Moths of North Carolina
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View PDFNoctuidae Members:
Pyreferra Members:
17 NC Records

Pyreferra ceromatica (Grote, 1874) - Annointed Sallow Moth


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Taxonomy
Superfamily: Noctuoidea Family: NoctuidaeSubfamily: NoctuinaeTribe: XyleniniP3 Number: 932585.00 MONA Number: 9931.00
Comments: One of four species in this genus that occur in North America (Lafontaine and Schmidt, 2010), all of which have been recorded in North Carolina
Identification
Field Guide Descriptions: Online Photographs: MPG, BugGuide, iNaturalist, Google, BAMONA, GBIFTechnical Description, Adults: Forbes (1954); Schweitzer et al. (2011)Technical Description, Immature Stages: Forbes (1954); Schweitzer et al. (2011); Wagner et al. (2011)                                                                                 
Adult Markings: A medium-sized Noctuid. The forewings and thorax are a bright, vinous red-brown, with a violet to blue iridescence, especially when fresh (Forbes, 1954). The postmedian is excurved, waved, and relatively indistinct, unlike other members of this genus which have straight and more narrowly defined postmedian lines. The orbicular and reniform are normal but are not strongly contrasting against the ground color. The hindwings are also reddish but somewhat paler than the forewings. However, the contrast between the fore and hindwings is less than in other species of Pyreferra.
Wingspan: 35 mm (Forbes, 1954)
Adult Structural Features: Forbes (1954) describes the reproductive features for the genus but not for the individual species.
Adult ID Requirements: Identifiable from good quality photos of unworn specimens.
Immatures and Development: Larvae are waxy lemon yellow with greenish intersegmental bands; the prothoracic and anal shields are whitish (Wagner et al., 2011). The larvae of ceromatica may not be distinguishable from those of H. hesperidago and citromba and should be reared to adulthood to determine the species.
Larvae ID Requirements: Identifiable only through rearing to adulthood.
Distribution in North Carolina
Distribution: Appears to be limited to southern portion of the Outer 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)

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Flight Comments: Univoltine, with adults emerging in November and overwintering in that stage; most records come from late winter and early spring
Habitats and Life History
Habitats: North Carolina records all come from stands of mesic hardwoods growing in ravines and bluffs located where rivers enter coastal sounds. Witch Hazel is present in these habitats but is otherwise fairly scarce in the Outer Coastal Plain.
Larval Host Plants: Appears to be monophagous, feeding solely on Witch Hazel (Hamamelis virginiana) (Forbes, 1954; Schweitzer et al., 2011; Wagner et al., 2011)
Observation Methods: Adults come well to both blacklights and bait. Larvae of Pyreferra are also fairly easy to find resting on the undersides of the leaves of their host plants (Schweitzer et al., 2011).
Wikipedia
See also Habitat Account for Coastal Plain Wet-Mesic Forests
Status in North Carolina
Natural Heritage Program Status: SR
Natural Heritage Program Ranks: GU S1S2
State Protection: Listed as Significantly Rare by the Natural Heritage Program. That designation, however, does not confer any legal protection, although permits are required to collect it on state parks and other public lands.
Comments: This species has undergone a precipitous decline in the northern part of its range and is now considered historic in Canada, New England, the mid-Atlantic, and Great Lakes states (Schweitzer et al., 2011). Since 1950, all records have come from the southern Atlantic and Gulf Coast States, with a large number coming from North Carolina, but even in our state, records come only from a small area in Craven and Jones Counties along the coast. The reasons for this decline are completely unknown (Schweitzer et al., 2011) but it does not appear to involve either host plant limitations or difficulties in sampling this species: even though it flies in late winter, it is relatively easy to observe. One factor in North Carolina is the possible isolation of its populations on just a few coastal river bluffs, which might have offered a refuge for this species if a disease or parasite spread through areas where Witch Hazel occurs more widely and continuously, i.e., the Mountains and Piedmont.