Moths of North Carolina
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Chaetaglaea Members:
29 NC Records

Chaetaglaea rhonda Stead and Troubridge, 2015 - Eastern Trembling Sallow

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Superfamily: Noctuoidea Family: NoctuidaeSubfamily: NoctuinaeTribe: XyleniniP3 Number: 932606.00 MONA Number: 9949.10 MONA Synonym: Chaetaglaea tremula
Comments: Currently this genus of 5 species is wholly North American and three of the species are found in North Carolina. The genus is quite similar to other "glaeas" and distinguished largely by features of the male valve and aedeagus.
Species Status: Barcoding revealed that specimens of Chaetaglaea tremula found from Texas along the Gulf Coast into Florida are different from those that occur from the Carolinas north into Canada. The species found in our area has now been described by Stead and Troubridge (2015) as Chaetaglaea rhonda.
Field Guide Descriptions: Not in either field guide (Covell, 1984, describes tremula but does not illustrate it)Online Photographs: MPG, BugGuide, iNaturalist, Google, BAMONA, GBIFTechnical Description, Adults: Stead and Troubridge (2015)Technical Description, Immature Stages: Wagner et al. (2011 -- the description given for tremula is based at least partly on specimens that actually represent rhonda)                                                                                 
Adult Markings: The species is best recognized by its large size and lack of distinct patterning. It comes in a variety of color forms, reddish and gray being the most common. The cross lines are visible but the patterning around the orbicular and reniform spots is very weak. The spot in the reniform is usually visible, however, and contrastingly dark. Sexes are similar.
Adult Structural Features: Both male and female genitalia are distinct but distinguishing them from C. tremula is difficult. However, they are readily discernable from the other two species of this genus found in our area, Note the outer half of the valva looks as though a bite has been removed and along the costal side is a serrated ridge. In the female the ductus bursae is sclerotized but more heavily anteriorly and with an unsclerotized band in the middle.
Structural photos
Adult ID Requirements: Identifiable from good quality photos of unworn specimens.
Immatures and Development: Undescribed but probably much of the description given by Wagner et al. (2011) actually applies to rhonda. Larvae are pinkish or brownish with a broad, pale spiracular stripe. The larvae of sericea are similar and Wagner et al. recommend that larvae be reared to maturity in order to identify them.
Larvae ID Requirements: Identifiable only through rearing to adulthood.
Distribution in North Carolina
Distribution: Most of our records come from the Coastal Plain but it extends across the Piedmont to the foothills of the mountains. It may be restricted to dry barren areas in the Piedmont.
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: Flies from late September into December
Habitats and Life History
Habitats: In the Coastal Plain, our records come mainly from maritime dunes and Coastal Sandhill Scrub habitats, which is consistent with the coastal and lakeshore dune habitats described for this species by Stead and Troubridge (2015). We also have one record from an extensive area of peatlands and in the Piedmont, we have records from acidic upland forests on the slopes of a monadnock. Except for the peatland record, these habitats are a good match to the habitats described by Wagner et al. (2011) for tremula (= rhonda) in the Northeast. The presence of heaths, or perhaps other acidic shrubs, appears to be a common denominator.
Larval Host Plants: There are only a few records of larvae found in the wild, where they were observed feeding on Gaylussacia baccata and Vaccinium angustifolium. Captive larvae have been reared on a wider range of species, including oaks and sweet fern (Wagner et al, 2011).
Observation Methods: Adults come to lights and bait but with so few fall flowers in late October and November, it is unlikely they visit them.
See also Habitat Account for General Dry-Xeric Glades and Barrens
Status in North Carolina
Natural Heritage Program Status: [W3]
Natural Heritage Program Ranks: GNR S2S4
State Protection: Has no legal protection, although permits are required to collect it on state parks and other public lands.
Comments: We have relatively few records for this species and more surveys need to be conducted during its fall flight period to better determine its distribution, abundance, host plants, and habitat associations. Once those data are available, a more accurate diagnosis can be made of its conservation status.

 Photo Gallery for Chaetaglaea rhonda - Eastern Trembling Sallow

Photos: 9

Recorded by: R. Newman on 2021-12-13
Carteret Co.
Recorded by: Mark Shields on 2020-11-09
Onslow Co.
Recorded by: Mark Shields on 2020-01-02
Onslow Co.
Recorded by: Mark Shields on 2019-12-26
Onslow Co.
Recorded by: Mark Shields on 2019-12-16
Onslow Co.
Recorded by: Mark Shields on 2019-11-22
Onslow Co.
Recorded by: Mark Shields on 2019-11-20
Onslow Co.
Recorded by: SPH on 1993-10-18
Dare Co.
Comment: Determined by D.F. Schweitzer. Wingspan = 3.8cm; forewing length=1.8cm.
Recorded by: SPH on 1993-10-16
Washington Co.
Comment: Determined by D.F. Schweitzer. Wingspan = 4.0cm; forewing length=1.8cm.