Moths of North Carolina
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Rhyacionia Members:
33 NC Records

Rhyacionia rigidana (Fernald, 1880) - Pitch Pine Tip Moth


Taxonomy
Superfamily: Tortricoidea Family: TortricidaeSubfamily: OlethreutinaeTribe: EucosminiP3 Number: 620695.00 MONA Number: 2868.00
Comments: The genus Rhyacionia is widespread in the Holarctic Region, ranging from Japan and Asia to the Caribbean Antilles and Mexico (Powell and Miller, 1978). There are 33 described species worldwide and 24 in North America. The larvae feed on the needles, buds, and growing tips of pines.
Species Status: Rhyacionia rigidana causes damage to pine shoots and can be a minor pest in nurseries and pine plantations, particularly when they infect leaders and distort tree growth.
Identification
Field Guide Descriptions: Online Photographs: MPG, BugGuide, iNaturalist, Google, BAMONA, GBIFTechnical Description, Adults: Powell and Miller (1978)                                                                                 
Adult Markings: The palps and head are light frosted gray, while the dorsum of the thorax is similar but slightly darker. The extreme base of the forewing is grayish, with most of the remaining basal one-fourth is mottled with red or reddish brown that forms a basal patch. The relatively dark basal patch is bordered by a lighter yellowish gray to grayish white median cross-band. The median band is often stepped, with the dorsal portion wider. Its maximum width is equal to or greater than that of the reddish basal patch. A dark reddish band at about three-fourths the wing length extends from the inner margin to near the middle of the wing, where it nearly joins a series of diffuse reddish blotches along the costal margin that extends from the posterior edge of the median pale band towards the apex. The apical fifth is usually heavily dusted with reddish scales. The fringe is dark gray and often has a thin, dark line extending around the termen. The hindwing is pale grayish brown with a paler fringe. The abdomen is shining light gray above, and the legs are gray to reddish brown with paler annuli.
Forewing Length: 5.5 to 8.0 mm for males; 6.0 to 9.0 mm for females (Powell and Miller, 1978)
Adult Structural Features: Powell and Miller (1978) have descriptions and illustrations of the male and female genitalia, which are distinctive.
Adult ID Requirements: Identifiable from good quality photos of unworn specimens.
Immatures and Development: The larvae feed on the needles and shoots of pines. Miller and Neiswander (1959) studied populations in Ohio that produced two generations per year, one during the summer and the second during the fall. The hatchlings produce only dry, powdery frass on very young shoots, while the older larvae produce resinous, webbed tents between the needle bases on the older shoots. The webbing contains a mixture of resin, frass and other debris. The larval period lasts 4-6 weeks and pupation takes place in the shoot. Just before transformation, the larva eats away an area of the burrow wall until the wall is very thin. This area later serves as the pupal exit. The larva also spins a silken mat on the walls of the burrow that protects the pupa from the sticky resin. Just before the adult emerges, the pupa works itself part way out of the bud or shoot by abdominal manipulations. Some pupae may actually drop to the ground before the adult emerges. Individuals in the final brood overwinter as pupae within the dead shoots.
Distribution in North Carolina
Distribution: Rhyacionia rigidana is found the eastern US, central America, and the Caribbean. In the US the range extends from southern Maine to Florida, and westward to eastern Texas, Oklahoma, Arkansas, and Missouri, and Indiana. This species occurs statewide in North Carolina.
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: The adults are active year-round in Florida, and mostly from February through July in other areas outside of North Carolina. As of 2021, our records extend from late February through early July, with the first brood beginning in March. Local populations appear to be bivoltine, which is the case for most populations in areas outside of Florida (Miller and Neiswander, 1959).
Habitats and Life History
Habitats: Populations depend on yellow pines as host plants and are found in pine and mixed pine-hardwood forests statewide.
Larval Host Plants: The larvae feed on several members of the yellow pine group (Powell and Miller, 1978; Brown et al., 2008). The known hosts include Shortleaf Pine (P. echinata), Red Pine (P. resinosa), Pitch Pine (P. rigida), Loblolly Pine (P. taeda) and Virginia Pine (P. virginiana), as well as several non-native ornamental pines.
Observation Methods: The adults come to lights.
Wikipedia
See also Habitat Account for General Pine Forests and Woodlands
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 occurs statewide and appears to be relatively secure.

 Photo Gallery for Rhyacionia rigidana - Pitch Pine Tip Moth

Photos: 30

Recorded by: David George, Lior Carlson, Becky Watkins, Richard Teper, Stephen Dunn on 2022-07-23
Orange Co.
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Recorded by: David George, L. M. Carlson on 2022-07-19
Chowan Co.
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Recorded by: David George, L. M. Carlson on 2022-06-13
Durham Co.
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Recorded by: David George, L. M. Carlson on 2022-06-12
Orange Co.
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Recorded by: David George, L.M. Carlson, Becky Watkins on 2022-06-09
Orange Co.
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Recorded by: Dean Furbish and Joy Wiggins on 2022-06-06
Wake Co.
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Recorded by: David George, L. M. Carlson, Stephen Dunn on 2022-06-04
Orange Co.
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Recorded by: David George, L. M. Carlson on 2022-05-31
Durham Co.
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Recorded by: David George, L. M. Carlson on 2022-05-31
Durham Co.
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Recorded by: David George, L. M. Carlson on 2022-05-29
Durham Co.
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Recorded by: Jim Petranka on 2022-03-30
Madison Co.
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Recorded by: Dean Furbish and Joy Wiggins on 2022-03-03
Wake Co.
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Recorded by: David L. Heavner on 2021-06-13
Chatham Co.
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Recorded by: David L. Heavner on 2021-06-13
Chatham Co.
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Recorded by: Dean Furbish on 2021-06-08
Wake Co.
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Recorded by: Dean Furbish on 2021-06-08
Wake Co.
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Recorded by: Jim Petranka on 2021-04-05
Madison Co.
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Recorded by: Jim Petranka on 2021-03-30
Bladen Co.
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Recorded by: Stephen Hall on 2021-03-12
Orange Co.
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Recorded by: Steve Hall on 2020-06-26
Orange Co.
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Recorded by: Steve Hall on 2020-06-22
Orange Co.
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Recorded by: Steve Hall on 2020-06-14
Orange Co.
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Recorded by: Kyle Kittelberger on 2020-06-07
Wake Co.
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Recorded by: Mark Shields on 2020-03-21
Onslow Co.
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Recorded by: Jim Petranka on 2019-04-13
Madison Co.
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Recorded by: Jim Petranka on 2019-04-06
Madison Co.
Comment: Determined by J.B. Sullivan based on dissection.
Recorded by: Jim Petranka on 2019-04-06
Madison Co.
Comment: Determined by J.B. Sullivan based on dissection.
Recorded by: Darryl Willis on 2016-06-03
Cabarrus Co.
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Recorded by: Brian Bockhahn, Paul Scharf on 2015-06-05
Durham Co.
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Recorded by: Robert Gilson on 2015-03-25
Mecklenburg Co.
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