Moths of North Carolina
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Pelochrista Members:
3 NC Records

Pelochrista graciliana Kearfott, 1905 - No Common Name


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Taxonomy
Superfamily: Tortricoidea Family: TortricidaeSubfamily: OlethreutinaeTribe: EucosminiP3 Number: 620950.00 MONA Number: 3044.00 MONA Synonym: Eucosma graciliana
Comments: Pelochrista is a large Holarctic genus of tortricids with around 75% of the 226 described species being native to North America (Wright and Gilligan, 2017). The highest species richness occurs in the western half of North America. The genus has a long and confusing taxonomic history, with many of the species formerly placed in the genus Eucosma. Gilligan et al. (2014) conducted a comprehensive phylogenetic analysis of Pelochrista, Eucosma, and related genera and redefined the genus Eucosma and Pelochrista based on differences in female genitalia. The great majority of Pelochrista species are known only from adults, which likely reflects the fact that the larvae of most species bore into stem bases and roots and are concealed from view. Members of the Asteraceae are the likely hosts for most species (Wright and Gilligan, 2017), but much work need to be done to identifying the hosts.
Species Status: P. graciliana is one of four members of the albiguttana group that was recognized by Wright and Gilligan (2017), with the other members being P. albiguttana, P. galenapunctana, and Pelochrista kimballi. The type series for this species consists of a female lectotype and three male paralectotypes from Tryon in Polk Co. These have proven to be a source of confusion since the males have genitalia that resemble those of P. galenapunctana and the female that of P. albiguttana. Confusion about the status of P. graciliana centers around the fact that the lectotype may not be conspecihc with the paralectotypes, and that there are no reliable genitalia characters that distinguish the female of P. graciliana from P. albiguttana or the males from P. galenapunctana. As such, there is uncertainty as to whether P. graciliana is a valid species. Wright and Gilligan (2017) elected to continue to recognize P. graciliana as a valid species and provided a comprehensive discussion of the issues surrounding this taxon.
Identification
Field Guide Descriptions: Online Photographs: MPG, BugGuide, iNaturalist, Google, BAMONA, GBIFTechnical Description, Adults: Wright and Gilligan (2017)                                                                                 
Adult Markings: Pelochrista graciliana is externally similar to other members of the albiguttana group. In all members of this group the forewing varies from golden brown to brownish yellow and lacks fasciate markings. The wing has numerous, scatter whitish to grayish spots that are often margined to varying degrees with darker scales. The ocellus is conspicuous, is edged laterally by transverse metallic gray bars, and has a brownish central field that is crossed by two or three black longitudinal dashes (the third often greatly reduced). The costa has prominent whitish strigulae that are separated by short golden-brown to blackish dashes, and the termen has a narrow salt-and-pepper-colored band that extends from the tornus to the apex (Wright and Gilligan, 2017) . Keartott (1905a) has a description based on four specimens that is generally consistent with the description above.
Forewing Length: 7.7-8.8 mm; mean 8.2 mm (Wright and Gilligan, 2017)
Adult Structural Features: Wright and Gilligan (2017) provided a general description of the genitalia that apply to all four members of the albiguttana group as follows. The uncus is well-developed with the basal width about 1.5-2.3 times the height. The socii are of moderate length and fingerlike, and the phallus is tapered distally with the base loosely surrounded by the anellus. The valva has a concave costal margin and the ventral emargination is deep. The neck is narrow, the saccular corner angulate, and the basal process tablike, weakly raised, and variably developed. The dorsal lobe of the cucullus is moderately to strongly developed. The apex is rounded while the distal margin is nearly straight to slightly convex. The ventral lobe is strongly developed and the anal angle has 1-4 marginal spines.

For females, the posterior lobes of the papillae anales are broad and fanlike in P. galenapunctana, but comparatively narrow in other group members. Tergum 8 is narrow and collarlike. The lamella antevaginal is present as a membranous ring in P. kimballi and P. galenapunctana, but absent in other group members. The lamella postvaginalis is microtrichiate, with the posterior margin medially indented and the central trough weakly depressed. The lateral margins/ anterolateral corners of sternum 7 have taxonomically informative patches of densely clustered and firmly socketed scales. The ductus bursae has variable patterns of sclerotization from its juncture with the ductus seminalis nearly to the constriction anterior to the ostium. The inner surface of the ductus bursae has a patch of microtrichia near the ductus seminalis, while the corpus bursae has two signa, with one larger than the other.

Wright and Gilligan (2017) provide illustrations of the genitalia of the lectotype and a paralectotype from Tryon, North Carolina (see comments under 'species status' above).
Adult ID Requirements: Identifiable from good quality photos of unworn specimens.
Immatures and Development: The lefe history of the larval stage is undocumented.
Distribution in North Carolina
Distribution: This species is only known from the vicinity of Tryon, 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: Kearfott (1905a) has records for 20 May, 22 May 22, 3 July and 24 July.
Habitats and Life History
Habitats: The preferred habitat is unknown.
Larval Host Plants: The host plants are undocumented.
Wikipedia
Status in North Carolina
Natural Heritage Program Status:
Natural Heritage Program Ranks: GNR SH
State Protection: Has no legal protection, although permits are required to collect it on state parks and other public lands.
Comments: This species was collected at Tryon in 1903 and 1904 and this remains the only known site where the species occurs. More inofrmation is needed on its taxonomic status, habitat requirements, and host plants before its conservation status can be accurately assessed.