Moths of North Carolina
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View PDFErebidae Members: 467 NC Records

Zale lunata (Drury, 1773) - Lunate Zale



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Taxonomy
Superfamily: Noctuoidea Family: ErebidaeSubfamily: ErebinaeTribe: OphiusiniP3 Number: 931023.00 MONA Number: 8689.00
Comments: One of 39 species in this genus that occur north of Mexico, 23 of which have been recorded in North Carolina
Identification
Field Guide Descriptions: Covell (1984); Beadle and Leckie (2012)Online Photographs: MPG, BugGuide, BAMONATechnical Description, Adults: Forbes (1954)Technical Description, Immature Stages: Forbes (1954), Wagner (2005); Wagner et al. (2011)                                                                                  
Adult Markings: Our largest Zale and one of the most variable in coloration and patterning. Several forms are similar to those of Zale minerea in particular, and also with Z. galbanata and phaeocapna to some extent. Best distinguished from those species by the greater waviness of the postmedian from the bottom of the cell to the costal margin: in lunata, a series of small waves or zig-zags are present in this area, including at the end of the cell (opposite the reniform), whereas in the other three, only a couple of broader undulations occur, including a deep concavity at the end of the cell (see Forbes, 1954).
Wingspan: 50 mm (Forbes, 1954)
Adult ID Requirements: Identifiable from good quality photos of unworn specimens.
Immatures and Development: Larvae are also highly variable and overlapping in color and patterning with other species, particularly Z. minerea (see Wagner et al., 2011, for description of some possibly diagnostic features).
Larvae ID Requirements: Identifiable only through rearing to adulthood.
Distribution in North Carolina
Distribution: Found statewide, from the Barrier Islands to the High Mountains; one of our most ubiquitous moths
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 throughout the growing season over most of the state and is omnipresent in the Coastal Plain
Habitats and Life History
Habitats: Occurs in virtually all wooded habitats in the state, including maritime forests, peatlands, Longleaf Pine savannas and sandhills, river bottomlands, mesic-to-dry ridges, and high elevation forests. Wooded residential areas are also used in addition to natural forests and woodlands.
Larval Host Plants: Polyphagous, feeding on a wide range of woody species as well as some species of forbs (Wagner et al., 2011)
Observation Methods: Comes moderately well to UV lights but numbers are typically much greater on bait, including at fruit baits and wine ropes
Wikipedia
See also Habitat Account for General Hardwood Forests
Status in North Carolina
Natural Heritage Program Status:
Natural Heritage Program Ranks: G5 [S5]
State Protection: Has no legal protection, although permits are required to collect it on state parks and other public lands
Comments: Given its wide range of larval host plants, broad habitat associations, and extensive occurrence across the state, this species appears to be secure.

 Photo Gallery for Zale lunata - Lunate Zale

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

Recorded by: R. Newman on 2021-06-12
Carteret Co.
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Recorded by: Dean Furbish on 2021-04-12
Wake Co.
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Recorded by: Dean Furbish on 2021-04-11
Wake Co.
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Recorded by: Simpson Eason on 2021-04-08
Durham Co.
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Recorded by: Dean Furbish on 2021-04-08
Wake Co.
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Recorded by: R. Newman on 2021-04-06
Carteret Co.
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Recorded by: Dean Furbish on 2021-03-13
Wake Co.
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Recorded by: Gary Maness on 2020-11-09
Guilford Co.
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Recorded by: Jim Petranka on 2020-11-08
Madison Co.
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Recorded by: Jim Petranka on 2020-11-05
Madison Co.
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Recorded by: Gary Maness on 2020-10-08
Guilford Co.
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Recorded by: Vin Stanton on 2020-09-23
Buncombe Co.
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Recorded by: Simpson Eason on 2020-08-27
Wake Co.
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Recorded by: Jim Petranka and Becky Elkin on 2020-08-15
Madison Co.
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Recorded by: Simpson Eason on 2020-08-13
Durham Co.
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Recorded by: Gary Maness on 2020-07-26
Guilford Co.
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Recorded by: Owen McConnell on 2020-07-22
Durham Co.
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Recorded by: Ed Corey on 2020-07-21
Onslow Co.
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Recorded by: Jim Petranka and Becky Elkin on 2020-07-18
Madison Co.
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Recorded by: Simpson Eason on 2020-07-14
Durham Co.
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Recorded by: Gary Maness on 2020-06-23
Guilford Co.
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Recorded by: Gary Maness on 2020-06-20
Guilford Co.
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Recorded by: Gary Maness on 2020-06-03
Guilford Co.
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Recorded by: Owen and Pat McConnell on 2020-05-31
Durham Co.
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Recorded by: Simpson Eason on 2020-05-15
Durham Co.
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Recorded by: Gary Maness on 2020-05-14
Guilford Co.
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Recorded by: Gary Maness on 2020-05-04
Guilford Co.
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Recorded by: Steve Hall on 2019-08-29
Orange Co.
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Recorded by: Gary Maness on 2019-08-14
Guilford Co.
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Recorded by: L. M. Carlson on 2019-07-31
Orange Co.
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