Butterflies of North Carolina:
their Distribution and Abundance

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Scientific Name begins with:
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Once on a species account page, clicking on the "View PDF" link will show the flight data for that species, for each of the three regions of the state.
Other information, such as high counts and earliest/latest dates, can also been seen on the PDF page.

Our only member of the Family in NC: RIODINIDAE
<<       >>
Common NameLittle Metalmark by Roger Rittmaster => Carteret Co.
[View PDF]
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[Google Images]     BoA [Images ]
Scientific NameCalephelis virginiensis
Link to BAMONA species account.
MapClick on a county for list of all database records for the species in that county.
DistributionDISTRIBUTION: Scattered over the southern half of the Coastal Plain, but now apparently restricted to the lower Coastal Plain; formerly occurred in the Sandhills region and in mainland Dare County. Probably absent from the inner Coastal Plain north of Cumberland County, and might now be absent north of Croatan National Forest (Craven County).
AbundanceABUNDANCE: Uncommon, and restricted in habitat; may be locally common. Very rare to absent over Coastal Plain locales away from Longleaf Pine (Pinus palustris) habitats. Certainly has declined in the Sandhills, as there are no recent records.
FlightFLIGHT PERIOD: Seemingly three broods -- late April to late May, late June to late July, and mid-August to mid-October, rarely into November. The last brood is clearly the most numerous; highest numbers occur in early to mid-September. The second brood in early to mid-summer is quite small, but fresh individuals are seen then, and it does seem to be a small second brood and not a delayed first brood. It is not simply early individuals of the large late summer/fall brood, as observers see a clear emergence of fresh individuals starting in the latter half of August.
HabitatHABITAT: The species seems to require, or at least be found primarily in, high-quality Longleaf Pine communities. It is most numerous in pine savannas and flatwoods, which have mostly been destroyed by timber plantations, development, etc. It probably occurs (or formerly occurred) in similar habitat in the Sandhills. It likely is rare or absent in the drier pine/scrub oak habitats.
See also Habitat Account for Loamy, Fire-maintained Herblands
PlantsFOOD AND NECTAR PLANTS: The primary foodplant has been reported to be Yellow Thistle (Cirsium horridulum). However, Bo Sullivan (pers. comm.) has found that Vanilla-leaf (Trilisa odoratissima), a tall purple-flowered composite, is a (and probably sole) foodplant in NC. This plant is common in the savannas and flatwoods where I have seen the metalmark, and thus seems to be the correct solution to the mystery (i.e., there seems to be no correlation in NC between the thistle and the butterfly). Whether any species of thistle is a foodplant in NC is open to question. The species nectars on many flowers, but it is often seen resting on leaves and stems.
CommentsCOMMENTS: This small and moth-like species can be numerous in a few high-quality flatwoods and savannas, such as Millis Road Savanna and at Holly Shelter Game Land. There is still much to be learned about it in NC. How often does it occur away from flatwoods and savannas? Is it found at all in dry pine/scrub oak habitats, such as those common in the Sandhills? At any rate, it has been found at alarmingly few new sites in the last 20 years.
State RankS2
State StatusSR
Global RankG4
Federal Status
Synonym
Other Name


Links to other butterfly galleries: [Cook] [Lynch] [Pippen] [Pugh]
Photo Gallery for Little Metalmark
Photo by: Ed Corey
Comment: Sandy Run Savannas State Natural Area, Onslow County; 2007-Apr-24
Little Metalmark - Click to enlarge
Photo by: Ted Wilcox
Comment: Craven Co., 2007-Aug-26
Little Metalmark - Click to enlarge
Photo by: John Ennis
Comment: Holly Shelter Game Land, Pender Co., 2017-Sep-16.
Little Metalmark - Click to enlarge
Photo by: John Ennis
Comment: Holly Shelter Game Land, Pender Co., 2017-Oct-15
Little Metalmark - Click to enlarge
Photo by: Mark Shields
Comment: Everett Creek Nature Preserve, Sneads Ferry, Onslow County. 2017-Sep-03
Little Metalmark - Click to enlarge
Photo by: Rob Van Epps
Comment: Sep 8, 2014. Holly Shelter Game Lands, Pender Co.
Little Metalmark - Click to enlarge
Photo by: Rob Van Epps
Comment: Sep 8, 2014. Holly Shelter Game Lands, Pender Co.
Little Metalmark - Click to enlarge
Photo by: Bruce Grimes
Comment: ovipositing female on Yellow Thistle, SC
Little Metalmark - Click to enlarge
Photo by: Bruce Grimes
Comment: SC
Little Metalmark - Click to enlarge
Photo by: Tom Sanders
Comment: August 18, 2013 in Croatan National Forest, Carteret County
Little Metalmark - Click to enlarge
Photo by: Allen Belden
Comment: Millis Road Savanna, Carteret Co.; nectaring on Balduina uniflora, 2014-Aug-27
Little Metalmark - Click to enlarge