Moths of North Carolina
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View PDFNoctuidae Members: 41 NC Records

Acronicta fallax (Herrich-Schäffer, 1854) - Green Marvel Moth



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Taxonomy
Superfamily: Noctuoidea Family: NoctuidaeSubfamily: AcronictinaeP3 Number: 931442.00 MONA Number: 9281.00 MONA Synonym: Agriopodes fallax
Comments: One of 74 species in this genus found in North America north of Mexico (Schmidt and Anweiler, 2020), 42 of which have been recorded in North Carolina.
Species Status: Specimens from North Carolina have been barcoded and nest nicely with those from elsewhere; there is no evidence of sibling species.
Identification
Field Guide Descriptions: Covell (1984; as Agriopodes fallax); Beadle and Leckie (2012; as Agriopodes fallax)Online Photographs: MPG, BugGuide, iNaturalist, Google, BAMONATechnical Description, Adults: Forbes (1954)Technical Description, Immature Stages: Wagner et al. (2011)                                                                                 
Adult Markings: This species, which looks as though it belongs on a patch of lichens, is unmistakable in its pattern. While there are other species with similar to it and one placed with it in the genus Agriopodes, some have been moved elsewhere as well.
Adult Structural Features: The male and female genitalia are quite distinct and resemble other species in Acronicta, particularly A. grisea, a species that does not reach North Carolina. These are discussed in detail in Schmidt et al (2014).
Structural photos
Adult ID Requirements: Identifiable from good quality photos of unworn specimens.
Immatures and Development: Mature larvae are green with a peculiar humped or teardrop shape. There are thin, white subdorsal lines, dark spots above the eyes and small reddish bumps on the prothorax. Curiously, it lacks the long setae so characteristic of most Acronicta larvae.
Larvae ID Requirements: Identifiable from good quality photos, especially where associated with known host plants.
Distribution in North Carolina
Distribution: Probably occurs across the entire state except for the Barrier Islands and High Mountains.
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: The species appears to be triple brooded in the Coastal Plain with probably two broods in the mountains.
Habitats and Life History
Habitats: In the Coastal Plain, most of our records come from from peatland habitats, where Viburnum nudum is a common species. In the Piedmont, the majority of records come from lakeshore habitats, probably in association with V. dentatum, but we have at least one record from a dry, mafic ridge, where V rafinesquianum or some other species of upland Viburnum seems likely to be the host. In the Mountains, habitats include both riparian and mesic forests, where several species of Viburnum could be used. It has not, however, been taken above 4000’, so may not feed on the high elevation species of Viburnum.
Larval Host Plants: Larvae have been found on Viburnum nudum and V. dentatum and are suspected to occur on other species.
Observation Methods: Adults come to light but we could not find records of them attracted to bait or flowers.
Wikipedia
See also Habitat Account for General Viburnum Thickets
Status in North Carolina
Natural Heritage Program Status:
Natural Heritage Program Ranks: [G5 S4]
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 but it occurs widely across the state and occupies a fairly wide range of wet to mesic habitats. It thus appears to be relatively secure within the state.

 Photo Gallery for Acronicta fallax - Green Marvel Moth

Photos: 13

Recorded by: Jim Petranka on 2021-05-31
Madison Co.
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Recorded by: Vin Stanton on 2021-05-27
Buncombe Co.
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Recorded by: Jim Petranka on 2021-05-20
Madison Co.
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Recorded by: Jim Petranka and Becky Elkin on 2020-09-05
Madison Co.
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Recorded by: Darryl Willis on 2020-08-09
Cabarrus Co.
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Recorded by: Steve Hall on 2020-05-26
Orange Co.
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Recorded by: Stephen Hall on 2019-07-29
Orange Co.
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Recorded by: Jim Petranka and Becky Elkin on 2019-04-28
Madison Co.
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Recorded by: Jim Petranka and Becky Elkin on 2018-05-30
Madison Co.
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Recorded by: Jim Petranka and Becky Elkin on 2013-08-11
Madison Co.
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Recorded by: Paul Scharf on 2013-08-04
Warren Co.
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Recorded by: Vin Stanton on 2011-04-26
Buncombe Co.
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Recorded by: Paul Scharf on 2010-09-13
Warren Co.
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