Loading profile. Please wait . . .
Zale percultaOkefenokee Zale Moth
Federal Protection: No US federal protection
State Protection: No Georgia state protection
Global Rank: G2
State Rank: S2
SWAP High Priority Species (SGCN): Yes
Element Occurrences (EOs) in Georgia: 4
Habitat Summary for element in Georgia: Cypress swamps
Zale perculta is one of the two largest species in the genus. The ground color of the forewings is a medium brown. The distinguishing feature of the adult (see photo below) is the pastel green antemedial band, similar coloration in the area of the reniform spot, and also along the subterminal area of both the forewing and hindwing. The wingspan of the species is around 2.25 inches (forewing measurement from base to tip times two). The caterpillar (see above) is unmistakable, with no other species even remotely similar.
The only other Zale species that co-occurs with perculta that has greenish shading is aeruginosa. The greenish shading is distributed similarly on the wings to perculta. However, Z. aeruginosa is a smaller moth (1 5/8 inches wingspan) with a dark brownish black ground color. The only other Zale that is similar in size is the Lunate Zale (Z. lunata), but lunata has no greenish color anywhere.
The species is found in cypress swamps, where the vines of climbing fetterbush (see below) grow.
The caterpillars are believed to only feed on on climbing fetterbush (Pieris phillyreifolia) (Ericaceae).
The known life cycle is one generation annually with mature caterpillars observed in late spring into summer. The adults fly early in the year, from late February into mid-March.
The distribution and ecology of the species requires more research, but populations are known from Florida, Georgia and South Carolina.
Anna Yellin, James Adams