Moths of North Carolina
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6 NC Records

Loscopia roblei Quinter & Lafontaine, 2009 - No Common Name


No image for this species.
Taxonomy
Superfamily: Noctuoidea Family: NoctuidaeSubfamily: NoctuinaeTribe: ApameiniP3 Number: 932359.00 MONA Number: 9454.10
Comments: This is one of two species in this genus that occur in North America (Mikkola et al., 2009), both of which have been recorded in North Carolina. A third species occurs in Eurasia.
Identification
Field Guide Descriptions: Online Photographs: MPG, BugGuide, iNaturalist, Google, BAMONA, GBIFTechnical Description, Adults: Quinter and Lafontaine (2009)Technical Description, Immature Stages: Quinter and Lafontaine (2009)                                                                                 
Adult Markings: This is a medium-sized noctuid that has two different color forms. The more recognizable form has a pale yellowish-tan ground color on the forewing with a strongly contrasting black basal dash, a black spot in the lower reniform, and black streaks in the subterminal area. The basal dash is also somewhat forked at its distal end. The second form has a reddish-brown ground color with the same markings as in the pale form, but that are less contrasting and more muted (Quinter and Lafontaine, 2009). The hindwing is mottled with dark fuscous. It is uniformly colored in some individuals, but paler toward the wing base and pale near outer margin toward the anal angle in others. The discal spot is elongated and slightly darker than the ground color. The terminal line is dark fuscous and the fringe buff.
Forewing Length: forewing length = 15–16 mm (Quinter and Lafontaine, 2009).
Adult Structural Features: Both male and female genitalia are distinctive (Quinter and Lafontaine, 2009). In the male genitalia, the large, ventrally produced cucullus, the long, tapered digitus, and the shape of the sacculi are diagnostic. The female genitalia are characterized by the long, parallel-sided ductus bursae that bends abruptly through 90 degrees at the anterior end, and the posteriorly sclerotized corpus bursae.
Adult ID Requirements: Identifiable from good quality photos of unworn specimens.
Immatures and Development: As of 2021, the larvae have not been discovered in the wild and descriptions are based on those obtained ex ovo and reared on an artificial diet (Quinter and Lafontaine, 2009). Larvae are probably cutworms, residing on or below ground when not up feeding on their host plants. The body color, correspondingly, is dull purplish rather than green or brown to match its host plant. Stripes and other patterning are also reduced, although the prothoracic and anal shields, along with the prominent pinnacula, are orange. The head is darker orange and lacks darker pigmented areas. Based on the life histories of related species, partially grown larvae are probably the overwintering stage.
Larvae ID Requirements: Identifiable from good quality photos, especially where associated with known host plants.
Distribution in North Carolina
Distribution: Loscopia roblei has a narrow range that extends from the Great Dismal Swamp in southeastern Virginia southward through much of eastern North Carolina, and appears to be restricted to the Coastal Plain. Most of our records are from the Outer Coastal Plain, but populations also are present 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)

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Flight Comments: Local populations appear to be univoltine, with adults flying from late April to late May.
Habitats and Life History
Habitats: Loscopia roblei occupies a wide range of cane-containing habitats, including peatland canebrakes, riverine canebrakes, and streamhead canebrakes in the Fall-line Sandhills. In all these cases, we use the term "canebrake" to refer to extensive patches of cane forming near monocultures, but under closed or open canopy forests (in the Classification of the Natural Communities of North Carlina, Schafale and Weakley, 1990, and as revised in 2012, the term "canebrake" is restricted to pure stands of cane lacking a canopy of trees).
Larval Host Plants: The host plants have not been confirmed, but the species shows a strong association with canebrakes (Quinter and Lafontaine, 2009; Mikkola et al., 2009). This species may feed on grasses or other hosts associated with canebrakes, and much remains to be learned about its feeding biology. Based on larval morphology, Quinter and Lafontaine (2009) surmised that the larva feeds as either a subterranean cutworm, or perhaps a nocturnal-feeding climbing cutworm that burrows into the soil and hides during the day.
Observation Methods: The adults come at least to some extent to blacklights, but Quinter reports that many of the cane species can be most easily found by direct search of canebrakes at night, looking for individuals perched on the cane. The host of this species has not been discovered, so we recommend searching cane or other associated grasses at night for the foraging larvae.
Wikipedia
See also Habitat Account for Coastal Plain Cane Thickets
Status in North Carolina
Natural Heritage Program Status: SR
Natural Heritage Program Ranks: G3G4 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 is a rarely collected species with a highly restricted range (Quinter and Lafontaine, 2009). As a species that is nearly endemic to North Carolina, it merits a high degree of conservation attention in this state. Before an accurate assessment can be made of specific conservation needs, more needs to be learned about its host plant relationships and the reasons for its scarcity. Its preferred habitats, at least, do not appear to be particularly limited.