Moths of North Carolina
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8 NC Records

Sinoe robiniella (Fitch, 1859) - No Common Name

Superfamily: Gelechioidea Family: GelechiidaeSubfamily: GelechiinaeTribe: GelechiiniP3 Number: 420754.00 MONA Number: 1834.00
Comments: Sinoe was traditionally treated as a monotypic genus that is restricted to the eastern US. It has since been split into four species. In a revision of the genus, Lee and Brown (2012) redescribed S. robiniella and recognized two additional species (S. chambersi; S. kwakae) that occur in North Carolina.
Field Guide Descriptions: Online Photographs: MPG, BugGuide, iNaturalist, Google, BAMONA, GBIFTechnical Description, Adults: Lee and Brown (2012)Technical Description, Immature Stages: Comstock (1880)                                                                                 
Adult Markings: The following is based on the description in Lee and Brown (2012). The head and thorax are white with a mixture with gray and brown scales. The antenna is brownish gray and about two-thirds the length of the forewing. On each flagellomere the basal row of scales is dark brown and the apical row gray. On the labial palp, the outer side of the second segment is dark brown, except for a white apex, while the inner side is dark brown and intermixed with white. The third segment has two black annuli. The ground color of the forewing varies from brown to gray. The costa has two conspicuous brownish black spots at one-third and two-thirds the wing length. Some specimens have a third dark brown spot near the base. The subbasal fascia is dark brown with raised scales, and extends from the dorsum obliquely toward the first costal blotch, but ends at about the middle of the wing. The brown basal patch that extends from the subbasal fascia to the base is either absent or incomplete. The discal cell has a small spot rather than a streak, and a median streak is usually present above the pretornal spot. The preterminal area has a dark brown spot beyond the discal cell. The hindwing is light brown to gray with gray fringe. This species is similar to S. chambersi and S. kwakae and is best separated by phenology and patterning. Sinoe chambersi is active in winter through early spring (typically Jan-March), has dark scaling (basal patch) that extends from the fascia to the wing base, and typically has two dark, longitudinal streaks in the middle of the wing. In contrast, S. robiniella flies later in the year (with perhaps a small period of overlap in April in the Piedmont and Coastal Plain), has dark scaling that is either absent or does not extend from the fascia all the way to the wing base, and has the discal streak reduced to a spot. Sinoe kwakae is similar to S. chambersi, but has dark scaling that does not extend from the fascia all the way to the wing base. This is a more southern form that flies year-round in Florida, Alabama, Mississippi, and other southern locales.
Wingspan: 9-11.4 mm (Lee and Brown, 2012)
Adult Structural Features: Lee and Brown (2012) provide descriptions and illustrations of the genitalia of our three native Sinoe species. Diagnostic features for S. robiniella are the male genitalia with the uncus rounded apically and subequal in length with the gnathos, the vinculum projecting posteriorly as a pair of long, digitiform processes, the valva without a costal part, and the female genitalia having a rhomboid signum and looped ductus bursae. In males the hair pencils and sex scales are also helpful in identifying Sinoe species. Both of these are absent on S. robiniella. On S. kwakae the male lacks a hair pencil at the base of the hindwing, and has yellowish orange sex scales on the anal margin from the base to CuA2, on the cubital vein from near the base to the margin, and on the costal margin. On Sinoe chambersi, the hair pencil is present, and a narrow line of yellowish orange sex scales is present on the anal margin from the base to CuA.
Adult ID Requirements: Identifiable from good quality photos of unworn specimens.
Immatures and Development: Comstock (1880) observed larvae feeding on Black Locust in New York, where they functioned as leaftiers that fed on the leaf surfaces between two webbed leaflets. The larvae were found in late August and began pupating within the webbed leaves from mid-September until the leaves began to drop in mid-October. The reddish brown pupae (and possibly pre-pupal larvae) overwinter in the fallen leaves, and the adults emerge following the spring warm-up (Lee and Brown, 2012). The larvae that Comstock (1880) observed were about 8 mm in length. They were very light green when young, but became darker with age and developed a pink tinge just before pupating.
Larvae ID Requirements: Identifiable from good quality photos, especially where associated with known host plants.
Distribution in North Carolina
Distribution: Sinoe robiniella is found in the eastern US from New York to as far west as Wisconsin, and as far south to Mississippi and Arkansas (Lee and Brown, 2012). In North Carolina, we have records that extend from the Coastal Plain to the higher elevations in the mountains.
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 been collected from April through September in southern latitudes and from late May through August in northern latitudes (Lee and Brown, 2012). As of 2020, our records extend from April through August.
Habitats and Life History
Habitats: Local populations appears to primarily use Black Locust as a host. This species is common in edge habitats such as along roadways or fencerows, but also occurs in mesic hardwood forests in the mountains, particularly where past disturbance has allowed seedlings to become established.
Larval Host Plants: The primary host is Black Locust (Robinia pseudoacacia). There appears to be a valid record of this species using a Gleditsia species (Lee and Brown, 2012), and Robinson et al. (2002) reported Amorpha fruticosa to be a host. However, Lee and Brown (2012) questioned whether the latter record was valid.
Observation Methods: The adults occasionally visit lights, and the bound leaflets have been found on Black Locust.
See also Habitat Account for Locust Groves and Thickets
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 populations within the state to assess the conservation status of this species.

 Photo Gallery for Sinoe robiniella - No common name

Photos: 9

Recorded by: Vin Stanton on 2021-08-04
Buncombe Co.
Recorded by: Jim Petranka and Bo Sullivan on 2021-08-02
Ashe Co.
Recorded by: Jim Petranka and Becky Elkin on 2020-06-26
Madison Co.
Recorded by: Vin Stanton on 2020-05-29
Buncombe Co.
Recorded by: Vin Stanton on 2020-05-29
Buncombe Co.
Recorded by: Vin Stanton on 2019-05-30
Buncombe Co.
Recorded by: Kyle Kittelberger, Brian Bockhahn on 2017-04-12
Gates Co.
Recorded by: B. Bockhahn, P. Scharf, K. Kittelberger on 2015-06-18
Avery Co.
Recorded by: B. Bockhahn, P. Scharf, K. Kittelberger on 2015-06-18
Avery Co.