Moths of North Carolina
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View PDFNoctuidae Members: 101 NC Records

Phosphila turbulenta Hübner, 1818 - Turbulent Phosphila Moth



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Taxonomy
Superfamily: Noctuoidea Family: NoctuidaeSubfamily: NoctuinaeTribe: PhosphiliniP3 Number: 932208.00 MONA Number: 9618.00
Comments: A New World genus of some 8 species of which 3 occur in the United States and 2 in North Carolina. Together with Acherodoa ferraria they are the only members of the tribe Phosphilini in our state. Placement of the tribe is uncertain (Wagner et al, 2011).
Species Status: Specimens from North Carolina that have been examined are identical to those from other southeastern locations. So far there is no genetic variation at this locus in this species, an unusual situation but the sample size is small.
Identification
Field Guide Descriptions: Covell (1984); Beadle and Leckie (2012)Online Photographs: MPG, BugGuide, iNaturalist, Google, BAMONATechnical Description, Adults: Forbes (1954)Technical Description, Immature Stages: Forbes (1954); Wagner et al. (2011)                                                                                 
Adult Markings: A reddish or wood-brown Noctuid with a pale reniform and a thick, dark anal dash. The subterminal area and the area between the reniform and the postmedian are often somewhat paler than the basal areas of the wing. A small streak of white is located close to the base of the wing along the inner margin.
Wingspan: 23-30 mm (Forbes, 1954)
Adult Structural Features: The very plain valves are unusual for a Noctuine but in this species the vesica is unarmed, a large contrast to the heavily armoured vesica of P. miselioides. The female bursae is quite long and without signa.
Structural photos
Adult ID Requirements: Identifiable from good quality photos of unworn specimens.
Immatures and Development: In the early stages caterpillars are gregarious, boldly marked and often visible from quite a distance. The dorsal pattern is a series of black and white, closely spaced lines with one to two rows of white dots at each end; unmistakable.
Larvae ID Requirements: Identifiable from good quality photos, especially where associated with known host plants.
Distribution in North Carolina
Distribution: Found throughout the state.
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: Sightings are made usually during a window of several weeks in the spring and late summer. The species appears to have but two broods in the Coastal Plain and perhaps only one in the upper mountains.
Habitats and Life History
Habitats: In the Piedmont and Coastal Plain, our records come wet forested areas, including floodplain forests and pond and lakeshores. In the Mountains, we also have records from upland habitats, primarily mesic coves and stands of northern hardwoods.
Larval Host Plants: This species also feeds on Smilax and its specific preferences unknown. No doubt the species plays a role in controlling the always invasive green vines but this has not been studied.
Observation Methods: Adults respond to light but we know of no records of them at bait or flowers. They often occur at lights in groups, perhaps because the caterpillars are gregarious and thus their development synchronized. The gregarious caterpillars are memorable and very obvious when found.
Wikipedia
See also Habitat Account for General Greenbrier Tangles
Status in North Carolina
Natural Heritage Program Status:
Natural Heritage Program Ranks: G5 [S5]
State Protection: Has no legal protection, although permits are required to collect it on state parks and other public lands.
Comments: Widespread and occupies a wide range of fairly common habitats. Appears to be secure within the state.

 Photo Gallery for Phosphila turbulenta - Turbulent Phosphila Moth

Photos: 26

Recorded by: Jim Petranka and Becky Elkin on 2021-07-22
Graham Co.
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Recorded by: Owen McConnell on 2021-07-15
Graham Co.
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Recorded by: Jim Petranka on 2021-07-06
Madison Co.
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Recorded by: tom ward on 2021-07-05
Buncombe Co.
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Recorded by: tom ward on 2021-05-26
Buncombe Co.
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Recorded by: Vin Stanton on 2020-10-23
Buncombe Co.
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Recorded by: Vin Stanton on 2020-06-02
Buncombe Co.
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Recorded by: Jeff Beane on 2019-08-25
Henderson Co.
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Recorded by: Jim Petranka and Becky Elkin on 2019-06-30
Madison Co.
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Recorded by: Jim Petranka and Becky Elkin on 2019-06-30
Madison Co.
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Recorded by: Jim Petranka and Becky Elkin on 2019-06-24
Madison Co.
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Recorded by: Mark Shields on 2019-05-23
Onslow Co.
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Recorded by: Jim Petranka and Becky Elkin on 2018-07-03
Madison Co.
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Recorded by: Robert Gilson on 2016-05-12
Mecklenburg Co.
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Recorded by: Stephen Hall on 2016-04-12
Hoke Co.
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Recorded by: Darryl Willis on 2015-06-10
Cabarrus Co.
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Recorded by: Paul Scharf on 2015-06-03
Warren Co.
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Recorded by: Paul Scharf on 2014-06-01
Warren Co.
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Recorded by: NEW, N. Kuntz on 2013-10-09
Moore Co.
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Recorded by: Vin Stanton on 2013-07-13
Buncombe Co.
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Recorded by: Darryl Willis on 2012-09-18
Cabarrus Co.
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Recorded by: Paul Scharf on 2012-07-08
Warren Co.
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Recorded by: Paul Scharf on 2012-07-08
Warren Co.
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Recorded by: T. DeSantis on 2011-08-25
Camden Co.
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Recorded by: T. DeSantis on 2011-04-27
Camden Co.
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Recorded by: E. Corey on 2006-10-05
Wake Co.
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