Moths of North Carolina
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View PDFGelechiidae Members: 18 NC Records

Polyhymno luteostrigella Chambers, 1874 - Polyhymno Moth


Taxonomy
Superfamily: Gelechioidea Family: GelechiidaeSubfamily: GelechiinaeTribe: GelechiiniP3 Number: 420594.00 MONA Number: 2211.00
Comments: The genus Polyhymno contains about 45 species that are mostly found in the Old World, where they are particularly well represented in southern Africa. There are only two species in North America.
Identification
Field Guide Descriptions: Leckie and Beadle (2018)Online Photographs: MPG, BugGuide, iNaturalist, Google, BAMONATechnical Description, Adults: Chambers (1874a)                                                                                 
Adult Markings: This is a tiny, but distinctive moth with brown striping on the thorax and wings, and black dots on the cilia. The following description is based in part on that of Chambers (1874a). The head is silvery white and the labial palps tawny white and recurved above the head. The antenna is pale with darker annulations. The upper surface of the thorax has four narrow, equidistant, longitudinal, yellowish brown to brown lines. The forewing is silvery white with three longitudinal yellowish brown to brown streaks. The first is faint and extends along the inner margin, and the other two are bold and extend for most of the wing length. The largest of the two bold streaks begins at the base of the costa and extends just below the costa to about four-fifths where it narrows and joins a series of five oblique, short bars that radiate anteriorly. The second streak begins at the base near the middle of the wing, and is continuous with one of the thoracic lines. It forks at about two-thirds, with one branch going towards the dorsal margin and the second towards the extreme apex where it converges toward the first streak and joins the radiating bars. Behind this are two or more less distinct short bars at the apex, which is tailed. The cilia have two or three distinct, small black spots near the base, and the hindwing is brownish white. The legs are whitish, with dark dusting on the dorsal surface, and dark annulations on the tarsi. Eucosma striatana is superficially similar, but lacks the four black lines on the thorax and the black dots of the cilia.
Wingspan: 9 mm (Forbes, 1923)
Adult ID Requirements: Identifiable from good quality photos of unworn specimens.
Immatures and Development: The larvae appear to only use only Common Partridge-pea as a host throughout most of its range. Barton (1986) studied populations in northern Florida where the larvae are present from July to October. The female lays her black eggs individually on the leaflet surfaces, and each larva ties together several opposing leaflets with silk to form a shelter. It then skeletonizes the leaflets from within. The final instar is 4-6 mm long and pupates within the shelter. Barton (1986) found that the larvae were very abundant on individual plants. Although the plants were guarded by ants that were attracted to extrafloral nectaries, the ants did not reduce the number of larvae on plants. This was likely due to the fact that that larvae were protected within the leaf ties. Development from hatching to adult emergence required less than three weeks.
Distribution in North Carolina
Distribution: Polyhymno luteostrigella is found in eastern North America, Central America, and the Caribbean. Populations occur in Ontario, Canada, and in the eastern US from New Hampshire, Vermont, and New York southward to southern Florida, and westward to central Texas, central Oklahoma, and Illinois. Geographic isolates are also present in Arizona. As of 2021, we have records for all three physiographic provinces. This species is relatively common in the Coastal Plain and Piedmont and uncommon in the mountains, where it is found at lower elevations.
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 have been found nearly year-round in Florida, and from March to October elsewhere. A seasonal peak in abundance occurs in July and August in areas outside of North Carolina. Most local populations appear to be univoltine in North Carolina, although there is limited evidence for two broods in the Triangle area. As of 2021, our records extend from mid-April to late-September, with most from July and August.
Habitats and Life History
Habitats: Populations are strongly dependent on Common Partridge-pea as a host. This species is an early successional form that thrives in sunny or partially shaded sites that are disturbed. Typical habitats include woodland borders, roadsides, waste places, and weedy fields and edges.
Larval Host Plants: The known hosts (Heppner, 2003; Robinson et al., 2010) are Common Partridge-pea (Chamaecrista fasciculata) and Sweet Acacia (Vachellia farnesiana). The latter is found farther south and does not occur in North Carolina.
Observation Methods: The adults are attracted to lights. Information on the larval ecology are needed, so we encourage naturalists to search for the larvae on Chamaecrista fasciculata and document the larval life history.
Wikipedia
Status in North Carolina
Natural Heritage Program Status:
Natural Heritage Program Ranks: GNR [S4S5]
State Protection: Has no legal protection, although permits are required to collect it on state parks and other public lands.
Comments: This species is seemly secure base on the weedy nature of its host plant and its wide distribution within the state.

 Photo Gallery for Polyhymno luteostrigella - Polyhymno Moth

Photos: 17

Recorded by: Steve Hall and Bo Sullivan on 2021-10-03
Moore Co.
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Recorded by: Gary Maness on 2020-09-12
Guilford Co.
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Recorded by: Gary Maness on 2020-09-12
Guilford Co.
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Recorded by: Steve Hall and Bo Sullivan on 2020-09-10
Moore Co.
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Recorded by: Gary Maness on 2020-08-21
Guilford Co.
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Recorded by: Gary Maness on 2020-08-21
Guilford Co.
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Recorded by: Vin Stanton on 2019-08-29
Buncombe Co.
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Recorded by: Vin Stanton on 2019-08-29
Buncombe Co.
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Recorded by: David L. Heavner on 2019-08-28
Buncombe Co.
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Recorded by: David L. Heavner on 2019-08-28
Buncombe Co.
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Recorded by: Mark Shields on 2019-07-27
Onslow Co.
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Recorded by: B. Bockhahn, K. Kittelberger on 2014-08-31
Washington Co.
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Recorded by: Harry Wilson on 2014-08-24
Wake Co.
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Recorded by: F. Williams, S. Williams on 2013-08-20
Gates Co.
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Recorded by: T. DeSantis on 2013-07-26
Camden Co.
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Recorded by: B. Bockhahn, Moth Night Participants on 2013-07-25
Wake Co.
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Recorded by: B. Bockhahn on 2010-05-03
Wake Co.
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