Moths of North Carolina
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View PDFMomphidae Members: 8 NC Records

Mompha brevivittella (Clemens, 1864) - No Common Name


Taxonomy
Superfamily: Gelechioidea Family: MomphidaeSubfamily: MomphinaeTribe: [Momphini]P3 Number: 421819.00 MONA Number: 1430.00
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, BAMONA, GBIFTechnical Description, Adults: Clemens, 1864; Forbes, 1923Technical Description, Immature Stages: Agrawal et al., 2013                                                                                 
Adult Markings: This is a small moth with an overall brownish wash, and three short, longitudinal dark streaks. The detailed description that follows is based on the descriptions by Clemens (1864) and Forbes (1923). The head and thorax are light brown, with the scales finely white-tipped on the thorax and mostly solid on the head. The antenna is dark fuscous with a yellowish basal joint. The labial palp is grayish to light brown with a brown to blackish bar on the third segment and a black tip. The forewing is light brown and nearly evenly colored, with the scales finely white-tipped. There are three short, longitudinal black dashes near the middle of the wing. These are roughly equally spaced and have several raised scales. The first is in the fold near the base, the second in the cell at about one-half the wing length, and the third near the apex. Each is accompanied by a raised, black, dorsal spot towards the inner margin (often missing in worn specimens). The spots are opposite the first two dashes, and a little before the third dash. The hindwing and cilia are fuscous. The legs are fuscous, with white spots or banding near the joints.
Wingspan: 11 mm (Forbes, 1923)
Structural photos
Immatures and Development: The larvae feed on the developing seeds of evening-primroses, and local populations are univoltine. The females lay eggs on the developing fruits, and the larvae feed entirely inside the fruits on seeds. Agrawal et al. (2013) found that one larva typically destroys about 20% of the seeds per fruit. The larvae pupate within the fruit and emerge in the late summer or fall as adults, leaving a characteristic exit hole near the fruit apex.
Distribution in North Carolina
Distribution: Mompha brevivittella is found in eastern North America, including extreme southern Canada (Alberta; Mannitoba; Ontario; Quebec) and much of the eastern US from Maine southward to Florida, and westward to western Tennessee, Illinois, and Minnesota. An apparent disjunct is present in Colorado. As of 2021, our very limited records are all from the lower elevations in the western mountains.
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: Local populations are univoltine, and have been found from April through October in areas outside of North Carolina. Adult emergence is strongly tied to the time of year when fruits are developing on the host plants. As of 2021, All of our records are from late July through mid-August, with the exception of one October and one November record.
Habitats and Life History
Habitats: Local populations depend on evening-primroses as hosts, particularly Common Evening-primrose. This species is common in open, sunny habitats such as roadsides, powerline corridors, old fields, and woodland edges. it seems to tolerate a wide range of moisture conditions.
Larval Host Plants: This species uses Common Evening-primrose (Oenothera biennis) as its primary host, and presumably other Oenothera species.
Observation Methods: The adults are attracted to lights, and the larvae are often common in the developing fruits of the hosts. We recommending searching for the larvae in hosts and rearing the adults in order to better document host use in North Carolina.
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: As of 2021 we have records from only three counties. This species is presumably more common than our records suggest.

 Photo Gallery for Mompha brevivittella - No common name

Photos: 11

Recorded by: Jim Petranka on 2021-10-15
Madison Co.
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Recorded by: Jim Petranka on 2021-10-15
Madison Co.
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Recorded by: Jim Petranka and Becky Elkin on 2020-08-10
Madison Co.
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Recorded by: Jim Petranka and Becky Elkin on 2020-08-10
Madison Co.
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Recorded by: Jim Petranka and Becky Elkin on 2020-08-01
Madison Co.
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Recorded by: Jim Petranka and Becky Elkin on 2020-08-01
Madison Co.
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Recorded by: Vin Stanton on 2019-08-09
Buncombe Co.
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Recorded by: Vin Stanton on 2019-08-09
Buncombe Co.
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Recorded by: Vin Stanton on 2019-08-09
Buncombe Co.
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Recorded by: Jim Petranka and Becky Elkin on 2019-08-06
Madison Co.
Comment: Verified by dissection by JB Sullivan.
Recorded by: Jim Petranka and Becky Elkin on 2019-08-06
Madison Co.
Comment: