Moths of North Carolina
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View PDFCosmopterigidae Members: 7 NC Records

Walshia similis Hodges, 1961 - No Common Name

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Superfamily: Gelechioidea Family: CosmopterigidaeSubfamily: ChrysopeleiinaeTribe: [Chrysopeleiini]P3 Number: 420325.00 MONA Number: 1619.00
Field Guide Descriptions: Online Photographs: MPG, BugGuide, iNaturalist, Google, BAMONATechnical Description, Adults: Hodges (1978)                                                                                 
Adult Markings: Most of the Walshia in the eastern US cannot be reliably distinguished based on external features and require the examination of genitalia (Hodges, 1978). In addition, W. miscecolorella, which was once thought to be a single species, appears to contain a group of cryptic species (12 BINS currently recognized on BOLD). There are an undetermined number of undescribed species in the W. miscecolorella complex, including at least one that occurs in North Carolina. The following is a general description that applies to all of these cryptic species, including W. floridensis, W. similis, and members of the W. miscecolorella complex. The face and vertex are dark brown. The labial palp is recurved and brownish exteriorly. The antenna is brownish with a whitish tip, and has a pecten that consists of a single scale at the base of the first segment (absent on ; Hodges, 1961). The thorax and basal third of the forewing are dark brown, and the posterior edge of the dark brown area extends obliquely from the costa to the inner margin. It adjoins a broad lighter band at one third to one-half that runs roughly parallel to it from the costa to the inner margin. Beyond the light band there is a darker zone on the apical half. This area is darker than the median band, but lighter than the basal one-third. There are several patches of large raised scales, including a pair of dark patches at one-fifth. The first of these is just below the costa, while the second is just posterior to the first and between the fold and the dorsal margin. At about two-fifths there is a pair of light patches, including one that occurs from the costa to the fold, and a second smaller patch that is just posterior to this and between the fold and the dorsal margin. A final dark patch is often evident at about four-fifths near the middle of the wing. In addition to these prominent patches, there are six small patches that are evenly distributed from the tornus to the apex, and three or four similar patches along the costal margin from about three-fourths to the apex. Many of the patches may be missing in worn specimens. The cilia are fuscous to grayish. The hindwings are dark fuscous and the cilia slightly lighter. The abdomen is dark brown dorsally and pale buff ventrally. The legs are dark brown on the outer surface, shining buff on the inner surface, with light gray to white rings at the middle and apices of the tibiae. The tarsal segments are light gray apically. Hodges (1978) noted that individuals vary in the amount of dark scales on the forewings and that some specimens are very dark. Stilbosis tesquellaresembles this species, but has a light golden region on the head, thorax, and extreme base of the wing and a different pattern of raised patches.
Wingspan: 8-12 mm (Hodges, 1961)
Forewing Length: 5.3 to 6.5 mm (Hodges, 1978)
Adult Structural Features: Hodges (1961a) provides descriptions and illustrations of the male and female genitalia. He notes that W. similis can be separated from W. amorphella, W. miscecolorella, and W. exemplata by the asymmetry of the valvae and by the sharp constriction at the base of the cucullar areas in the male genitalia. It can be separated from W. dispar by the degree of asymmetry: the valvae of W. similis are nearly equal in size, whereas the right valva of W. dispar is about two-thirds the size of the left valva.
Adult ID Requirements: Identifiable only by close inspection of structural features or by DNA analysis.
Immatures and Development: The larval life history is undocumented.
Distribution in North Carolina
Distribution: This species has been found from Martha's Vineyard, Massachusetts, southern Michigan and north-central Illinois southward to South Carolina (Hodges, 1978).
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: Specimens examined by Hodges (1978) were collected between I June and 30 September, with most records from July and August. As of 2021, our North Carolina records extend from 10 August through 30 September.
Habitats and Life History
Habitats: The preferred habitats are unknown.
Larval Host Plants: Members of this genus make stem galls, and mostly use legumes as hosts. The larvae have never been reported for this species, and the host plants are unknown.
Observation Methods: The adults occasionally visit lights.
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 have a series of historical records that were reported by Hodges (1978). This species has not been documented in the state since 1958.