Moths of North Carolina
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3 NC Records

Stathmopoda elyella Busck, 1909 - Golden Stathmopoda

Superfamily: Gelechioidea Family: OecophoridaeSubfamily: StathmopodinaeP3 Number: 421807.00 MONA Number: 1070.00
Field Guide Descriptions: Online Photographs: MPG, BugGuide, iNaturalist, Google, BAMONA, GBIF, BOLDTechnical Description, Adults: Busck (1909)Technical Description, Immature Stages: Needham (1947)                                                                                 
Adult Markings: The following description is based in part on that of Busck (1909). The labial palps and basal joint of the antenna are golden yellow, while the rest of the antenna is yellowish fuscous with narrow black annulations. The antennal flagellum of the male has long setae along most of its length. The face, head, and thorax are golden yellow., while the ground of the forewing is shining bronzy yellow. On fresh specimens there is a conspicuous dark brown to light fuscous longitudinal streak that extends from the extreme base of the costa inwardly, then along the middle of the wing to the wing tip. The hindwing is light bronzy fuscous and the abdomen is yellow. Both wings have conspicuous, elongated cilia that are most prevalent on the inner margin. The forelegs are dark fuscous and the other legs yellow with fuscous joints. The rear legs have conspicuous spines and the adults characteristically posture when at rest with the rear legs elevated above the substrate.
Wingspan: Alar expanse 11 mm (Busck, 1909)
Adult ID Requirements: Identifiable from good quality photos of unworn specimens.
Immatures and Development: Needham (1947) provided a detailed summary of the larval life history based on his observations in Florida of larvae using the Golden Leather Fern (Acrostichum aureum). The larva feeds on fern spores beneath a constructed shelter. It first clears an area of fern sporangia, and after eating the spores, fastens the remaining fragments together with silk to form a tight sheet-like feeding shelter or 'nest' that stretches over the body like a tarpaulin. The entire nest is about 1.3-2.0 cm long and roundish or oblong in shape. The inside is lined with silk, and on one end a tunnel is made through the leaf to the upper side. The silk-lined tunnel has an extension that lies flat on the upper leaf surface and allows the larva to retreat from the underside when disturbed. Frass is deposited on the outside of the tube extension. The larva pupates within the shelter in a cocoon of dense silk and the adults emerge after about a month.
Larvae ID Requirements: Identifiable from good quality photos, especially where associated with known host plants.
Distribution in North Carolina
Distribution: Stathmopoda elyella is primarily found in coastal areas along the Atlantic Seaboard from Connecticut to southern Florida. The species is relatively common in Florida, but only a few scattered populations have been found farther north in coastal North Carolina, Rhode Island, and Connecticut. There is an apparent disjunct in Illinois ( As of 2022, we have only three records for the state.
County Map: Clicking on a county returns the records for the species in that county.
Flight Dates:
 High Mountains (HM) ‚Č• 4,000 ft.
 Low Mountains (LM) < 4,000 ft.
 Piedmont (Pd)
 Coastal Plain (CP)

Click on graph to enlarge
Flight Comments: The few scattered records that are available span from March through September. We have records from May and September.
Habitats and Life History
Habitats: Populations are dependent on ferns for their successful reproduction, but the specific species that are used outside of Florida are not known.
Larval Host Plants: This species uses the Golden Leather Fern (Acrostichum aureum) in Florida, but it is a subtropical species that does not occur in North Carolina. Terry Harris ( suspected that this species uses Dryopteris in Illinois, but definitive proof is lacking. - View
Observation Methods: The adults occasionally visit lights, and the adults of another Stathmopoda have been collected by gently sweeping ferns. We encourage naturalists to seek out the fern hosts in North Carolina.
See also Habitat Account for General Coastal Plain Fernlands
Status in North Carolina
Natural Heritage Program Status:
Natural Heritage Program Ranks: GNR SU
State Protection:
Comments: This species is somewhat locally common in southern Florida, but has been rarely collected outside of the state. It is presumably rare in North Carolina where we have only two records as of 2020.

 Photo Gallery for Stathmopoda elyella - Golden Stathmopoda

Photos: 4

Recorded by: Erich Hofmann on 2021-05-23
New Hanover Co.
Recorded by: Erich Hofmann on 2020-05-16
Craven Co.
Recorded by: Erich Hofmann on 2020-05-16
Craven Co.
Recorded by: Erich Hofmann on 2020-05-16
Craven Co.