Moths of North Carolina
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Common Name:
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View PDFCosmopterigidae Members: 0 NC Records

Cosmopterix delicatella Walsingham, 1889 - No Common Name

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Superfamily: Gelechioidea Family: CosmopterigidaeSubfamily: CosmopteriginaeTribe: [Cosmopterigini]P3 Number: 420362.00 MONA Number: 1480.00
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: The type specimens (N = 2) are from North Carolina (Walsingham, 1889).
Field Guide Descriptions: Online Photographs: MPG, BugGuide, iNaturalist, Google, BAMONATechnical Description, Adults: Hodges, 1978; 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 and dorsal thorax region are pale ochreous-gray with three white lines, including a white median line. The antennal scape is brown above with a white anterior line, and white below. The antenna is grayish brown with a white line from the base to one-quarter the antenna length. This changes into an interrupted line to two-thirds the length (the interruptions in the middle are often indistinct or partly absent). This is followed towards the apex by the following banding sequence: a grayish brown part of approximately ten segments, one white segment, two dark brown segments, two white segments, ten grayish brown segments, four white segments, and four grayish brown segments at the apex. The forewing is grayish brown with four rather broad white lines in the basal area. These consist of 1) a subcostal line from the base to one-third the wing length that slightly bends from the costa, 2) a medial line above the fold that extends from one-sixth to just before the transverse fascia, 3) a subdorsal line below the fold that extends from one-quarter to just beyond the medial line, and 4) a dorsal line from the base to one-third the wing length. A broad yellow transverse fascia is present just beyond the middle that slightly narrows dorsally, and has an irregular apical protrusion. The transverse fascia is bordered by four pale golden-metallic tubercular spots near or at the costa and dorsum. There is also a small subcostal dark spot on the inner edge. The subdorsal spot on the inside is similar in size to the subcostal, but further from the base. The outer spots differ in size and are edged with grayish brown inwardly. The dorsal spot is about twice as large as the costal, and both spots are almost opposite each other. A relatively broad, white costal streak occurs from the outer costal spot to the costa, and a shining white apical line extends from the apical protrusion to the apex. The cilia are grayish brown, but ochreous-gray towards the dorsum. The hindwing is brownish gray, and the cilia are ochreous-gray. Koster (2010) noted that this species is externally very similar to C. callichalca, C. dapifera and C. orthosie. It can be distinguished from C. orthosie by the medial line in the basal area which starts well beyond the base, and by the lack of the costal line and the white streak from the outer dorsal spot into the cilia. It differs in the male genitalia by the broad and flat tip of the right brachium of the uncus, and the semicircular valvae. For a certain identification, examination of the genitalia is necessary.
Wingspan: 10 mm (Walsingham, 1889)
Forewing Length: 4.9 mm (male)
Adult Structural Features: The following description of the male genitalia is based on Koster's (2010) examination of the holotypes. The right brachium of the uncus gradually widens distally. The tip is broad, flat and rectangular, and downwardly bent. The left brachium is broad, and about half the length of the right brachium. The valva is semi-circular, and the upper margin is slightly concave. The anellus lobes are broad and pointed distally. The aedeagus is slender and bottle-shaped. The bulbous part narrows distally to half its width, and the basal part is about half the length of the bulbous part. The lateral lobes are large, semicircular, and about three-quarters of the length of basal part.
Adult ID Requirements: Identifiable only by close inspection of structural features or by DNA analysis.
Immatures and Development: The life history is unknown.
Distribution in North Carolina
Distribution: The type specimens (N = 2) were collected in 1883 from North Carolina (Walsingham, 1889), but the county was not reported. Koster (2010) examined the types and verified that the specimens represent a distinct species. He noted that most records for C. delicatella in the eastern US are dubious since they are not based on the examination of genitalia. Koster (2010) questioned Hodges' (1978) statement that the distribution is from Massachusetts to Florida and west to Mississippi. In his comprehensive study, he found no evidence to support this and provisionally concluded that the two specimens of the type-series in the BMNH from North Carolina are the only certain representatives of this species. The problem is that C. delicatella belongs to a group of species that cannot be separated from each other with certainty by external characters.
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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Habitats and Life History
Habitats: Unknown.
Larval Host Plants: Unknown.
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.