Moths of North Carolina
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View PDFGelechiidae Members:
Coleotechnites Members:
1 NC Records

Coleotechnites canusella (Freeman, 1957) - Banded Jack-Pine Needleminer

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Superfamily: Gelechioidea Family: GelechiidaeSubfamily: GelechiinaeTribe: LitiniP3 Number: 420716.00 MONA Number: 1797.00
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.
Field Guide Descriptions: Online Photographs: MPG, BugGuide, iNaturalist, Google, BAMONA, GBIF, BOLDTechnical Description, Adults: Freeman (1957)                                                                                 
Adult Markings: The following is based on the original description by Freeman (1957). The antenna is annulated with alternating ocherous-white and black bands. The palp of the female is long and upcurved, and the second joint is whitish basally and blackish-fuscous apically. The male has a pronounced whitish tuft on the inner side of the second segment. The face and vertex are shiny white, with a few fuscous scales laterally and dorsally. The thorax and ground of the forewing are dark brownish-gray. The forewing has an obscure, black, raised spot below the fold at the basal one-third that is marked outwardly with a small white dash. A similar spot is present below the fold near the middle. A third is present above the fold at the outer two-thirds, and is bordered by white scales that form a small, distinct, white X. The apical portion of the wing is speckled with white scales and small black dots or crescent-shaped marks. There is a faint white patch on the costa at the middle, and also one at the outer two-thirds. The hindwing is shiny gray. The fringe of both wings is shiny light ocherous-gray. The male has a long, ocherous, hair-pencil arising from beneath the anal angle of the hindwing. The tibia and tarsi are banded with dark-brown and white scales. This species was originally described from material from British Columbia. Specimens conforming to this species based on genitalic characters have been found in many areas of North America, including the southeastern Coastal Plain. Wing patterning is variable across its wide range, and identification of specimens from the Southeast is best achieved by using genitalia.
Wingspan: 10-11 mm (Freeman, 1957)
Adult Structural Features: Freeman (1957) has a description and illustration of the male genitalia.
Adult ID Requirements: Identifiable only by close inspection of structural features or by DNA analysis.
Immatures and Development: The larvae mine the needles of pines, and were originally found on Lodgepole Pine in the West. McLeod (1969) has a detailed life history account based on his studies on a population that used Jack Pine in Quebec. In Quebec, the hatchlings appear in late June or early July and reach maturity by late August. They then drop to the ground beginning in early September and spin loose cocoons in the soil. They overwinter as pupae, and the adults emerge in June. Populations are univoltine. There are four instars, and the young larvae mine pairs of needles. They later chew off needles at their base, bind them together on the basal half, attach them with webbing to the fascicle, then feed on the internal tissues to create a tube. The final instar leaves the tube and moves to a fresh needle pair where it mines internally. Several pairs may be mined and webbed together. McLeod (1969) found that a black, yeast-like fungus, Aureobasidium pullulans, rapidly colonized the needles that were killed or injured by the larvae, and that the fungus appeared to provide a major source of nutrition for the caterpillars.
Distribution in North Carolina
Distribution: Coleotechnites canusella is found in North America from widely scattered localities. Canadian records include British Columbia, Alberta, Ontario, Quebec, and Price Edward Island (Pohl et al., 2018). Specimens that seem to conform to this species have also been found at southern latitudes, including Arizona, New Mexico, Louisiana, Alabama, South Carolina, and North Carolina. As of 2021, we have a single record from the Coastal Plain. The Coastal Plain populations are poorly studied and their taxonomic status remains to be determined.
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)

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Flight Comments: Freeman (1957) reported that the adults are present during June in British Columbia. Other records are from April through August. Our one record as of 2021 is from 29 June.
Habitats and Life History
Habitats: The adults are associated with pine forests, but the specific hosts that are used in the Southeast are unknown.
Larval Host Plants: Larvae in the West feed on Lodgepole Pine (Pinus contorta), while those in eastern Canada use Jack Pine (P. banksiana; Prentice, 1966). Other pines are undoubtedly used in different areas of the range, but specifics about the hosts that are used in the Southeast are not available. - View
Observation Methods: The adults appear to only occasionally visit lights and many records are based on adults that were reared from infected pines.
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 assess its conservation status.