Moths of North Carolina
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Common Name:
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10 NC Records

Frumenta nundinella (Zeller, 1873) - No Common Name

Superfamily: Gelechioidea Family: GelechiidaeSubfamily: GelechiinaeTribe: GnorimoscheminiP3 Number: 421352.00 MONA Number: 2052.00
Comments: Frumenta is a small genus with only three currently recognized species that are found in North America.
Field Guide Descriptions: Online Photographs: MPG, BugGuide, iNaturalist, Google, BAMONA, GBIFTechnical Description, Adults: Murtfeldt (1881)Technical Description, Immature Stages: Murtfeldt (1881)                                                                                 
Adult Markings: The following is based in part on the description by Murtfeldt (1881) and Hayden et al. (2013). The ground color of the head, body and forewings is pale buff to yellowish white, with ocherous to dark gray shadings and a sparse dusting of blackish scales. The labial palp extends beyond the vertex. The second joint is thickened but smooth, and the terminal joint has two broad dusky bands. The forewing has numerous and rather poorly defined dark spots or blotches that produce a somewhat mottled appearance. These tend to be arranged in narrow, inconspicuous longitudinal rows. The region along the dorsal margin has less dark coloration than the remainder of the wing, and a series of 7-10 dark spots are present around the wing tip. The hindwing is grayish yellow or light gray, with a sub-rectangular, rounded apex. The fringe has long hairs that are paler than the wing proper. The abdomen has dense, white scales at the base of the dorsal surface of the first segment and yellowish orange scales on the dorsal surfaces of the first three segments. The legs are pale with darker banding, and the tibia of the hind leg is densely tufted.

Wingspan: 18-19 mm (Murtfeldt, 1881)
Forewing Length: 7.5-9.0 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 an elongate, spatulate-shaped gnathos, and a vinculum with a pair of short and stout, hairy, triangular-shaped processes. Females have a narrow ductus bursae that is nearly as long as corpus bursae, and a small and stubby signum with a blunt apex.
Immatures and Development: The larvae feed on horsenettle and the feeding strategy varies with the brood. The larvae in the first seasonal brood fold the expanding terminal leaves into round, hollow balls that are produced by webbing the young leaves together at their edges. Each leaf ball has a single larva which feeds on the developing buds and the infolded edges of the tender leaves. The full-grown larva constructs an opening in the ball through which the moth can exit, then pupates within a suspended mass of fine webbing. The adult emerges within two weeks, and a second brood of larvae soon follows (Murtfeldt, 1881; Bailey and Kok, 2012). Larvae in the second brood feed in leaf balls if there are no fruits on a plant, but otherwise bore into and consume the pulp and developing seeds in the fruit (Bailey and Kok, 2012). Just before the full grown larva pupates within the hollowed fruit, it forms an exit hole for the adult that is covered by a thin membrane. The mature larvae are 12-15 mm long, and dull yellowish green with a dark-glaucous vesicular stripe. The head and cervical shield is black when young, then lightens to olive brown with age. The prothoracic shield is not banded, and the thoracic legs are usually not pigmented. The body has pale brown pinacula (Hayden et al., 2013). The life cycle of the moth from egg to adult takes about 50 days per generation and the adults from the second brood overwinter (Bailey and Kok, 2012).
Larvae ID Requirements: Identifiable from good quality photos, especially where associated with known host plants.
Distribution in North Carolina
Distribution: Frumenta nundinella is found in eastern North America in the southern and midwestern US to as far north as Ontario. The range in the US extends from Massachusetts and New York southward to Florida, and westward to central Texas, Oklahoma, Missouri, Illinois, and Wisconsin. As of 2021, we have records from the Piedmont and lower elevation sites 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
Flight Comments: The adults overwinter and have been found from March through October in areas outside of North Carolina. Most populations appear to be bivoltine, with the first brood occurring as the host plant begins to leaf out. As of 2021, we have records from mid-June through mid-November.
Habitats and Life History
Habitats: The host plant is a widespread native weedy species that is associated with old fields, cow pastures, roadsides, and ruderal habitats.
Larval Host Plants: The only documented host is Carolina Horsenettle (Solanum carolinense).
Observation Methods: The adults are attracted to lights, and the larvae can be found on Carolina Horsenettle during the summer and early fall.
See also Habitat Account for General Successional Fields and Forblands
Status in North Carolina
Natural Heritage Program Status:
Natural Heritage Program Ranks: GNR S3S4
State Protection: Has no legal protection, although permits are required to collect it on state parks and other public lands.
Comments: As of 2021, we have only eight site records for the state. More information is needed on the distribution and abundance of this species before we can assess its conservation status.

 Photo Gallery for Frumenta nundinella - No common name

Photos: 6

Recorded by: Simpson Eason on 2022-08-03
Durham Co.
Recorded by: tom ward on 2021-09-12
Buncombe Co.
Recorded by: Gary Maness on 2020-11-12
Guilford Co.
Recorded by: Harry Wilson on 2013-09-13
Wake Co.
Recorded by: Jackie Nelson / Doug Blatny on 2012-06-18
Ashe Co.
Recorded by: Kyle Kittelberger on 2012-06-09
Wake Co.