Moths of North Carolina
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View PDFNoctuidae Members: 61 NC Records

Callopistria floridensis (Guenée, 1852) - Florida Fern Moth



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Taxonomy
Superfamily: Noctuoidea Family: NoctuidaeSubfamily: EriopinaeP3 Number: 932190.00 MONA Number: 9630.00
Comments: This is a very large genus found worldwide. We have 5 species in the US and Canada of which 4 occur in North Carolina. The genus contains reddish species which feed on ferns and is likely polyphyletic, including our 4 species.
Species Status: No specimens from North Carolina have been barcoded. However specimens from Florida, Oklahoma and Texas have and there is significant heterogeneity in the samples. Additional specimens are needed to resolve whether or not there are multiple species under a single name. This species appears by barcoding to be most closely related to a number of Asian species.
Identification
Field Guide Descriptions: Beadle and Leckie (2012)Online Photographs: MPG, BugGuide, iNaturalist, Google, BAMONATechnical Description, Adults: Forbes (1954)Technical Description, Immature Stages: Forbes (1954)                                                                                 
Adult Markings: The pattern and color of the forewings are striking and unique among our moth species. The ground color is pinkish- to olive-brown. A dark brown basal dash is present and a triangular or trapezoidal wedge of dark brown located at the middle of the costa is the most conspicuous mark; a subterminal dark patch may also be present. A pale, pinkish or silvery band extends obliquely from the inner margin to the costa, bordering the median basal patch on its outer side. This line then bends around sinuously, merging with the postmedian. Other pale lines border the other dark spots and a pale adterminal line may also be present.
Wingspan: 28-35 mm (Forbes, 1954)
Adult Structural Features: The male genitalia of this species show characters in common with C. cordata and C. granitosa but they are all somewhat different from that of C. mollissima except for the plate on the tergite. The base of the valves is very complex and the prominent tufts or brushes seen in C. cordata and C. granitosa are much reduced in this species. The terminal tergites have peculiar sclerotized structures that will serve to identify this species.
Structural photos
Adult ID Requirements: Identifiable from good quality photos of unworn specimens.
Immatures and Development: The caterpillars are extremely variable in color (see Wagner et al (2011)) and hide quite well in potted ferns.
Distribution in North Carolina
Distribution: As a migrant this species has been taken almost exclusively in eastern North Carolina but it should occur throughout the state as well.
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: There appear to be multiple broods and the species likely breeds continuously throughout the growing season. Because there are records in the spring, it may overwinter at times but it seems to mostly migrate to our area.
Habitats and Life History
Habitats: North Carolina records come primarily from barrier island and Longleaf Pine habitats; in the Piedmont, records come mainly from wooded habitats located next to large man-made lakes. We have no idea, however, if any of these sites contain breeding habitat for this species, supporting residential populations.
Larval Host Plants: Larvae feed on commercially grown ferns and perhaps native species, although we are unaware of records for the latter.
Observation Methods: Attracted to lights but we have no records of it coming to bait or to flowers. If you have a Boston Fern (from a nursery or grocery store) hanging on your porch, look for telltale frass below the plant in the summer and early fall.
Wikipedia
Status in North Carolina
Natural Heritage Program Status:
Natural Heritage Program Ranks: [GNR SU]
State Protection: Has no legal protection, although permits are required to collect it on state parks and other public lands.
Comments: This species may be primarily a migratory stray in our area, although some may establish at least short term colonies associated with greenhouses. More work needs to be done to determine if there are any residential populations in the state, and what host plants and habitats are used at those sites.

 Photo Gallery for Callopistria floridensis - Florida Fern Moth

63 photos are available. Only the most recent 30 are shown.

Recorded by: Dean Furbish on 2021-10-24
Wake Co.
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Recorded by: Morgan Freese on 2021-10-23
New Hanover Co.
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Recorded by: Dean Furbish on 2021-10-21
Wake Co.
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Recorded by: Dean Furbish on 2021-10-12
Wake Co.
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Recorded by: Dean Furbish on 2021-10-11
Wake Co.
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Recorded by: Vin Stanton on 2021-10-09
Buncombe Co.
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Recorded by: Vin Stanton on 2021-10-09
Buncombe Co.
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Recorded by: Dean Furbish on 2021-10-05
Wake Co.
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Recorded by: Dean Furbish on 2021-10-03
Wake Co.
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Recorded by: Dean Furbish on 2021-10-02
Wake Co.
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Recorded by: Dean Furbish on 2021-09-28
Wake Co.
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Recorded by: David George on 2021-09-20
Durham Co.
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Recorded by: David George on 2021-09-20
Durham Co.
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Recorded by: Dean Furbish on 2021-09-04
Wake Co.
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Recorded by: Dean Furbish on 2021-09-04
Wake Co.
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Recorded by: Dean Furbish on 2021-08-29
Wake Co.
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Recorded by: Dean Furbish on 2021-08-27
Wake Co.
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Recorded by: Dean Furbish on 2021-08-14
Wake Co.
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Recorded by: Dean Furbish on 2021-08-13
Wake Co.
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Recorded by: Dean Furbish on 2021-08-07
Wake Co.
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Recorded by: Dean Furbish on 2021-08-05
Wake Co.
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Recorded by: Dean Furbish on 2021-08-02
Wake Co.
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Recorded by: Dean Furbish on 2021-08-01
Wake Co.
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Recorded by: Ken Kneidel on 2021-07-23
Mecklenburg Co.
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Recorded by: Dean Furbish on 2021-07-12
Wake Co.
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Recorded by: Dean Furbish on 2021-07-10
Wake Co.
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Recorded by: Dean Furbish on 2021-07-09
Wake Co.
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Recorded by: Dean Furbish on 2021-07-06
Wake Co.
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Recorded by: Dean Furbish on 2021-07-04
Wake Co.
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Recorded by: Dean Furbish on 2021-07-03
Wake Co.
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