Moths of North Carolina
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View PDFMomphidae Members: 3 NC Records

Mompha solomoni Wagner, Adamski & Brown, 2004 - No Common Name

Superfamily: Gelechioidea Family: MomphidaeSubfamily: MomphinaeP3 Number: 421851.00 MONA Number: 1454.20
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.
Field Guide Descriptions: Online Photographs: MPG, BugGuide, iNaturalist, Google, BAMONATechnical Description, Adults: Wagner et al. (2004)Technical Description, Immature Stages: Wagner et al. (2004)                                                                                 
Adult Markings: The following description is based on Wagner et al. (2004). The frons is shiny white and the vertex yellowish white, becoming gray to brownish gray posteriorly on the occiput. The distal portion of the antenna has six white rings of one flagellomere each. Each ring is separated by two or three brown flagellomeres. The ground color of the thorax and forewing is dark gray to brownish gray. There are scale tufts at one-third and three-fourths the wing length that consists of 5-6 rows of erect scales. The basal scale tuft is dark brown, while the outer tuft is white basally and dark brown apically. Lines of dark brown scales often extend from the tufts apically. The costa has three dark brown stigulae at about one-third, two-thirds, and three-fourths. In the discal area of the forewing, there is a conspicuous, elongated, black dash that is usually joined with a white dash along its anterior margin. There is an acutely angled indistinct dark patch with a band of grayish white scales on the apical end of the wing. The hindwing is uniformly grayish brown and the legs have dark banding. This species is similar to M. cephalonthiella and can be most easily separated based on the antenna patterning (only one or two white flagellomeres on the antenna tip of M. cephalonthiella), and by the elongated, black dash in the discal area that is usually joined with a white dash along its anterior margin (both marks are poorly developed or absent in M. cephalonthiella).
Forewing Length: 3.0-3.9 mm for males and 2.7-3.8 mm for females (Wagner et al., 2004).
Adult Structural Features: Wagner et al. (2004) provide detailed descriptions and illustrations of the male and female genitalia, along with comparisons with M. cephalonthiella, which also uses Cephalanthus as a host. In male M. solomoni the anellus has distolateral, curved arms that are absent in M. cephalonthiella. The ventral margin of the valva is entire (notched in M. cephalonthiella), and the sacculus is narrow and acuminate (wide and erose in M. cephalonthiella). In female M. solomoni, the invaginated pockets at the posterolateral corners of tergum VII are much less prominent than in M. cephalonthiella. In M. solomoni, the posterior projections of the lamella postvaginalis are subtriangular, separated by a deep. V-shaped cleft, and preceded by a short, spinose thickening located medially at the anterior end of the cleft (projections rounded, separated by a shallow cleft, and preceded by a long, sclerotinized thickening at the anterior end of cleft in M. cephalonthiella). Furthermore, both of the sclerotized plates associated with the signa are small and crescent shaped in M. solomoni (one or both of the plates are large and round and completely surround the signum in M. cephalonthiella). Finally, a lamella antevaginalis is present in M. solomoni, but absent in M. cephalonthiella.
Adult ID Requirements: Identifiable from good quality photos of unworn specimens.
Immatures and Development: The larvae are specialists on Buttonbush (Cephalanthus occidentalis). The first seasonal brood bores in stems, while later broods mine the leaves. It is not uncommon to have several mines on a single leaf. Hatchlings in the first seasonal brood bore into young shoots just below the apex early in the growing season. The galleries are 15-55 mm long and are filled with dark frass. Boring eventually causes the shoot to wilt, blacken, and drop off of the plant (Wagner et al., 2004). The prepupal larva eventually exits the gallery and pupates externally in leaf litter. A small percentage of adults that emerge may produce a second generation of boring larvae, but most deposit eggs on leaves where the larvae mine. Hatchlings mine from the underside of the leaf to the upperside where they produce linear mines that typically follow veins along much of their length. The larvae often leave their mines and create secondary mines on the leaf. The linear mine eventually enlarges abruptly into an oval or rounded, full-depth blotch. The blotch is usually made either near the leaf edge or near the apex, and is mostly free of frass. The pale yellowish larva turn smoky red before exiting the mine and pupating in a white cocoon in the leaf litter.
Larvae ID Requirements: Identifiable from good quality photos, especially where associated with known host plants.
Distribution in North Carolina
Distribution: Mompha solomoni is found in eastern North America in Quebec and throughout much of the eastern US to as far south as Florida and Texas. Our records as of 2020 are from the eastern Piedmont and western Coastal Plain. Populations are presumably rare or absent from the mountains because of the scarcity of the host plant there.
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 multivoltine, with broods beginning shortly after the spring leaf-out and continuing through the fall.
Habitats and Life History
Habitats: Local populations are only found in association with Buttonbush, which is a wetland species that is found in sunny to partially shaded wetlands. Look for it along pond and lake margins, in marshes and in periodically flooded ditches.
Larval Host Plants: Mompha solomoni is monophagous on Buttonbush (Cephalanthus occidentalis).
Observation Methods: The adults are attracted to mercury vapor and UV-lights, and can be reared from the host plant.
See also Habitat Account for Shoreline Shrublands
Status in North Carolina
Natural Heritage Program Status:
Natural Heritage Program Ranks: GNR SU
State Protection:
Comments: We currently do not have sufficient information on the distribution and abundance of this species within the state to assess its conservation status.

 Photo Gallery for Mompha solomoni - No common name

Photos: 2

Recorded by: Mark Shields on 2021-05-22
Onslow Co.
Recorded by: Harry Wilson on 2014-04-02
Wake Co.