Moths of North Carolina
Scientific Name:
Common Name:
Family (Alpha):
« »
View PDFCosmopterigidae Members: 20 NC Records

Euclemensia bassettella (Clemens, 1864) - Kermes Scale Moth


Taxonomy
Superfamily: Gelechioidea Family: CosmopterigidaeSubfamily: AntequerinaeTribe: [Antequerini]P3 Number: 420448.00 MONA Number: 1467.00
Comments: Euclemensia is a small genus with five described species, including three from North America. The larvae are unusual in being parasitoids of scale insects.
Identification
Field Guide Descriptions: Covell (1984); Beadle and Leckie (2012)Online Photographs: MPG, BugGuide, iNaturalist, Google, BAMONATechnical Description, Adults: Hodges (1978)Technical Description, Immature Stages: Hollinger and Parks (1919)                                                                                 
Adult Markings: This is a small and very distinctive moth with boldly contrasting black and reddish patterning. The following description is based primarily on those of Forbes (1923) and Hodges (1978). The head, thorax, and ground color of the wings is bronzy-black. The antenna is blackish with a white band on the apical third. The labial palp is recurved, yellowish, and reaches the vertex. The forewing has an extensive area of bold, orangish-red scales that begin on the inner margin at the basal fifth. From there, it extends as a broad, convoluted band to the costa, then posteriorly as a longitudinal subcostal streak to the apex. The hindwing and cilia on both wings are smoky gray. The legs are mostly bronzy-black with whitish spines. Hodges (1978) noted that individuals vary substantially in size, which is positively correlated with the size of the host that is used.
Wingspan: 15 mm (Forbes, 1923)
Forewing Length: 4.0-6.2 mm (Hodges, 1978)
Adult ID Requirements: Identifiable from good quality photos of unworn specimens.
Immatures and Development: The larvae are unusual in being parasitoids of hemipteran scale insects. They exploit species of Kermes and Allokermes, including A. kingii (Hollinger and Parks 1919; Lee and Brown, 2011), which are members of the family Kermesidae. The scale insects typically feed on oaks, and the females produce small gall-like covering beneath which they lay their eggs. The larvae of E. bassettella are internal parasitoids that feed within the scale galls on the female's body tissues. They form a U-shaped chamber in the body of the host, which finally becomes very hard and gall-like (Hollinger and Parks 1919). The caterpillar is white, with a brown head and strongly concave dorsally. The setae are minute and the prolegs are rudimentary. Pupation occurs in the chamber without the construction of a cocoon, and the moth emerges through a circular slit that is cut by the last instar larva (Hollinger and Parks 1919; Forbes, 1923).
Distribution in North Carolina
Distribution: Euclemensia bassettella is found in eastern North America from the New England states and adjoining areas of Canada, southward to southern Florida, and westward to central Texas, Oklahoma, Kansas, and eastern Nebraska. It appears to be less prevalent in the Appalachians Mountains than elsewhere. As of 2021, our records are all from the Coastal Plain and 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
Flight Comments: Adults have been observed from April through October in areas outside of North Carolina, with a seasonal peak from June through August. As of 2021, our records extend from May through September.
Habitats and Life History
Habitats: The larvae feed on scale insects that use oaks as hosts, including species that range from moist habitats such as bottomland forests to dry habitats such as dry ridges and sandy coastal sites.
Larval Host Plants: Local populations depend on scale insects in the genus Kermes and Allokermesthat feed on oaks. Scales with infected larvae have been found on several oak species, including Shingle Oak (Quercus inbricaria), Blackjack Oak (Q. marilandica), Water Oak (Q. nigra), Post Oak (Q. stellata), and Live Oak (Q. virginiana).
Observation Methods: The adults are attracted to lights, and can be easily raised from infected scale insect galls on oaks.
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: This species seems to be somewhat uncommon in the state, perhaps due to its reliance on scale insects for successful reproduction.

 Photo Gallery for Euclemensia bassettella - Kermes Scale Moth

Photos: 16

Recorded by: Dean Furbish on 2021-08-13
Wake Co.
Comment:
Recorded by: R. Newman on 2021-08-09
Carteret Co.
Comment:
Recorded by: Mark Shields on 2021-07-04
Onslow Co.
Comment:
Recorded by: R. Newman on 2021-05-17
Carteret Co.
Comment:
Recorded by: R. Newman on 2021-05-17
Carteret Co.
Comment:
Recorded by: R. Newman on 2021-05-16
Carteret Co.
Comment:
Recorded by: Mark Shields on 2020-07-10
Onslow Co.
Comment:
Recorded by: Mark Shields on 2020-06-18
Onslow Co.
Comment:
Recorded by: Mark Shields on 2019-08-30
Onslow Co.
Comment:
Recorded by: Mark Shields on 2019-06-10
Onslow Co.
Comment:
Recorded by: Mark Shields on 2019-06-10
Onslow Co.
Comment:
Recorded by: Darryl Willis on 2015-07-12
Cabarrus Co.
Comment:
Recorded by: Britta Muiznieks on 2014-05-20
Dare Co.
Comment:
Recorded by: T. DeSantis on 2013-07-26
Camden Co.
Comment:
Recorded by: Harry Wilson on 2012-08-16
Wake Co.
Comment:
Recorded by: Newman, Randy on 2005-06-07
Carteret Co.
Comment: