Moths of North Carolina
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View PDFNoctuidae Members:
Metaxaglaea Members:
15 NC Records

Metaxaglaea semitaria Franclemont, 1968 - Footpath Sallow

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Superfamily: Noctuoidea Family: NoctuidaeSubfamily: NoctuinaeTribe: XyleniniP3 Number: 932599.00 MONA Number: 9945.00
Comments: One of five species in this genus that occur in North America, all of which have been recorded in North Carolina.
Field Guide Descriptions: Covell (1984)Online Photographs: MPG, BugGuide, iNaturalist, Google, BAMONA, GBIF, BOLDTechnical Description, Adults: Schweitzer (1979)Technical Description, Immature Stages: Schweitzer (1979); Wagner et al. (2011)                                                                                 
Adult Markings: Metaxaglaea semitaria, viatica, and violacea are all medium-large Noctuids with similar wing patterns: dentate postmedian and antemedian lines; large,red-encircled orbicular and reniform spots; and a contrastingly dark band between the postmedian and the subterminal lines. Externally, they differ primarily in color, which can be subtle and highly dependent on the lighting conditions. Semitaria is usually the brightest of these three, with more of a yellowish, tawny, or orange-brown ground color (see Schweitzer, 1979, for details).
Adult Structural Features: Male genitalia are very similar to australis but differ from viatica and violacea in possessing a short rather than long spine at the terminus of the valve (see illustration and description in Schweitzer, 1979).
Structural photos
Adult ID Requirements: Identifiable only by close inspection of structural features or by DNA analysis.
Immatures and Development: Larvae are dull grayish-brown, similar to those of other Metaxaglaea, especially australis; see a key to the last instar larvae given by Schweitzer (1979) for details concerning their differences.
Larvae ID Requirements: Identifiable from close inspection of specimens or by DNA analysis.
Distribution in North Carolina
Distribution: Probably occurs statewide, with records existing from the Barrier Islands as well as the High Mountains.
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: Univoltine, with adults flying from early October to January.
Habitats and Life History
Habitats: Almost all of our records come from fairly dry, upland stands of hardwoods, but we also have at least one record from Pond Pine Woodlands (a peatland forest) and a few from riparian habitats in the Coastal Plain.
Larval Host Plants: Possibly feeding mainly on blueberry (Vaccinium spp.), but also feed to some extent on other species in captivity, including oaks and members of the Roasaceae (Schweitzer, 1979; Wagner et al., 2011). - View
Observation Methods: Like other Metaxaglaeas, this species appears to come well to both blacklights and bait.
Status in North Carolina
Natural Heritage Program Status:
Natural Heritage Program Ranks: G5 [S5?]
State Protection: Has no legal protection, although permits are required to collect it on state parks and other public lands.
Comments: Although we have relatively few records for this species, that is probably due to its late flight season and possible confusion with other members of this genus. It appears to be using common host plants in common types of habitats and thus appears to be secure within the state.