Moths of North Carolina
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View PDFGelechiidae Members: 9 NC Records

Filatima pseudacaciella (Chambers, 1872) - Dusky-backed Filatima Moth


Taxonomy
Superfamily: Gelechioidea Family: GelechiidaeSubfamily: GelechiinaeTribe: GelechiiniP3 Number: 421121.00 MONA Number: 2169.00
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.
Identification
Field Guide Descriptions: Online Photographs: MPG, BugGuide, iNaturalist, Google, BAMONATechnical Description, Adults: Chambers (1872)                                                                                 
Adult Markings: The following description is based in part on that of Chambers (1872, p. 107). The head varies from gray to purplish brown, and the antenna and palp are dark purplish-brown. The latter has a prominent brush and is often streaked and flecked with white. The ground color of the forewing is dark purplish brown, and streaked and flecked with white and ocherous scale patches. The costa has extensive white scaling along its length that is often organized as two or three irregular whitish blotches that are most evident at about one-third the wing length. Just interior to these, there is a region with varying levels of light chocolate-brown dusting that often extends onto the thorax. At about three-fourths the wing length, there is a whitish costal spot with an opposing whitish spot on the inner margin (often faint). The cilia are grayish silvery, with a rather distinct dark marginal line at their base. The hindwing is pale ocherous-brown, and the legs are dark purplish-brown, with whitish bands and annulations. This species is superficially similar to F. serotinella, but has extensive white blotching and dusting along the costal margin.
Adult ID Requirements: Identifiable from good quality photos of unworn specimens.
Immatures and Development: This species feeds primarily on Black Locust. The hatchling initially feeds beneath a web that is formed at the junction of the midrib and a lateral vein. It soon shifts to feeding between two or three leaflets that are tied together. The young larvae also frequently enter gracillariid mines on the leaflets and feed within them before completing development as leaftiers (Eiseman, 2019). Larvae may even feed on pupae of other species that are inside the mines (Chambers, 1880). The mature larva has a blackish head and thoracic plate, and a pale to amber-colored body with a series of rather faint longitudinal dark stripes.
Larvae ID Requirements: Identifiable from good quality photos, especially where associated with known host plants.
Distribution in North Carolina
Distribution: Filatima pseudacaciella in found in eastern North America from the New England states and adjoining areas of extreme southern Canada (Ontario; Quebec) southward to North Carolina and Mississippi, and westward to eastern Texas, Oklahoma, Kansas, and Illinois. As of 2021, we have records from the Piedmont and lower elevations in the mountains.
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 have been observed from March through October in areas from outside of North Carolina, with most between April and August. The adults generally become active after Black Locust has fully leafed out locally. As of 2021, our records extend from mid-May through mid-September.
Habitats and Life History
Habitats: Local populations are strongly dependent on Black Locust, which naturally occurs as a minor element in many hardwood forest communities in North Carolina. Black Locust is more frequently seen today along roadsides, in early successional forests, and in other sunny, disturbed habitats.
Larval Host Plants: Larvae feed almost entirely on Black Locust (Robinia pseudoacacia), although there is one record of them using Bristly Locust (Robinia hispida; Robinson et al., 2010).
Observation Methods: The adults are attracted to lights, and larvae can be found within leaf ties of Black Locust during the summer months.
Wikipedia
See also Habitat Account for Locust Groves and Thickets
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 have scattered records throughout the Piedmont and lower mountains, but additional information is needed on the distribution and abundance of this species before we can assess its conservation status.

 Photo Gallery for Filatima pseudacaciella - Dusky-backed Filatima Moth

Photos: 9

Recorded by: Jim Petranka and Becky Elkin on 2020-08-07
Madison Co.
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Recorded by: Jim Petranka and Becky Elkin on 2020-08-07
Madison Co.
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Recorded by: Vin Stanton on 2020-06-05
Buncombe Co.
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Recorded by: Vin Stanton on 2020-06-05
Buncombe Co.
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Recorded by: Jim Petranka on 2019-07-16
Madison Co.
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Recorded by: Jim Petranka on 2019-07-16
Madison Co.
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Recorded by: Jim Petranka and Becky Elkin on 2018-08-14
Madison Co.
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Recorded by: Jim Petranka and Becky Elkin on 2018-08-14
Madison Co.
Comment:
Recorded by: Jim Petranka and Becky Elkin on 2018-07-14
Madison Co.
Comment: