Moths of North Carolina
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9 NC Records

Coleotechnites variiella (Chambers, 1872) - No Common Name

Superfamily: Gelechioidea Family: GelechiidaeSubfamily: GelechiinaeTribe: GelechiiniP3 Number: 420753.00 MONA Number: 1833.00
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: Forbes (1923, as Recurvaria variela)                                                                                 
Adult Markings: Despite substantial variation between individuals, this is a distinctively marked Coleotechnites. Note the white palp that lacks annulations, the four black spots along the base of the costal fringe, and the white angulated fascia in the PM region. The following description is based primarily on those of Chambers (1972, p. 187) and Forbes (1923). The head, antenna, and thorax are white. The labial palp is white and lacks annuli, and on some individuals the outer sides may have a slight yellowish cast. The forewing ground color is white, but becomes progressively overlain with golden yellow and fuscous dusting on the apical half. Individuals vary in the degree of dark dusting, which in turn can affect the overall patterning. A narrow line of dark dusting often occurs along the costal margin from the wing base to near one-half the wing length, where it meets a diffuse, curved golden brown bar that curves towards the middle. The bar extends posteriorly and often fuses with the terminus of a second, similar bar that begins on the costa at around three-fourths. In many specimens the region between the bars is completely filled with golden yellow and/or darker dusting and the bars are not evident. There are usually four conspicuous black spots at the base of the costal fringe that have whitish scales immediately in front. An outwardly angulated white fascia is usually present (sometimes incomplete) that begins on the costa just before the anteriormost spot. It projects posteriorly before sharply angling anteriorly to the dorsal margin. The other conspicuous mark is a black scale tuft that is located along the fold about three-fourths the wing length. It often has a few raised whitish scales associated with it.
Wingspan: 8 mm (Forbes, 1923)
Adult ID Requirements: Identifiable from good quality photos of unworn specimens.
Immatures and Development: Busck (1903a) reared a large series from Bald Cypress. The larva ties a few needles together and feed between them, eventually pupating in silk-lined tubes within similar shelters (Eiseman, 2019).
Larvae ID Requirements: Identifiable from good quality photos, especially where associated with known host plants.
Distribution in North Carolina
Distribution: Coleotechnites variiella is found in the eastern US from the Washington, D.C. area southward to Florida, then westward along the Gulf Coast states to eastern Texas and Oklahoma. The range extends northward up the Mississippi Valley to southern Illinois, with a few scattered in Indiana, southwestern Ohio, and Kentucky. As of 2021, we have records only from the northeast corner of the Coastal Plain and the eastern Piedmont.
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 fly during May and June in areas outside of North Carolina. As of 2021, All of our records are from May.
Habitats and Life History
Habitats: Our records all come from cypress-containing habitats. Bald Cypress is often planted as an ornamental, so the range may be expanding to some extent.
Larval Host Plants: This species is a specialist on Bald Cypress (Taxodium distichum) and probably also on Pond Cypress (T. ascendens; Forbes, 1923; Robinson et al., 2010). - View
Observation Methods: The adults appear to occasionally visit lights. More information is needed on the larval ecology and life history, so we encourage naturalists to search for the larvae on Taxodium.
See also Habitat Account for Cypress Swamps and Savannas
Status in North Carolina
Natural Heritage Program Status:
Natural Heritage Program Ranks: GNR S2S4
State Protection: Has no legal protection, although permits are required to collect it on state parks and other public lands.
Comments: Although cypress swamps and savannas have been well-surveyed in North Carolina for macro-moths, the micro-moths associated with these habitats are still too poorly known to estimate their conservation status.

 Photo Gallery for Coleotechnites variiella - No common name

Photos: 7

Recorded by: Gary Maness on 2022-05-26
Guilford Co.
Recorded by: Gary Maness on 2022-05-26
Guilford Co.
Recorded by: Kyle Kittelberger on 2020-05-17
Wake Co.
Recorded by: Kyle Kittelberger on 2020-05-17
Wake Co.
Recorded by: F. Williams, S. Williams on 2014-05-19
Gates Co.
Recorded by: T. DeSantis on 2010-05-16
Camden Co.
Recorded by: T. DeSantis on 2010-05-13
Camden Co.