Moths of North Carolina
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32 NC Records

Callopistria granitosa (Guenée, 1852) - Granitose Fern Moth

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Superfamily: Noctuoidea Family: NoctuidaeSubfamily: EriopinaeP3 Number: 932193.00 MONA Number: 9632.00
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: Several specimens have been barcoded from North Carolina and have identical barcodes with each other and specimens from Texas and Florida. No variation is seen but the species clusters with C. cordata indicating, as do the genitalia, indicating that these two species are most closely related.
Field Guide Descriptions: Covell (1984)Online Photographs: MPG, BugGuide, iNaturalist, Google, BAMONA, GBIF, BOLDTechnical Description, Adults: Forbes (1954)Technical Description, Immature Stages: Wagner et al. (2011)                                                                                 
Adult Markings: The forewing pattern of this species is thin silver crosslines on a brick red background. There is a silver horseshoe mark in the reniform but much smaller than in C. mollissima. The forewing is gently rounded at the apex as in C. cordata, without an excavation as seen in C. floridensis and C. mollissima.
Adult Structural Features: This species and C. cordata have remarkably similar male and female genitalia and tergites however the barcodes are distinct and the maculation very distinct. The small differences we see may not hold up in longer series.
Structural photos
Adult ID Requirements: Identifiable from good quality photos of unworn specimens.
Immatures and Development: Apparently not well-known, but Wagner et al. (2011) described one larva as "light green with conspicuous longitudinal striping and black spots over the head."
Distribution in North Carolina
Distribution: We have records from the Coastal Plain to the low mountains which is consistent with the distribution of bracken fern.
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 two broods in the Coastal Plain and probably Piedmont but the data from the mountains is insufficient to know how many broods are there but one would guess it is single brooded.
Habitats and Life History
Habitats: The majority of our records come from Longleaf Pine savannas and flatwoods, habitats where Bracken is common, but strangely fewer records from sandhills habitats where Bracken is more frequent. We additionally have a few records from peatlands, at least where penetrated by roads; in the Mountains, we also have a single record from a fairly mesic habitat, although with some open fields also present.
Larval Host Plants: A single larva was found on bracken fern. Whether this species is an obligate feeder on it remains to be seen; at least a few of our records come from areas -- e.g., peatlands -- where Bracken is scarce or absent but where more mesophytic species of ferns are common. - View
Observation Methods: Attracted to lights but we have no records of it coming to bait or attracted to flowers.
Status in North Carolina
Natural Heritage Program Status:
Natural Heritage Program Ranks: G4 [SU]
State Protection: Has no legal protection, although permits are required to collect it on state parks and other public lands.
Comments: We have few records for this species and it appears to be more of a habitat specialist than either C. cordata or mollissima. More studies need to be done to determine its host plants, habitat associations, distribution, and abundance before any conclusions can be reached about its conservation status.

 Photo Gallery for Callopistria granitosa - Granitose Fern Moth

Photos: 2

Recorded by: Mark Basinger on 2022-04-15
Brunswick Co.
Recorded by: Mark Basinger on 2022-04-15
Brunswick Co.