Moths of North Carolina
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Filatima Members:
1 NC Records

Filatima persicaeella (Murtfeldt, 1899) - Striped Peach Worm Moth

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Superfamily: Gelechioidea Family: GelechiidaeSubfamily: GelechiinaeTribe: GelechiiniP3 Number: 421116.00 MONA Number: 2164.00
Comments: The genus Filatima contains around 80 species that are primarily Holarctic in distribution, with the greatest diversity in semiarid areas of the western United States and Mexico. Their larvae are leaf tiers that feed primarily on legumes, but also exploit a variety of other vascular plants.
Field Guide Descriptions: Online Photographs: MPG, BugGuide, iNaturalist, Google, BAMONA, GBIF, BOLDTechnical Description, Adults: Ingerson (1918)Technical Description, Immature Stages: Ingerson (1918)                                                                                 
Adult Markings: The following is based on the original description by Murtfeldt and reproduced verbatim in Ingerson (1918). The antenna is dark brown and indistinctly pectinate. The labial palp is long and exceed the vertex. The second joint is about one-third longer than the third joint, and has a conspicuous, dense, dark fuscous brush. The third joint is dark with a whitish tip. The face is creamy white and the vertex dark brown, while the thorax and tegula are purplish-brown. The forewing is almost black, with a rich purplish gloss and sparsely sprinkled with whitish scales. A small whitish spot is present on the costa just before the apex. In the cell near its upper margin there are two somewhat indefinite, cream-colored spots in a line, along with a third spot below and slightly posterior to the one closest to the wing base. The cilia are fuscous at the base and shade outward to gray. The hindwing is shining silky cinereus. The abdomen is pale brown, and the legs brown with creamy white annulations.
Immatures and Development: Most of our knowledge about the larval life history is based on Ingerson's (1918) study of populations in Michigan, where the larvae skeletonize the leaves of commercial peaches and Sand Cherry within conspicuous loose webs. The larvae bind groups of leaves together and may feed either singly or communally. Communal groups typically consist of 2-12 larvae per web, and they can defoliate the shoot tips and branches. The full grown larvae are about 10-16 mm long. The body is dirty yellowish white to bright white with six reddish-brown to reddish longitudinal stripes that extend the length of the body. The head and thoracic shield are yellowish-brown. At maturity, the larvae drop from the webbing and pupate in the soil in a white, silken cocoon that is covered with sand or other debris. Populations in Michigan are bivoltine.
Larvae ID Requirements: Identifiable from good quality photos, especially where associated with known host plants.
Distribution in North Carolina
Distribution: Filatima persicaeella occurs in eastern North America and has been found at scattered locations in Ontario, Quebec, Nova Scotia, Maine, Michigan, and Missouri. As of 2021, we have only a historical record from a lower elevation site in the mountains.
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: Very little data are available on the flight season other than Ingerson's (1918) study in Michigan. The adults in open-air rearing cages first emerged from late May to mid-July, and then in late summer for the second brood. Our one historical record from the mountains is undated.
Habitats and Life History
Habitats: Habitat use in North Carolina is unknown, but would likely be peach orchards.
Larval Host Plants: The only known hosts are Sand Cherry (Prunus pumila) in the northern US and Canada, and the Peach (P. persica) more generally. - View
Observation Methods: The adults appear to rarely visit lights, and most observations are based on larvae in webs.
Status in North Carolina
Natural Heritage Program Status:
Natural Heritage Program Ranks: GNR SH
State Protection: Has no legal protection, although permits are required to collect it on state parks and other public lands.
Comments: We have only one historical record of this species in North Carolina.