Moths of North Carolina
Scientific Name:
Common Name:
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View PDFGelechiidae Members:
Chionodes Members:
1 NC Records

Chionodes lactans Hodges, 1999 - No Common Name

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Family: GelechiidaeP3 Number: 420914.00 MONA Number: 2095.60
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.
Field Guide Descriptions: Online Photographs: MPG, BugGuide, iNaturalist, Google, BAMONA, GBIF, BOLDTechnical Description, Adults: Hodges (1999)                                                                                 
Adult Markings: The following is based on the description by Hodges (1999). The head is yellowish gray, and the thorax and antenna nearly uniformly dark gray brown. The lateral surface of the labial palp is gray on the first segment and on the base of the second segment. The second segment is otherwise yellowish white, with an orangish gray scale tuft. The third segment is dark brown with white at the base and apex. The frons is shining yellowish gray with dark-gray scales in front of the eye. The forewing is uniformly dark-gray to grayish-brown, except for a pair of whitish spots at three-fourths the wing length. One spot is on the costa, and the other on the dorsal margin. The spots occasionally fuse to form a fascia. There are three inconspicuous dark spots, one at one-half the length of the cell, one at the end of the cell, and one at one-half the length of the fold. These dark spots are sometimes preceded and followed by a very few, pale scales. The hindwing is very light brown, and the abdomen is shining yellowish gray above. The legs are dark grayish brown with white annuli.
Hodges (1999) noted that specimens vary in the development of the white marks on the forewing, and the intensity and shade of yellow gray on the head. Chionodes imber is very similar, but typically only has the white costal spot. These species can be distinguished by their genitalia.
Forewing Length: 4.0-6.0 mm (Hodges, 1999)
Adult Structural Features: Hodges (1999) has descriptions and illustrations of the male genitalia, which are distinctive.
Adult ID Requirements: Identifiable only by close inspection of structural features or by DNA analysis.
Immatures and Development: The larval life history is undocumented.
Distribution in North Carolina
Distribution: Chionodes lactans occurs from New Jersey, Pennsylvania, and Illinois southward to North Carolina, eastern Tennessee, and Alabama. Scattered populations occur in the West in Utah, southern Arizona, and western Texas. Hodges (1999) reported a single museum specimen from North Carolina, but it lacks both a date and specific location.
County Map: Clicking on a county returns the records for the species in that county.
Flight Dates:
 High Mountains (HM) ‚Č• 4,000 ft.
 Low Mountains (LM) < 4,000 ft.
 Piedmont (Pd)
 Coastal Plain (CP)

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Flight Comments: Adults have been documented from April through August in areas outside of North Carolina.
Habitats and Life History
Habitats: The preferred habitats are undocumented.
Larval Host Plants: The host plants are unknown. - View
Observation Methods: The adults are attracted to lights.
Status in North Carolina
Natural Heritage Program Status:
Natural Heritage Program Ranks: GNR SU
State Protection:
Comments: We need additional information on the distribution and abundance of this species before we can assess its conservation status.