Moths of North Carolina
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View PDFTortricidae Members: 5 NC Records

Rhyacionia aktita Miller, 1978 - No Common Name


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Taxonomy
Superfamily: Tortricoidea Family: TortricidaeSubfamily: OlethreutinaeTribe: EucosminiP3 Number: 620713.00 MONA Number: 2885.00
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.
Identification
Field Guide Descriptions: Online Photographs: MPG, BugGuide, iNaturalist, Google, BAMONATechnical Description, Adults: Powell and Miller (1978)Technical Description, Immature Stages: Powell and Miller (1978)                                                                                 
Adult Markings: The following description is based on that of Powell and Miller (1978). The labial palp is short, with the second segment length 0.9X the eye diameter. The third segment is 0.3X as long as the second. The palp, front of the head, and crown are gray with white tipped-scales. The dorsum of the thorax is similar but darker. The basal one-fourth of the forewing is gray and forms a faint basal patch. There are four or five blotch-like irregular orange to rust bands that are from a few to many scales wide, and that either partly or entirely cross the wing. The basal patch and crossband just beyond the middle sometimes appear bluish to the unaided eye. The apex, including the fringe, is heavily dusted with brick-red scales. The fringe, except near the apex, is dark gray with a black line extending around the termen. The hindwing is pale grayish brown, with a fringe is paler and nearly white. The abdomen is shining light gray above, and the legs are gray with white bands exteriorly that are sometimes sprinkled with rust. The metathoracic legs are much paler than the forelegs. Powell and Miller (1978) noted that Rhyacionia aktita is externally similar to R. frustrana and is best identified by genitalia where the two co-occur together. In coastal North Carolina, length of the forewing is helpful in sorting the two species out locally, with R. aktita averaging around 7 mm versus only 5 mm for R. frustrana.
Forewing Length: 4.0 to 7.0 mm for males; 5.0-6.0 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.
Structural photos
Adult ID Requirements: Identifiable only by close inspection of structural features or by DNA analysis.
Immatures and Development: The larvae feed on the buds and shoots of pines. There appear to be two generations per year in the southern portion of the range, and the pupae overwinter in the shoots (Powell and Miller, 1978).
Distribution in North Carolina
Distribution: Rhyacionia aktita is found in coastal regions from Maine and New Jersey southward to Florida, and westward along the Gulf Coast to eastern Texas (Powell and Miller, 1978). As of 2021, our records are all from coastal sites.
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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Flight Comments: The adults have been recorded from February through July in areas outside of North Carolina. As of 2021, our records extends from early March through early July.
Habitats and Life History
Habitats: The larvae feed on the buds and new shoots of pines and inhabit pine forests in coastal areas. The specific hosts that are used in North Carolina are unknown.
Larval Host Plants: The adults have been reared from pupae overwintering in the dead shoots of Slash Pine (P. elliottii), Pond Pine (P. serotina), and Loblolly Pine (P. taeda).
Observation Methods: The adults occasionally come to lights and have been reared from infected pine shoots.
Wikipedia
See also Habitat Account for Coastal Plain Wet, Acidic Pine Woodlands
Status in North Carolina
Natural Heritage Program Status:
Natural Heritage Program Ranks: GNR SU
State Protection: Has no legal protection, although permits are required to collect it on state parks and other public lands.
Comments: This species appears to be uncommon in the state, but additional information is needed on its distribution and abundance before we can assess its conservation status.