Moths of North Carolina
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View PDFNoctuidae Members:
Acherdoa Members:
54 NC Records

Acherdoa ferraria Walker, 1865 - Chocolate Moth

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Superfamily: Noctuoidea Family: NoctuidaeSubfamily: NoctuinaeTribe: PhosphiliniP3 Number: 932213.00 MONA Number: 9636.00
Comments: This monotypic genus is known only from the southeastern US.
Species Status: A specimen from North Carolina has been barcoded and is very similar to those from Florida and South Carolina; there is no evidence of heterogeneity.
Field Guide Descriptions: Covell (1984)Online Photographs: MPG, BugGuide, iNaturalist, Google, BAMONA, GBIF, BOLDTechnical Description, Adults: No technical works appear to be available, but the species is well-described in Covell's Field Guide.                                                                                 
Adult Markings: A medium sized, purplish- to chocolate-brown Noctuid; the zig-zagged antemedian is marked with white at the lower end, as is the lower portion of the postmedian and the outline of the reniform. Females are at least twice the size of males.
Wingspan: 2.1 - 2.7 cm (Covell, 1984)
Adult Structural Features: Males have broadly pectinate antennae, which are simple in the females. The genitalia of both males and females are distinct and show similarities to those of Phosphila species, thus confirming its placement in the Phospholinii. The male valve has virtually no ornamentation and the female bursae is extremely long and without signa.
Structural photos
Adult ID Requirements: Identifiable from good quality photos of unworn specimens.
Immatures and Development: Larvae appear to be undescribed
Distribution in North Carolina
Distribution: With the exception of one record from the Piedmont, our records are all from the Coastal Plain.
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
Immature 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: This species appears to have two broods (June and late August, early September) but sufficient data are lacking to confirm a pattern.
Habitats and Life History
Habitats: The largest number of our records come from streamhead swamp forests in the Sandhills, habitats where various species of Smilax are very common. In the Outer Coastal Plain, we have records from other wet habitats, including Coastal Fringe Evergreen Forests and Longleaf Pine savannas and flatwoods. Several records also common from maritime dunes on the barrier islands, where several species of Smilax occur in dry, open habitats.
Larval Host Plants: The only information about foodplants is the statement in Wagner et al (2011) that it feeds on Smilax (as do the Phosphila species). However, which species of Smilax are used is unknown. - View
Observation Methods: Adults seem to come readily to light but we have no records from bait or flowers. Carefully scanning greenbrier plants should produce larvae, a nice project for someone wishing to make a discovery.
See also Habitat Account for Coastal Plain Greenbrier Tangles
Status in North Carolina
Natural Heritage Program Status:
Natural Heritage Program Ranks: G5 [S4]
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 at least somewhat specialized in terms of food plants and habitats, but occurs in a fairly wide range of habitats over most of the Coastal Plain and appears to be secure within the state.

 Photo Gallery for Acherdoa ferraria - Chocolate Moth

Photos: 7

Recorded by: R. Newman on 2021-09-20
Carteret Co.
Recorded by: R. Newman on 2021-06-13
Carteret Co.
Recorded by: K. Bischof on 2018-06-05
Beaufort Co.
Recorded by: T. DeSantis on 2012-07-02
Camden Co.
Recorded by: E. Corey, T. DeSantis on 2012-04-18
Onslow Co.
Recorded by: Newman, Randy on 2004-09-01
Carteret Co.
Recorded by: Newman, Randy on 2004-08-10
Carteret Co.