Moths of North Carolina
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Gnorimoschema Members:
2 NC Records

Gnorimoschema terracottella Busck, 1900 - No Common Name

Superfamily: Gelechioidea Family: GelechiidaeSubfamily: GelechiinaeTribe: GnorimoscheminiP3 Number: 421259.00 MONA Number: 2005.00
Comments: The genus Gnorimoschema contains over 115 species of small moths. There are more than 80 species in North America, and most are found in the southwestern US. They appear to specialize on members of the Asteraceae and have a diverse array of feeding niches that includes leafminers and gall-makers.
Field Guide Descriptions: Online Photographs: MPG, BugGuide, iNaturalist, Google, BAMONA, GBIFTechnical Description, Adults: (Busck, 1900)Technical Description, Immature Stages: (Busck, 1900)                                                                                 
Adult Markings: This is a distinctly marked small moth, with a white head and thorax that contrast with the reddish brown base of the boldly marked forewing. The following description is based on that of Busck (1900). The antenna is about three-fourths the wing length, finely serrated, and has black and white annulations. The labial palp is white, and the second joint has a divided brush beneath. The third joint is shorter than the second, and has one black annulation just before the apex. The face, head, and thorax are white, and the shoulders reddish brown. The forewing is mostly reddish brown. The costa is white with two lobes of white that reach to near the middle of the wing. The first is narrow and pointed obliquely outward, while the other is large and triangular. At about four-fifths, there is a white costal spot and an opposing white dorsal spot that is smaller. On the fold just beyond the middle there is a small white dot in the reddish brown ground color. The interval between the white lobes and spots, as well as the apical part of wing, is freely dusted with black and purple scales. The cilia are yellow and dusted with black. The hindwing is purplish gray, and the cilia has a yellowish tinge. The abdomen is white with rust-red shadings, and the legs are boldly marked with black and white bands and annuli.

Wingspan: 10 mm (Busck, 1900)
Adult ID Requirements: Identifiable from good quality photos of unworn specimens.
Immatures and Development: Busck (1900) reported that the larvae mine the thick, fleshy leaves of Dune Marsh-elder (Iva imbricata). They produce irregular tracks or blotches and pupate outside the mine in a slight web. The larva is slender, cylindrical, and white with a dark-brown head and light-brown thoracic plate. The full-grown larva is about 10 mm long.
Larvae ID Requirements: Identifiable from good quality photos, especially where associated with known host plants.
Distribution in North Carolina
Distribution: Gnorimoschema terracottella was previously only known from Florida, until it was discovered recently at two sites in coastal 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
Immature 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 in Florida mostly fly from February through May. Our one adult record as of 2021 is from 17 April.
Habitats and Life History
Habitats: Our two records as of 2021 are from coastal dunes. The host plant is a dune species that grows in deep sand.
Larval Host Plants: Dune Marsh-elder (Iva imbricata) is the only known host (Busck 1900; Heppner, 2003). We have one larval record that was also on (Iva imbricata).
Observation Methods: The adults appear to only occasionally visit lights. There are surprisingly few recent records of this species in the US. We recommend searching for the mines on the leaves of Iva imbricata and rearing the adults.
See also Habitat Account for Ocean Beaches and Sand Flats
Status in North Carolina
Natural Heritage Program Status:
Natural Heritage Program Ranks: GNR [S2S3]
State Protection:
Comments: We have two recent records that appear to be elements of a northern disjunct population in North Carolina. The only other known populations are from Florida.

 Photo Gallery for Gnorimoschema terracottella - No common name

Photos: 2

Recorded by: Kyle Kittelberger on 2017-04-17
Carteret Co.
Recorded by: Kyle Kittelberger on 2017-04-17
Carteret Co.