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Larval Zale perculta. Photo by Giff Beaton. Image subject to copyright.
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Zale perculta Franclemont, 1964

Okefenokee 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


Description

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.

Similar Species

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.

Habitat

The species is found in cypress swamps, where the vines of climbing fetterbush (see below) grow.

Diet

The caterpillars are believed to only feed on on climbing fetterbush (Pieris phillyreifolia) (Ericaceae). 

Life History

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. 

Survey Recommendations

Range

The distribution and ecology of the species requires more research, but populations are known from Florida, Georgia and South Carolina. 

Threats

Georgia Conservation Status

Conservation Management Recommendations

References

Authors of Account

Anna Yellin, James Adams

Date Compiled or Updated

Adult. Collected as caterpillar from Wheeler Co., Georgia, emerged February 24, 2020 from pupa, photo by by Lance Durden, Georgia Southern University, Statesboro. Image may be subject to copyright.
Zale perculta, from Alligator Creek WMA, Wheeler Co., just north of Lumber City, March 14-15, 2020. Photo by James K. Adams. All rights reserved.