Moths of North Carolina
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11 NC Records

Lithophane lemmeri (Barnes & Benjamin, 1929) - Lemmer's Pinion

Superfamily: Noctuoidea Family: NoctuidaeSubfamily: NoctuinaeTribe: XyleniniP3 Number: 932566.00 MONA Number: 9899.00
Comments: One of 51 species in this genus that occur in North America (Lafontaine and Schmidt, 2010, 2015), 25 of which have been recorded in North Carolina
Field Guide Descriptions: Online Photographs: MPG; BugGuideTechnical Description, Adults: Forbes (1954); Schweitzer et al. (2011)Technical Description, Immature Stages: Maeir et al., (2011); Schweitzer et al. (2011); Wagner et al. (2011)                                                                                 
Adult Markings: A medium-sized, gray Pinion. Marked with dark dashes, including a long basal dash and scattered shorter dashes over most of the forewings, representing fragments of the normal transverse lines (Forbes, 1954). Spots are obsolete but the lower portion of the reniform is represented by a whitish line (photographs online indicate that there is a reddish- or yellowish-brown patch just above this line). Hindwings are brown.
Wingspan: 40 mm (Forbes, 1954)
Adult Structural Features: The reproductive structures are illustrated and described by Webster and Thomas (1999), who describe them as distinctly different from L. thujae, the closest related species to lemmeri in eastern North America
Adult ID Requirements: Identifiable from good quality photos of unworn specimens.
Immatures and Development: Larvae are green, marked with dorsal, subdorsal, and lateral stripes consisting of irregular white spots (Wagner et al., 2011); blends in very well with the foliage of cedars. Eggs are very large and hatch in mid-spring -- April and May in New Jersey -- and complete their feeding in mid-summer; prepupal larvae spin cocoons located at the base of their host plants rather than underground; pupation occurs in the fall (Schweitzer et al, 2011).
Larvae ID Requirements: Identifiable from good quality photos, especially where associated with known host plants.
Distribution in North Carolina
Distribution: Recorded in both the Tidewater region of the Coastal Plain and in the Eastern Piedmont. The actual range within the state is unknown, but Schweitzer et al. (2011) describe lemmeri as a Coastal Plain and Piedmont species
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 in late fall, overwinters as an adult, and flies again in late winter/early spring
Habitats and Life History
Habitats: All North Carolina records come from stands of Red Cedar, Juniperus virginiana, particularly of the Coastal subspecies, J. v. silicicola. Surveys of Atlantic White Cedar have not yet had any success in this state.
Larval Host Plants: Stenophagous, feeding on cedars, including Red Cedars and Atlantic White Cedar (Maier et al., 2011); Schweitzer et al., 2011); Wagner et al. (2011)
Observation Methods: Probably best surveyed using bait, but Schweitzer et al. (2011) suspect that it might be less attracted to bait than other species in this genus. Schweitzer et al. recommend using a combination of mercury vapor lights and bait to sample for this species. Searches for larvae should be conducted in late spring through mid-summer.
See also Habitat Account for General Cedar Woodlands
Status in North Carolina
Natural Heritage Program Status: W3
Natural Heritage Program Ranks: G3G4 S1S3
State Protection: Has no legal protection, although permits are required to collect it on state parks and other public lands.
Comments: Generally considered rare (Schweitzer et al., 2011; NatureServe, 2017) and only a few North Carolina records exist. However, the late-fall and late-winter flight period, plus its possibly a poor response to lights, may mean that this species has been substantially undersampled, at least in this state (Schweitzer et al., mention the possibility that it has been undersampled more generally). Its host plants suggest that it is probably not limited by habitat factors, at least for populations associated with inland populations of Red Cedar. Populations associated with Atlantic White Cedar, however, have likely declined due to overharvest of that species and conversion of its peatland habitats. Populations associated with Coastal Red Cedar are at some risk due to coastal development as well as sea-level rise. Larval surveys or more intensive sampling for adults are needed in order to clarify its distribution, habitat affinities, host plant use; without more documentation, accurate assessments of its conservation status cannot be made.

 Photo Gallery for Lithophane lemmeri - Lemmer's Pinion

Photos: 4

Recorded by: R. Newman on 2023-01-01
Carteret Co.
Recorded by: R. Newman on 2020-12-12
Carteret Co.
Recorded by: R. Newman on 2020-12-12
Carteret Co.
Recorded by: Newman, Randy on 2005-11-21
Carteret Co.