Moths of North Carolina
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View PDFNepticulidae Members:
Stigmella Members:
3 NC Records

Stigmella procrastinella (Braun, 1927) - No Common Name

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Family: NepticulidaeP3 Number: 160058.00 MONA Number: 102.00
Comments: Members of the genus Stigmella are a group of small leaf-mining moths that typically create linear mines, although a few species form linear-blotch or blotch mines. Newton and Wilkinson (1982) recognized 51 species in their revision on the North American fauna, and new discoveries have since raised the total to around 57 species. Almost all species are specialists and rarely use more than one genus of host plants. Host-specificity, mine characteristics, and genitalic differences are helpful in recognizing closely related forms that are externally similar.
Field Guide Descriptions: Online Photographs: MPG, BugGuide, iNaturalist, Google, BAMONA, GBIF, BOLDTechnical Description, Adults: Wilkinson and Scoble, 1979.                                                                                 
Adult Markings: The following is based primarily on the description in Wilkinson and Scoble (1979). The palps are off-white and lustrous. The antenna extends just beyond half the length of the wing and is grayish purple. The eye-caps are white, and the tuft on the front of head and vertex is orange-ochreous. The collar is whitish. The thorax and abdomen are gray-brown and lustrous. The ground color of the forewing is grayish brown with cupreous, and with more purplish proximally. There is a single biconcave fascia at about two-thirds that is shining silver. The fascia expands on both ends to form a triangular pattern. The fringe is gray, and proximally irrorate with forewing scales which form a band across the terminal cilia. The hindwing is light brownish gray with cupreous reflections, while the fringe is gray with similar reflections. The legs are gray with cupreous reflections.
Wingspan: 5.2 - 6.0 mm (Wilkinson and Scoble, 1979)
Adult Structural Features: Wilkinson and Scoble (1979) provide illustrations and descriptions of the genitalia. In the male, the tegumen is rounded and the saccus is bilobed. The uncus is rounded with a median bifid papilla. The gnathos is in the shape of an inverted "V", with the lateral processes broad at the end, then narrowing to fuse into a single, pointed medial limb. The valves reach the uncus, with the cuiller widely separated from and less pointed than the style. There is an inwardly directed protuberance approximately halfway down each valve. The transtilla has processes consisting of lateral arms that extend deeply. The aedeagus has a densely spinose and denticulate cornutus.

In the female, the ductus bursae is longer than the apophyses. The bursa copulatrix, or accessory sac, has a signum that comprises an irregular patch of heavily sclerotized denticles. The apophyses broaden basally in both pairs and extend approximately two-thirds the length of the ductus. The anteriores are straight, while the posteriores are gently arcuate. Wilkinson and Scoble (1979) note that the genitalia are diagnostic, particularly the uncus, gnathos, and valves in the male, and the signa in the female.
Immatures and Development: The larvae form linear upper-surface mines on chestnuts, and at least one oak species (White Oak). Mines observed by Eiseman (2019) on White Oak in Massachusetts began next to the midrib or a major vein and gradually widen to become 2-3 mm wide at the end. The frass was in a dark central band and the larva exited through a hole on the lower leaf surface. Erik van Nieukerken found mines on chestnuts in North Carolina with frass lines that expanded with time to fill most of the breadth of the mine (see BOLD specimens of mines). His mines were 1–1.4 mm wide at the end (Eiseman, 2019). A mine collected on an American Chestnut from Buncombe Co. by Jim Petranka was similar to those observed by Nieukerken and about 2 mm wide at the end.
Distribution in North Carolina
Distribution: Stigmella procrastinella is found in eastern North America, but the range is poorly documented. A few scattered populations have been found in southeastern Canada (Ontario; New Brunswick; Prince Edward Island; Newfoundland and Labrador), and in Massachusetts, Virginia, and North Carolina. As of 2020, our records for North Carolina are from higher elevations in the mountains.
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
Flight Comments: The flight season is poorly documented. Mines with occupied larvae were found in North Carolina in late September.
Habitats and Life History
Habitats: The habitat requirements are poorly documented. This species is presumably associated with upland hardwood forests. As of 2020, our leaf mine records are from hardwood forests at higher elevations in the mountains.
Larval Host Plants: The hosts are poorly documented, but American Chestnut (Castanea dentata)is used in North Carolina. Eiseman (2019) documented the use of White Oak at a site in Massachusetts.
Observation Methods: We recommend searching for the mines on chestnuts and White Oak and rearing adults may be the best way to obtain specimens.
Status in North Carolina
Natural Heritage Program Status:
Natural Heritage Program Ranks: GNR SU
State Protection:
Comments: This species appears to be rare based on the paucity of specimens or photographs that have been obtained since the species was described in 1927.

 Photo Gallery for Stigmella procrastinella - No Common Name

Photos: 2

Recorded by: Jim Petranka on 2020-10-08
Buncombe Co.
Comment: An unoccupied mine on American Chestnut; width at end about 2.0 mm.
Recorded by: Jim Petranka on 2020-10-08
Buncombe Co.
Comment: n unoccupied mine on American Chestnut; width at end about 2.0 mm.