Moths of North Carolina
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View PDFNoctuidae Members: 1 NC Records

Properigea costa complex (Barnes & Benjamin, 1923) - Barrens Moth



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Taxonomy
Superfamily: Noctuoidea Family: NoctuidaeSubfamily: NoctuinaeTribe: XyleniniP3 Number: 932720.00 MONA Number: 9589.00
Comments: This North American genus contains some 10 described species, 2 of which reach North Carolina.
Species Status: Our two captures were barcoded and match other specimens from the Eastern United States but do not match the western specimens that are largely from Arizona. Phenotypically, they are very similar but the eastern species is probably undescribed.
Identification
Field Guide Descriptions: Online Photographs: MPG, BugGuide, iNaturalist, Google, BAMONATechnical Description, Adults: Barnes and Benjamin (1923; description of Properigea (=Namangana) costa based on Arizona specimens)                                                                                 
Adult Markings: The species looks like a small Sideridis species, the forewing is very dark with a broad, white anal streak. Nothing else in our fauna looks like this.
Wingspan: 29-31 mm (Barnes and Benjamin, 1923; description of Properigea (=Namangana) costa)
Adult Structural Features: The genitalia are somewhat similar to those found in Elaphria and Lacinipolia and while there are no obvious unique generic characters, the specific features of the male are unique. The pelt has brushes and pockets and the vesica a cornutus. No females have been examined.
Structural photos
Adult ID Requirements: Identifiable from good quality photos of unworn specimens.
Immatures and Development: Apparently undescribed
Larvae ID Requirements: Identifiable only through rearing to adulthood.
Distribution in North Carolina
Distribution: Our sole record comes from the Blue Ridge escarpment.
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: Appear to have two broods, late April-May and then again in August.
Habitats and Life History
Habitats: Our one record for this species was taken from on top of a rocky outcrop, which is consistent with the barrens habitat reported for this species complex. If, however, it feeds on Polypodium virginianum, then it may actually prefer moister rock outcrops located in less-well insolated sites.
Larval Host Plants: Unrecorded but western species in this genus feed on ferns (Lafontaine, pers. comm. to JBS, based on information from T. McCabe). Lafontaine also suspects that Polypodium vulgare may be used in Canada. Although we do not have that species, Sullivan noted the presence of Polypodium virginianum growing on rocks near where his specimens were collected.
Observation Methods: Known only from light trap studies. Response to bait (possible) and flowers (unlikely) unknown. A search for caterpillars at other times of the growing season should be productive.
Wikipedia
Status in North Carolina
Natural Heritage Program Status: [W3]
Natural Heritage Program Ranks: [GNR S1S3]
State Protection: Has no legal protection, although permits are required to collect it on state parks and other public lands.
Comments: We currently have only one record for this species, which appears to be a fairly uncommon to rare habitat specialist over most of its range. More surveys are needed to determine its distribution, abundance, host plants, and habitat associations in North Carolina.