Moths of North Carolina
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0 NC Records

Elachista irrorata Braun, 1920 - No Common Name

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Superfamily: Gelechioidea Family: ElachistidaeSubfamily: ElachistinaeTribe: ElachistiniP3 Number: 421423.00 MONA Number: 1100.00
Field Guide Descriptions: Online Photographs: MPG, BugGuide, iNaturalist, Google, BAMONA, GBIF, BOLDTechnical Description, Adults: Braun (1948, p. 55)Technical Description, Immature Stages: Braun (1948)                                                                                 
Adult Markings: The head is dark gray and densely speckled with black (but easily abraded, and then appearing as if shining gray). The labial palp is blackish below. In the male it is whitish above, or sometimes gray above and scarcely paler than below, with the third segment swollen and abruptly acute. In the female, it is paler above than in the male, with the third segment scarcely swollen. The antennae is black and paler above and slightly thickened in the male. The thorax is dark gray and black speckled. The forewing is rather broad and dark gray, and so densely speckled with black that the general aspect is nearly black. Just beyond one-third, there is a narrow indented or angulated white fascia that is distinct in the female, but often reduced to a few scattered white scales in the male. At two thirds there is a triangular white costal spot. Its apex nearly touches a minute white discal spot, which is often absent. Opposite the triangular costal spot there is a narrower white dorsal spot. Both spots often greatly reduced in the male. The cilia are gray, with the marginal row of black scales projecting into them in a curve so broad as to give the wing a truncated appearance. The hindwing is broad, with the dorsal margin slightly convex before the tip. It is gray and densely irrorated with black. The legs are blackish with the tips of segments and a band near base of the hind tibia white. The abdomen is dark gray above and whitish beneath. Elachista irrorata and E. illectella are very similar. Both males and females of E. irrorata are distinctly black-and white and lack an apical white spot on the forewing. The males and females of E. illectella are sexually dimorphic. The males have a relatively grainy, blurred ground pattern, while the females are distinctly black and white. The females closely resemble E. irrorata males and females but can be distinguished by the presence of a whitish spot at the apex.

Wingspan: 8.2-11 mm (Braun, 1948)
Adult Structural Features: Braun (1948) noted that this species has distinct wing venation in the the forewing that can be used to distinguish it from all other Elachista in the eastern US. The broad curve of the scales around apex, the shape of the hindwing and the bifid sclerotized tip of aedeagus with absence of cornutus also separates E. irrorata from all related species.
Adult ID Requirements: Identifiable from good quality photos of unworn specimens.
Immatures and Development: The larva commonly mines the leaves of grasses. The mine begins as a narrow indistinct pale yellowish green mine that starts low down on the leaf sheath where the larva lies concealed during the day. It eventually extends toward the tip of the leaf. In some cases a short detached mine may be made near the tip of the leaf. The larva is yellow when young, and glaucous above when fully grown. The pupa is attached near the base of the leaf with the head directed toward the stem. The cuticle is dull, the body much flattened, the lateral ridges of the abdomen projecting, and the tubercles on the mesothorax less prominent than those of its allies of which the life history is known.
Distribution in North Carolina
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)

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Habitats and Life History
Habitats: The known hosts are most commonly found in wetland habitats such as freshwater marshes, wet meadows, montane seepage bogs, and stream and river banks, and openings in floodplain forests.
Larval Host Plants: The most common host is Fowl Mannagrass (Glyceria striata), although the type specimen was obtained from Upland Bentgrass (Agrostis perennans).
Status in North Carolina
Natural Heritage Program Status:
Natural Heritage Program Ranks:
State Protection: Has no legal protection, although permits are required to collect it on state parks and other public lands.