Moths of North Carolina
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View PDFElachistidae Members: 1 NC Records

Stephensia major (Kearfott, 1907) - No Common Name

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Superfamily: Gelechioidea Family: ElachistidaeSubfamily: ElachistinaeTribe: ElachistiniP3 Number: 421361.00 MONA Number: 238.00
Comments: This genus includes twelve described species worldwide, and Stephensia major is one of only two species of Stephensia that occur in North America. This species was originally placed in Antispila, but was later transferred to Stephensia.
Species Status: Stephensia major is a mysterious species. William Beutenmüller collected three specimens from near Black Mountain, North Carolina during an insect collecting expedition. The species was formally described and illustrated by Kerfoot (1907) based on Beutenmüller's specimens, and the species has never been collected since then.
Field Guide Descriptions: Online Photographs: MPG, BugGuide, iNaturalist, Google, BAMONA, GBIFTechnical Description, Adults: Kerfoot (1907).                                                                                 
Adult Markings: The following is based on Kerfoot's (1907) description of the species. The head, face, palpi, abdomen, and legs are shining grayish bronze. The thorax is shining bronze (not gray). The basal and apical third of the antenna is brown, while the middle third is silvery white. The ground color of the forewing is bronze brown and slightly shining. The spots and fascia are pale golden and shining, and the scales of the spots are somewhat raised. At the base of the forewing there is a metallic mark that extends from the costa to the dorsal margin, with an outer edge that is inwardly curved. A fascia occurs at the inner third that is nearly straight, and about the same width on the dorsal and costal margins. The fascia is constricted at the fold, and nearly separated into two slightly curved spots of about equal size. There is a curved dorsal dash at the outer third that extends obliquely to the middle of the wing. The metallic scales overspread into the dorsal cilia and match the size and shape of the spot on the wing. A costal mark occurs at the apical fourth that extends obliquely inward to the cell, then angles outward to the anal angle, where it expands into a triangular blotch. The hindwing and cilia are gray brown and not metallic.

Wingspan: 9 mm (Kearfoot, 1907)
Adult ID Requirements: Identifiable from good quality photos of unworn specimens.
Immatures and Development: The larval life history is unknown. Eiseman (2019) noted that the larvae of all known Stephensia species produce full-depth blotch or linear-blotch mines, so S. major presumably is a leafminer.
Distribution in North Carolina
Distribution: The three known specimens were all collected from Black Mountain, North Carolina with the annotation "valley".
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: Specimens have been collected between 2-10 June.
Habitats and Life History
Habitats: The habitat is unknown; the only known specimens were apparently collected at lower elevations around Black Mountain.
Larval Host Plants: The hosts are unknown. Eiseman (2019) noted that most Stephensia species mine the leaves of mints (Lamiaceae), except for the European S. abbreviatella (Stainton), which feeds on forget-me-not (Boraginaceae: Myosotis sylvatica). The midwestern S. cunilae mines leaves of common dittany (Cunila origanoides).
Status in North Carolina
Natural Heritage Program Status:
Natural Heritage Program Ranks: GH SH
State Protection: Has no legal protection, although permits are required to collect it on state parks and other public lands.
Comments: This species has not been seen for over 100 years, and it is uncertain if it is still extant.

 Photo Gallery for Stephensia major - No Common Name

Photos: 2

Recorded by: on 0000-00-00
Buncombe Co.
Comment: A view of the type specimen showing a single forewing and hindwing.
Recorded by: on 0000-00-00
Buncombe Co.
Comment: An illustration of the adult from Kerfoot (1907).