Moths of North Carolina
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4 NC Records

Mompha annulata (Braun, 1923) - No Common Name

Superfamily: Gelechioidea Family: MomphidaeSubfamily: MomphinaeP3 Number: 421814.00 MONA Number: 1425.00
Comments: The genus Mompha consists of around 46 described species in North America. In addition, numerous species remain to be described that are centered in the southwestern US (Bruzzese et al., 2019). The adults are small moths that have two or more tufts of raised scales on each forewing. The larvae either mine leaves, or bore into the stems, flower buds, flowers, or fruits of their hosts. The majority of species feed on members of the Onagraceae, but others feed on species in the Cistaceae, Lythraceae, Melastomataceae, and Rubiaceae.
Species Status: Mompha annulata is a member of a group of several small "black and white" Mompha species that occur in North America, many of which remain undescribed ( This species was previously known only from Illinois, Indiana, and Ohio before Tracy Feldman discovered a specimen in Wake Co., North Carolina in 2018 that was mining the leaves of Summer Bluet (Houstonia purpurea).
Field Guide Descriptions: Online Photographs: MPG, BugGuide, iNaturalist, Google, BAMONA, GBIF, BOLDTechnical Description, Adults: Braun, 1923                                                                                 
Adult Markings: Braun (1923) described Mompha annulata based on two specimens that she collected in Ohio. The following is based on her description. The labial palp is silvery white inwardly and fuscous outwardly, with two black rings around the third segment. The antenna is fuscous above in the basal half and black in the outer half, with the tip white. Before the tip, there are five white segments that are separated each from the next by two black segments. The face is silvery, but shades darker on the head, which varies from gray metallic to almost black. The thorax and forewing are black. An oblique silvery bar at the basal fourth reaches the fold. Just beyond and a little below the fold there is a patch of black raised scales. At the apical third there is a slightly inwardly oblique silvery fascia, with the scales near the dorsal margin forming a raised patch. A line of silvery scales is present from just before the tip of wing around the apex to the tornus. There are two parallel rows of black-tipped scales in the cilia, and the hindwing and cilia are gray. The legs are black, with the tips of the segments and a median band on the tibia silvery. The abdomen is fuscous above, with the posterior margins of the segments silvery. Terry Harrison (BugGuide) noted that M. annulata is similar to M. argentimaculella but differs in lacking a yellow patch on the costa of the forewing just basal to the apical scale tuft (a yellow patch is present on M. argentimaculella). In addition, the antennal flagellum is prominently ringed with white in M. annulata versus being largely dark or entirely black in M. argentimaculella.
Wingspan: 7 mm (Braun, 1923).
Adult ID Requirements: Identifiable from good quality photos of unworn specimens.
Immatures and Development: The host plants were unknown until Tracy Feldman recently discovered larvae mining Summer Bluet and Oneflower Bedstraw in North Carolina. When mining bluets the larva produces a somewhat convoluted leaf mine that contains a diffuse frass trail. It may make two or more mines on separate leaves before finally pupating. When using Oneflower Bedstraw -- which has much narrower leaves -- the larva eventually mines most of the leaf to produce a blotch.
Larvae ID Requirements: Identifiable from good quality photos, especially where associated with known host plants.
Distribution in North Carolina
Distribution: Mompha annulata is a rarely encountered species that was previously known only from Illinois, Indiana, and Ohio. The populations that were recently discovered in Wake and Orange Cos. (specimen verified by Terry Harrison) appears to be part of a major disjunct from the main range of the species.
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: Very little data is available on the flight season, but records suggest that the adults are active during the late-spring and summer months. As of 2022, we have records for occupied mines for June and July.
Habitats and Life History
Habitats: The two documented host species (Summer Bluet; Oneflower Bedstraw) are generally associated with mesic to somewhat drier forested habitats, as well as a variety of disturbed habitats such as the edges of roadways and along woodland trails.
Larval Host Plants: Larvae have been found feeding on Summer Bluet (Houstonia purpurea) and Oneflower Bedstraw (Galium uniflorum) in North Carolina. - View
Observation Methods: Attempts should be made to locate leaf mines on the host species during the summer months.
Status in North Carolina
Natural Heritage Program Status:
Natural Heritage Program Ranks: [GNR] SU
State Protection:
Comments: Mompha annulata appears to be rare in the eastern US based on the scarcity of records on MPG, BugGuide, BAMONA, and BOLD. As of 2022, we have only two site records for North Carolina. More information is needed before we can accurately assess the conservation status of this species within the state.

 Photo Gallery for Mompha annulata - No common name

Photos: 3

Recorded by: Tracy S. Feldman and Charley Eiseman on 2018-08-09
Wake Co.
Comment: An adult that emerged from leaf mine from 2018-07-22 (see companion photo). Photo by Charley Eiseman.
Recorded by: Tracy S. Feldman on 2018-07-22
Wake Co.
Comment: An occupied blotch mine with a diffuse frass trail on Houstonia purpurea. The larva made at least two mines on separate leaves before pupating. The adult that was reared (see companion photo from 2018-08-09) was the first host record for this species.
Recorded by: Tracy S. Feldman on 2018-07-22
Wake Co.