Moths of North Carolina
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View PDFNoctuidae Members: 41 NC Records

Feralia comstocki (Grote, 1874) - Comstock's Sallow



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Taxonomy
Superfamily: Noctuoidea Family: NoctuidaeSubfamily: AmphipyrinaeTribe: PsaphidiniP3 Number: 931564.00 MONA Number: 10008.00
Comments: An isolated genus with 7 species worldwide, 1 palearctic, the other 6 nearctic, with 3 occurring in North Carolina.
Species Status: North Carolina specimens bar code with those from elsewhere indicating no significant divergence.
Identification
Field Guide Descriptions: Covell (1984); Beadle and Leckie (2012)Online Photographs: MPG, BugGuide, iNaturalistTechnical Description, Adults: Forbes (1954); Poole (1995)Technical Description, Immature Stages: Maier et al. (2011); Wagner et al. (2011)                                                                                 
Adult Markings: Similar to the other two species of Feralia but flies later, barely overlapping the others in April. F. comstocki is usually a brighter green than either of the other two and lacks the black form found in the other two species. Typically, it has several black patches on the forewing in addition to the patch located between the orbicular and reniform that also occurs in jocosa and major (Forbes, 1954). Sexes are identical.
Adult Structural Features: This species is divergent from F. major and F. jocosa and the genitalia support this placement. In the male the juxta is narrowed from but U-shaped as that in F. jocosa. The valve tip is dominated by the anal projection which is also moved terminally relative to the other two species. In the aedeagus the tip has massive sclerotized ridges not present in the other species and the base of the vesica is covered in small spines with one large cornutus, blunt and elbowed. In the female the ostial plate is large, the corpus bursa narrow with the appendix heavily sclerotized.
Structural photos
Adult ID Requirements: Identifiable from good quality photos of unworn specimens.
Immatures and Development: The larva, typical of evergreen feeders, are green with white mid-dorsal, addorsal and spiracular stripes, the addorsal edged dorsally with pink or red and usually continuous, not broken up into distinct spots as in F. jocosa. The subspiracular band is broken into distinct, elongate spots which are usually much reduced or absent in F. jocosa. In F. major these bands form distinct lines with the segmented portions almost continuous not discrete segments. In F. comstocki the bands are continuous.
Larvae ID Requirements: Identifiable from good quality photos, especially where associated with known host plants.
Distribution in North Carolina
Distribution: Comstocki occurs throughout the mountains but seemingly absent from some ideal-looking habitats and then found in others where it would not be predicted.
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: Single brooded, flying primarily in April and May with stragglers out as late as June.
Habitats and Life History
Habitats: Mesic montane forest with abundant Hemlock, including Cove Forests at mid elevations and Northern Hardwoods at higher elevations.
Larval Host Plants: Reported to feed on a number of evergreens, including Fir, Hemlock, and Spruce (Maier et al., 2011), but there are no specific records from North Carolina.
Observation Methods: Comes to light but no records from bait.
Wikipedia
See also Habitat Account for Hemlock Forests
Status in North Carolina
Natural Heritage Program Status:
Natural Heritage Program Ranks: G5 [S3S4]
State Protection: Has no legal protection, although permits are required to collect it on state parks and other public lands.
Comments: We have relatively few records for this species, probably due in part to its late winter flight period. To the extent that this species is dependent on Hemlock or Fraser Fir, it may be highly vulnerable to the effects of the introduced Adelgids that are decimating those species. It is also likely to be vulnerable to the effects of global climate change, including the drying out of mesic forests and particularly in the retreat of Spruce-fir Forests to even smaller high elevation refugia than they currently occupy. More surveys need to be conducted of adults or larvae in order to determine its current distribution and habitat associations, as well as to monitor its population trends as its environments change.

 Photo Gallery for Feralia comstocki - Comstock's Sallow

Photos: 17

Recorded by: Jim Petranka and Becky Elkin on 2020-05-02
Madison Co.
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Recorded by: Jim Petranka and Becky Elkin on 2020-04-21
Madison Co.
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Recorded by: Jim Petranka and Becky Elkin on 2020-04-17
Madison Co.
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Recorded by: Jim Petranka and Becky Elkin on 2020-04-06
Madison Co.
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Recorded by: David L. Heavner on 2019-05-01
Buncombe Co.
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Recorded by: Jim Petranka and Becky Elkin on 2019-05-01
Madison Co.
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Recorded by: Jim Petranka and Becky Elkin on 2019-05-01
Madison Co.
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Recorded by: Jim Petranka and Becky Elkin on 2019-04-27
Madison Co.
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Recorded by: Jim Petranka and Becky Elkin on 2019-04-27
Madison Co.
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Recorded by: Jim Petranka and Becky Elkin on 2019-04-24
Madison Co.
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Recorded by: Jim Petranka and Becky Elkin on 2019-04-24
Madison Co.
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Recorded by: Jim Petranka and Becky Elkin on 2019-04-22
Madison Co.
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Recorded by: Jim Petranka and Becky Elkin on 2018-05-02
Madison Co.
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Recorded by: K. Bischof on 2014-05-26
Yancey Co.
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Recorded by: Jim Petranka and Becky Elkin on 2014-05-05
Madison Co.
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Recorded by: Jim Petranka and Becky Elkin on 2014-04-26
Madison Co.
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Recorded by: Jim Petranka and Becky Elkin on 2014-04-26
Madison Co.
Comment: