Moths of North Carolina
Scientific Name:
Common Name:
Family (Alpha):
« »
View PDFTischeriidae Members:
Astrotischeria Members:
1 NC Records

Astrotischeria ambrosiaeella (Chambers, 1875) - No Common Name

Superfamily: Tischerioidea Family: TischeriidaeP3 Number: 230006.00 MONA Number: 160.00
Comments: The genus Astrotischeria contains 13 Nearctic species that are leafminers, and most specialize on members of the Asteraceae.
Field Guide Descriptions: Online Photographs: MPG, BugGuide, GBIF, BOLDTechnical Description, Adults: Braun (1972)Technical Description, Immature Stages: Braun (1972)                                                                                 
Adult Markings: The following description of the adults is based on 19 males and 21 females examined by Braun (1972). The face, tuft, and antennal scape are pale clay colored. The cilia in the male is very long, but in the female is short, about as long as the width of a segment and sometimes appressed. The ground color of the forewing is also a pale clay color (sometimes approaching whitish) with some fuscous dusting and dusky markings. The extent of the wing markings, which are formed by streaks and spots of fuscous scales, is variable and sometimes mostly obsolete. The costal margin is darkened to the costal cilia. Near the base of the costa there is a fuscous spot, connected by a diagonal line of scales with a similar spot near the base of the dorsum. From the basal third of the costa, there is an oblique streak that is sometimes broken, and that sometimes forms a spot in the cell. The streak crosses the wing to a fuscous spot on the middle of the dorsum. From the apical third of the costa, a streak that is broad on the costa extends toward a tornal spot. The streak is often broken, or connected with the tornal spot merely by a line of scattered scales. The costa beyond this point is sometimes broadly dusted, but sometimes not dusted. The apical area is sometimes densely dusted, but sometimes without dusting and then pale whitish clay colored. The cilia is usually distinctly roseate at the apex, with a line of dark-tipped scales projecting into them. The hindwing is whitish with a faint clay colored tinge in pale specimens. The hindwing is fuscous with fuscous cilia in dark, strongly marked specimens. The fore and middle legs are fuscous outwardly. The hind leg is whitish in pale specimens, but dusted with fuscous in dark specimens. The abdomen is more or less dusted with fuscous. Astrotischeria ambrosiaeella closely resembles several other Astrotischeria, which all exhibit markedly intraspecific variation in the degree of development of the dusky markings on the forewings. These can vary from being faint to well-developed, with much overlap between species. Identification is best achieved by either raising adults from host plants, examining the male genitalia, or via genetic markers. Two species (A. heliopsisella and A. ambrosiaeella) feed on Giant Ragweed and can be separated based on the color of the nidus (green in A. ambrosiaeella; whitish in A. heliopsisella). Braun (1972) noted that fresh specimens of A. ambrosiaeella have roseate-colored apical cilia, which is a distinguishing character.
Wingspan: 6-7 mm (Braun, 1972)
Adult Structural Features: The following description of the genitalia is from Braun (1972). Males: The vinculum is broadly rounded. The harpe is divided, with the costal area heavily sclerotized. It is broad at the base, then narrows to the costal prongs. Above, it is cylindric, and at the tip is divided into two oppositely directed long, acute teeth. The cucullus is narrow and setose, while the juxta is triangular. The anellus is cylindric with lateral rows of minute setae. The aedeagus is bent at the base, and is divided above the middle into two thin plates. These are sclerotized along their inner margins, and lobed along their outer margins. The socii is slender and sparsely setose, while the forks of the uncus are triangular. Females: The ovipositor and lateral lobes are very small. The peg setae are few and slender. The posterior apophyses are slender and acute at the tips. The anterior margin of the sex opening has a median projection. The anterior margin of segment 8 is long and produced midventrally, then forks into the slender arms of the patibulum. The prela is long and slender to near the tips, then abruptly enlarges into the curved tips, which each bear two minute spines.
Adult ID Requirements: Identifiable from photos showing hindwings, abdomen, or other specialized views [e.g., frons, palps, antennae, undersides].
Immatures and Development: The larvae mine the leaves of ragweeds and form an irregular elongated blotch. The blotch typically is created between two veins, and the lower epidermis of the leaf is loosened. Braun (1972) noted that, when viewed from the upper side of the leaf, all green tissue is eaten except for an oval convex area which remains green. Beneath this is the oval whitish nidus that is attached to the lower epidermis of the leaf. At emergence, the pupa is thrust through the upper or lower epidermis at the beginning of the mine.
Larvae ID Requirements: Identifiable from good quality photos, especially where associated with known host plants.
Distribution in North Carolina
Distribution: Local populations have been documented in California and in Ohio, Kentucky, Pennsylvania, Oklahoma, Missouri, and North Carolina. (Braun, 1972; Eiseman, 2019). As of 2019, we have a single record from Scotland Co.
County Map: Clicking on a county returns the records for the species in that county.
Flight Dates:
 High Mountains (HM) ‚Č• 4,000 ft.
 Low Mountains (LM) < 4,000 ft.
 Piedmont (Pd)
 Coastal Plain (CP)

Click on graph to enlarge
Flight Comments: Braun (1972) reported active mines from July-September, and adults from August-November.
Habitats and Life History
Habitats: Females lay their eggs on ragweeds, which are generally found in disturbed habitats in open, sunny areas. Habitats range from disturbed floodplains and moist fields, to drier habitats such as roadsides, greenways, agricultural fields and garden areas.
Larval Host Plants: The known hosts include Common Ragweed (Ambrosia artemisiifolia), Perennial Ragweed (A. psilostachya), and Giant Ragweed (A. trifida) (Braun, 1972; Eiseman, 2019). As of 2024, we only have records from Common Ragweed. - View
Observation Methods: The adults occasional visit lights, but are difficult to identify without examining genitalia or molecular markers. We recommend searching Giant Ragweed or Common Ragweed during the summer and early fall months, and rearing adults from leaves with active mines.
Status in North Carolina
Natural Heritage Program Status:
Natural Heritage Program Ranks: GNR SU
State Protection:
Comments: We currently do not have sufficient information on the distribution and abundance of this species within the state to determine its conservation status.

 Photo Gallery for Astrotischeria ambrosiaeella - No Common Name

Photos: 3

Recorded by: Tracy S. Feldman on 2016-09-20
Scotland Co.
Recorded by: Tracy S. Feldman on 2016-09-20
Scotland Co.
Recorded by: Tracy S. Feldman on 2016-09-20
Scotland Co.