Moths of North Carolina
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Rhyacionia Members:
16 NC Records

Rhyacionia granti Miller, 1985 - Jack Pine Tip Moth



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Taxonomy
Superfamily: Tortricoidea Family: TortricidaeSubfamily: OlethreutinaeTribe: EucosminiP3 Number: 620707.00 MONA Number: 2879.10
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.
Identification
Field Guide Descriptions: Online Photographs: MPG, BugGuide, iNaturalist, Google, BAMONA, GBIFTechnical Description, Adults: Miller (1985)                                                                                 
Adult Markings: The following is based on the original description by Miller (1985). The labial palps, crown of the head, and thorax are clothed with either reddish scales, or more typically, brownish black scales with white-tips. The length of the second segment of the labial palp is subequal to the eye diameter, and the length of the third segment is one-fourth that of the second. The front of the head is brownish black. The antennal pecten length is at least twice that of the antennal segment length. The forewing has brownish black scales with white-tips on the basal two-thirds that form faint, irregular, dark and pale crossbands. The apical third of the forewing has red and yellow scales. The hindwing is uniformly light gray above and the abdomen is shiny gray. The leg scaling is similar to that of the thorax. Rhyacionia granti and R. busckana are two cryptic species that are most easily distinguished by the male antennae. In R. granti the pecten is coarser and at least twice as long as that in R. busckana. The length of the pecten on the basal third of the antenna greatly exceeds the length of the antennal segments. In R. busckana, the pecten is shorter than the length of the antennal segments (see structural photos below). These species can also be distinguished by the male and female genitalia. Specimens of R. granti in North Carolina most commonly have reddish scales on the upper head and anterior regions of the thorax.




Forewing Length: 6.5-8.0 mm for males; 6.0-7.5 mm for females (Miller, 1985)
Adult Structural Features: Miller (1985) has descriptions and illustrations of the male and female genitalia, as well as ways to distinguish R. granti from its cryptic sibling species, R. busckana. In R. granti males, the uncus is usually narrower and the aedeagal asymmetry less pronounced. In R. granti females, caudal widening of the sterigma is usually slight, while in R. busckana it is pronounced. The sterigma width in the former is less than three-fold the ostium bursae width, while in the latter it is three-fold or more.
Structural photos
Adult ID Requirements: Identifiable from photos showing hindwings, abdomen, or other specialized views [e.g., frons, palps, antennae, undersides].
Immatures and Development: The larvae feed on the needles and shoots of pines, but the larval life history has not been reported in detail. Miller (1985) noted that the larval use Jack Pine in Ontario. They complete feeding in early July and drop to the ground to pupate.
Distribution in North Carolina
Distribution: Rhyacionia granti is found in eastern North America, but the range is rather poorly documented. Populations have been documented in extreme southern Canada (Manitoba; Ontario; Quebec) and in the US from Wisconsin, northern Indiana, and Michigan eastward to New York, Pennsylvania, and Maryland (Miller, 1985; Pohl et al., 2018). An apparent southern isolate occurs in Florida. As of 2021, all of our only records are from lower elevations in the western mountains. The North Carolina populations may be disjunct from populations farther north.
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 fly in late winter or spring as the warm-up begins. Most records are from February through April in the US, and April and May in Canada. Records for adults in Florida include November and December. As of 2021, our records extends from early February through mid-March.
Habitats and Life History
Habitats: local populations are dependent on yellow pines for reproduction and do not use White Pine. A site in Madison County where it is common is a mixed conifer-hardwood forest.
Larval Host Plants: This species uses Jack Pine (Pinus banksiana) in Ontario, and presumably other pines farther south. At a site in Madison County where the adults are common, the only suitable hosts that are present are Shortleaf Pine (P. echinata), Pitch Pine (P. resinosa), and Virginia Pine (P. virginiana).
Observation Methods: The adults are attracted to lights.
Wikipedia
Status in North Carolina
Natural Heritage Program Status:
Natural Heritage Program Ranks: GNR SU
State Protection:
Comments: Our populations appear to be restricted to the Blue Ridge, and are perhaps isolated from more northern populations. As of 2021, we have only two site records. Additional information is needed on the distribution and abundance of this species in the state before we can assess its conservation status.

 Photo Gallery for Rhyacionia granti - Jack Pine Tip Moth

Photos: 21

Recorded by: tom ward on 2022-03-07
Buncombe Co.
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Recorded by: tom ward on 2022-03-07
Buncombe Co.
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Recorded by: Jim Petranka on 2022-03-06
Madison Co.
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Recorded by: Jim Petranka on 2022-03-05
Madison Co.
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Recorded by: Jim Petranka on 2022-03-03
Madison Co.
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Recorded by: Jim Petranka on 2022-02-23
Madison Co.
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Recorded by: Jim Petranka on 2021-03-10
Madison Co.
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Recorded by: Jim Petranka and Becky Elkin on 2020-03-12
Madison Co.
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Recorded by: Jim Petranka and Becky Elkin on 2020-03-03
Madison Co.
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Recorded by: Jim Petranka and Becky Elkin on 2020-02-25
Madison Co.
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Recorded by: Jim Petranka on 2020-02-11
Madison Co.
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Recorded by: Jim Petranka and Becky Elkin on 2019-03-01
Madison Co.
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Recorded by: Vin Stanton on 2019-02-28
Buncombe Co.
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Recorded by: Vin Stanton on 2019-02-28
Buncombe Co.
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Recorded by: Vin Stanton on 2019-02-28
Buncombe Co.
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Recorded by: Jim Petranka and Becky Elkin on 2019-02-26
Madison Co.
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Recorded by: Jim Petranka and Becky Elkin on 2019-02-21
Madison Co.
Comment: Determined by J.B. Sullivan based on dissection.
Recorded by: Jim Petranka and Becky Elkin on 2019-02-21
Madison Co.
Comment: A close-up of the male antenna.
Recorded by: Jim Petranka and Becky Elkin on 2019-02-07
Madison Co.
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Recorded by: Jim Petranka and Becky Elkin on 2019-02-07
Madison Co.
Comment: Determined by J.B. Sullivan based on dissection.
Recorded by: Jim Petranka and Becky Elkin on 2019-02-06
Madison Co.
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