Moths of North Carolina
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View PDFNoctuidae Members: 26 NC Records

Metaxaglaea violacea Schweitzer, 1979 - Holly Sallow


Taxonomy
Family: Noctuidae Subfamily: Noctuinae Tribe: Xylenini P3 Number: 932601.00 MONA Number: 9945.20                                                                                  
Comments: One of five species in this genus that occur in North America, all of which have been recorded in North Carolina.
Identification
Field Guide Descriptions: Not in either field guideOnline Photographs: MPG, BugGuideTechnical Description, Adults: Schweitzer (1979)Technical Description, Immature Stages: Schweitzer (1979); Wagner et al. (2011)                                                                                  
Adult Markings: Metaxaglaea semitaria, viatica, and violacea are all medium-large Noctuids with similar wing patterns: dentate postmedian and antemedian lines; large,red-encircled orbicular and reniform spots; and a contrastingly dark band between the postmedian and the subterminal lines. Externally, they differ primarily in color, which can be subtle and highly dependent on the lighting conditions. Violacea has a dark red-brown ground color overlain with a violet iridescence (see Schweitzer, 1979, for details).
Adult Structural Features: Male genitalia are very similar to those of viatica, both possessing long, thin spines at the apex of the valves; in contrast, both australis and semitaria have short spines. Specimens of violacea usually have a dorsal spine on the cucullus on at least one of the valves, whereas they may be completely missing (or present) in viatica; see Schweitzer, 1979, for illustrations as well as more detailed descriptions.
Immatures and Development: Larvae of violacea are usually more bluish-gray than the other Metaxaglaea and possess conspicuous black, post-spiracular tubercles (pinnacula) that are not found in the other species (Schweitzer, 1979; Wagner et al., 2011).
Distribution in North Carolina
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
Habitats and Life History
Habitats: Corresponding to the distribution of American Holly, our records for violacea come from a wide variety of forest habitats, ranging from Maritime Forests to floodplain hardwoods to mountain ridges.
Larval Host Plants: Probably stenophagous. Larvae have been found on American Holly but have also been reared on other evergreen species of Ilex (Wagner et al., 2011).
Observation Methods: Like other Metaxaglaeas, this species appears to come well to both blacklights and bait.
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: Although we still have relatively few confirmed records for this species, it appears to occur across the state, following the distribution of its common host plant. It thus seems relatively secure within the state.

 Photo Gallery for Metaxaglaea violacea - Holly Sallow

Photos: 14

Recorded by: Lori Owenby on 2019-01-03
Catawba Co.
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Recorded by: Jim Petranka and Becky Elkin on 2018-11-30
Madison Co.
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Recorded by: Stephen Hall on 2015-12-23
Orange Co.
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Recorded by: Paul Scharf on 2015-11-17
Warren Co.
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Recorded by: Paul Scharf on 2015-10-14
Warren Co.
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Recorded by: Paul Scharf on 2015-10-14
Warren Co.
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Recorded by: Paul Scharf on 2015-10-06
Warren Co.
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Recorded by: Paul Scharf on 2013-12-15
Warren Co.
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Recorded by: Paul Scharf on 2011-02-24
Warren Co.
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Recorded by: Paul Scharf on 2011-02-17
Warren Co.
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Recorded by: Paul Scharf on 2011-02-01
Warren Co.
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Recorded by: Paul Scharf on 2010-03-09
Warren Co.
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Recorded by: Stephen Hall on 1994-02-20
Dare Co.
Comment: Determined by D.F. Schweitzer. Wingspan = 4.9cm; forewing length = 2.3cm
Recorded by: Stephen Hall on 1992-11-11
Orange Co.
Comment: Wingspan = 5.0cm; forewing length = 2.5cm. This specimen is worn but still has a trace of purplish-red scales in the basal areas of the forewings.