Moths of North Carolina
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View PDFGelechiidae Members: 7 NC Records

Coleotechnites coniferella (Kearfott, 1907) - Conifer Coleotechnites Moth


Taxonomy
Superfamily: Gelechioidea Family: GelechiidaeSubfamily: GelechiinaeTribe: GelechiiniP3 Number: 420721.00 MONA Number: 1803.00
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, BAMONA                                                                                 
Adult Markings: The following is based in part on the description by Kearfott (1907a) and Forbes (1923). The head is opalescent-white and the antennae whitish with brown annulations. The labial palp is pale cinereous, and the third joint is ringed with black at the base and tip. The thorax is whitish, and often marked with three small black dots on the posterior dorsal margin. The forewing ground is dirty white to ocherous and dusted with varying levels of light fuscous to darker brown scales. There are three equally-spaced blackish dots with raised scales along the inner margin at about one-fourth, one-half, and three-fourths. There are also three oblique dark, wide, streaks. The first begins on the costal at about one-fifth and slants towards the first scale tuft on the inner margin. The second begins on the costa at about one-half and extends to near the middle of the wing before deflecting rearward and ending below the third raised scale tuft. Both streaks have an extensive zone of whitish scales with darker dusting behind them that accentuates the dark streaks. A small subcostal dot is also usually evident immediately posterior to the first dark streak. The third streak begins on the costa at about three-fourths and has a broad base that narrows as it curves rearward. The posterior margin is lined by a narrow white fascia that acutely angles towards the apex before continuing to the dorsal margin. The apex and fringe are dusted with gray and a series of five or more dark dots are often present around the wing tip. The hindwing and fringe is light brown, and the legs are blackish with white annulations.
Wingspan: 9 mm (Kearfott, 1907a).
Adult ID Requirements: Identifiable from good quality photos of unworn specimens.
Immatures and Development: The larvae are known to feed on pines, but there are no specifics on the life history or ecology. Population appear to be univoltine. The mature larva is about 8 mm long and has a reddish body. The head and thoracic plates are grayish-brown. the legs are black, and the pinacula are darker than the integument (Lindquist, 1963).
Distribution in North Carolina
Distribution: Coleotechnites coniferella is widely distributed in North America, including the West Coast states and a few other scattered localities in the West. In the East, it is most common in the northeastern states and adjoining areas of southern Ontario and Quebec, westward to Illinois, Wisconsin, and Minnesota. Scattered populations have been found in Oklahoma, Louisiana, Alabama, and North Carolina.
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: Adults have be found from May through July in areas outside of North Carolina, with most in June and July. As of 2021, our reords extend from mid-April from near the coast through mid-June in the lower mountains.
Habitats and Life History
Habitats: The larvae feed on pines and local populations can be found in pine or mixed pine-hardwood forests throughout the state.
Larval Host Plants: The hosts are poorly documented. The larvae feed on pines, including Jack Pine (Pinus banksiana) in Canada, but the specific host species that are used in North Carolina are undocumented.
Observation Methods: The adults are attracted to lights. We have much to learn about the larval life history of this and other Coleotechnites species in the Southeast, so we encourage observers to search for the larvae of these and other pine feeders.
Wikipedia
See also Habitat Account for General Pine Forests and Woodlands
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 currently do not have sufficient information on the distribution and abundance of this species to assess its conservation status.

 Photo Gallery for Coleotechnites coniferella - Conifer Coleotechnites Moth

Photos: 11

Recorded by: Jim Petranka on 2021-05-26
Madison Co.
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Recorded by: Jim Petranka on 2021-05-26
Madison Co.
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Recorded by: Jim Petranka and Becky Elkin on 2020-06-17
Madison Co.
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Recorded by: Jim Petranka and Becky Elkin on 2020-05-14
Madison Co.
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Recorded by: Jim Petranka and Becky Elkin on 2020-05-14
Madison Co.
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Recorded by: Kyle Kittelberger on 2020-05-03
Wake Co.
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Recorded by: Jim Petranka and Becky Elkin on 2020-04-17
Madison Co.
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Recorded by: Jim Petranka and Becky Elkin on 2020-04-17
Madison Co.
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Recorded by: Jim Petranka on 2019-04-28
Madison Co.
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Recorded by: Jim Petranka on 2019-04-28
Madison Co.
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Recorded by: Kyle Kittelberger on 2017-04-12
Gates Co.
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