Moths of North Carolina
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View PDFTischeriidae Members: 27 NC Records

Astrotischeria astericola (Braun, 1972) - No Common Name



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Taxonomy
Superfamily: Tischerioidea Family: TischeriidaeP3 Number: 230013.00 MONA Number: 157.00
Comments: Astrotischeria astericola is one of 13 described species of Astrotischeria in North America. Most species feed on members of the Asteraceae.
Identification
Field Guide Descriptions: Online Photographs: MPG, BugGuide, Microleps.orgTechnical Description, Adults: Braun 1972, Eiseman 2019.Technical Description, Immature Stages: Braun 1972, Eiseman 2019.                                                                                 
Adult Markings: The ground color of the forewings varies from clear bright ocher yellow to brownish ocherous and is sometimes dusted with brownish scales (Braun 1972). A band of larger scales extends diagonally across the wing beginning at the basal third of the costa and is often interrupted. A larger band extends from about two-thirds of the costa diagonally and meets a patch of scales at the tornus. The adults closely resemble several other Astrotischeria species and are best identified by their host plants, genitalia, and leaf mine characteristics (Microleps.org). The most convenient way to identify Astrotischeria species is by collecting leaf mines from host plants and keeping them until the adults emerge. Morphologically similar species that can be separated by host plants include A. ambrosiaeella (a specialist on Ambrosia trifida), A. heliopsisella (a specialist on Heliopsis helianthoides and Ambrosia trifida), A. solidagonifoliella (a specialist on Solidago), and A. astericola (a specialist on Symphyotrichum and Eurybia).
Wingspan: 7.5-8.5 mm (Braun 1972).
Adult Structural Features: Braun (1972) provides keys for identifying males and females based on genitalia. Her description of the genitalia follows. Males: The vinculum tapers to a rounded point. The costa of the harpe is developed into a single large curved, and heavily sclerotized, sharp-pointed tooth. The cucullus is slender and setose. The anellus has a deep sinus dorsally, and a pair of sharp spine-like teeth ventrally. The aedeagus is bulbous at the base, with a cornutus that forks near mid-length into thin, rapidly narrowing, acuminate forks. The socii are slender elongate setose lobes that do not exceed the forks of the uncus. The forks of the uncus are narrowly triangular and sharp-pointed. Females: The ovipositor lobes are densely clothed with short peg setae that are thicker than their distance apart. The lateral lobes are small and the setae long. The sex opening is concealed by a sclerotized projection of the anterior margin. The posterior apophyses are slender. Sternite of 8 scarcely produced and forking into the slender curved arms of the patibulum. The bases of the prela are slender. The outer half of the distal slender section is enlarged and curved and presses into the enlarged portion of the ductus bursae.
Immatures and Development: The larvae mine the leaves of several species of native asters that are found in forests or along forest edges. Females lay eggs on the upper surfaces of the leaves and the early mine is a roundish blotch. The maturing larva expands this to produce an irregularly shaped and more elongated blotch mine that is transparent and lacks frass. Shortly before pupation, the mature larva produces a circular nidus that is outlined with silk. A leaf often has two or more larvae, and the mines may fuse so that much of the leaf is consumed. Adults emerge from the underside of the leaf and the pupal skin is left attached to the leaf surface (Braun 1972; Eiseman 2019).
Larvae ID Requirements: Identifiable from good quality photos, especially where associated with known host plants.
Distribution in North Carolina
Distribution: Braun (1972) noted that this species is a common woodland species that has been long overlooked by lepidopterists. Current locality records are primarily from an area extending from southern Ohio and vicinity to eastern Kentucky, eastern Tennessee and western North Carolina. Eiseman (2019) also reported records from Alberta, Michigan, and Missouri. As of 2020, we have only collected A. astericola from four mountain counties, where it is common along forest roads and other settings that support woodland asters. This species is presumably more widely distributed in forested areas of the Blue Ridge that support native woodland asters.
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
Immature 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: Braun (1972) reported that there are four generations per year in Ohio and vicinity that extend from April through early August. Females in the final generation deposit eggs on basal leaves that overwinter in dried leaves on the host plant. We have observed overwintering larvae in the green basal leaves of Symphyotrichum in mid-February in Buncombe Co., and mines with larvae or pupae in late October. As of 2020, our earliest records for occupied mines with non-overwintering larvae is late June.
Habitats and Life History
Habitats: This species favors mesic to drier forests or forest edges that support native asters.
Larval Host Plants: Heartleaf Aster (Symphyotrichum cordifolium), Purplestem Aster (S. puniceum) and Calico Aster (S. lateriflorum) appear to be the most important hosts in North Carolina. These species are widespread in mesic forests and forest edges in the Blue Ridge. Other documented hosts include Thinleaf Late Purple Aster (S. phlogifolium), Crooked-stem Aster (S. prenanthoides), Short's Aster (S. shortii) and Bigleaf Aster (Eurybia macrophylla; Braun 1972, Eiseman 2019).
Observation Methods: The adults do not appear to come to lights or bait traps. They are best obtained by collecting and holding leaves with leaf mines until the adults emerge.
Wikipedia
Status in North Carolina
Natural Heritage Program Status:
Natural Heritage Program Ranks: [GNR][S3S5]
State Protection: Has no legal protection, although permits are required to collect it on state parks and other public lands.
Comments: As of 2021, we only have records for four counties in the state, but that is very likely due to lack of effective surveying efforts. One of the primary host plants, Symphyotrichum cordifolium, is ranked G5 S4 and the moth may turn out to be even more common and widespread than that since it can feed on other asters as well.

 Photo Gallery for Astrotischeria astericola - No common name

43 photos are available. Only the most recent 30 are shown.

Recorded by: Jim Petranka and Becky Elkin on 2021-10-25
Buncombe Co.
Comment: Occupied mines were on Symphyotrichum cordifolium.
Recorded by: Jim Petranka on 2021-10-10
Buncombe Co.
Comment: Two occupied mines on Heartleaf Aster (Symphyotrichum cordifolium).
Recorded by: Jim Petranka on 2021-10-10
Buncombe Co.
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Recorded by: Jim Petranka and Becky Elkin on 2021-09-24
Buncombe Co.
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Recorded by: Jim Petranka and Becky Elkin on 2021-09-24
Buncombe Co.
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Recorded by: Jim Petranka and Becky Elkin on 2021-09-12
Madison Co.
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Recorded by: Jim Petranka and Becky Elkin on 2021-09-12
Madison Co.
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Recorded by: Jim Petranka and Becky Elkin on 2021-09-02
Madison Co.
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Recorded by: Jim Petranka and Becky Elkin on 2021-07-23
Graham Co.
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Recorded by: Jim Petranka and Becky Elkin on 2021-07-15
Buncombe Co.
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Recorded by: Jim Petranka on 2020-10-26
Madison Co.
Comment: An occupied mine on Heartleaf Aster (Symphyotrichum cordifolium).
Recorded by: Jim Petranka on 2020-10-25
Madison Co.
Comment: An adult that emerged from an occupied mine that was on Purplestem Aster (Symphyotrichum puniceum); mine collected on 19 Oct (see companion photo).
Recorded by: Jim Petranka and Bo Sullivan on 2020-10-22
Ashe Co.
Comment: An unoccupied mine on Heartleaf Aster (Symphyotrichum cordifolium).
Recorded by: Jim Petranka on 2020-10-19
Madison Co.
Comment: Occupied mine was on Purplestem Aster (Symphyotrichum puniceum); adult emerged on 25 October (see companion photo).
Recorded by: Jim Petranka on 2020-10-19
Madison Co.
Comment: Occupied mine was on Purplestem Aster (Symphyotrichum puniceum)
Recorded by: Jim Petranka on 2020-10-14
Madison Co.
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Recorded by: Jim Petranka on 2020-10-09
Buncombe Co.
Comment: An occupied mine on Symphyotrichum cordifolium.
Recorded by: Jim Petranka on 2020-10-08
Buncombe Co.
Comment: An occupied mine on Symphyotrichum cordifolium.
Recorded by: Jim Petranka on 2020-09-21
Henderson Co.
Comment: An occupied mine on Heartleaf Aster (Symphyotrichum cordifolium).
Recorded by: Jim Petranka and Becky Elkin on 2020-09-01
Buncombe Co.
Comment: An occupied mine on Heartleaf Aster (Symphyotrichum cordifolium).
Recorded by: Jim Petranka and Becky Elkin on 2020-08-27
Buncombe Co.
Comment: An occupied mine on Symphyotrichum cordifolium.
Recorded by: Jim Petranka on 2020-07-17
Buncombe Co.
Comment: A backlit view of four mines with pupal chambers on a Heartleaf Aster leaf.
Recorded by: Jim Petranka on 2020-07-17
Buncombe Co.
Comment: A view of the upper leaf surface of a Heartleaf Aster with four mines .
Recorded by: Jim Petranka and Becky Elkin on 2020-06-30
Buncombe Co.
Comment:
Recorded by: Jim Petranka and Becky Elkin on 2020-06-25
Buncombe Co.
Comment: Common on Calico Aster (Symphyotrichum laterifolium); all mines were occupied with one larva per mine.
Recorded by: Jim Petranka and Becky Elkin on 2020-06-25
Buncombe Co.
Comment: Common on Calico Aster (Symphyotrichum laterifolium); all mines were occupied with one larva per mine.
Recorded by: Jim Petranka and Becky Elkin on 2020-02-18
Buncombe Co.
Comment: A view of overwintering larvae in a basal leaf of Symphyotrichum cordifolium. See companion photos of pupae (March 2) and adult (March 13) that emerged.
Recorded by: Jim Petranka and Becky Elkin on 2020-02-18
Buncombe Co.
Comment: A view of pupae in a basal leaf of Symphyotrichum cordifolium. These developed from larvae that were collected on Feb 18. Two adults emerged on March 13.
Recorded by: Jim Petranka and Becky Elkin on 2020-02-18
Buncombe Co.
Comment: An adult that was reared from larvae on Symphyotrichum cordifolium. The larvae were collected on Feb 18 and two adults emerged on March 13.
Recorded by: Jim Petranka on 2019-10-28
Buncombe Co.
Comment: Two adjoining leaf mines on Eurybia divaricata.