Moths of North Carolina
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Common Name:
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Hyppa Members:
81 NC Records

Hyppa contrasta McDunnough, 1946 - No Common Name

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Superfamily: Noctuoidea Family: NoctuidaeSubfamily: NoctuinaeTribe: XyleniniP3 Number: 932665.00 MONA Number: 9579.00
Comments: Currently the genus contains 6 species (Troubridge and Lafontaine, 2004). The type is Eurasian but the remaining species are from North America, two of which occur in North Carolina. The pattern of maculation is strongly conserved.
Species Status: Specimens from North Carolina have been barcoded and are consistent with those from elsewhere in the species’ range; there is no evidence of heterogeneity. Our two species are clearly separated.
Field Guide Descriptions: Online Photographs: MPG, BugGuide, GBIF, BOLDTechnical Description, Adults: Forbes (1954)Technical Description, Immature Stages: Wagner et al. (2011) describe the larvae of H. xylinoides but state that characters that distinguish the two species have not yet been identified.                                                                                 
Adult Markings: The genus is fairly easy to recognize from the wing pattern, the two species are more difficult and shown in the accompanying figure. The brownish suffusion in H. contrasta and the overall darker appearance should separate it from H. xylinoides. Note that the orbicular and reniforms spots often touch in H. contrasta but are usually well separated in H. xylinoides. Both are collected together but H. contrasta is usually larger. Sexes are similar.
Adult Structural Features: The genitalia are somewhat variable and distinguishing the two species of Hyppa using their genitalia can be tricky. In males there is a sclerotized ridge at the base of the valve which is smooth in H. xylinoides but with small projections and more rounded in H. contrasta. In the female the posterior portion of the ostium is rounded in H. contrasta and truncated in H. xylinoides. Furthermore, the bursa is much more streaked and slightly granulated than in H. xylinoides. These differences are somewhat at variance with those given in Troubridge and Lafontaine (2004) and may reflect geographic differences.
Structural photos
Adult ID Requirements: Identifiable from good quality photos of unworn specimens.
Immatures and Development: Larvae are resumably similar to those of H. xylinodes but otherwise have not been described in detail or illustrated (see Wagner et al., 2011).
Larvae ID Requirements: Identifiable only through rearing to adulthood.
Distribution in North Carolina
Distribution: Restricted to the Mountains in North Carolina.
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: Appears to have two broods in North Carolina
Habitats and Life History
Habitats: Woodlands and forests in the mountains, usually at altitudes of 3000’ or higher, but with at least a few records from below 3,000'. Most of our records come from mesic stands, including Cove Forests, Northern Hardwoods, or Spruce-Fir Forests.
Larval Host Plants: Wagner et al (2011) state that Hyppa caterpillars feed on a wide variety of forbs and low woody plants but they were unable to rear any caterpillars to adults and thus the food preferences and larval color pattern of the two species are inseparable at present.
Observation Methods: Adults readily come to lights but information on their response to bait and flowers is lacking. Caterpillars should be sought at night.
See also Habitat Account for General Montane Mesic Forests
Status in North Carolina
Natural Heritage Program Status:
Natural Heritage Program Ranks: [G3G4] [S3S4]
State Protection: Has no legal protection, although permits are required to collect it on state parks and other public lands.
Comments: This species appears to be associated with mesic montane forests, often at high elevations. It is likely to be at risk due to climate change but more needs to be learned about its host plants and exact habitat requirements before its conservation status can be determined.

 Photo Gallery for Hyppa contrasta - No common name

Photos: 11

Recorded by: tom ward on 2022-05-30
Buncombe Co.
Recorded by: K. Bischof on 2019-08-26
Yancey Co.
Recorded by: Jim Petranka, Becky Elkin, Steve Hall and Bo Sullivan on 2019-07-30
Yancey Co.
Recorded by: K. Bischof on 2019-06-23
Yancey Co.
Recorded by: Owen and Pat McConnell on 2018-07-28
Graham Co.
Recorded by: K. Bischof on 2016-06-28
Yancey Co.
Recorded by: K. Bischof on 2016-06-28
Yancey Co.
Recorded by: K. Bischof on 2016-06-28
Yancey Co.
Recorded by: B. Bockhahn, P. Scharf, K. Kittelberger on 2015-06-18
Avery Co.
Recorded by: Paul Scharf, B Bockhahn, K Kittelberger on 2014-06-07
Avery Co.
Comment: 4100'
Recorded by: Darryl Willis on 2013-06-18
Cabarrus Co.
Comment: Collected at bait. []Editor's note: the closest known population is probably in Yancey County, but the freshness of this specimen indicates that it originated close to where it was found rather than representing a stray from 100 miles away. More specimens should be expected in this area if there is a resident population]