Moths of North Carolina
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Coptodisca Members:
9 NC Records

Coptodisca splendoriferella (Clemens, 1860) - No Common Name



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Taxonomy
Superfamily: Adeloidea Family: HeliozelidaeP3 Number: 210095.00 MONA Number: 254.00
Comments: This New World genus includes 18 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, BugGuide, iNaturalist, Google, BAMONA, GBIFTechnical Description, Adults: Chambers (1874)Technical Description, Immature Stages: Snodgrass, 1920                                                                                 
Adult Markings: The following description is primarily based on the descriptions by Chambers (1874) and Forbes (1923). The head is bronzy, while the antenna is fuscous with a golden tinge. The forewing in leaden gray from the base to the middle, with a shiny luster. The ground color from the middle to the wing tip is golden. There is a broad, nearly straight, metallic, silvery streak at about two-thirds that extends from the costa to the middle of the wing. The streak is widest at the costa and is margined by converging black lines on both sides. Nearly opposite the costal streak is a matching dorsal streak of the same hue that also has converging dark margins. Beyond this there is a dark brown blotch that adjoin the streak, then the dorsal fringe with a blackish basal line. Beyond the large triangular costal streak is a shorter, blackish brown line in the costo-apical cilia that runs nearly perpendicular to the costa. At the wing tip is a conspicuous black, often triangular-shaped, apical spot, with a few metallic, silvery scales in its center. It is bordered by silvery scales of the cilia above and below it. A conspicuous straight black streak extends from the apical spot to the apex of the cilia. The cilia are light gray to light yellowish brown, and the hindwing is leaden gray. Coptodisca splendoriferella is one of several Coptodisca species that have very similar markings. Male genitalia of Coptodisca are difficult to dissect and embed in a fixed position. Fortunately, most species specialize on different host plants and can be identified by either rearing adults or by genetic analyses. This is the only species east of the Mississippi River that is a specialist on members of the Rosaceae.
Wingspan: 4-4.5 mm (Forbes, 1923).
Adult ID Requirements: Identifiable only by close inspection of structural features or by DNA analysis.
Immatures and Development: The larva produces a small (< 1 cm) funnel-shaped mine. The mine is full-depth and begins as a short, winding, linear section that progressively widens. It typically begins near a vein, and often at the juncture of a lateral and mid-vein. The epidermis eventually dies and the mine appears as a semitransparent, yellowish or reddish brown blotch. The frass is composed of dark, granular material and is concentrated towards the center of the mine. The mature larva is blackish above and below, with pale yellow or orange along the sides (Snodgrass, 1920). 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. Snodgrass (1920) studied the larval life history of populations in apple orchards in New York and southern New England. He observed that the cases are often suspended from twigs on long threads of silk and are dispersed by the wind. The larvae often overwinter on stems, limbs, or tree trunks after binding the case to the substrate. They then undergo a final molt to an orangish larva. Pupation occurs with the spring warm-up and the adults emerge shortly thereafter to begin the first generation. A second generation begin in late July or August, and produces larvae that overwinter. A single leaf often has several mines.

Larvae ID Requirements: Identifiable from good quality photos, especially where associated with known host plants.
Distribution in North Carolina
Distribution: Coptodisca splendoriferella is a rather poorly documented species that has been found at scattered locations in Ontario and the eastern US. Populations are known from Massachusetts, Missouri, Michigan, Ohio, Kentucky, Tennessee, and North Carolina. As of 2020, our only records are from a single county in the Coastal Plain and another in the lower 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
Immature 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: Based on observations made by Snodgrass (1920) in New York and vicinity, local populations have at least two generations per year.
Habitats and Life History
Habitats: This species occupies a variety of habitats, including open woodlands and forest edges, mesic forests, orchards, and urban settings.
Larval Host Plants: The adults use woody species in the Rosaceae (Eiseman, 2019), including members of the following genera: Crataegus (hawthorns), Cydonia (quince), Malus (apples and crabapples), Mespilus (medlar), Prunus (plums and cherries), and Pyrus (pears). The few records that we have from North Carolina are from Black Cherry (P. serotina).
Observation Methods: The adults appear to rarely visit lights and are best obtained by rearing from the host plants. Rearing is the best way to identify species since many species appear to be indistinguishable from one another (Forbes, 1923).
Wikipedia
See also Habitat Account for General Rosaceous Thickets
Status in North Carolina
Natural Heritage Program Status:
Natural Heritage Program Ranks: GNR S2S3
State Protection:
Comments: The distribution and abundance of this species within the state are poorly documented since the adults rarely visit lights and the leaf mines are easily overlooked.

 Photo Gallery for Coptodisca splendoriferella - No common name

Photos: 16

Recorded by: Dean Furbish on 2022-09-24
Wake Co.
Comment: Mine was on Black Cherry.
Recorded by: Dean Furbish on 2022-09-24
Wake Co.
Comment:
Recorded by: Jim Petranka on 2022-07-02
Madison Co.
Comment: An adult that was reared from a mine on Black Cherry; mine on June 13; adult on July 2 (see companion photo of the mines).
Recorded by: Jim Petranka on 2022-07-02
Madison Co.
Comment: An adult that was reared from a mine on Black Cherry; mine on June 13; adult on July 2 (see companion photo of the mines).
Recorded by: Jim Petranka on 2022-06-13
Madison Co.
Comment: Five mines (one occupied) on black Cherry. An adult was reared from the occupied mine (see companion photos).
Recorded by: Ken Kneidel on 2021-09-29
Mecklenburg Co.
Comment:
Recorded by: Ken Kneidel on 2021-09-29
Mecklenburg Co.
Comment:
Recorded by: Ken Kneidel on 2021-09-29
Mecklenburg Co.
Comment:
Recorded by: Jim Petranka on 2020-11-07
Buncombe Co.
Comment: A mine on Black Cherry.
Recorded by: Jim Petranka on 2020-11-07
Buncombe Co.
Comment: A backlit image of a mine on Black Cherry.
Recorded by: Jim Petranka on 2020-11-07
Buncombe Co.
Comment: Two unoccupied mines on black Cherry. Each was about 1 cm long.
Recorded by: Tracy S. Feldman on 2017-09-20
Scotland Co.
Comment: Two empty mines on Prunus serotina. This species produces gradually widening linear mines that can become blotch-like with time (best visible on the lower mine). Note the elliptical holes at the ends of the mines where larvae cut out leaf sections to construct cases for pupation.
Recorded by: Tracy S. Feldman on 2017-09-20
Scotland Co.
Comment: A view of the underside of a Black Cherry leaf with two full-depth mines (see companion photo of the upper leaf surface).
Recorded by: Tracy S. Feldman on 2015-09-22
Scotland Co.
Comment: This species makes blotch or widening linear mines on Prunus serotina. Note the initial narrow linear section that is visible on the two mines on the far right of the photo.
Recorded by: Tracy S. Feldman on 2015-09-22
Scotland Co.
Comment: This species makes blotch or widening linear mines on Prunus serotina. Note the elliptical holes cut out by larvae at the ends of the mines. The excised leaf sections are used to make protective cases for pupation.
Recorded by: Tracy S. Feldman on 2015-09-22
Scotland Co.
Comment: This species makes blotch or widening linear mines on Prunus serotina. Note the elliptical holes cut out by larvae at the ends of the mines. The excised leaf sections are used to make protective cases for pupation.