Moths of North Carolina
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View PDFChoreutidae Members: 40 NC Records

Tebenna gnaphaliella (Kearfott, 1902) - Everlasting Tebbena Moth


Taxonomy
Superfamily: Choreutoidea Family: ChoreutidaeSubfamily: ChoreutinaeTribe: [Choreutini]P3 Number: 580024.00 MONA Number: 2647.00
Comments: Tebenna is a small genus with eight species that occur in North America.
Identification
Field Guide Descriptions: Online Photographs: MPG, BugGuide, iNaturalist, Google, BAMONA                                                                                 
Adult Markings: The following description is based in part on that of Kearfott (1902) and Forbes (1923). The head is fuscous with silvery gray dusting, while the labial palp is fuscous with white at the base. The antenna has black and white annulations. The thorax is ocherous yellow to dull orange, with a median line of silvery gray scales that terminates before reaching the posterior margin. Most of the forewing is overlain with metallic silvery gray to grayish white scales. These form a broad, oblique band from about one-third to two-fifths the wing length that extends from the costa to the dorsal margin. The band contrasts sharply with the basal third, which is ocherous yellow to dull orange, and has three longitudinal lines of the silvery gray scales (one along the costa) that extend from near the base, to the broad band of concolorous scales at one-third. The lines of scales tend to mask the underlying blackish coloration. The metallic silvery gray scales fill much of the remainder of the apical two-thirds of the wing, except where black marks are present. These mostly consist of velvety black, irregular spots with lead-colored centers. Two are present immediately behind the wide band of silvery gray scales at one-third, including a large one near the center of the wing (sometimes broken into two small spots), and a smaller one near the dorsal margin. Two or more additional small spots are usually present posterior to these in the subterminal region. The outer marginal has a narrow brown band that is sprinkled with white scales. The band extends out onto the fringe, which is brown with fine white lines at the base and apex. The hindwing is fuscous, with a large, whitish subterminal dash near the middle. The fringe is fuscous with two lighter marginal lines, including a thin one at the base and a wider one near the middle. The outer edge of the fringe is paler. The abdomen is brown, with a band of whitish scales at the posterior edge of each segment. The legs are so thickly covered with white scales that the ground color is almost hidden except for tarsi, which have alternate black and white rings on near the joints.
Wingspan: 7.5-8.5 mm (Kearfott, 1902)
Forewing Length: 3.2-4.8 mm (Powell and Opler, 2009).
Adult ID Requirements: Identifiable from good quality photos of unworn specimens.
Immatures and Development: The larvae of T. gnaphaliella feed on cudweeds and initially mine the tissue between the upper and lower cuticles. Near the end of the first instar, they stop mining and feed on the leaf surface in communal groups. The larvae feed beneath a protective and somewhat viscid webbing that is usually profusely scattered with black powdery frass (Kearfott, 1902). The mature larvae are about 6 mm long, translucent, and whitish green. The head is the same color as the body, but horny and polished. Pupation occurs beneath the webbing and the adults emerge 7-8 days later. The pupa is pale golden brown and about 4 mm long, while the cocoon is dense, white, and somewhat sticky. As many as 12 cocoons can be found together beneath a single webbing (Kearfott, 1902).
Larvae ID Requirements: Identifiable only through rearing to adulthood.
Distribution in North Carolina
Distribution: Tebenna gnaphaliella is found in Quebec and throughout much of the eastern US, as well as in California and Colorado. In the East, populations occur from Maine southward to Florida, and westward to eastern Texas, Oklahoma, Illinois, and southern Wisconsin. This species occurs statewide from coastal regions to the higher 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: Adults have been observed from February through December in areas outside on North Carolina, with a peak in seasonal activity from April through September. As of 2020, our records are from late April through late September. Local populations appear to be double-brooded in the Coastal Plain and Piedmont, and single-brooded in the mountains. Larvae have been found in North Carolina in early April (Eiseman, 2019).
Habitats and Life History
Habitats: Local populations are most commonly found in sunny and often dry habitats where the host plants grow. Representative habitats include roadsides, fields, urban lots, woodland borders, and clearcuts, as well as in more natural habitats such as open woodlands and open coastal pine forests. The adults nectar during the day on flowers such as fleabanes (Erigeron spp.) and Black-eyed Susan (Rudbeckia hirta), so sites that support both the larval hosts and nectar resources for the adults are ideal.
Larval Host Plants: The larvae feed on cudweeds (Asteraceae) and their relatives. The most important host in North Carolina are probably Heller's Rabbit-tobacco (Pseudognaphalium helleri), Fragrant Rabbit-tobacco (P. obtusifolium), and Spoonleaf Purple Everlasting (Gamochaeta purpurea), although other congenerics may be used. Other hosts that have been reported in the western US include Pearly Everlasting (Anaphalis margaritacea) and introduced Helichrysum species.
Observation Methods: The adults are attracted to lights, but many records are from daytime sightings of adults that are either resting on vegetation or nectaring on composites and other wildflowers.
Wikipedia
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 seemingly secure since it does well in human-altered habitats.

 Photo Gallery for Tebenna gnaphaliella - Everlasting Tebbena Moth

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

Recorded by: Susie Moffat on 2021-07-14
Chatham Co.
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Recorded by: Rob Van Epps on 2021-05-27
Mecklenburg Co.
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Recorded by: Rob Van Epps on 2021-05-27
Mecklenburg Co.
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Recorded by: Erich Hofmann on 2021-05-23
New Hanover Co.
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Recorded by: R. Newman on 2021-05-21
Carteret Co.
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Recorded by: R. Newman on 2021-05-11
Carteret 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: Jim Petranka, Bo Sullivan and Steve Hall on 2021-05-10
Moore Co.
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Recorded by: Ken Kneidel on 2020-08-12
Mecklenburg Co.
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Recorded by: Ken Kneidel on 2020-08-12
Mecklenburg Co.
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Recorded by: Ken Kneidel on 2020-08-12
Mecklenburg Co.
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Recorded by: Jim Petranka and Becky Elkin on 2020-08-05
Madison Co.
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Recorded by: Erich Hofmann on 2020-05-06
Craven Co.
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Recorded by: Gary Maness on 2020-05-04
Guilford Co.
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Recorded by: Gary Maness on 2019-06-28
Guilford Co.
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Recorded by: Gary Maness on 2019-06-28
Guilford Co.
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Recorded by: F. Williams, S. Williams on 2019-06-15
Bertie Co.
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Recorded by: Gary Maness on 2019-06-15
Guilford Co.
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Recorded by: Gary Maness on 2019-06-15
Guilford Co.
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Recorded by: Gary Maness on 2019-06-09
Guilford Co.
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Recorded by: Gary Maness on 2019-06-09
Guilford Co.
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Recorded by: Gary Maness on 2019-06-09
Guilford Co.
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Recorded by: Mark Shields on 2019-06-04
Onslow Co.
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Recorded by: Stephen Hall on 2019-05-27
Orange Co.
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Recorded by: Steve Hall on 2019-05-21
Orange Co.
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Recorded by: J.B. Sullivan on 2017-09-22
Carteret Co.
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Recorded by: J. A. Anderson on 2017-06-26
Surry Co.
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Recorded by: Harry Wilson on 2016-06-07
Wake Co.
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Recorded by: Harry Wilson on 2016-06-07
Wake Co.
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Recorded by: Kyle Kittelberger, Paul Scharf, Brian Bockhahn on 2015-06-17
Avery Co.
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