Moths of North Carolina
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View PDFGeometridae Members: 22 NC Records

Scopula ordinata (Walker, 1861) - No Common Name



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Taxonomy
Superfamily: Geometroidea Family: GeometridaeSubfamily: SterrhinaeTribe: ScopuliniP3 Number: 910569.00 MONA Number: 7161.00
Comments: One of 26 species in this genus that occur in North America north of Mexico (Pohl et al., 2016), seven of which have been recorded in North Carolina
Identification
Field Guide Descriptions: Online Photographs: MPG, BugGuide, BOLDTechnical Description, Adults: Covell (1970)Technical Description, Immature Stages: Covell (1970)                                                                                 
Adult Markings: A medium sized Wave with slightly falcate forewings. The ground color is pale cream, variably tinted with ochre, especially along the costa. The antemedian, median, and postmedian are narrow, ochre lines, running straight across the forewings but all making an outward angle -- especially sharp in the median line -- just below the costa. The discal dots are small and black and the only other markings on the wing are faint subterminal, adterminal, and terminal brown lines (Covell, 1970). None of our other whitish Geometrids have this pattern of bent lines.
Forewing Length: 15.0 - 15.4 mm, males; 11.3 -16.5 mm, females (Covell, 1970)
Adult Structural Features: Male and female reproductive structures are described and illustrated by Covell (1970) and appear to be highly distinctive.
Adult ID Requirements: Identifiable from good quality photos of unworn specimens.
Immatures and Development: A larva illustrated by John Abbott is described by Packard (1876) as "pale flesh-colored, with a red subdorsal stripe and transverse reddish and plumbeous stripes" (see Covell, 1970). Larvae matching this description and found feeding on Trilium spp. probably represent this species.
Larvae ID Requirements: Identifiable from good quality photos, especially where associated with known host plants.
Distribution in North Carolina
Distribution: We now have records for this species from the southern mountains, southern Piedmont, and southern Coastal Plain. Given the range of Trillium catsbaei in the state, this species could occur over most of the Mountains and Piedmont and at least some portions of the Coastal Plain.
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: Possibly bivoltine: at our one site for this species in the Coastal Plain, we have records from May, and from August and September. Covell (1970) also had records from June and September.
Habitats and Life History
Habitats: Our records come from rich, mesic stands of hardwoods. In the Piedmont and Coastal Plain, records come from forested slopes located adjacent to brownwater rivers (PeeDee and Cape Fear). Mountain records appear to come primarily from rich cove forests.
Larval Host Plants: The one host plant record appears to be from a painting by John Abbott, who associated the larvae with what is now known as Catesby's Trillium (Trillium catesbaei). However, the site where several individuals were collected in the Coastal Plain is outside the known range of catesbaei, although the site itself is anomalously rich and mesic for that part of the state. Trillium pusillum is more likely since it occurs in the Coastal Plain and has been recorded in counties just north of the Brunswick County site. While Trillium catsbaei has been recorded at the one Piedmont location we have for ordinata, most of the herbaceous vegetation at that site has been decimated by deer and Trilliums do not appear to have been found since the 1960s. These anomalous sites suggest that the host plant range for ordinata could be larger and perhaps not even confined to Trilliums.
Observation Methods: Comes to both incandescent and blacklights, but we have too few records to estimate how well. We do not have any records from bait.
Wikipedia
See also Habitat Account for Rich Wet-Mesic Hardwood Forests
Status in North Carolina
Natural Heritage Program Status: W3
Natural Heritage Program Ranks: GU S3S4
State Protection: Has no legal protection, although permits are required to collect it on state parks and other public lands.
Comments: Covell (1970) speculated that the rarity of this species in collections could be due to undersampling of its habitats. That presumes that the species is, in fact, a narrow specialist of restricted habitats. That, in turn, would likely make it a species of conservation concern, although not enough is yet known of either its host plants or its habitat associations to make an accurate assessment. The fact that it has occurred at least twice in areas outside its expected range indicates that much still needs to be learned about this species.

 Photo Gallery for Scopula ordinata - No common name

Photos: 2

Recorded by: Vin Stanton, David Heavner, Pete Dixon on 2019-07-25
Madison Co.
Comment:
Recorded by: Stephen Hall, Brian Bockhahn, Paul Scharf on 2015-07-21
Stanly Co.
Comment: Found at the park's boathouse. Trillium catesbaei, the reported host for this species, has been recorded at Morrow Mountain, but the last record was from 1962