Google, BAMONA, GBIFTechnical Description, Adults: Forbes (1954; as Septis mixta); Mikkola et al. (2009)                                                                                 
Adult Markings: A medium-sized Noctuid, with nearly all black forewings and fuscous-brown hindwings (Forbes, 1954). The ground color of the forewings is dull blackish-brown. The lines and outlines of the spots are a darker, more velvety black than the ground color, with the orbibular and claviform spots both large and thickly outined. The reniform contains a pale filling, the only constrasting mark on the forewings. Both Forbes (1954) and Mikkola et al. (2009) point out several differences from Apamea impulsa, which is otherwise very similar, but that species has not been recorded as far south as North Carolina. In our area, both Zale undularis and Pseudanthracia coracias have similar coloration but have broader wings and a different pattern of wavy lines.
Wingspan: 37 mm
Adult Structural Features: The structure of the male valves are distinctive, separating it from other members of the Apameini (Forbes, 1954; Mikkola et al., 2009).
Adult ID Requirements: Identifiable from good quality photos of unworn specimens.
Immatures and Development: Larvae are unknown, having been neither seen in the wild nor reared in captivity (Mikkola et al., 2009)
Distribution in North Carolina
Distribution: Found primarily in the Mountains, with possibly disjunct populations in the Coastal Plain. Except for a population at Hanging Rock, there are no records from the Piedmont.
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)

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Flight Comments: All but one of our records come from late May to late July, but our one record from a high elevation site in Macon County comes from mid September.
Habitats and Life History
Habitats: Most of our records come from the Mountains, where its habitats have not been recorded in detail but may include mesic hardwood forests and/or dry ridges and/or pastures. In the Coastal Plain, our records come from Wet Pine Savannas and possibly Sandhill Seeps. Schweitzer (NatureServe, 2016) thought that there might be some association with boggy habitats, but only our records from the Coastal Plain appear to match that description.
Larval Host Plants: Unknown. The mix of habitats used in North Carolina have no obvious common denominators.
Observation Methods: Comes to blacklights and building lights to some extent, but how well is unknown. We have no records from bait.
Wikipedia
Status in North Carolina
Natural Heritage Program Status: SR
Natural Heritage Program Ranks: GU S2S3
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: This rarely collected species appears to be very local in its distribution, with large disjunctions in is overall range -- an apparently isolated population occurs in a restricted area of the Pacific Northwest, with only one or two occurring in the Southwest and all the rest occurring primarily in the Northeast (Mikkola et al., 2009). In North Carolina, the population in the Coastal Plain also appears to be disjunct from those that occur in the Mountains. The reasons for is apparent sparsity, as well as its apparent disappearance from formerly occupied portions of its range (e.g., east Texas and the New Jersey Pine Barrens -- Mikkola et al., 2009; NatureServe Explorer, 2016), are unknown. However, more must be learned about its host plants and habitat associations before an accurate assessment can be made of its conservation needs.