Moths of North Carolina
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View PDFCosmopterigidae Members: 4 NC Records

Cosmopterix gemmiferella Clemens, 1860 - No Common Name



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Taxonomy
Superfamily: Gelechioidea Family: CosmopterigidaeSubfamily: CosmopteriginaeTribe: [Cosmopterigini]P3 Number: 420370.00 MONA Number: 1490.00
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.
Identification
Field Guide Descriptions: Covell (1984)Online Photographs: MPG; BugGuideTechnical 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 is brown with two silvery lateral lines and a median line. The median line continues onto the thorax, but the lateral lines do not. The scape is white below and brown above. The antenna is dark brown with a white interrupted (dotted) line that extends from the base to one-half the length. From there, the following sequence of segments occurs when moving towards the apex: approximately eleven dark brown segments, four white segments, two partly dark brown segments, two white segments, ten dark brown segments, and eight white segments at the apex. The forewing is golden brown and more prominently so in the apical area. There are four short silvery lines in the basal area. These consist of 1) a subcostal line at one-sixth the wing length that bends from the costa distally, 2) a very short medial line above the fold that extends just beyond the subcostal line, 3) a subdorsal line below the fold that is similar in length to the medial line and starts at the end of the medial, and 4) a dorsal line from beyond the base to one-sixth the wing length. A broad yellow transverse fascia is present beyond the middle, with a costal half that is about twice as wide as the dorsal half. The dorsal half, which is sometimes irrorated by dark brown scales, is bordered at the inner edge by a pale golden metallic tubercular fascia that does not reach the costa. The transverse fascia is bordered at the outer edge by two pale golden metallic tubercular spots, one costal and one dorsal. The dorsal spot is about twice the size of the costal spot and far more towards the base. The outside of the transverse fascia, as well as the inside of both spots, are edged with blackish brown. A broad white costal streak extends from the costal spot to the costa. The apical line in incomplete and is reduced to a small silvery spot on the dorsum in the middle of the apical area, and a broad white streak in the cilia at the apex. The cilia is brown and paler towards the dorsum. The hindwing is brownish gray and the cilia is brown. Cosmopterix gemmiferella is externally similar to C. clandestinella and C. bacata. It differs from C. clandestinella by the presence of white median lines on the head and the thorax, by the golden brown ground color of the forewing, and by the three silver streaks in the basal area which are positioned in an outwardly oblique row (Koster, 2010). It is most easily distinguished from C. bacata by the antenna patterning. In C. gemmiferella, the last eight apical segments are white, compared with the last 14-17 segments in C. bacata.
Forewing Length: 4.5-5.1 mm (Koster, 2010).
Adult Structural Features: The following description of the genitalia is based on Koster (2010). Male genitalia. The right brachium of the uncus is long and stout, with a large semi-circular extension dorsally in the middle. The apical section is long, slightly bent, and gradually tapers distally. The apex is blunt. The left branchium is long and broad, and tapers distally. The valva is short and rounded with the upper margin straight. The lower margin is slightly concave, and the caudal margin is almost rounded. The anellus lobes are very large, parallel-sided, and bent in the middle. The apex is rounded. The aedeagus has a gradually tapering bulbous part that narrows distally to about one-half of the width. The basal part is two-thirds the length of the bulbous part, and the lateral lobes are very short and square. Female genitalia. The posterior edge of sternite VII is concave with a hump in the middle. The sterigma is very long with a narrow projection in the basal half with a 90° ventral turn towards the hump of sternite VII. The apical half is slightly tapering. The ostium is round, wide, and with a narrow sclerotized edge ventrally. The ductus bursae is a little more than half the length of the corpus bursae. The corpus bursae is oval with two tiny crescent-shaped signa.
Adult ID Requirements: Identifiable from photos showing hindwings, abdomen, or other specialized views [e.g., frons, palps, antennae, undersides].
Immatures and Development: The larvae feed on witchgrasses and mine the small basal leaves during the spring. According to Braun (1923) the larva mines almost the entire leaf. When mature and ready to pupate, it enters another lower stem leaf and makes a very short mine that is slight longer than the larva. The mine broadens at its anterior end toward the tip of the leaf, and is lined with silk to form a pupation chamber. It is slightly inflated and visible as a convexity on the upper leaf surface. Feeding mines that Eiseman (2019) observed were in lower stem leaves, lacked frass, and were mostly confined to the lower surface, but with full-depth patches. The pupation chamber is sometimes preceded by a short lower surface track of the same width.
Larvae ID Requirements: Identifiable from good quality photos, especially where associated with known host plants.
Distribution in North Carolina
Distribution: Cosmopterix gemmiferella is widely distributed in eastern North America from Alberta, Ontario, Quebec, and Maine to as far south as Texas, Louisiana and Florida (Hodges, 1978; Koster, 2010; Eiseman 2019). Koster (2010) examined a male specimen from the British Museum of Natural History that was collected in 1883 by Morrison in North Carolina (county unknown). This is the only known record from the state that we are aware of as of 2020.
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 emerge from April to early July and appear to be univoltine (Eiseman, 2019). Adults in southern populations are active from early April to June (Hodges, 1978).
Habitats and Life History
Habitats: The larvae feed on Dichanthelium species that are found in a variety of mesic to dry habitats such as open woods, woodland clearings, and roadsides.
Larval Host Plants: The larvae feed on Witchgrasses (Dichanthelium spp.). The only known hosts are D. acuminatum and D. dichotomum (Eiseman, 2019).
Observation Methods: The adults are attracted to UV lights, and can be reared from Dichanthelium mines.
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: We currently have insufficient data on the abundance and distribution of this species in the state to access its conservation status. As of 2020, we have only one record, and it is historic.

 Photo Gallery for Cosmopterix gemmiferella - No common name

Photos: 8

Recorded by: Jim Petranka on 2021-06-12
Madison Co.
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Recorded by: Jim Petranka on 2021-06-12
Madison Co.
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Recorded by: Jim Petranka on 2021-06-12
Madison Co.
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Recorded by: Jim Petranka and Becky Elkin on 2020-06-27
Madison Co.
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Recorded by: Jim Petranka and Becky Elkin on 2020-06-27
Madison Co.
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Recorded by: Jim Petranka and Becky Elkin on 2020-06-27
Madison Co.
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Recorded by: Kyle Kittelberger on 2020-06-07
Wake Co.
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Recorded by: Kyle Kittelberger on 2020-06-07
Wake Co.
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