Moths of North Carolina
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Common Name:
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View PDFGelechiidae Members:
Stereomita Members:
3 NC Records

Stereomita andropogonis Braun, 1922 - No Common Name

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Superfamily: Gelechioidea Family: GelechiidaeSubfamily: AnomologinaeP3 Number: 420638.00 MONA Number: 1725.00
Field Guide Descriptions: Online Photographs: MPG, BugGuide, iNaturalist, Google, BAMONA, GBIF, BOLD                                                                                 
Adult Markings: The following is based on Braun's (1922) original description. The head is whitish straw-colored and smooth. The labial palp is also straw-colored, with a dark brown patch near the apex of the second segment outwardly, and a dark brown annulus around the middle of the third segment. The antenna is slightly shorter than the length of the forewing and is pale ocherous, with a narrow brown annulus at the base of each segment. There are four broad blackish bands on the apical half of the stalk that are separated from one another by two or three pale segments. The forewing is pale ocherous and dusted with dark brown scales. These are most dense on the costal and dorsal margins, and in some individuals may resemble diffuse longitudinal streaks. A series of indistinct brownish dots are present along the termen, and a transverse brownish spot is often present in the cilia opposite the extreme apex. The cilia are brownish overall, except for more ocherous coloration along the costa before the apex. The hindwing is pale brown and the cilia is ocherous, with a faint reddish tinge. The legs are ocherous and dusted with brown. The posterior tibia has rough hairs above, and in the middle below. Individuals that are heavily dusted with dark brown scales resemble Batrachedra busiris. The black-banding on the antenna may be the easiest way to distinguish these. On S. andropogonis the bars begin near the middle of the antenna, while on B. busiris they are confined to the apical fourth. The palp also has a conspicuous dark ring on the third segment of S. andropogonis that is absent on B. busiris.

Wingspan: 8.5-9.5 mm (Braun, 1922)
Adult ID Requirements: Identifiable from photos showing hindwings, abdomen, or other specialized views [e.g., frons, palps, antennae, undersides].
Immatures and Development: Braun (1922) reported that the larvae feed in the inflorescences of Little Bluestem, and that the presence of yellowish patches in the flower spikes is a reliable sign that larvae are present. Details about the larval life history were not reported.
Distribution in North Carolina
Distribution: Stereomita andropogonis is found in eastern North America, where the range extends from Massachusetts, New York, Quebec, and Ontario, then southward to the Gulf Coast and westward to central Texas, Oklahoma, and Illinois. As of 2021, we have a single record from near the coast.
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: The adults have been observed from June through September in areas outside of North Carolina. As of 2021, our only record is from September.
Habitats and Life History
Habitats: Little Bluestem is the only known host. This species is widespread in the state in a variety of open, sunny habitats or open woodlands. It generally prefers drier habitats where rank, weedy vegetation is suppressed. Stereomita andropogonis is associated with prairie habitats in many areas of its range (e.g., Metzler, 1997), which likely reflects that fact that Little Bluestem is an important member of many prairie communities.
Larval Host Plants: The only known host is Little Bluestem (Schizachyrium scoparium).
Observation Methods: The adults are attracted to lights. Braun (1922) observed the moths flying around the tops of stems and flower buds in early morning and in the evening. They characteristically landed with the head pointing downward. They were inactive during the middle of the day and rested among the basal leaves. More information is needed on host plant use and the larval ecology and life history of this species.
See also Habitat Account for General Successional and Semi-Natural Grasslands
Status in North Carolina
Natural Heritage Program Status:
Natural Heritage Program Ranks: GNR S1S2
State Protection:
Comments: We currently do not have sufficient information on the distribution and abundance of this species to assess its conservation status within the state.

 Photo Gallery for Stereomita andropogonis - No common name

Photos: 3

Recorded by: David George, Jeff Niznik on 2023-09-04
Orange Co.
Recorded by: John Petranka on 2022-09-12
Orange Co.
Recorded by: Mark Shields on 2019-09-21
Onslow Co.