Moths of North Carolina
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View PDFHeliozelidae Members: 3 NC Records

Coptodisca ostryaefoliella (Clemens, 1861) - No Common Name



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Taxonomy
Superfamily: Incurvarioidea Family: HeliozelidaeSubfamily: [Heliozelinae]Tribe: [Heliozelini]P3 Number: 210093.00 MONA Number: 252.00
Comments: This New World genus includes 16 described North American species of small leaf-mining moths, as well as several undescribed species. When mature, the larva cuts a disc of tissue out of the leaf and uses it to form a cocoon. All known species of Coptodisca feed on woody plants, and most are restricted to a single plant genus.
Identification
Field Guide Descriptions: Online Photographs: MPGTechnical Description, Adults: Forbes, 1923.Technical Description, Immature Stages: Eiseman, 2019.                                                                                  
Adult Markings: The head, thorax, and general ground color of the forewing is silvery gray, with darker hues on the posterior half of the wing. There is a pair of triangular-shaped costal and dorsal whitish streaks at about two-thirds that extends inward to nearly the mid-wing. Both are dark margined on the anterior and posterior edges, and they converge towards their apices. There is a golden yellow wash immediately anterior to the streaks that fades into the silvery gray ground color. Behind the costal streak there is a large golden yellow region that contains a very indistinct and small black costal streak that runs roughly perpendicular to the costa. A smaller golden yellow patch or wash may be evident towards the dorsal margin but is often nearly or completely obscured with varying levels of darker pigmentation. The area of dark shading extends from behind the dorsal streak to the apical patch. The apical patch is blackish, often somewhat triangular, and covers the base of the dorsal cilia. A dark streak often is present that extends from the mid-point of the posterior edge of the apical patch to the apex of the cilia. The cilia are light silvery gray. Coptodisca ostryaefoliella has external morphology and wing patterning that is identical, or nearly so, to several closely related species (e.g., C. diospyriella, C. saliciella and C. splendoriferella), but each specializes on different host plants (Forbes, 1923). Male genitalia of Coptodisca are difficult to dissect and embed in a fixed position, and relatively few specimens have been collected of these closely related forms. Reliable identification is most easily achieved by rearing adults from their host plants. This is the only Coptodisca species in eastern North America that feeds on Ostrya, so any adults raised from mines on this host plant can be safely assumed to be C. ostryaefoliella.
Adult ID Requirements: Identifiable only by close inspection of structural features or by DNA analysis.
Immatures and Development: The larva produces a very small linear blotch or blotch mine. The mine is < 1 cm or so in length and is often confined, or nearly confined, to the area between two lateral veins. The dark and somewhat grainy frass is scattered throughout the mine except in areas where the larva is actively feeding. According to Clemens, the mine is larger compared with those of other Coptodisca species, and the hole left from cutting out the pupal case is out of proportion to the size of the mined portion. The final instar cuts a matching piece from the upper and lower surface of the leaf and binds these together to create the pupal case. Overwintering presumably occurs in the leaf litter.
Larvae ID Requirements: Identifiable from good quality photos, especially where associated with known host plants.
Distribution in North Carolina
Distribution: We have remarkably few records of this species, but scattered populations have been found in eastern North America, including Ontario, Quebec, Pennsylvania, North Carolina and Alabama. As of 2020, our records for North Carolina are based on Tracy Feldman's discovery of Piedmont populations in Wake and Durham Cos.
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: Larvae are active in late September and early October in Pennsylvania. In North Carolina, Tracy Feldman found empty mines in May, and an occupied mine in late June, with the adult emerging in early July.
Habitats and Life History
Habitats: Local populations are strongly associated with the host plant, American Hop-hornbeam. This species prefers rich, mesic hardwood forests, particularly those with loamy soils that are not strongly acidic.
Larval Host Plants: Larvae feed on American Hop-hornbeam (Ostrya virginiana; Robinson et al., 2010; Eiseman, 2019).
Observation Methods: We recommending searching for leaf mines during the summer months and rearing and photographing the adults.
Wikipedia
See also Habitat Account for Rich Dry-Mesic Hardwood Forests
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 currently do not have sufficient information on the distribution and abundance of this species to assess its conservation status.

 Photo Gallery for Coptodisca ostryaefoliella - No common name

Photos: 8

Recorded by: Tracy S. Feldman on 2018-07-11
Wake Co.
Comment: An adult that was reared from Ostrya virginiana.
Recorded by: Tracy S. Feldman on 2018-07-11
Wake Co.
Comment: An adult that was reared from Ostrya virginiana.
Recorded by: Tracy S. Feldman on 2018-07-11
Wake Co.
Comment: A pupal case that was constructed from Ostrya virginiana. The larva cuts a matching piece from the upper and lower surface of the leaf and binds these together to create the case.
Recorded by: Tracy S. Feldman on 2018-06-21
Wake Co.
Comment: This species produces tiny blotch mines like this one on Ostrya virginiana, then cuts elliptical holes out to construct pupal cases.
Recorded by: Tracy S. Feldman on 2018-06-21
Wake Co.
Comment: This species produces tiny blotch mines like this one on an Ostrya virginiana leaf. Note the darker frass on the inside and the feeding larva.
Recorded by: Tracy S. Feldman on 2018-06-21
Wake Co.
Comment: This species produces tiny blotch mines like this one on an Ostrya virginiana leaf. Note the darker frass on the inside and the feeding larva.
Recorded by: Tracy S. Feldman on 2017-07-24
Durham Co.
Comment: The mine starts out being narrow, but rapidly expands into a blotch mine like this one on Ostrya virginiana. Note the elliptical hole where the larva excised leaf pieces to construct its pupal case.
Recorded by: Tracy S. Feldman on 2017-07-24
Durham Co.
Comment: An underside view that shows the full-depth mine and elliptical hole (see companion photo from 2017-07-24 of the upper side).