Moths of North Carolina
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View PDFHeliozelidae Members: 3 NC Records

Coptodisca saliciella (Clemens, 1861) - No Common Name



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Taxonomy
Superfamily: Adeloidea Family: HeliozelidaeP3 Number: 210094.00 MONA Number: 253.00
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: MPG, BugGuideTechnical Description, Adults: Chambers (1874)                                                                                 
Adult Markings: The following description is based in part on the descriptions by Chambers (1874). The general ground color of the forewing is silvery gray, with darker hues on the posterior half. The antennae is faintly tinged with fuscous. There is a triangular whitish costal streak at about two-thirds that extends inward to nearly the mid-wing, and an opposing dorsal one that is nearly opposite. Both are dark margined on the anterior and posterior edges. There is a golden yellow patch or wash immediately anterior to the triangular costal streak (sometimes obscured with dark pigmentation) and a larger golden yellow region behind it that contains a very indistinct and small black costal streak. The black streak runs roughly perpendicular to the costa and towards the apical patch. A similar golden yellow patch or wash with varying levels of darker pigmentation occurs near the dorsal margin, and extends from behind the dorsal triangular 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 saliciella is very similar to several other Coptodisca species and is best identified by either rearing adults or by genetic analyses. The male genitalia of Coptodisca are difficult to dissect and embed in a fixed position, and have not been used to discriminate between species. This is the only species in the eastern US that feeds on willows, so adults that are reared from willows can be safely assumed to be this species.
Immatures and Development: The larvae mine the leaves of willows and create very small mines with their characteristic oval cut-outs at the end. The mine often starts at the mid-vein or a lateral vein. It begins as a narrow track, then quickly widens to form a funnel-shaped blotch. Dark frass fills most of the mine except where the larva is actively feeding. At the termination of feeding, the larva cuts an oval-shaped section from the leaf. It then sews the two flaps together with silk to form a case where the larva will eventually pupate.
Larvae ID Requirements: Identifiable from good quality photos, especially where associated with known host plants.
Distribution in North Carolina
Distribution: Coptodisca saliciella appears to range across much of the US, but its distribution is poorly documented. Scattered populations have been found from Massachusetts to as far south as Florida in the east, and as far west as California and Wyoming (Eiseman, 2019). As of 2019, our records for North Carolina are from the central part of the state.
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)

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Immature Dates:
 High Mountains (HM) ≥ 4,000 ft.
 Low Mountains (LM) < 4,000 ft.
 Piedmont (Pd)
 Coastal Plain (CP)

Click on graph to enlarge
Habitats and Life History
Habitats: This species is strongly dependent on willows for successful reproduction, and used both native and introduced ornamental species. Our native willows are typically associated with sunny to partially sunny wet habitats such as stream margins, shorelines around ditches, ponds and lakes, bogs and fens, and floodplain forests, particularly where disturbance from flooding or timbering creates opening for seedlings to become established.
Larval Host Plants: Larvae feed on willows (Robinson et al., 2010; Eiseman, 2019). Some of the documented hosts of this wide-ranging species include Weeping Willow (Salix babylonica), Coastal Plain Willow (S. caroliniana), Red Willow (S. laevigata), Arroyo Willow (S. lasiolepis). As of 2019, our records from North Carolina are all for Black Willow (S. nigra).
Observation Methods: The adults appear to only rarely visit lights and most records are based on either leaf mines, or adults that were reared from mines.
Wikipedia
See also Habitat Account for Shoreline Shrublands
Status in North Carolina
Natural Heritage Program Status:
Natural Heritage Program Ranks: [GNR] SU
State Protection:
Comments:

 Photo Gallery for Coptodisca saliciella - No common name

Photos: 8

Recorded by: Tracy S. Feldman on 2019-08-26
Moore Co.
Comment: An empty mine on Salix nigra. Larvae produce tiny widening linear mines like this one and cut elliptical holes at the ends. The excised leaf segments are used to construct a pupal case.
Recorded by: Tracy S. Feldman on 2019-08-26
Moore Co.
Comment: An empty mine on Salix nigra. Larvae produce tiny widening linear mines like this one and cut elliptical holes at the ends. The excised leaf segments are used to construct a pupal case.
Recorded by: Tracy S. Feldman on 2019-07-17
Wake Co.
Comment: Note the dark frass inside; the larvae at the top was dead.
Recorded by: Tracy S. Feldman on 2019-07-17
Wake Co.
Comment:
Recorded by: Tracy S. Feldman on 2019-07-17
Wake Co.
Comment:
Recorded by: Tracy S. Feldman on 2018-07-25
Wake Co.
Comment:
Recorded by: Tracy S. Feldman on 2018-07-25
Wake Co.
Comment: An empty mine on Salix nigra. Larvae produce tiny widening linear mines like this one and cut elliptical holes at the ends. The excised leaf segments are used to construct a pupal case.
Recorded by: Tracy S. Feldman on 2018-07-25
Wake Co.
Comment: