Moths of North Carolina
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Idioglossa Members:
12 NC Records

Idioglossa miraculosa (Frey, 1878) - No Common Name



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Taxonomy
Superfamily: Gelechioidea Family: OecophoridaeSubfamily: StathmopodinaeTribe: [Stathmopodinae]P3 Number: 421810.00 MONA Number: 1072.00
Comments: Idioglossa is a relatively small genus with fewer than a dozen described species that are mostly found in the Old World. Idioglossa miraculosa is the only known member that occurs in the Western Hemisphere.
Identification
Field Guide Descriptions: Online Photographs: MPG, BugGuide, iNaturalist, Google, BAMONA, GBIFTechnical Description, Adults: Forbes (1923)Technical Description, Immature Stages: Microleps.org                                                                                 
Adult Markings: Idioglossa miraculosa is a small, but distinctive moth that typically rests with the wings partially spread to reveal three metallic silvery fascias on the hindwing. It also has a pair of exceptionally long maxillary tufts that extend anteriorly when resting. The following detailed description is mostly based on that of Forbes (1923).

The overall body and forewing coloration varies from light straw to yellowish brown. The palps and maxillary tufts are nearly white, and the exceptionally long maxillary tufts project well forward when a moth is resting. The forewing has an oblique, brownish, v-shaped fascia that is edged with violet-silver at about one third. It is asymmetric and nearer the base on the dorsal margin. A second brownish fascia runs obliquely outward from the beginning of the costal fringe and is edged within with silver. The hindwing is nearly concolorous with the forewing and has three silvery fascias on a darker ground. The fringe of both wings has brown shade at about two-thirds the wing length that produces a conspicuous brown band when the wings are spread. Small dark brown scale-tufts are present in the dorsal fringe of the forewing and hindwing towards the wing base.
Wingspan: 10 mm (Forbes, 1023)
Adult ID Requirements: Identifiable from good quality photos of unworn specimens.
Immatures and Development: The larvae feed on deer-tongue grass and a few other monocots and window-feed from a web spun on the lower leaf surface. After hatching the larva lays down a sheet of silk on the underside of the leaf that is used for protection and as a depository for frass. It then skeletonizes the leaf on both sides of the midrib, which results in two large whitish patches on the upper leaf surface. A silken escape tube is also constructed that runs from the lower side of the leaf through a cut hole to the upper side. The tube expands into a very small silken sheet on the upper side of the leaf (Microleps.org). A larva that is attacked from below can escape through the tube to seek refuge on the upper side.

Shortly before pupating the larva constructs two transverse ridges of frass near the ends of the primary silk sheet that act as supports for the pupal case. It then cuts around the edges of the sheet and rolls itself in the cut sheet to form a tube. The silk tube that is laden with frass is suspended above the leaf surface by using the two ridges of frass as anchors. Pupation occurs inside the silken tube and the adults in the summer broods typically emerged within a few weeks. Larvae from the final seasonal brood overwinter and pupate the following spring (Microleps.org).
Larvae ID Requirements: Identifiable from good quality photos, especially where associated with known host plants.
Distribution in North Carolina
Distribution: Idioglossa miraculosa is restricted to the eastern US. The range extends from central Texas eastward along the Gulf States, then northward to Oklahoma, Missouri, Illinois, Ohio, and Maryland. As of 2022, we have scattered records from all three physiographic provinces.
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
Immature 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: Local populations typically have two or three generations per year, with non-wintering larvae present from May through late August (Microleps.org). Larvae from the final brood overwinter and pupate the following spring.
Habitats and Life History
Habitats: Local populations are restricted to where the host plants are present, particularly witchgrasses. Typical habitats include the margins of swamp forests, bottomland hardwoods, wet ditch lines, and mesic slopes in the mountains.
Larval Host Plants: Deer-tongue Witchgrass (Dichanthelium clandestinum ) appears to be the primary host plant, although other plants are occasionally used (Robinson et al., 2010). As of 2022, our host records for North Carolina are for D. clandestinum, as well as River Oats (Chasmanthium latifolium), Savanna Panicgrass (Phanopyrum gymnocarpon), and Virginia Dayflower (Commelina virginica).
Observation Methods: The adults do not appear to be strongly attracted to lights and local populations are perhaps best documented by searching for feeding signs and cocoons on Dichanthelium and other host plants.
Wikipedia
See also Habitat Account for General Wet Hardwood Forests
Status in North Carolina
Natural Heritage Program Status:
Natural Heritage Program Ranks: [GNR] S3S4
State Protection: Has no legal protection, although permits are required to collect it on state parks and other public lands.
Comments: This species appears to be widespread but uncommon within North Carolina.

 Photo Gallery for Idioglossa miraculosa - No common name

Photos: 20

Recorded by: Jim Petranka and Becky Elkin on 2022-09-08
Clay Co.
Comment: A reared adult from Dichanthelium clandestinum.
Recorded by: Jim Petranka and Becky Elkin on 2022-09-08
Clay Co.
Comment: Adult was reared from a cocoon on Dichanthelium clandestinum; cocoon on August 25; adult emerged on Sept 8, 2022.
Recorded by: Jim Petranka and Becky Elkin on 2022-08-25
Clay Co.
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Recorded by: Jim Petranka and Becky Elkin on 2022-08-25
Clay Co.
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Recorded by: Tracy S. Feldman on 2022-08-17
Durham Co.
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Recorded by: Tracy S. Feldman on 2022-08-17
Durham Co.
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Recorded by: Tracy S. Feldman on 2022-08-15
Durham Co.
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Recorded by: Tracy S. Feldman on 2022-08-15
Durham Co.
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Recorded by: Tracy S. Feldman on 2022-08-15
Durham Co.
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Recorded by: Jim Petranka on 2022-08-07
Madison Co.
Comment: Mine was on a small-seeded Dichanthelium species.
Recorded by: Jim Petranka on 2022-08-07
Madison Co.
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Recorded by: Tracy S. Feldman on 2021-10-02
Orange Co.
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Recorded by: Tracy S. Feldman on 2021-10-02
Orange Co.
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Recorded by: Tracy S. Feldman on 2021-10-02
Orange Co.
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Recorded by: Tracy S. Feldman on 2020-09-08
Scotland Co.
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Recorded by: Tracy S. Feldman on 2020-09-08
Scotland Co.
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Recorded by: Tracy S. Feldman on 2020-09-08
Scotland Co.
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Recorded by: Tracy S. Feldman on 2017-05-17
Durham Co.
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Recorded by: Tracy S. Feldman on 2017-05-17
Durham Co.
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Recorded by: Merrill Lynch on 2011-09-08
Watauga Co.
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