Moths of North Carolina
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View PDFErebidae Members: 56 NC Records

Apantesis nais (Drury, 1773) - Nais Tiger Moth


Taxonomy
Superfamily: Noctuoidea Family: ErebidaeSubfamily: ArctiinaeTribe: ArctiiniP3 Number: 930280.00 MONA Number: 8171.00
Comments: One of four species in this genus that occur in North America, all of which are found in North Carolina
Identification
Field Guide Descriptions: Covell (1984); Beadle and Leckie (2012)Online Photographs: MPG, BugGuide, BAMONATechnical Description, Adults: Forbes (1960); Ferguson (1985)Technical Description, Immature Stages: Forbes (1960); Ferguson (1985)                                                                                 
Adult Markings: Species of Apantesis and Grammia resemble one another, but Apantesis are generally smaller and the the pattern of yellow lines is usually much more reduced, with the median, lower portion of the post-median, and fine vein lines always missing in Apantesis; a good quality photograph showing the forewing pattern is usually enough to distinguish between these genera. However, the hindwings must also be visible to distinguish between the species of Apantesis, and even then only the males can usually be diagnosed; photographs must show the hindwings to be acceptable as records for this genus. Apantesis nais is usually somewhat larger and broader-winged than the other species and males are usually identifiable where they possess a solid yellow hindwings with a row of large black spots or a broad band of black in sub-terminal area. Grammia anna is similar in color, but has a much more complete forewing pattern. Apantesis carlotta has an almost identical pattern but has a much paler shade of yellow on the hindwings and never has a solid band of black in the sub-terminal area (except in females). Apantesis phalerata can also have pale, cream on the hindwings, but has only small, scattered spots in the sub-terminal area. Males can also have hindwings that are largely red or yellowish-red, resembling vittata, although the subterminal black band usually broken into large spots in nais and more solid in vittata. Unfortunately, dissection does not provide a more definitive identification: the features of the valves and aedeagus in vittata, nais, and carlotta are all similar, showing similar patterns of variation. Female nais are similar to those of phalerata and vittata in having a highly reduced set of pale lines on the forewings and broad, confluent black bands in the sub-terminal area of the hindwing. Individuals with bright yellow in the basal and medial area of the hindwings are usually safe to identify as nais; female carlotta have a paler yellow shade and also have a much more complete set of yellow stripes on the forewings. Females with red hindwings probably cannot be safely distinguished from those of phalerata and vittata.
Adult ID Requirements: Identifiable from photos showing hindwings, abdomen, or other specialized views [e.g., frons, palps, antennae, undersides].
Immatures and Development: Larvae of Apantesis are black and covered with brown to black bristles (Forbes, 1960). According to Ferguson (1985), nais larvae completely lack the pale mid-dorsal stripe found in the other species, but rearing is probably still necessary for reliable identification.
Larvae ID Requirements: Identifiable only through rearing to adulthood.
Distribution in North Carolina
Distribution: Appears to be absent over most of the southern Coastal Plain and uncommon in the Piedmont
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: Forbes (1960) states that A. nais has two flights, which appears to be the case in North Carolina, although our data are too sparse to determine a precise pattern.
Habitats and Life History
Habitats: Ferguson (1985) described A. nais as a woodland species, in constrast to carlotta, which he characterized as a grassland species. Our records are consistent with this description, almost all coming from hardwood forests and peatlands and none from the grasslands associated with Longleaf Pine habitats or the dune grasslands on the barrier islands.
Larval Host Plants: Probably polyphagous, feeding on a wide range of herbaceous and woody plants.
Observation Methods: Males come moderately well to blacklights but not at all to bait; females are collected at lights far less often
Wikipedia
Status in North Carolina
Natural Heritage Program Status:
Natural Heritage Program Ranks: G5 [S4]
State Protection: Has no legal protection, although permits are required to collect it on state parks and other public lands
Comments: Uncommon but found in general forested habitats across at least two-thirds of the state; probably is secure.

 Photo Gallery for Apantesis nais - Nais Tiger Moth

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

Recorded by: Gary Maness on 2020-04-05
Guilford Co.
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Recorded by: Gary Maness on 2020-03-29
Guilford Co.
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Recorded by: Ken Kneidel on 2019-05-25
Yancey Co.
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Recorded by: Ken Kneidel on 2019-05-25
Yancey Co.
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Recorded by: Gary Maness on 2019-05-03
Guilford Co.
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Recorded by: Gary Maness on 2019-05-03
Guilford Co.
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Recorded by: Gary Maness on 2019-05-01
Guilford Co.
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Recorded by: Gary Maness on 2019-04-30
Guilford Co.
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Recorded by: Jim Petranka and Becky Elkin on 2019-04-24
Madison Co.
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Recorded by: David L. Heavner on 2018-08-29
Buncombe Co.
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Recorded by: Ken Kneidel on 2018-08-08
Mecklenburg Co.
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Recorded by: Steve Hall and Bo Sullivan on 2016-08-02
Ashe Co.
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Recorded by: Steve Hall and Bo Sullivan on 2016-08-02
Ashe Co.
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Recorded by: Kyle Kittelberger on 2015-09-09
Rockingham Co.
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Recorded by: K. Bischof on 2015-09-06
Burke Co.
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Recorded by: B. Bockhahn, P. Scharf, S. Hall on 2015-07-22
Stanly Co.
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Recorded by: L. Amos on 2014-05-06
Warren Co.
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Recorded by: Jim Petranka and Becky Elkin on 2013-07-20
Madison Co.
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Recorded by: SPH on 2012-07-20
Northampton Co.
Comment: Male, wingspan = 3.5 cm, fore-wing length = 1.4 cm
Recorded by: Jim Petranka and Becky Elkin on 2012-07-16
Madison Co.
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Recorded by: Steve Hall on 2012-03-23
Halifax Co.
Comment: Male, wingspan = 3.7 cm, fore-wing length = 1.5 cm
Recorded by: Doug Blatny / Jackie Nelson on 2011-05-28
Ashe Co.
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Recorded by: Doug Blatny / Jackie Nelson on 2011-05-28
Ashe Co.
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Recorded by: Steve Hall on 1994-08-09
Dare Co.
Comment: Male; wingspan = 3.3 cm; fore-wing length = 1.5 cm
Recorded by: Steve Hall on 1994-05-10
Dare Co.
Comment: Male; wingspan = 3.8 cm; fore-wing length = 1.8 cm
Recorded by: Steve Hall on 1993-08-17
Washington Co.
Comment: Male; wingspan = 3.4 cm; fore-wing length = 1.5 cm; dissected: aedeagus with downward pointing process
Recorded by: Steve Hall on 1993-07-20
Washington Co.
Comment: Male, wingspan = 3.6 cm, fore-wing length = 1.5 cm; dissected: aedeagus with downward pointing process
Recorded by: Steve Hall on 1992-08-02
Granville Co.
Comment: Male; wingspan = 3.8 cm; fore-wing length = 1.8 cm; det. D. Schweitzer
Recorded by: Steve Hall on 1992-08-02
Granville Co.
Comment: female; wingspan = 3.5 cm; fore-wing length = 1.5 cm
Recorded by: Steve Hall on 1992-06-02
Granville Co.
Comment: male; wingspan = 3.9 cm; fore-wing length = 1.7 cm