Moths of North Carolina
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Pelochrista Members:
9 NC Records

Pelochrista similiana (Clemens, 1860) - No Common Name


Taxonomy
Superfamily: Tortricoidea Family: TortricidaeSubfamily: OlethreutinaeTribe: EucosminiP3 Number: 621034.00 MONA Number: 3116.10 MONA Synonym: Eucosma similiana
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: Pelochrista similiana is one of four species that Wright and Gilligan (2017) recognized as comprising the dorsisignatana species group, with the others being P. dorsisignatana, P. oraria, and P. wagneri. All have nearly identical genitalia and the species are recognized based on differences in size, maculation, and/or geographic distribution.
Identification
Field Guide Descriptions: Beadle and Leckie (2012)Online Photographs: MPG, BugGuide, iNaturalist, Google, BAMONA, GBIF, BOLD                                                                                 
Adult Markings: Most features of P. similiana are identical to those of P. dorsisignatana except that the subbasal and median bands are connected versus being widely separated in P. dorsisignatana. The head, palps, antennae, and thorax are pale gray to reddish-brown and are concolorous with the forewing ground color, which is overlaid with fine brown to reddish-brown striations and reticulations. The forewing has a broad, curved, reddish brown to blackish brown band with a thin white margin in the middle of the wing. The band represents the sub-basal and median bands as seen in P. dorsisignatana that are joined. Most North Carolina specimens are the form diffusana (Wright, 2011) where the anterior half of the band is dark and the posterior half fades towards the costa. A dark spot with a white margin is sometimes present just before the tornus where the band is broken near its terminus. In addition to the broad band in the midwing, a much narrower and lighter postmedian band is usually present that begins at the tornus and slants inwardly towards the costa. The pale strigulae on the distal one-half of costa are either absent or faint, and are concolorous with the ground color. The ocellus is absent, and the termen has a narrow salt-and-pepper-colored band that extends from the tornus to the apex. The hindwing is light brown to brownish-gray with a slightly paler fringe.
Forewing Length: 6.6-11.2 mm; mean 9.3 mm (Wright and Gilligan, 2017)
Adult Structural Features: This and other members of the dorsisignatana species group have nearly identical genitalia, Wright (2011) and Wright and Gilligan (2017) have illustrations of the genitalia and Wright and Gilligan (2017) provide a general description of the genitalia of the group members as follows. In males, the uncus is triangular and is weakly differentiated from the dorsolateral shoulders of the tegumen. The socii are short and fingerlike, and the phallus mildly tapers distally, with the base closely surrounded by the anellus. The vesica has 8-31 cornuti. The costal margin of the valva is concave and the ventral emargination is shallow. The neck is short and broad. The cucullus has the dorsal lobe moderately developed, and the apex broadly rounded. The distal margin is convex and nearly uniform in curvature, while the ventral lobe is weakly developed and the anal angle is broadly rounded. Setation of the medial surface is short and fine.

In females, the papillae anales are flat, moderately setose, and densely microtrichiate along the margins of the ventral opening. The sterigma is Type II, U-shaped, and microtrichiate. The lamella postvaginalis is rectangular, with the lateral margins curled inward. The posterior edge appears to be deeply emarginated due to reduced sclerotization of the medial trough. The medial trough is flanked by hairlike setae and the lamella antevaginalis is ringlike. Sternum 7 is rectangular with the posterior margin indented to about one-third the length of the sterigma. Scaling of sternum 7 is uniform except for a moderately dense band along the posterior margin. The ductus bursae has a patch of sclerotization (sometimes fragmented) near the juncture with the ductus seminalis. The corpus bursae has one large signum, but sometimes with a second vestigial signum in the form of a small sclerotized scar and/or a cluster of sclerotized dots on the membrane.

Wright and Gilligan (2017) noted that male P. dorsisignatana of P. similiana have very similar genitalia and differ only to the extent that the uncus and socii of P. similiana tend to be more strongly developed and more clearly differentiated from the dorsolateral shoulders of the tegumen. Females of these two species have virtually identical genitalia.
Adult ID Requirements: Identifiable from good quality photos of unworn specimens.
Immatures and Development: The larvae bore in root and stalks of goldenrods (Wright, 2011) but detailed studies of their life history are unreported.
Distribution in North Carolina
Distribution: Pelochrista similiana is largely restricted to eastern North America. It occurs in southern Canada from Prince Edward Island westward to Manitoba, with one isolated record from Alberta. In the US the range extends from the New England states westward to eastern North Dakota and eastern Nebraska, and southward to North Carolina, Tennessee, Arkansas and eastern Oklahoma. As of 2022, our records are all from the Piedmont and Blue Ridge.
County Map: Clicking on a county returns the records for the species in that county.
Flight Dates:
 High Mountains (HM) ‚Č• 4,000 ft.
 Low Mountains (LM) < 4,000 ft.
 Piedmont (Pd)
 Coastal Plain (CP)

Click on graph to enlarge
Flight Comments: Local populations appear to be univoltine. The adults have been found from July through October in different areas of the range, with a seasonal peak in August and September. As of 2022, our records are all from early September to early October, except for one unusual early season record from late April. The latter suggests that populations may produce a second brood on rare occasion.
Habitats and Life History
Habitats: Local populations are associated with goldenrod stands and are commonly found in partially shaded and open habitats where goldenrods prevail.
Larval Host Plants: Goldenrods (Solidago spp.) are the only known hosts (Wright, 2011). - View
Observation Methods: The adults are attracted to lights.
Wikipedia
See also Habitat Account for General Successional Fields and Forblands
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: Populations appear to be secure, particularly given that early successional habitats that support goldenrods abound in the state.

 Photo Gallery for Pelochrista similiana - No common name

Photos: 13

Recorded by: John Petranka on 2022-10-05
Orange Co.
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Recorded by: Gary Maness on 2019-09-30
Guilford Co.
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Recorded by: Gary Maness on 2019-09-30
Guilford Co.
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Recorded by: Gary Maness on 2019-09-30
Guilford Co.
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Recorded by: Vin Stanton on 2019-09-26
Buncombe Co.
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Recorded by: Vin Stanton on 2019-09-26
Buncombe Co.
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Recorded by: Jim Petranka and Becky Elkin on 2018-09-22
Madison Co.
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Recorded by: Jim Petranka and Becky Elkin on 2018-09-22
Madison Co.
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Recorded by: Gary Maness on 2018-09-10
Guilford Co.
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Recorded by: Gary Maness on 2018-09-10
Guilford Co.
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Recorded by: Darryl Willis on 2016-09-26
Cabarrus Co.
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Recorded by: Kyle Kittelberger, Brian Bockhahn, Paul Scharf on 2015-09-09
Rockingham Co.
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Recorded by: Lori Owenby on 2011-04-23
Catawba Co.
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