New York Natural Heritage Program
Pine Barrens Zanclognatha
Zanclognatha martha Barnes, 1928

Identifying Characteristics [-]
Compared to most species of the genus, this is a relatively large (25-30 mm), uniformly brownish-gray species with a violet tinge. The forewings and hindwings are about the same color and the outer portion beyond the postmedian line is darker than the basal and median portions of the wings. The dark spot on the forewing varies in intensity. There is otherwise little variation and the species is well illustrated by Rings et al. (1992) and on the Georgia Lepidoptera website. Specimens on which the ground color is not a virtually exact match for those illustrations are some other species. Forbes (1954) also provides a good key, but occasional specimens of the Zanclognatha protumnusalis complex are difficult. They will be browner and not violet tinged but some may approach the size of Z. martha.

Characters Most Useful for Identification [-]
The size and general coloration of the adult are the characters most useful for identification, but this species should be identified only by an expert who is very familiar with this genus. See Forbes (1954) for a description and a good key to this genus. Rings et al. (1992) contains a very good illustration. If the color and size do not match this illustration exactly, then strongly suspect another species.

Best Life Stage for Proper Identification [-]
Only adults can be identified at present.

Behavior [-]
The adults are nocturnal and are readily collected at either bait or blacklights.

Diet [-]
The larvae apparently feed in leaf and needle litter, but their food in the wild has not been documented. It is possible, but not likely, that they feed either on needles or lichens in pine trees.
Pine Barrens Zanclognatha Images
click to enlarge
The Best Time to See
In New York, and throughout much of the range, adults occur mostly from about mid to late July and probably into early August. The more northern unnamed species that sometimes passes for Pine Barrens Zanclognatha west of New York starts in June. A few Z. martha could possibly turn up in late June around Albany in very advanced seasons and the flight season will probably shift to earlier dates in the future. This species does not appear to have a second brood anywhere in its range. The larvae occur from mid-summer to the following June and the pupal stage probably lasts less than a month.
Reproducing Pupae or prepupae present
The time of year you would expect to find Pine Barrens Zanclognatha reproducing (blue shading) and pupae or prepupae present (orange shading) in New York.