Moths of North Carolina
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Holcocera Members:
17 NC Records

Holcocera immaculella McDunnough, 1930 - No Common Name


Taxonomy
Superfamily: Gelechioidea Family: BlastobasidaeSubfamily: BlastobasinaeTribe: HolcoceriniP3 Number: 421752.00 MONA Number: 1221.00
Comments: The genus Holcocera is represented by about 70 species worldwide, with its center of diversity in the New World tropics. There are many undescribed species, including some in the US. A major taxonomic revision of North American forms is needed for this and many other members of the subfamily Blastobasinae.
Species Status: This species is widespread in North America and there are two groups that show significant genetic differentiation (BOLD). This suggests that Holcocera immaculella, as currently recognized, may contain more than one species.
Identification
Field Guide Descriptions: Online Photographs: MPG, BugGuide, iNaturalist, Google, BAMONA, GBIFTechnical Description, Adults: David Adamski                                                                                 
Adult Markings: This is a rather plain species that has forewings that are unmarked. The brownish head region contrasts with the lighter forewings. Note the two-toned thorax that is darker anteriorly. The following description is based primarily on that of McDunnough (1930). The antenna is brownish with faint annulations. The basal joint has a strong pecten, and the male antenna has a distinct notch beyond the basal joint. The labial palp, head, and anterior portion of the thorax are smoky brown, while the posterior portion of the thorax is light yellowish brown and matches the color of the forewing. The head and thoracic region are noticeably darker than the forewing, which is uniformly light yellowish brown and lacks any markings. The hindwing and the fringe on both wings are pale gray to light smoky. The first two pairs of legs are smoky, while the hindleg is paler with light ocherous tufts. The abdomen is gray to yellowish brown above, with narrow transverse blackish bands. Specimens from some areas of the range deviate from the description above by being light charcoal gray rather than yellowish brown. Our specimens are the usual yellowish brown as described above.
Adult Structural Features: McDunnough (1961) has descriptions and illustrations of the male and female genitalia for specimens from eastern Canada (under Holcocerina immaculella).
Adult ID Requirements: Identifiable from good quality photos of unworn specimens.
Immatures and Development: The larvae feed within the cones of conifers and consume the seeds. The larvae have a dark amber head and thoracic shield and a dirty grayish body (see MPG for images).
Larvae ID Requirements: Identifiable only through rearing to adulthood.
Distribution in North Carolina
Distribution: Holcocera immaculella is found throughout a wide area of the US and southern Canada in association with spruce and pine forests. Western populations are genetically distinct (BOLD) and may constitute an undescribed species. In the East, populations occur from the northeastern US and adjoining areas of southern Canada westward to Minnesota and Michigan, and southward to Florida, Louisiana, eastern Texas and Arkansas. We have records from all three physiographic regions of the state.
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: Adults have been observed from March through August in areas outside of North Carolina, with a peak in seasonal activity in June and July. As of 2021, our records extend from May through August.
Habitats and Life History
Habitats: The larvae feed on conifer seeds, and presumably rely on Eastern White Pine and other pines in North Carolina.
Larval Host Plants: The larvae feed on the seeds and cones of conifers, including pines and spruces. The documented hosts (Robinson et al., 2010) include Douglas Fir (Pseudotsuga menziesii), Black Spruce (Picea mariana), Jack Pine (Pinus banksiana), Lodgepole Pine (P. contorta), Ponderosa Pine (P. ponderosa), Red Pine (P. resinosa), Eastern White Pine (P. strobus), and Scots pine (P. sylvestris). Eastern White Pine is presumably an important host in North Carolina, but other pines are probably used since this species ranges well beyond the southernmost limits of Eastern White Pine.
Observation Methods: The adults are attracted to lights.
Wikipedia
Status in North Carolina
Natural Heritage Program Status:
Natural Heritage Program Ranks: GNR [SU]
State Protection: Has no legal protection, although permits are required to collect it on state parks and other public lands.
Comments: We have a few scattered records from throughout the state. More detailed information is needed on the distribution, abundance, and habitat use before we can assess the conservation status of this species.

 Photo Gallery for Holcocera immaculella - No common name

Photos: 19

Recorded by: John Petranka on 2022-09-03
Orange Co.
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Recorded by: Gary Maness on 2022-05-20
Guilford Co.
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Recorded by: Gary Maness on 2022-05-20
Guilford Co.
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Recorded by: Jim Petranka on 2022-05-19
Madison Co.
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Recorded by: Dean Furbish on 2022-05-17
Wake Co.
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Recorded by: Jim Petranka on 2022-05-05
Madison Co.
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Recorded by: tom ward on 2022-04-28
Buncombe Co.
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Recorded by: Dean Furbish on 2021-05-22
Wake Co.
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Recorded by: Mark Shields on 2021-05-20
Onslow Co.
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Recorded by: Kyle Kittelberger on 2020-05-14
Moore Co.
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Recorded by: Kyle Kittelberger on 2020-05-14
Moore Co.
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Recorded by: Jim Petranka on 2019-05-21
Madison Co.
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Recorded by: Jim Petranka on 2019-05-21
Madison Co.
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Recorded by: Jim Petranka on 2019-05-17
Madison Co.
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Recorded by: Jim Petranka on 2019-05-17
Madison Co.
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Recorded by: Darryl Willis on 2017-06-28
Cabarrus Co.
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Recorded by: Kyle Kittelberger on 2013-08-26
Surry Co.
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Recorded by: Kyle Kittelberger on 2013-07-16
Wake Co.
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Recorded by: Ed Corey on 2013-06-05
Bladen Co.
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