Moths of North Carolina
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View PDFSaturniidae Members: 49 NC Records

Anisota senatoria (J.E. Smith, 1797) - Orange-tipped Oakworm Moth



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Taxonomy
Superfamily: Bombycoidea Family: SaturniidaeSubfamily: CaratocaminaeP3 Number: 890018.00 MONA Number: 7719.00
Comments: One of four species in this genus that occur in North Carolina. Tuskes et al. (1996) placed senatoria and peigleri in the same species group (Senatoria), along with finlaysoni, which occurs in Canada.
Identification
Field Guide Descriptions: Covell (1984); Beadle and Leckie (2012)Online Photographs: MPG, BugGuide, BAMONATechnical Description, Adults: Forbes (1923), Ferguson (1971), Tuskes et al. (1996)Technical Description, Immature Stages: Forbes (1923), Ferguson (1971), Covell (1984), Tuskes et al. (1996), Wagner (2005)                                                                                 
Adult Markings: Few, if any, characters exist that can be used to distinguish adult senatoria from peigleri (Tuskes et al., 1996). Females are also similar in color and possession of dark speckling to females of Anisota stigma and can be difficult to distinguish unless the hindwings are clearly in view: in senatoria, the hindwings are paler in color than the forewings and have only a faint trace of a medial line if any; in stigma, both sets of wings are similar in color and there is a definite medial line (Forbes, 1923; Ferguson, 1971). Males, like those of A. viginiensis and peigleri, are believed to be bee mimics, possessing translucent forewings and flying only during the day (Tuskes et al., 1996). Males of senatoria tend to have less transparent forewings than virginiensis and have straighter outer margins on both sets of wings (slightly concave in the hindwings; see illustrations in Covell, 1984).
Wingspan: 40 mm, males; 50 mm, females (Forbes, 1923)
Adult ID Requirements: Identifiable from photos showing hindwings, abdomen, or other specialized views [e.g., frons, palps, antennae, undersides].
Immatures and Development: Larvae -- Orange-tipped Oakworms -- are quite distinctive, possessing conspicuous longitudinal orange to yellow stripes on a black ground color, and lacking the small white tubercles found in A. stigma and virginiesis (Forbes, 1923; Ferguson, 1971; Tuskes et al, 1996; Wagner, 2005). Larvae of A. peigleri have similar yellow-on-black lines but possess a prominent rows of dorsolateral spines and generally have longer spines overall (Tuskes et al., 1996; Wagner, 2005).
Larvae ID Requirements: Identifiable from good quality photos, especially where associated with known host plants.
Distribution in North Carolina
Distribution: Probably occurs in all areas of the state except the High Mountains, where oaks become scarce
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
Immature 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: Probably single-brooded in North Carolina, but our records for adults are too few to determine a clear pattern.
Habitats and Life History
Habitats: North Carolina records come from primarily from dry upland habitats, including sandhills in the Coastal Plain and monadnocks in the Piedmont.
Larval Host Plants: Stenophagous, apparently feeding only on oaks. Ferguson (1971) lists records for the following species: White oak, Northern red oak, Black oak, Bur oak, Scarlet oak, Swamp white oak, and Bear oak.
Observation Methods: Males are diurnal and do not come to lights at night; the best way to observe them is through captive rearing or by attracting them to tethered or caged females. Females are also rarely observed (or correctly identified), but their attractedness to lights is not clear. Adults do not feed and do not come to bait. Larvae are strongly gregarious and are especially conspicuous during outbreak years.
Wikipedia
See also Habitat Account for General Oak-Hickory Forests
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: Populations are locally vulnerable to the effects of weather, outbreaks of disease, parasites, and predators, and to the effects of pesticides. However, given the commonness of their host plants, wide habitat range -- including suburban areas -- and statewide distribution, this species can easily recover from localized losses. In the Northeast, however, this species has declined, although still occasionally abundant (Wagner, 2012). Declines may be possibly due to parasitism by a Tachinid fly, Compsilura concinnata, that was widely introduced in the Northeast to control Gypsy Moths and other pest Lepidoptera. This fly represents a serious and pervasive threat for many species of moths and is suspected to be responsible for the marked declines in several Saturniids. While such impacts have not yet been documented in North Carolina, Compsilura has spread as far south as Virginia (Kellogg et al., 2003) and will probably continue to expand its range southward. The situation in North Carolina needs to be monitored.

 Photo Gallery for Anisota senatoria - Orange-tipped Oakworm Moth

34 photos are available. Only the most recent 30 are shown.

Recorded by: David George on 2021-11-06
Wake Co.
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Recorded by: David George on 2021-11-06
Wake Co.
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Recorded by: tom ward on 2021-09-15
Buncombe Co.
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Recorded by: David George on 2021-08-30
Wake Co.
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Recorded by: Vin Stanton on 2021-08-28
Buncombe Co.
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Recorded by: Dean Furbish on 2021-08-19
Wake Co.
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Recorded by: David George on 2021-08-08
Orange Co.
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Recorded by: Simpson Eason on 2021-07-15
Durham Co.
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Recorded by: Autumn, Evelyn, and Simpson Eason on 2020-09-23
Durham Co.
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Recorded by: Vin Stanton on 2020-09-02
Buncombe Co.
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Recorded by: Owen McConnell on 2020-08-28
Durham Co.
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Recorded by: Solomon Beachler on 2020-08-27
Durham Co.
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Recorded by: Owen and Pat McConnell on 2020-08-09
Durham Co.
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Recorded by: David George on 2020-08-05
Durham Co.
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Recorded by: Stephen Hall on 2020-07-08
Orange Co.
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Recorded by: Owen McConnell on 2020-06-30
Durham Co.
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Recorded by: Simpson Eason on 2020-06-30
Durham Co.
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Recorded by: Simpson Eason on 2020-06-30
Durham Co.
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Recorded by: Simpson Eason on 2019-08-12
Durham Co.
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Recorded by: Simpson Eason on 2019-08-11
Durham Co.
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Recorded by: Simpson Eason on 2018-09-04
Durham Co.
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Recorded by: Simpson Eason on 2018-09-04
Durham Co.
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Recorded by: Nancy Cowal on 2018-09-04
McDowell Co.
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Recorded by: David George on 2018-09-01
Orange Co.
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Recorded by: David George on 2018-08-23
Durham Co.
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Recorded by: Derek King on 2018-07-03
Wake Co.
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Recorded by: Jim Petranka and Becky Elkin on 2018-06-18
Madison Co.
Comment: Female
Recorded by: David L. Heavner on 2017-09-10
Buncombe Co.
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Recorded by: John T. Jones on 2017-07-02
Orange Co.
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Recorded by: Julie Tuttle on 2017-06-24
Orange Co.
Comment: Male