Moths of North Carolina
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View PDFMomphidae Members: 8 NC Records

Mompha argentimaculella (Murtfeldt, 1900) - No Common Name



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Taxonomy
Superfamily: Gelechioidea Family: MomphidaeSubfamily: MomphinaeP3 Number: 421815.00 MONA Number: 1426.00
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.
Identification
Field Guide Descriptions: Online Photographs: MPG, BugGuide, iNaturalist, Google, BAMONATechnical Description, Adults: Murtfeldt, 1900; Forbes, 1923Technical Description, Immature Stages: Murtfeldt, 1900                                                                                 
Adult Markings: Mompha argentimaculella is variable in coloration and patterning, in part due to bluish iridescence that may or may not be seen depending on the light angle. The following description is based mostly on that of Murtfeldt (1900) and Forbes (1923). The antenna is dark brown and sometimes has pale annulations that tend to be more prominent near the apical third. The labial palp is pale silvery, with the terminal joint in strong light appearing minutely ringed with dark blue. The head and face are smooth. The head is dark above and the face pale golden-metallic. The head, thorax, and ground color of the forewing are shining dark brown to blackish, with many of the scales toward the apex finely white-barred. There are two prominent dark dorsal tufts near the inner margin. The first is at about one-half the wing length and the second at about three-fourths. There are typically three broad, irregular lead gray fascia that may appear light bluish depending on the light angle. The first occurs just before the first dorsal tuft, while the second is just before the second tuft. The third fascia is between the second tuft and the termen and is noticeably angulated outward. In addition to these markings, a dull yellow spot that adjoins the anterior edge of the second fascia is present just above the costal margin at about one-half the wing. The fringe is dark gray with scattered white-tipped scales. The hindwing and abdomen are rich bronzy brown, with the former having a pale brown fringe. The legs are brown to blackish, and are annulated on the tibia with two broad white bands. The tarsi as blackish with three narrow white bands.
Wingspan: 8 mm (Murtfeldt, 1900)
Adult ID Requirements: Identifiable from good quality photos of unworn specimens.
Immatures and Development: The larvae mine the leaves of evening-primroses. The hatchling initially produces a linear, full-depth track that progressively increases in width with age. The track can be both winding or straight, with the latter common when following a leaf margin. The dark frass is deposited in irregular, scattered or granular fragments. The net effect is to produce a nearly continuous, diffuse frass line. At the end, the mine expands to form a small blotch. The mature larva exits and pupates in a dense, oval, white cocoon, which may be formed against the midrib or in a wrinkle in a leaf (Murtfeldt, 1900; Eiseman, 2019). The mature larva is about 5 mm long, 1.5 mm wide, with a body that tapers slightly in both directions from the middle. Younger larvae are pale yellowish, while mature larvae are pale green to pale reddish, with three more or less distinct pink to reddish stripes (Murtfeldt, 1900; Eiseman, 2019).
Larvae ID Requirements: Identifiable from good quality photos, especially where associated with known host plants.
Distribution in North Carolina
Distribution: Mompha argentimaculella is found in eastern North America, where it has been found at scattered locations in southern Canada (Ontario; New Brunswick) and in adjoining areas of the northeastern US. From there the range extends westward and southward to Illinois, Indiana, Kentucky, and North Carolina, with possibly geographic isolates occurring in Missouri and Texas. As of 2021, we have only a few records from the lower elevations in the mountains and in the eastern Piedmont.
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: Adults have been observed from April through October in areas outside of North Carolina. Populations show evidence of having two generations per year, with the first peaking in May and June and the second in September and October. As of 2021, we have a series of rearing records, with the adults emerging in May, June, and September.
Habitats and Life History
Habitats: Local populations are dependent on evening-primroses and their relatives. The known hosts are often found in open, sunny or partially shaded habitats such as forest openings, rock outcrops, roadsides, abandoned fields, woodland borders and powerline clearings.
Larval Host Plants: The documented hosts are all species of Oenothera, including Common Evening-primrose (O. biennis), Narrowleaf Sundrops (O. fruticosa), Biennial Beeblossom (O. gaura), and Prairie Sundrops (O. pilosella).
Observation Methods: The adults appear to only rarely visit lights and all of our records are based on leaf mines and reared adults. We recommend searching for occupied leaf mines on Oenothera and rearing the adults. They will typically emerge within a month or so after the mines are collected.
Wikipedia
Status in North Carolina
Natural Heritage Program Status:
Natural Heritage Program Ranks: GNR [SU]
State Protection:
Comments: We have only four site records as of 2021, but this species has undoubtedly been undercollected within the state.

 Photo Gallery for Mompha argentimaculella - No common name

Photos: 15

Recorded by: Ken Kneidel on 2021-05-15
Mecklenburg Co.
Comment: A leaf mine in Narrow-leaved Sundrops (Oenothera fruticosa).
Recorded by: Ken Kneidel on 2021-05-15
Mecklenburg Co.
Comment: A leaf mine in Narrow-leaved Sundrops (Oenothera fruticosa).
Recorded by: Ken Kneidel on 2021-05-15
Mecklenburg Co.
Comment: A backlit image of a leaf mine in Narrow-leaved Sundrops (Oenothera fruticosa).
Recorded by: Jim Petranka on 2020-09-15
Madison Co.
Comment: Two adults were reared from Oenothera biennis; mines collected on 25 August; adults emerged on 15 Sept.
Recorded by: Jim Petranka on 2020-08-30
Buncombe Co.
Comment: Occupied mines were common on Oenothera gaura (= Gaura biennis) in disturbed areas along the margin of the French Broad River.
Recorded by: Jim Petranka and Becky Elkin on 2020-06-14
Madison Co.
Comment: An adult that was reared from a leaf mine on Oenothera pilosella.
Recorded by: Jim Petranka and Becky Elkin on 2020-05-24
Madison Co.
Comment: This individual was reared from a mine on Oenothera pilosella that was collected on 2020-04-28; the adult emerged on 2020-05-24.
Recorded by: Jim Petranka and Becky Elkin on 2020-05-24
Madison Co.
Comment: This individual was reared from a mine on Oenothera pilosella that was collected on 2020-04-28; the adult emerged on 2020-05-24.
Recorded by: Jim Petranka and Becky Elkin on 2020-04-28
Madison Co.
Comment:
Recorded by: Jim Petranka and Becky Elkin on 2020-04-28
Madison Co.
Comment:
Recorded by: Jim Petranka and Becky Elkin on 2020-04-28
Madison Co.
Comment: Leaf mines were on Oenothera pilosella; full-depth with dark, granular frass; linear-blotch with exit slit. Larvae were yellowish.
Recorded by: Tracy S. Feldman and Charley Eiseman on 2017-05-31
Durham Co.
Comment:
Recorded by: Tracy S. Feldman on 2017-05-09
Durham Co.
Comment: An occupied mine on Oenothera fruticosa. An adult emerged about 21 days later (see companion photo).
Recorded by: Tracy S. Feldman on 2017-05-09
Durham Co.
Comment: A view of leaf mines on Oenothera fruticosa--larvae make more than one mine before pupating. The mines span the upper and lower surfaces, and have trails of frass. The larvae are pink-orange. An adult was reared from one of these larvae (see companion photo from 2017-05-31).
Recorded by: Tracy S. Feldman on 2017-05-09
Durham Co.
Comment: