Moths of North Carolina
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12 NC Records

Lithophane abita Brou & Lafontaine, 2009 - Cypress Pinion

Superfamily: Noctuoidea Family: NoctuidaeSubfamily: NoctuinaeTribe: XyleniniP3 Number: 932555.00 MONA Number: 9928.10
Comments: One of 51 species in this genus that occur in North America (Lafontaine and Schmidt, 2010, 2015), 25 of which have been recorded in North Carolina
Field Guide Descriptions: Leckie and Beadle (2018)Online Photographs: MPG, BugGuide, GBIF, BOLDTechnical Description, Adults: Brou and Lafontaine (2009)                                                                                 
Adult Markings: A medium-sized, gray Pinion with ochre shading around the reniform spot. The ground color of the forewing is a fairly uniform pale gray, somewhat darker in some specimens. In addition to the orange-brown shading around the reniform, a black dash in the fold connecting the antemedian and postmedian lines is distinctive (Brou and Lafontaine, 2009); a black crescent also occurs below the reniform. Hindwings are pinkish-fuscous. Lithophane adipel has a similar black dash but is usually more darkly colored and lacks the ochre shade at the reniform.
Forewing Length: 15.7–18.0 mm, males; 15.6–18.4 mm, females (Brou and Lafontaine, 2009)
Adult Structural Features: Reproductive structures of the male are distinctive and are described and illustrated by Brou and Lafontaine (2009).
Adult ID Requirements: Identifiable from good quality photos of unworn specimens.
Immatures and Development: Apparently not described but a photograph taken in 2014 by George Smiley is shown on BugGuide. Like the larvae of Cutina, it is green with a series of narrow pale lines. The head is unlined, however, unlike the Cutina, and he spiracles are ringed with black and white.
Larvae ID Requirements: Identifiable from good quality photos, especially where associated with known host plants.
Distribution in North Carolina
Distribution: Probably occurs throughout at least the Outer Coastal Plain
County Map: Clicking on a county returns the records for the species in that county.
Flight Dates:
 High Mountains (HM) ‚Č• 4,000 ft.
 Low Mountains (LM) < 4,000 ft.
 Piedmont (Pd)
 Coastal Plain (CP)

Click on graph to enlarge
Flight Comments: Like other members of his genus, this is a winter-flying species with record coming from late November to early April
Habitats and Life History
Habitats: Almost all of our records come from riverine cypress swamps. One record from Camden County, however, may come from a non-riverine swamp forest. None come from cypress savannas.
Larval Host Plants: Associated with Bald Cypress but larvae were not observed by Brou and Lafontaine (2009). A larva photographed by George Smiley (BugGuide), however, was found feeding on cypress. - View
Observation Methods: Comes at least to some extent to blacklights. Although all of our records come from light, this species is likely to come to bait, perhaps even more reliably, as in other members of this genus
See also Habitat Account for Cypress Swamps and Savannas
Status in North Carolina
Natural Heritage Program Status: W3
Natural Heritage Program Ranks: GNR [S3S4]
State Protection: Has no legal protection, although permits are required to collect it on state parks and other public lands.
Comments: This species is a habitat specialist and currently has only a few records from North Carolina. However, it is almost certainly undersampled due to its winter flight period. More need to be learned about its distribution, host plant choice, ad habitat associations before its conservation needs can be accurately assessed. In particular, more surveys need to be conducted in pond cypress savannas to determine whether this species makes use of them, as is suggested by at least one record from Florida (Brou and Lafontaine, 2009).

 Photo Gallery for Lithophane abita - Cypress Pinion

Photos: 1

Recorded by: T. DeSantis on 2011-03-19
Camden Co.