Moths of North Carolina
Scientific Name:
Common Name:
Family (Alpha):
« »
View PDFBatrachedridae Members:
Homaledra Members:
18 NC Records

Homaledra octagonella (Walsingham, 1882) - Octagonal Casemaker Moth



view caption

view caption
Taxonomy
Superfamily: Gelechioidea Family: BatrachedridaeP3 Number: 421688.00 MONA Number: 1398.00 MONA Synonym: Coleophora octagonella
Comments: Homaledra is a small genus with only four recognized species that are found in the New World. Two apparently undescribed species are present in Florida (Hayden, 2018).
Species Status: This species has traditionally been treated as a species of Coleophora in the family Coleophoridae, but was transferred to a new genus and family (Homaledra; Batrachedridae) based on molecular data and life history characteristics (Baldizzone et al., 2006).
Identification
Field Guide Descriptions: Leckie and Beadle (2018)Online Photographs: MPG, BugGuide, iNaturalist, Google, BAMONA, GBIFTechnical Description, Immature Stages: (Walsingham, 1882)                                                                                 
Adult Markings: This species was originally described from the octagonal cases (Walsingham, 1882), and we are unaware of any formal description of the adults. The head is smooth and shiny white above. The antenna is light tan with a white base, and slightly longer than the forewings. The thorax and ground color of the forewing are creamy white to dull white. The thorax often has a faint dark zone down the mid-line, and the forewing is peppered throughout with dark brown to blackish specks. Two elongated, longitudinal spots are present on the forewing that are just inside the inner margin. The first is at one-half the wing length and the second just before the wing tip. The forewing is narrow and pointed and often has a faint burnished appearance at the tip. There is a series of fine black spots on the apical third that extend from the costa around the termen to the inner margin. The hindwing is narrowly lanceolate and light brown, and the fringe on both wings dull white to light brown. The legs are whitish, and the foreleg has slightly darkened tips.
Forewing Length: Total length around 5.5-6 mm (BugGuide)
Adult ID Requirements: Identifiable from good quality photos of unworn specimens.
Immatures and Development: The larvae have been reported to feed on lichens, but are frequently found on the leaves of various woody plants, as well as boards, twigs, and other substrates. They produce elongated, octagonal cases that taper to a blunt point. Walsingham (1882) noted that the case is constructed of elongate particles of frass that are built up in a symmetrical arrangement. On each flat side of the octagonal, each brick-like particle of frass is woven in so that the end of each one fits exactly between the ends of the two similar bricks of the adjoining faces of the case to its right and left. At the anterior opening of the case, the larvae spins a loose expanded veil of frass that is connected by silk. The veil is arranged so as to protect the head of the feeding larva, and is probably gradually taken up and utilized in making the woven structure of the octagonal case. Larvae with cases have been found during most months of the year. We have larval records from the winter and early spring months, which suggest that the larvae overwinter and resume feeding with the spring warm-up before pupating in early summer.
Larvae ID Requirements: Unmistakable and widely known.
Distribution in North Carolina
Distribution: Homaledra octagonella is found in the southeastern US from central Texas eastward across the Gulf Coast states to Florida, then northward to eastern Tennessee and North Carolina.
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: The adults have been observed from March through September in areas outside of North Carolina, with a seasonal peak in June and July. As of 2021, our three adult records are from June and July. It occurs statewide in North Carolina, except for perhaps the highest elevations in the mountains.
Habitats and Life History
Habitats: The feeding ecology of this species is poorly documented, but the larvae have been reported to feed on lichens on oak trees (BugGuide). The larvae have been found in variety of other settings, including on the leaves of several species of unrelated hardwoods such as Black Cherry and Red Bay. It is uncertain whether they use these as hosts, or are simply wandering in search of pupation sites or other food resources.
Larval Host Plants: The larvae have been reported to feed on lichens which grow on oak trees (BugGuide), but additional observations are needed to confirm this and better document host use.
Observation Methods: The adults occasionally visit lights, but most records are based on the distinctive cases that are often found on vegetation.
Wikipedia
Status in North Carolina
Natural Heritage Program Status:
Natural Heritage Program Ranks: GNR [S4S5]
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 and common in the state, even though it appears to reach its northern range limit in North Carolina.

 Photo Gallery for Homaledra octagonella - Octagonal Casemaker Moth

Photos: 12

Recorded by: Gary Maness on 2022-07-03
Guilford Co.
Comment:
Recorded by: Erich Hofmann and Kayla Weinfurther on 2022-04-29
Columbus Co.
Comment:
Recorded by: Ken Kneidel on 2021-01-04
Mecklenburg Co.
Comment:
Recorded by: Ken Kneidel on 2021-01-04
Mecklenburg Co.
Comment:
Recorded by: Vin Stanton on 2020-07-07
Buncombe Co.
Comment:
Recorded by: J.B. Sullivan on 2020-03-27
Carteret Co.
Comment:
Recorded by: Paul Scharf,B. Bockhahn, C.Mitchell on 2015-06-05
Durham Co.
Comment:
Recorded by: Paul Scharf,B. Bockhahn, C.Mitchell on 2015-06-05
Durham Co.
Comment:
Recorded by: Lenny Lampel on 2014-06-10
Mecklenburg Co.
Comment:
Recorded by: Harry Wilson on 2011-06-14
Wake Co.
Comment:
Recorded by: Newman, Randy on 2008-05-21
Carteret Co.
Comment:
Recorded by: FKW on 2006-05-13
Gates Co.
Comment: