Moths of North Carolina
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52 NC Records

Battaristis vittella (Busck, 1926) - Stripe-backed Moth


Taxonomy
Superfamily: Gelechioidea Family: GelechiidaeSubfamily: GelechiinaeTribe: AnacampsiniP3 Number: 420470.00 MONA Number: 2229.00
Comments: The genus Battaristis contains 31 described species that are mostly found in the New World. Most species are found in South America, and only five are currently recognized in North America.
Identification
Field Guide Descriptions: Beadle and Leckie (2012); Leckie and Beadle (2018)Online Photographs: MPG, BugGuide, iNaturalist, Google, BAMONA, GBIFTechnical Description, Adults: Busck (1916)Technical Description, Immature Stages: Franklin and Coulson (1968)                                                                                 
Adult Markings: This is a small and distinctively marked moth with alternating regions of silvery gray and orangish brown patterning. The following description is based in part on that of Busck (1916). The antenna is silvery gray with darker annulations. The second joint of the labial palp is blackish brown exteriorly and light ocherous fuscous on the inner side, with the edge of the apex white. The terminal joint is whitish with a broad black annulation before the apex. The face is whitish, and the upper head, thorax and much of the forewing is covered with light steel gray to grayish-white scales. The silvery gray regions of the forewing are overlain with four reddish-brown to orangish-brown marks. These include a relatively small and somewhat crescent-shaped mark at one-fourth the wing length, a broad band that extends across the entire wing at one-half, a similar broad band at about three-fourths, and a more diffuse, rounded costal patch just beyond the last band. The two broad bands have rows of whitish scales on their posterior margins that produce an overall pattern of alternating whitish and orangish-brown banding along the wing. In addition to these markings, the basal half of the costal edge is dark brown and there is a small black dash on the middle of the termen. The cilia are steel-gray with a thin black marginal line that is white edged posteriorly. The hindwing is dark fuscous, and the abdomen is blackish fuscous above. The legs are blackish brown with narrow white annulations on the tarsal joints.
Wingspan: 10-11 mm (Busck, 1916)
Adult ID Requirements: Identifiable from good quality photos of unworn specimens.
Immatures and Development: The larvae feed on the cones of yellow pines. Ebel (1963) reared adults from Florida from translucent, grayish-white larvae that lived in galleries that were lined with silk. The larvae were found in both first and second year cones of Slash and Longleaf Pine, and were thought to be secondary invaders. Franklin and Coulson (1968) observed the larvae burrowing through dried early second-year cones of Short-leaf Pine in Georgia. No larvae were found inside fresh cones and it was uncertain whether the cone was initially destroyed by this species, or by other inhabitants such as Dioryctria spp. Pupation occurred within the cone and local populations appeared to be multivoltine. The adults were collected in May, September, and October, and the larvae from the last brood overwintered in the dried cones.
Distribution in North Carolina
Distribution: Battaristis vittella is found in eastern North America from Maine and adjoining areas of extreme southern Canada southward to southern Florida and westward to eastern Texas, central Oklahoma, Missouri, Iowa and Wisconsin. It appears to occur statewide, where it is common in the Coastal Plain and Piedmont, and uncommon at 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 found from February through October in areas outside of North Carolina, with a seasonal peak in June and July. As of 2021, our records are from late March through mid-September, with little evidence of a strong seasonal peak in North Carolina.
Habitats and Life History
Habitats: Local populations are strongly dependent on yellow pines for reproduction and can be found in pine or mixed pine-hardwood communities statewide. Many of our native pines are early to mid-successional species that often become established in abandoned fields or after clearcutting. They also occur on drier slopes and forests and become established after fires when hardwoods are killed.
Larval Host Plants: This species feeds on the cones of yellow pines (Ebel, 1963; Franklin and Coulson, 1968; Robinson et al., 2010). The documented hosts include Shortleaf Pine (Pinus echinata), Slash Pine (P. elliotii), Longleaf Pine (P. palustris), Loblolly Pine (P. taeda) and Virginia Pine (P. virginiana).
Observation Methods: The adults are attracted to lights and the larvae can be found be breaking apart second year cones of pines.
Wikipedia
See also Habitat Account for General Pine Forests and Woodlands
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 widespread and rather common across the state. It appears to be secure considering how widespread and abundant yellow pines are in the state.

 Photo Gallery for Battaristis vittella - Stripe-backed Moth

51 photos are available. Only the most recent 30 are shown.

Recorded by: David George, L. M. Carlson on 2022-06-28
Durham Co.
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Recorded by: David George, L. M. Carlson on 2022-06-13
Durham Co.
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Recorded by: David George, L.M. Carlson, Becky Watkins on 2022-06-09
Orange Co.
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Recorded by: Jim Petranka on 2022-06-06
Madison Co.
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Recorded by: Jim Petranka on 2022-06-06
Madison Co.
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Recorded by: David George, L. M. Carlson on 2022-05-31
Durham Co.
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Recorded by: David George, L. M. Carlson on 2022-05-29
Durham Co.
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Recorded by: Stephen Hall on 2022-05-13
Orange Co.
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Recorded by: Lior Carlson, Becky Watkins, David George on 2022-05-02
Durham Co.
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Recorded by: Jim Petranka and Bo Sullivan on 2021-08-09
Moore Co.
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Recorded by: Ken Kneidel on 2021-07-01
Mecklenburg Co.
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Recorded by: Darryl Willis on 2021-06-12
Cabarrus Co.
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Recorded by: Dean Furbish on 2021-05-23
Wake Co.
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Recorded by: Dean Furbish on 2021-05-23
Wake Co.
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Recorded by: Jim Petranka, Bo Sullivan and Steve Hall on 2021-05-10
Moore Co.
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Recorded by: Mark Shields on 2021-05-09
Onslow Co.
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Recorded by: Mark Shields on 2021-04-27
Onslow Co.
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Recorded by: Stephen Hall on 2020-07-13
Orange Co.
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Recorded by: Steve Hall on 2020-07-01
Orange Co.
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Recorded by: Steve Hall on 2020-06-09
Orange Co.
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Recorded by: Vin Stanton on 2020-05-14
Buncombe Co.
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Recorded by: Vin Stanton on 2020-05-14
Buncombe Co.
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Recorded by: Vin Stanton on 2020-05-14
Buncombe Co.
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Recorded by: Kyle Kittelberger, Brian Bockhahn on 2020-05-13
Moore Co.
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Recorded by: Gary Maness on 2020-05-04
Guilford Co.
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Recorded by: Gary Maness on 2020-05-04
Guilford Co.
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Recorded by: Mark Shields on 2020-05-03
Onslow Co.
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Recorded by: Kyle Kittelberger on 2020-05-03
Wake Co.
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Recorded by: Mark Shields on 2020-04-09
Onslow Co.
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Recorded by: Kyle Kittelberger on 2020-04-09
Wake Co.
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