Moths of North Carolina
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Keiferia Members:
5 NC Records

Keiferia inconspicuella (Murtfeldt, 1883) - No Common Name



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Taxonomy
Superfamily: Gelechioidea Family: GelechiidaeSubfamily: GelechiinaeP3 Number: 421348.00 MONA Number: 2050.00
Comments: Keiferia is a genus with 18 described species that occur in the New World. Eight species occur in North America, and the remainder mostly in South America.
Species Status: This species is a minor pest of eggplant.
Identification
Field Guide Descriptions: Online Photographs: MPG, BugGuide, iNaturalist, Google, BAMONA, GBIFTechnical Description, Adults: Hayden et al. (2013)Technical Description, Immature Stages: Hayden et al. (2013)                                                                                 
Adult Markings: The head, thorax, labial palps, and ground color of the forewings are all more or less concolorous and vary from ocherous cinereus, to gray with dark gray and yellowish orange mottling. The head and thorax are often slightly paler than the wings, and the labial palp is recurved and only extends to the vertex. The antenna is pale with darker annulations, and about three-fourths the length of the forewing. The forewing sometimes has a few inconspicuous longitudinal streaks, and a marginal row of minute black dots is often evident at the base of the cilia. The hindwing is light to medium gray and trapezoidal with a long fringe of hairs (Murtfeldt, 1881; Hayden et al., 2013). This is a rather nondescript moth and is best identified by either genitalia or rearing from the host plants. The leaf mines are distinctive.
Wingspan: 11-13 mm (Murtfeldt, 1881)
Forewing Length: 5.0-5.5 mm (Hayden et al., 2013)
Adult Structural Features: Hayden et al. (2013) have descriptions and illustrations of the male and female genitalia. The male genitalia have a sickle-shaped uncus with a strongly curved base and an elongate valva with a triangular apex. The posterior margin of the vinculum is shallowly excavated medially with a pair of vestigial hump-like processes. The females have a funnel-shaped antrum and a large sickle-shaped signum.
Adult ID Requirements: Identifiable only by close inspection of structural features or by DNA analysis.
Immatures and Development: Females usually deposit their eggs on the undersides of leaves and the hatchling initially makes a tiny C-shaped linear mine that is about 1 mm long. It soon abandons this and creates a large, full-depth blotch mine. The mine begins at the tip of the leaf or the tip of a large tooth and expands along the leaf margin as a broadening strip (Eiseman, 2019). The larva spins a tough silken gallery inside the mine, and the frass is attached to its outer walls along the edge of the mine. Mining eventually causes the leaf margin to become curled and puffy, and to turn brown and appear to be burned (Murtfeldt, 1881). Sometimes two or more mines coalesce, and are delineated by the long lines of frass that run lengthwise towards the base of the leaf (Eiseman, 2019). Pupation is in a tough, oval cocoon on the ground, and the adults emerge in about 2-3 weeks. Local populations typically have two or three broods per year. The larva is whitish to light yellow initially, then becomes dark green to bluish in the last instars (Capinera, 2020). The head and prothoracic shield are light brown, and the mature larvae are 7-8 mm long.
Larvae ID Requirements: Identifiable from good quality photos, especially where associated with known host plants.
Distribution in North Carolina
Distribution: Keiferia inconspicuella is found primarily in the southeastern and midwestern United States. The range extends as far north as New Jersey and vicinity, and westward to Nebraska, Iowa, Oklahoma and Texas (Hayden et al., 2013). As of 2022, we have three site records from the western Coastal Plain, eastern Piedmont, and a lower elevation site in the Blue Ridge.
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 flight season is poorly documented. The larvae are present on leaves after the host plants are fully leafed out, and there appears to be two or more generations per year. Two adults that Tracy Feldman reared from leaf mines collected in the field emerged on 17 July and 8 August, while Jim Petranka reared adults that emerged on 18 August from a communal mine that was collected on July 29.
Habitats and Life History
Habitats: Carolina Horsenettle is the only known native host. This species tends to be weedy and can be found in open, disturbed habitats such as agricultural fields, construction sites, pastures, vacant lots, power line corridors, and urban walkways.
Larval Host Plants: The only documented hosts are Carolina Horsenettle (Solanum carolinense) and Eggplant (S. melongena).
Observation Methods: The adults occasionally come to lights. We recommend searching for the conspicuous leaf mines on Carolina Horsenettle and rearing the adults.
Wikipedia
See also Habitat Account for General Fields, Gardens, and Ruderal Habitats
Status in North Carolina
Natural Heritage Program Status:
Natural Heritage Program Ranks: GNR S2S4
State Protection:
Comments: As of 2022, we have only a few state records that likely reflect undercollecting. More information is need on the distribution and abundance of this species before we can assess its conservation status.

 Photo Gallery for Keiferia inconspicuella - No common name

Photos: 10

Recorded by: Jim Petranka on 2022-08-18
Madison Co.
Comment: One of two reared adults from a mine on Solanum carolinense (see companion photo of the mine from 2022-07-29).
Recorded by: Jim Petranka on 2022-08-18
Madison Co.
Comment: One of two reared adults from a mine on Solanum carolinense (see companion photo of the mine from 2022-07-29).
Recorded by: Jim Petranka on 2022-08-18
Madison Co.
Comment: One of two reared adults from a mine on Solanum carolinense (see companion photo of the mine from 2022-07-29).
Recorded by: Jim Petranka on 2022-07-29
Madison Co.
Comment: Leaf mine on Solanum carolinense had three larvae inside; larvae were bluish-green with a uniformly light brown head capsule.
Recorded by: Jim Petranka on 2022-07-29
Madison Co.
Comment: Leaf mine on Solanum carolinense had three larvae inside; larvae were bluish-green with a uniformly light brown head capsule.
Recorded by: Jim Petranka on 2022-07-29
Madison Co.
Comment: Leaf mine on Solanum carolinense had three larvae inside; larvae were bluish-green with a uniformly light brown head capsule.
Recorded by: Tracy S. Feldman on 2018-08-08
Wake Co.
Comment: Reared on Solanum carolinense. Adult emerged 8/8/2018.
Recorded by: Tracy S. Feldman on 2018-08-08
Wake Co.
Comment:
Recorded by: Tracy S. Feldman on 2018-07-19
Wake Co.
Comment: A leaf mine on Solanum carolinense (see companion photo of adult that emerged on 2018-08-08).
Recorded by: Tracy S. Feldman on 2018-07-19
Wake Co.
Comment: