Notes on an undescribed species of Lithacodia in Alabama

This note summarizes observations of an undescribed species in the genus Lithacodia (Family Noctuidae) in Alabama, particularly at the Wehle Land Conservation Center in Bullock County where I regularly encounter this moth. The few details available on this moth (to my knowledge) can be found on BugGuide (including link to survey results in NC) as well as specimens listed on BOLD.

Over the past 4 years I've photographed individuals encountered on a nightly basis throughout the season and upload those photos to iNaturalist in order to get a better handle on flight times. To date, individuals have been documented on 53 nights from 7 April—24 September, 2018-2021 (see chart below). I haven't kept nightly counts—however I typically will find 1-2 on an average night if present, with at most 3-4 observed on a given night. There appears to be potentially two main flights in spring and summer (with a lull in June).

Lithacodia n sp

The vast majority of encounters (approximately 90%) at the Bullock County site have been found at one location. The light trap at this site is located at a building on a small sandhill upland, bordered by a natural seepage drain that flows into a nearby pond (see photo below). The seepage habitat does contain Arundinaria sp. (river cane) which has been reported as a potential characteristic of preferred habitat.

Undescribed Lithacodia Habitat, Bullock County, Alabama

One other record in Alabama has been recorded in Randolph County by @a24 on May 19, 2020. @kbakkegard, @xylochic627, and @jeffgarner have also contributed images of this undescribed species observed at the Bullock County site. A list of my personal observations can be found here

Thanks to @kyhlaustin for helping me figure out this ID initially

Additional Observations on iNaturalist

NC —
GA —

Posted on August 19, 2021 07:44 PM by johntrent johntrent


Excellent summary. Your Bullock Co. site has an established colony while my sighting so far is a one off. But lots of territory between us that is not much documented.

Posted by a24 about 2 years ago

River Cane here also. I note larva food host is unknown for this undescribed Lithacodia and no caterpillar photos are available. Same for Lithacodia musta - Small Mossy Lithacodia, but Bug Guide has photos of Protodeltote muscosula - Large Mossy Lithacodia caterpillars and says "The larvae feed on swamp grasses, especially saw grass."

You have enough adults at your Bullock Co. site - maybe check out grasses at larva time. Would be great to ID the cat and host plant for this undescribed Lithacodia.

For future cross referencing - could you post a comment to BG with this link. Would pull together most info known of this moth.

Posted by a24 about 1 year ago

Thanks, I added a link to the second photo that shows on BugGuide

Posted by johntrent about 1 year ago

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