Moths of North Carolina
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View PDFNoctuidae Members:
Pachypolia Members:
9 NC Records

Pachypolia atricornis Grote, 1874 - Three-horned Sallow

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Superfamily: Noctuoidea Family: NoctuidaeSubfamily: NoctuinaeTribe: XyleniniP3 Number: 932708.00 MONA Number: 9992.00
Comments: This is the only member of this solely North American genus.
Field Guide Descriptions: Online Photographs: MPG, BugGuide, iNaturalist, Google, BAMONA, GBIF, BOLDTechnical Description, Adults: Forbes (1954)Technical Description, Immature Stages: Wagner et al. (2011)                                                                                 
Adult Markings: A medium-large Sallow. The ground color of the forewings is grayish brown overlaid with an olive tint. The antemedian and postmedian lines are both highly waved, composed of a series of white lunules bordered on the medial sides with black. The subterminal line is also whit and fairly dentate, somewhat marked on the inner side with black wedges on the veins. The median area is typically darker than the basal and subterminal areas, with the orbicular and reniform both large and filled with whitish gray. A black bar runs across the lower part of the median area connecting the antemedian and postmedian lines. The hindwings are fuscuous gray.
Wingspan: 43 mm (Forbes, 1954)
Adult ID Requirements: Identifiable from good quality photos of unworn specimens.
Immatures and Development: A larva illustrated by Wagner et al. (2011) appears to be a dull olive dorsally, somewhat darker on the sides, and paler gray below the spiracles; a narrow gray line, filled with the olive ground color, runs along the subdorsum; the head is dull brown.
Larvae ID Requirements: Identifiable only through rearing to adulthood.
Distribution in North Carolina
Distribution: Restricted to the Mountains, where it occurs primarily at high elevations
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 in the early fall
Habitats and Life History
Habitats: Most of our records come from stands of Northern Hardwoods at elevations above 4,000', with two others from slightly lower sites but similar vegetation.
Larval Host Plants: Larval hosts used in the wild have not been determined, but captive reared larvae fed upon Maples and Cherries (Wagner et al., 2011). - View
Observation Methods: All of our records were obtained using blacklight traps but this species is also known to come to bait (Grehan and Parker, 1995).
See also Habitat Account for General High Elevation Forests
Status in North Carolina
Natural Heritage Program Status: SR
Natural Heritage Program Ranks: G3G4 S2S3
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 is considered rare or uncommon throughout its range, the main portion of which is located in the upper Midwest, and we have only a few records for this species in the Southern Appalachians. More needs to be learned about its host plants and habitats in North Carolina before an accurate assessment can be made of its conservation needs.