Moths of North Carolina
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View PDFGelechiidae Members: 15 NC Records

Chionodes discoocellella (Chambers, 1872) - Eyeringed Chionodes Moth


Taxonomy
Superfamily: Gelechioidea Family: GelechiidaeSubfamily: GelechiinaeTribe: GelechiiniP3 Number: 421006.00 MONA Number: 2072.00
Comments: The genus Chionodes is the most species rich genus of gelechiid moths in the Western Hemisphere, with 187 recognized species. Our knowledge of the diverse array of species in North America is largely due to the monumental work of Hodges (1999), who spend decades working on the group and described 115 new species (Powell and Opler, 2009). Many exhibit substantial variation within species and have drab coloration, typically with brown, dark gray, or blackish patterning on the forewings. These can only be confidently identified by examining secondary sexual characteristics and/or the genitalia of one or both sexes. Others are more boldly marked and can be identified by wing patterning. Many of our state records are based on Hodges (1999) database of over 19,000 specimens that he examined from major collections in the US. These include North Carolina specimens that he collected mostly from Highlands, and from a few other areas within the state.
Identification
Field Guide Descriptions: Leckie and Beadle (2018)Online Photographs: MPG, BugGuide, iNaturalist, Google, BAMONATechnical Description, Adults: Forbes (1923); Hodges (1999)Technical Description, Immature Stages: (Hodges, 1999)                                                                                 
Adult Markings: This is a distinctive Chionodes with a mostly yellowish third joint on the labial palp and a rich brown forewing with an eyed discal dot. The following description is based on that of Chambers (1872) and Hodges (1999). The antenna is brown and the the head, thorax, and forewings are dark brown and tinged with purplish. The second joint of the labial palp is dark brown laterally, and ocherous-yellow along the inner surface. The third joint has a brown base, but is otherwise dull yellowish. The forewing is brown and mostly unmarked, with the veins on the apical third often slightly darker than the surrounding ground color. The most prominent mark is an outer discal dot at about three-fifths the wing length that is yellow, and usually has a black point in the center. A small, elongated, black spot is present at two-fifths that is closer to the inner margin. It often has a few pale yellowish scales on the anterior and posterior margins. The hindwing is light grayish-brown to yellowish-brown. The dorsal surface of the abdomen is pale yellowish gray, with the posterior margin of each segment paler. The legs are dark brown to blackish with pale annulations.
Wingspan: 18 mm (Forbes, 1923)
Forewing Length: 4.8-7.7 mm (Hodges, 1999)
Adult ID Requirements: Identifiable from good quality photos of unworn specimens.
Immatures and Development: Hodges (1999) summarized information concerning the larval life history. The larvae feed on members of the Polygonaceae. Larvae that were observed in Illinois either folded leaves lengthwise, or lived under a web spun on the upper or undersurface of a leaf. Reared larvae pupated between 9 June and 9 August, and the adults emerged between 20 June and 22 August (Coquillett, 1883). Larvae in Florida skeletonized smartweed leaves and pupated beneath a silken web on the undersurface of a leaf. Reared larvae required 15-56 days to reach maturity and pupation required 5-15 days. Forbes (1923) reported that the larva is green with a yellow-green head and cervical shield.
Larvae ID Requirements: Identifiable only through rearing to adulthood.
Distribution in North Carolina
Distribution: Chionodes discoocellella is found throughout most of the eastern US and adjoining areas of extreme southern Canada (Ontario; Quebec). The range extends from Maine to southern Florida, and westward to central Texas, Oklahoma, Kansas, South Dakota, and Minnesota. As of 2021, we have records from all three physiographic provinces, with most from the Piedmont.
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 in the southernmost areas of the range are active year-round or nearly so, while those farther north mostly fly from May though October. As of 2021, our records extend from late-July through early November.
Habitats and Life History
Habitats: Most of the host plants that are used by this species are found in wetlands or areas with moist soils.
Larval Host Plants: The larvae feed on members of the Polygonaceae and appear to mostly specialize on smartweeds. The known hosts include Dense-flower Smartweed (Persicaria densiflora), Swamp Smartweed (P. hydropiperoides), Pennsylvania Smartweed (P. pensylvanica), Dotted Smartweed (P. punctata) and Curly Dock (Rumex crispus). The latter is an introduced species, and we are unaware of C. discoocellella using any of our native Rumex species.
Observation Methods: The adults come to lights. The larvae can be found on smartweeds during the summer months.
Wikipedia
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 need additional information on the distribution and abundance of this species before we can assess its conservation status.

 Photo Gallery for Chionodes discoocellella - Eyeringed Chionodes Moth

Photos: 10

Recorded by: Dean Furbish and Joy Wiggins on 2021-12-27
Wake Co.
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Recorded by: Dean Furbish on 2021-09-12
Wake Co.
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Recorded by: Simpson Eason on 2021-09-09
Durham Co.
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Recorded by: Gary Maness on 2020-11-07
Guilford Co.
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Recorded by: Gary Maness on 2020-11-07
Guilford Co.
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Recorded by: Simpson Eason on 2020-09-07
Durham Co.
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Recorded by: Gary Maness on 2019-10-26
Guilford Co.
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Recorded by: Gary Maness on 2019-10-26
Guilford Co.
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Recorded by: Gary Maness on 2019-10-26
Guilford Co.
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Recorded by: Harry Wilson on 2010-09-19
Wake Co.
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