Moths of North Carolina
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Cosmopterix Members:
2 NC Records

Cosmopterix astrapias Walsingham, 1909 - No Common Name

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Superfamily: Gelechioidea Family: CosmopterigidaeSubfamily: CosmopteriginaeP3 Number: 420356.00 MONA Number: 1473.00
Comments: Cosmopterix is a very large genus of small, colorful moths that are found on every continent except Antarctica. There are 31 species that are currently recognized in North America, and all are leafminers.
Species Status: Cosmopterix astrapias ranges from Argentina to as far north as Massachusetts. Local populations exhibit minor differences in external characters and genitalia, which Koster (2010) treated provisionally as geographic variation within a single species. A previously described species, C. bendidia, was synonymized with C. astrapias since the external features and the genitalia are identical.
Field Guide Descriptions: Online Photographs: MPG, BugGuide, iNaturalist, Google, BAMONA, GBIF, BOLDTechnical Description, Adults: Koster (2010)                                                                                 
Adult Markings: The following description focuses on forewing and antenna patterning, and is based on a more detailed description presented by Koster (2010). The vertex is shining bronze brown with two white lateral lines. The thorax lacks white lines, but sometimes has a posterior white spot. The antenna is dark brown with a white line near the base that extends to one-third thewing length. From there it changes into an interrupted line to two-thirds the length. This is followed when moving towards the apex by the following sequence of antennal segments: six dark brown segments, one white segment, one blackish white segment, four white segments, ten dark brown segments and seven white segments at the apex. This combination can vary among individuals. The white subapical ring of four segments can be narrowed by a few (partly) brown scales, or widened to six segments and sometimes even followed by a narrow white ring of two segments. The white apex can be reduced by up to three white segments. The forewing is dark olive-brown with a bright orange-yellow transverse fascia midway. A narrow silver fascia borders the orange-yellow fascia basally, and two silver spots border the fascia externally. There are six silver-blue lines in the basal area. These include 1) one that runs along the costa from the base to one-fourth of the wing length, then bends dorsally, 2) one that is slightly in from the costa at one-third, 3) two lines of approximately equal length that are near the medial area at one-fourth, 4) a short line from the base near the dorsal margin that runs diagonally, and 5) a line on the dorsal margin from one seventh to one-third. Finally, there is a silver-blue line that extends along the dorsal margin to the apex that starts beyond the dorsal silver spot. Cosmopterix astrapias specializes on species of Morning-Glory (Ipomoea), and is the only Cosmopterix in North Carolina that uses Ipomoea as a host. Thus, any Cosmopterix reared from Ipomoea in North Carolina can be safely assumed to be this species. The short diagonal line from the base of the forewing near the dorsal margin is diagnostic for this species. The early instar larvae are plain yellowish-white, but the mature larvae have red dorsal and lateral stripes (Eiseman, 2019).
Forewing Length: 3.5-3.8 mm
Adult Structural Features: The following is a description of the genitalia from Koster (2010). Male genitalia. The right brachium of the uncus is rather narrow, and the apical part is slender and gradually tapers distally. The tip has a small hook that sometimes is shorter, thicker, and more abruptly tapering. The left brachium is about one-third of length of the right one or less, and narrows distally. The valva is triangular, and the caudal margin is rounded. The anellus lobes are long and slightly bent. The distal half is one and a half to twice as wide as the basal part, and the apex is blunt. The bulbous part of the aedeagus is almost cylindrical and only slightly narrowing distally. The basal part is very short, more than half the length of the bulbous part, and the lateral lobes are short, semicircular or square. Female genitalia. The posterior edge of sternite VII is concave with a convex projection in the middle. The sterigma is oval or tapered anteriorly. The ostium bursae is semicircular, and the ventral edge is somewhat sinuate. Ventrally, there is a V-shaped sclerotization, and sometimes a short medial ridge. The ductus bursae is about two-thirds of the length of the corpus bursae. The corpus bursae is oval to elongate, with two often small, crescent-shaped signa that are sometimes surrounded by a very weakly sclerotized oval plate.
Adult ID Requirements: Identifiable from good quality photos of unworn specimens.
Immatures and Development: The larvae mine the leaves of Ipomoea species and produce blotch mines. Eiseman (2019) observed that the larvae form irregular, full-depth mines and deposit the frass in a pile on the upper leaf surface. Each larva also constructs a silken tunnel inside the mine in which it retreats when it is disturbed or not feeding. Retreats observed by Eiseman (2019) appeared as elongated green ridges along the major leaf veins. Adults appear to be either univoltine or bivoltine in areas outside of the tropics.
Larvae ID Requirements: Identifiable from good quality photos, especially where associated with known host plants.
Distribution in North Carolina
Distribution: C. astrapias has a very large range that extends from Argentina through Central America to the US. It occurs in the US from Massachusetts south and westward to southern Florida, southern Texas and southern Arizona.
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)

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Immature Dates:
 High Mountains (HM) ≥ 4,000 ft.
 Low Mountains (LM) < 4,000 ft.
 Piedmont (Pd)
 Coastal Plain (CP)

Click on graph to enlarge
Habitats and Life History
Habitats: Populations are restricted to habitats with Ipomoea. Members of this genus are generally found in open, disturbed habitats such as roadsides, fields, fences, and thickets.
Larval Host Plants: This species specializes on Ipomoea, including Common Morning-Glory (I. purpurea) which is native to South America. - View
Observation Methods: The adults appear to rarely visit lights and are perhaps best obtained by rearing adults from mines on Morning Glories.
Status in North Carolina
Natural Heritage Program Status:
Natural Heritage Program Ranks: GNR SU
State Protection:

 Photo Gallery for Cosmopterix astrapias - No common name

Photos: 3

Recorded by: Tracy S. Feldman on 2016-08-30
Scotland Co.
Comment: Leaf mines on the upper surface of a leaf of Ipomoea purpurea.
Recorded by: Tracy S. Feldman on 2016-08-30
Scotland Co.
Comment: A view of the lower surface of Ipomoea purpurea.
Recorded by: Tracy S. Feldman on 2016-08-30
Scotland Co.
Comment: An adult that was reared on Ipomoea purpurea (emerged Oct 7).