Moths of North Carolina
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View PDFGelechiidae Members: 7 NC Records

Aroga trialbamaculella (Chambers, 1875) - Red-Striped Fireworm Moth


Taxonomy
Superfamily: Gelechioidea Family: GelechiidaeSubfamily: GelechiinaeTribe: GelechiiniP3 Number: 421151.00 MONA Number: 2198.00
Identification
Field Guide Descriptions: Online Photographs: MPG, BugGuide, iNaturalist, Google, BAMONATechnical Description, Adults: Hodges (1974a)Technical Description, Immature Stages: Drummond and Groden (2000); Kelly et al. (2017)                                                                                 
Adult Markings: This species is indistinguishable from Aroga argutiola based on external appearance. The following description is based on that of Hodges (1974a) description of Aroga argutiola. The maxillary palp is gray. The outer surface of the first segment and base of the second segment of the labial palp are gray, while the inner surface of the first and second segments are mainly white. The scale brush on the second segment is pale orange to red-orange, while the third segment is mainly dark gray with yellowish-white scales at the base, anterior margin, apex, and sometimes elsewhere. The frons is white with a row of gray-brown scales in front of the eye, and the vertex and occiput are gray. The antenna is dark gray. The dorsal surfaces of the thorax, tegula, and forewing are dark gray. There is a patch of white scales on the costa at three-fourths the wing length, and often one on the posterior margin at three-fourths the wing length. A few white scales are often present on the fold, just before and just beyond one-half the length of the fold. A few white scales are also present at two-thirds to three-fourths the length of the cell, and at the end of the cell. The fringe is mainly pale gray. The hindwing is mainly pale yellowish gray above, with yellow more intense on the outer third of the wing. The legs are mainly dark gray, with off-white to whitish markings. Hodges (1974a) noted that A. trialbamaculella, Aroga argutiola and A. epigaeella cannot be distinguished based on external appearance, but can be identified using genitalia. BOLD specimens indicate that there may be two cryptic species masquerading under the current name of A. trialbamaculella. Additional studies are needed to determine the taxonomic status of these groups.
Adult Structural Features: Hodges (1974a) has a key for separating Aroga argutiola, A. epigaeella, and A. trialbamaculella based on male and female genitalia.
Adult ID Requirements: Identifiable only by close inspection of structural features or by DNA analysis.
Immatures and Development: The larvae feed on blueberries and other ericaceous hosts, and can sometimes become significant pests in commercial blueberry farms in Canada and elsewhere. When feeding on blueberries, the larva webs together leaves at the shoot tips and feeds upon foliage within the cluster of leaves and silk (Drummond and Groden, 2000; Kelly et al., 2017). In southern Canada and the Northeast, the full-grown larvae overwinter in the tied leaves that fall to the ground, then pupate the following April or May. The adults emerge within one to two weeks and the females lay eggs singly on the leaves. As the larvae grow, they web more leaves together to provide additional food and shelter. Northern populations appear to be univoltine or partially bivoltine, while southern populations presumably have two or more broods per year.
Larvae ID Requirements: Identifiable only through rearing to adulthood.
Distribution in North Carolina
Distribution: The range of Aroga trialbamaculella is rather poorly defined because of the need to identify this species through the examination of genitalia or genetic markers. This species appears to range throughout much of eastern North America, including portions of southern Canada southward to Florida and westward to eastern Texas, eastern Oklahoma, and Illinois. Pohl et al. (2018) has records from Albert eastward to Prince Edward Island and Nova Scotia.
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 are active year-round in Florida, and primarily from April through August in the northern regions of the range.
Habitats and Life History
Habitats: The habitats are rather poorly defined. Populations appear to rely on ericaceous plants as hosts, particularly blueberries.
Larval Host Plants: Because there are three cryptic species of Aroga in the eastern US, and one was not described until 1974, many reported host plants for A. trialbamaculella may in fact be those of other cryptic species. This species can be a pest on Lowbush Blueberry (Vaccinium angustifolium) and commercial cranberries, and likely feeds on other ericaceous genera. However, more work is needed to verify the host based on rearing and identification from genitalia.
Observation Methods: The adults are attracted to lights, and the larvae can be found on blueberries.
Wikipedia
Status in North Carolina
Natural Heritage Program Status:
Natural Heritage Program Ranks:
State Protection: Has no legal protection, although permits are required to collect it on state parks and other public lands.
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 Photo Gallery for Aroga trialbamaculella - Red-Striped Fireworm Moth

Photos: 8

Recorded by: Jim Petranka and Becky Elkin on 2020-04-21
Madison Co.
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Recorded by: Jim Petranka and Becky Elkin on 2020-04-21
Madison Co.
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Recorded by: Mark Shields on 2020-04-21
Onslow Co.
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Recorded by: Mark Shields on 2020-03-23
Onslow Co.
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Recorded by: Mark Shields on 2020-03-23
Onslow Co.
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Recorded by: Mark Shields on 2019-09-10
Onslow Co.
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Recorded by: Mark Shields on 2019-07-06
Onslow Co.
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Recorded by: Jim Petranka and Becky Elkin on 2014-07-23
Madison Co.
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