Moths of North Carolina
Scientific Name:
Common Name:
Family (Alpha):
« »
View PDFTortricidae Members:
Eucopina Members:
42 NC Records

Eucopina tocullionana Heinrich, 1920 - White Pinecone Borer Moth


Taxonomy
Superfamily: Tortricoidea Family: TortricidaeSubfamily: OlethreutinaeTribe: EucosminiP3 Number: 621061.00 MONA Number: 3074.00 MONA Synonym: Eucosma tocullionana
Species Status: Eucopina is a genus of tortricid moths with 12 North American species that were previously placed in the genus Eucosma (Gilligan and Wright, 2013). Members of this genus feed on conifers (Pinaceae), and the majority feed on the maturing cones of pines.
Identification
Field Guide Descriptions: Beadle and Leckie (2012) under Eucosma tocullionanaOnline Photographs: MPG, BugGuide, iNaturalist, Google, BAMONA, GBIFTechnical Description, Adults: Heinrich (1920); Powell (1968)Technical Description, Immature Stages: de Groot (1998)                                                                                 
Adult Markings: The following is primarily based on the original description by Heinrich (1920). The head and face are ocherous, and the palp is similar but dusted with black scales. The anterior portion of the thorax is yellow brown, while the caudal half of the thorax and patagia are dark with black tipped scales. The antenna is smoky black above and gray beneath.

The forewing has complex patterning that consists of a rich chocolate brown to dark yellow brown ground that is overlain with irregular silvery gray and black lines of varying lengths and widths. The most prominent feature is a lighter, irregular, yellowish brown to pale orange band that is broadly margined with silvery-gray at the middle of the wing; it typically extends from the costa to the middle of the dorsal margin. A similar and less defined band (often broken into two large blotches) occurs at three-fourths and extends from the costa to the tornus. A small concolorous blotch is also usually evident at the apex. A series of light spots are usually present along the costa that are often elements of the broad bands. The cilia are smoky gray with a thin dark marginal line near the base. The hindwing is dark smoky brown with lighter cilia that have a thin dark line near the base, while the legs are grayish white above with blackish rings.

Eucopina tocullionana might be confused with E. monitorana, but the latter has a lighter and wider median band that contrasts sharply with the darker basal fourth, along with a more uniformly dark hindwing.
Wingspan: 13-15 mm (Heinrich, 1920)
Forewing Length: 6.3 to 8.0 mm (Powell, 1968)
Adult ID Requirements: Identifiable from good quality photos of unworn specimens.
Immatures and Development: The most comprehensive life history study is by de Groot (1998), who studied a population in Ontario, Canada. Males in this population are active from late May to the first week of July, shortly before or during the time when male pine cones are releasing pollen. The first eggs appear in mid-June. Females lay their eggs under the upturned cone scales of second-year pine cones. After hatching, the larvae burrow into the cones where they feed on the internal tissues. They feed indiscriminately on the cone tissues and often leave behind partially consumed ovules and cone scales. The cone axis is consumed last and feeding often causes the entire cone to die. Frass is tightly packed in excavated cavities inside the cone and contains little or no webbing.

After the third instar, the larvae often leave the cone and bore into a fresh cone that is nearby. The oval entrance holes are 1-2 mm wide and have yellowish-brown frass and resin near the opening. After completing the fifth instar, the larvae vacate the cones and pupate on the ground. Pupation occurred in a loosely woven, light-brown cocoon that is coated with cone debris and frass.

Larvae in this population were present in female cones from mid-June to the end of August, and about 40% died after being trapped in resin. Instars L1-L3 had pale yellow bodies with light-brown head capsules and thoracic shields, while later instars had grayish-cream to reddish-cream bodies with orange-brown head capsules and thoracic shields. The mean body length was 9.7 mm for fifth-instar larvae.
Larvae ID Requirements: Identifiable from good quality photos, especially where associated with known host plants.
Distribution in North Carolina
Distribution: E. tocullionana occurs in eastern North America from southeastern Canada (Prince Edwards Island; Nova Scotia; New Brunswick) and the New England states westward though the Great Lakes region to Minnesota. The native range extends southward mostly through the Appalachian region to western North Carolina, eastern Tennessee and northern Georgia. Its southernmost range appears to be determined by the distribution of Eastern White Pine (Pinus strobus), which is the primary host plant (de Groot, 1998). This species has been widely planted throughout the eastern US outside of its natural range and E. tocullionana appears to have expanded its range in some areas. As of 2022, all of our North Carolina records are from the Blue Ridge and Piedmont and within the general range of P. strobus.
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: Populations throughout the range are univoltine (de Groot, 1998), with records extending from March through October. The peak in seasonal activity is from May through July. As of 2022, all but one of our records are from late April through late-July. We have one very late record for late-October.
Habitats and Life History
Habitats: Local populations in North Carolina are only known from sites where Eastern White Pine is present. This species tolerates a wide range of site conditions and can be found in both mesic and dry forest communities. It is most frequent at low to mid-elevations in the mountains.
Larval Host Plants: Although Eastern White Pine (P. strobus) is the primary host species, specimens have been collected outside of North Carolina from spruces (Picea spp.), Balsam Fir (Abies balsamea), Eastern Hemlock (Tsuga canadensis) and Virginia Pine (P. virginiana; Powell, 1968). The use of these secondary hosts has been questioned and might reflect misidentified specimens (de Groot, 1998).
Observation Methods: Adults are active shortly after dark and come to lights.
Wikipedia
Status in North Carolina
Natural Heritage Program Status:
Natural Heritage Program Ranks: GNR [S3S5]
State Protection: Has no legal protection, although permits are required to collect it on state parks and other public lands.
Comments: Eastern White Pine reaches its southern limits in northern Georgia and populations of E. tocullionana in western North Carolina are near the southern limit of this species' range. The status of North Carolina populations of E. tocullionana is uncertain -- we have relatively few site records for what should be a common species -- at least based on its host plants. However, it appears to be fairly widely distributed in the Blue Ridge, and to a lesser extent in the western Piedmont and foothills, indicating that it is unlikely to be limited by habitat.

 Photo Gallery for Eucopina tocullionana - White Pinecone Borer Moth

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

Recorded by: Jim Petranka on 2022-07-21
Madison Co.
Comment:
Recorded by: Jim Petranka on 2022-07-17
Madison Co.
Comment:
Recorded by: tom ward on 2022-07-09
Buncombe Co.
Comment:
Recorded by: Jim Petranka on 2022-07-09
Madison Co.
Comment:
Recorded by: Jim Petranka on 2022-06-24
Madison Co.
Comment:
Recorded by: Jim Petranka on 2022-06-16
Madison Co.
Comment:
Recorded by: Gary Maness on 2022-05-21
Guilford Co.
Comment:
Recorded by: Gary Maness on 2022-05-21
Guilford Co.
Comment:
Recorded by: Jim Petranka on 2022-05-17
Madison Co.
Comment:
Recorded by: Jim Petranka on 2022-05-11
Madison Co.
Comment:
Recorded by: tom ward on 2022-05-05
Buncombe Co.
Comment:
Recorded by: Jim Petranka on 2022-05-03
Madison Co.
Comment:
Recorded by: Jim Petranka on 2022-05-03
Madison Co.
Comment:
Recorded by: Jim Petranka on 2021-07-14
Madison Co.
Comment:
Recorded by: Jim Petranka on 2021-07-14
Madison Co.
Comment:
Recorded by: Jim Petranka on 2021-06-04
Madison Co.
Comment:
Recorded by: Gary Maness on 2021-05-18
Guilford Co.
Comment:
Recorded by: Gary Maness on 2021-05-18
Guilford Co.
Comment:
Recorded by: Gary Maness on 2021-05-18
Guilford Co.
Comment:
Recorded by: Gary Maness on 2021-05-18
Guilford Co.
Comment:
Recorded by: jim Petranka on 2021-05-16
Madison Co.
Comment:
Recorded by: Gary Maness on 2021-04-29
Guilford Co.
Comment:
Recorded by: Gary Maness on 2021-04-29
Guilford Co.
Comment:
Recorded by: Jim Petranka on 2021-04-28
Madison Co.
Comment:
Recorded by: Jim Petranka on 2021-04-28
Madison Co.
Comment:
Recorded by: Vin Stanton on 2021-04-27
Buncombe Co.
Comment:
Recorded by: Vin Stanton on 2021-04-27
Buncombe Co.
Comment:
Recorded by: Jim Petranka and Becky Elkin on 2020-07-05
Madison Co.
Comment:
Recorded by: Jim Petranka and Becky Elkin on 2020-07-05
Madison Co.
Comment:
Recorded by: Gary Maness on 2020-06-11
Guilford Co.
Comment: