Moths of North Carolina
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View PDFGelechiidae Members: 11 NC Records

Coleotechnites albicostata (Freeman, 1965) - White-edged Coleotechnites Moth


Taxonomy
Superfamily: Gelechioidea Family: GelechiidaeSubfamily: GelechiinaeTribe: GelechiiniP3 Number: 420706.00 MONA Number: 1787.00
Comments: The genus Coleotechnites includes 49 very small species that occur in North America. Most species are specialists on conifers and tend to use on a single genus of host plant. Many of the Coleotechnites species have almost identical genitalia that are not very useful in delineating closely related forms (Freeman, 1960; 1965). Freeman (1960) noted that host plants and the mining characteristics often provide the most reliable way to identify closely related species.
Identification
Field Guide Descriptions: Online Photographs: MPG, BugGuide, iNaturalist, Google, BAMONATechnical Description, Adults: Freeman (1965)                                                                                 
Adult Markings: The following is based on the description by Freeman (1965). The head and thorax are smooth and shining ivory-white. The antenna has alternating black and whitish annuli, and is about two-thirds as long as the forewing. The second joint of the labial palp is whitish inwardly and black outwardly, while the apical joint is white with a black apex and a sub-basal black band. The forewing has three equally spaced tufts of dark scales along the inner margin that appear as dots. The ground color is ocherous-white, and there is a broad, black longitudinal streak that extends from the base through the center of the wing almost to the apex. The streak is straight along its lower margin, and somewhat wavy or irregular along its dorsal margin. Just before the middle of the costa there is a very short, black, outwardly-oblique streak. Beyond the middle there is a broader, longer, outwardly-oblique, black streak that tapers from the costa and extends almost to the black longitudinal streak. The apical third of the wing is ocherous-white, with scattered small black spots. The apical fringe scales are speckled with a mixture of ocherous, gray, and black. The fringe of the trailing margin is shiny gray. The hindwing is dirty white with a shiny, slightly ocherous fringe. The abdomen of the male is ocherous above, and that of the female shiny lead colored. The legs are black with ocherous patches and bands.
Wingspan: 9-10 mm (Freeman, 1965)
Adult Structural Features: Freeman (1965) has descriptions and illustrations of the male and female genitalia. The male has a large ocherous hair-pencil that arises from beneath the base of the hindwing.
Adult ID Requirements: Identifiable from good quality photos of unworn specimens.
Immatures and Development: The larva mines the scale-like leaves of junipers, particularly Eastern Red Cedar. The hatchling starts mining at or near the base of a branchlet and works towards the tip. The older larva overwinters in the mine, then continues feeding in the spring. The mined branchlets are loosely tied together, and most of the frass is ejected from the mine entrance (Freeman, 1965). Frass may also be deposited at the tip of a mined branchlet. When full grown, the larva constructs a frass-covered silk ball in which it pupates. These can be found either between the branchlets, or in the apex of a mined branchlet. The larva is greenish gray with pinkish red dorsal bands, an orange-brown head, and a greenish brown prothoracic shield (Eiseman, 2019).
Distribution in North Carolina
Distribution: Coleotechnites albicostata is found in eastern North America. The range extends from Ontario, Quebec, Connecticut, and New Hampshire, southward to Alabama and Mississippi, and westward to central Texas, Oklahoma, and Tennessee. This species occurs statewide in North Carolina, except for perhaps the southeastern portions of the Coastal Plain. Populations require Eastern Red Cedar and other junipers for reproduction, and are only found locally where the hosts occur.
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: Populations are univoltine. The adults have been observed from May through August in areas outside of North Carolina, with a seasonal peak in June and July. As of 2021, our records are from early June through late August.
Habitats and Life History
Habitats: Local populations are found where junipers occur locally. Eastern Red Cedar is the most important host. This species is common in early successional or disturbed habitats such as fencerows, road corridors, and abandoned fields. It is also found in natural areas with thin, dry, rocky soils such as cliff faces and dry ridgelines. This species is a calciphile that thrives in circumneutral or basic soils.
Larval Host Plants: Eastern Red Cedar (Juniperus virginiana) is the most important host, but other junipers such as Southern Red Cedar (J. silicicola) likely serve as hosts. It is uncertain if this species uses any of the ornamental junipers that are used for landscaping in the state.
Observation Methods: The adults are attracted to lights, and the larvae and their damage can be observed on juniper foliage.
Wikipedia
See also Habitat Account for General Cedar Woodlands
Status in North Carolina
Natural Heritage Program Status:
Natural Heritage Program Ranks: GNR [S4S5]
State Protection: Has no legal protection, although permits are required to collect it on state parks and other public lands.
Comments: This species appears to be secure within the state given its statewide distribution and the wide availability of its host plants.

 Photo Gallery for Coleotechnites albicostata - White-edged Coleotechnites Moth

Photos: 15

Recorded by: Vin Stanton on 2020-07-19
Buncombe Co.
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Recorded by: Vin Stanton on 2020-07-19
Buncombe Co.
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Recorded by: Vin Stanton on 2020-07-19
Buncombe Co.
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Recorded by: Rob Van Epps on 2020-06-20
Mecklenburg Co.
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Recorded by: Rob Van Epps on 2020-06-20
Mecklenburg Co.
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Recorded by: Gary Maness on 2019-06-09
Guilford Co.
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Recorded by: Gary Maness on 2019-06-09
Guilford Co.
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Recorded by: Gary Maness on 2019-06-09
Guilford Co.
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Recorded by: Gary Maness on 2019-06-01
Guilford Co.
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Recorded by: Gary Maness on 2019-06-01
Guilford Co.
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Recorded by: Gary Maness on 2019-06-01
Guilford Co.
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Recorded by: B. Bockhahn, P. Coin, C. Sorenson on 2015-07-24
Orange Co.
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Recorded by: B. Bockhahn, K. Kittelberger on 2014-08-31
Washington Co.
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Recorded by: T. DeSantis on 2013-07-14
Camden Co.
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Recorded by: K. Kittelberger on 2012-06-19
Wake Co.
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