Moths of North Carolina
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View PDFNoctuidae Members:
Lemmeria Members:
2 NC Records

Lemmeria digitalis (Grote, 1882) - Fingered Lemmeria Moth

Superfamily: Noctuoidea Family: NoctuidaeSubfamily: NoctuinaeTribe: ApameiniP3 Number: 932415.00 MONA Number: 9429.00
Comments: The sole member of this genus, which is confined to eastern North America
Field Guide Descriptions: Beadle and Leckie (2012)Online Photographs: MPG, BugGuide, iNaturalist, Google, BAMONA, GBIFTechnical Description, Adults: Forbes (1954)                                                                                 
Adult Markings: A small brown Noctuid with a distinctive trapezoidal median area on the forewings that is darker than the basal and terminal areas and bounded by nearly straight, contrastingly pale yellow antemedian and postmedian lines, which converge towards the inner margin. An elongated reniform, outlined in dark orange or yellow and often with a dark spot at the base, is located in the center of the median area; a series of vague, dark spots or dashes are present along the veins in the subterminal area. The hindwings are dark gray. Although not mentioned by Forbes (1954), our specimens show a sexual difference in coloration: males are a darker, maroon to reddish brown and females are tan to orange-brown.
Wingspan: 22 mm (Forbes, 1954)
Adult Structural Features: The antennae are ciliate in the males and smooth in the females. Both male and female genitalia are distinctive (see Forbes, 1954, for a description)
Structural photos
Adult ID Requirements: Identifiable from good quality photos of unworn specimens.
Immatures and Development: Apparently undescribed
Distribution in North Carolina
Distribution: Recorded in North Carolina at only a single site in 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: Has a single adult flight, with all North Carolina records coming from the end of October
Habitats and Life History
Habitats: The sole known North Carolina population is associated with a shallow, mucky impoundment dominated by sedges and wetland grasses. Mitchell's Sedge (Carex mitchelliana) is the most abundant herbaceous species at this site, but several other species of Carex are also common. Rings et al. (1992) report that it is also found in wet or boggy areas in Ohio.
Larval Host Plants: Apparently unknown (Rings et al., 1996) but possibly a borer in sedges (D.F. Schweitzer, pers. comm.)
Observation Methods: Appears to come well to blacklights. The proboscis is rudimentary (Forbes, 1954), so adults probably do not come to either bait or flowers.
See also Habitat Account for Coastal Plain Sedge, Grass, and Rush Mires
Status in North Carolina
Natural Heritage Program Status: SR
Natural Heritage Program Ranks: G4 S1S3
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 species is primarily a northern and mid-western species, although there are records as far south as Florida (e.g., Kimball, 1965). It appears to be uncommon to rare, or at least poorly known in several states within its range (NatureServe Explorer, 2016). This species co-occurs with the federally Endangered Saint Francis's Satyr (Neonympha mitchellii francisci), and like that species it may be a relict member of beaver-pond sedge meadows, a habitat type that was once widespread over much of the continent but greatly reduced by the near extirpation of beavers at the beginning of the 20th Century. The relatively late season flight period, however, may also account for at least a part of its apparent rarity and more surveys need to be conducted in marsh and sedge meadow habitats in late October and early November in order to clarify its status.

 Photo Gallery for Lemmeria digitalis - Fingered Lemmeria Moth

Photos: 2

Recorded by: SPH on 2002-10-27
Cumberland Co.
Recorded by: SPH on 2002-10-27
Cumberland Co.
Comment: Photo by J.B. Sullivan. Specimens submitted for barcoding. Male above, female below.