Moths of North Carolina
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View PDFGelechiidae Members: 75 NC Records

Arogalea cristifasciella (Chambers, 1878) - Stripe-backed Moth


Taxonomy
Superfamily: Gelechioidea Family: GelechiidaeSubfamily: GelechiinaeTribe: GelechiiniP3 Number: 420765.00 MONA Number: 1851.00
Comments: Arogalea is a small genus of New World moths with only seven recognized species. Most have subtropical and tropical affinities, and only one is found in the eastern US.
Identification
Field Guide Descriptions: Beadle and Leckie (2012); Leckie and Beadle (2018)Online Photographs: MPG, BugGuide, iNaturalist, Google, BAMONATechnical Description, Adults: Forbes (1923)Technical Description, Immature Stages: Marquis et al. (2019)                                                                                 
Adult Markings: This is a distinctive small white moth with a bold fascia that projects forward from the costa towards the dorsal margin. The following description is primarily based on the description by Forbes (1923). The head, thorax, and ground color of the forewing are white. The terminal segment of the labial palp is white, and has a sub-basal and sub-terminal black band. The antenna is white with black annulations, and is about two-thirds the forewing length. The most conspicuous mark is a black, oblique fascia that begins on the costa at about two-fifths the wing length and slants forward to the inner margin where it terminates at a black scale tuft. At about three-fifths, there is a black costal spot and a matching dorsal spot and dark scale tuft. A small, black costal spot is also usually present near the wing base. In addition to these large marks, scattered black or fuscous scales are present in the white ground, and faint black spots are often evident around the margin of the wing tip. The hindwing is yellowish, and the legs are white with blackish banding.
Wingspan: 13 mm (Forbes, 1923)
Adult ID Requirements: Identifiable from good quality photos of unworn specimens.
Immatures and Development: The larvae are leaf-tiers on oaks. Carroll and Kearby (1978) found that larvae in Missouri reside in small rhomboid-shaped tents with a thick, white, silk roof. The larvae skeletonize the leaves, and frass is deposited around the margins of the silk nest (Marquis et al., 2019). The adults first fly from March to May, and the larvae are present from April to October. Adults of the second generation are found in July and August, and the pupa of the second generation overwinters. A population in Massachusetts also had two generations per year, one in late May, the other in July (Marquis et al., 2019). Pupation occurred within the silk tents. Forbes (1923) reported that the larvae were an inquiline in galls, but this has not been verified by field observations. The first instar larvae in Missouri are pale without obvious markings, while the middle instars are bright red. The mature larva has a copper-colored head capsule. The prothoracic shield is black along the lateral and posterior margins, but otherwise concolorous with the head. The mesothorax and metathorax are completely pigmented chocolate brown or red. The abdomen is banded, with the anterior half cream-colored, and the posterior half either chocolate brown or red. The anal shield has the posterior margin lined in black (Marquis et al., 2019).
Larvae ID Requirements: Identifiable from good quality photos, especially where associated with known host plants.
Distribution in North Carolina
Distribution: Arogalea cristifasciella is found in eastern North America from New England and extreme southern Canada (Manitoba; Ontario; Quebec) southward to Florida, and westward to central Texas, Oklahoma, Kansas, Illinois, and Wisconsin. This species occurs statewide in North Carolina, although it is uncommon in the Coastal Plain relative to the Piedmont and lower 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: The adults have been found in almost every month of the year, but are mostly on the wing from March through August in areas outside of North Carolina. Local populations are bivoltine in most areas of the range, with the first brood occurring soon after the spring leaf-out, and the second during mid-summer. Our populations are also bimodal, with the first breeding bout peaking in March and April, and the second in July.
Habitats and Life History
Habitats: Local populations depend on oaks and are found in a variety of settings with oak trees. These include semi-wooded residential neighborhoods, as well as oak-hickory forests, mixed pine-hardwood forests, and other forest communities with oaks. Most of the documented hosts are found in mesic to somewhat drier sites.
Larval Host Plants: The larvae specialize on oaks and use a variety of species (Robinson et al., 2010; Marquis et al. 2019). The documented hosts include White Oak (Quercus alba), Scarlet Oak (Q. coccinea), Shingle Oak (Q. imbricaria), Pin Oak (Q. palustris), Post Oak (Q. stellata), Blackjack Oak (Q. marilandica), Chinquapin Oak (Q. muehlenbergii), Northern Red Oak (Q. rubra), and Black Oak (Q. velutina).
Observation Methods: The adults are attracted to lights, and the colorful larvae can be found between layered oak leaves that are tied together.
Wikipedia
See also Habitat Account for General Oak-Hickory Forests
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 is a common and widespread species that appears to be relatively secure in North Carolina.

 Photo Gallery for Arogalea cristifasciella - Stripe-backed Moth

86 photos are available. Only the most recent 30 are shown.

Recorded by: Jim Petranka on 2021-08-06
Madison Co.
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Recorded by: Jim Petranka and Bo Sullivan on 2021-08-02
Ashe Co.
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Recorded by: Ken Kneidel on 2021-08-02
Mecklenburg Co.
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Recorded by: Ken Kneidel on 2021-08-02
Mecklenburg Co.
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Recorded by: tom ward on 2021-07-16
Buncombe Co.
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Recorded by: Jim Petranka on 2021-07-16
Madison Co.
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Recorded by: Jim Petranka on 2021-05-18
Madison Co.
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Recorded by: Jim Petranka on 2021-05-03
Madison Co.
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Recorded by: Simpson Eason on 2021-04-30
Durham Co.
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Recorded by: Gary Maness on 2021-04-26
Guilford Co.
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Recorded by: Jim Petranka on 2021-04-18
Madison Co.
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Recorded by: Gary Maness on 2021-04-12
Guilford Co.
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Recorded by: Steve Hall and Bo Sullivan on 2021-04-07
Moore Co.
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Recorded by: Vin Stanton on 2021-04-07
Buncombe Co.
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Recorded by: Jim Petranka on 2021-04-07
Madison Co.
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Recorded by: Simpson Eason on 2021-04-06
Durham Co.
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Recorded by: Gary Maness on 2021-04-04
Guilford Co.
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Recorded by: Jim Petranka on 2021-04-04
Madison Co.
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Recorded by: Simpson Eason on 2021-03-24
Durham Co.
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Recorded by: Gary Maness on 2021-03-24
Guilford Co.
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Recorded by: David L. Heavner on 2021-03-21
Chatham Co.
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Recorded by: David L. Heavner on 2021-03-21
Chatham Co.
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Recorded by: Simpson Eason on 2021-03-20
Durham Co.
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Recorded by: Gary Maness on 2021-03-13
Guilford Co.
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Recorded by: Stephen Hall on 2021-03-11
Orange Co.
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Recorded by: Jim Petranka and Becky Elkin on 2020-08-15
Madison Co.
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Recorded by: Gary Maness on 2020-07-30
Guilford Co.
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Recorded by: Vin Stanton on 2020-07-28
Buncombe Co.
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Recorded by: Lior Carlson on 2020-07-25
Orange Co.
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Recorded by: Steve Hall on 2020-07-24
Orange Co.
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