Moths of North Carolina
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77 NC Records

Epiblema otiosana (Clemens, 1860) - Bidens Borer Moth


Taxonomy
Superfamily: Tortricoidea Family: TortricidaeSubfamily: OlethreutinaeTribe: EucosminiP3 Number: 621098.00 MONA Number: 3202.00
Identification
Field Guide Descriptions: Covell (1984); Beadle and Leckie (2012)Online Photographs: MPG, BugGuide, iNaturalist, Google, BAMONA, GBIF, BOLDTechnical Description, Adults: Pohl and Nanz (2023)Technical Description, Immature Stages: Decker (1932)                                                                                 
Adult Markings: The following is mostly based on the description by Pohl and Nanz (2023). The palps, antennae, head, thorax and thoracic tuft are all dark brown to reddish-brown. The forewing is dark grayish-brown to reddish-brown except for a white, sharply-defined dorsal spot near the middle of the wing. The ocellus varies from whitish to grayish, and reddish-brown scaling occurs near the apex and along the termen. The dorsal spot extends from the inner margin to just beyond the middle of the wing and typically has a lateral projection on its distal margin that points toward the ocellus and attenuates distally. When an individual is resting with the wings folded, it has a distinctive notched appearance. On a small percentage of individuals the apex of the projection is joined to the ocellus by a thin white line (Pohl and Nanz, 2023). The ocellus is well defined and has gray bands along the lateral margins and three short black dashes on a whitish to grayish central field. The costa has one conspicuous whitish strigula just before the apex, and several rather obscure gray strigulae on the distal two-thirds of the wing. These are separated by lines of reddish-brown scales. A broad, irregular black stripe adjoins the ocellus between it and the apex.
Wingspan: 12-20 mm (Covell, 1984).
Forewing Length: 5.4-9.2 mm; mean = 7.6 mm (Wright and Gilligan, 2023).
Adult Structural Features: Pohl and Nanz (2023) prove illustrations and descriptions of the genitalia.
Adult ID Requirements: Identifiable from good quality photos of unworn specimens.
Immatures and Development: The following life history account is based on studies by Decker (1932) in Iowa where the host plants were several species of Bidens. Populations in Iowa have two broods and a partial third, with the mature larvae overwintering in plant stalks. The overwintering larvae pupate in late-May and early-June, with the adults of the first generation emerging from late-May through the end of June. The adults mate within 1-2 days after emerging and the females deposit around 200-250 eggs over several days. The eggs are deposited singly or in groups of two or three to the undersides of leaves, with hatching occurring in 5-15 days depending on the ambient temperature. The hatchings either mine leaves or feed within buds for 2-3 days, then move from their feeding sites and burrow into either the main stem or large lateral side branches. When burrowing in stems they spiral downward, which acts to girdle the stem and causes it to wilt and sometimes die. When feeding on seedlings or young plants, the larvae often leave them after they begin to die and burrow into a second nearby plant.

Hatchlings in later generations first feed in the buds, blossoms and seed heads before entering the stem to burrow. When fully grown, the larvae drop to the bottom of their burrow and partition off the upper part with a plug of silk and frass to form a pupation chamber. Before pupating, an exit hole is made by chewing away the woody portion of the stem and leaving the thin epidermis intact. Larvae in the final seasonal generation overwinter in either their existing burrows, or leave the host plants and burrow into the stems of nearby plants such as goldenrods or ragweeds. The mature larvae are around 17 mm long on average and have yellowish-white bodies with rows of dark or blackish pinacula. The head varies from amber to dark brown, and the thoracic and anal shields are yellowish-brown.
Distribution in North Carolina
Distribution: Epiblema otiosana is found throughout most of the eastern U.S. and in adjoining areas of Ontario, Quebec and New Brunswick. The range in the U.S. extends from Maine southward to southern Florida, and westward to eastern Texas, central Oklahoma, eastern Kansas, central Nebraska, eastern South Dakota, Minnesota and northwestern North Dakota. It occurs statewide in North Carolina.
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: At southern locales such as Florida, Alabama and Louisiana, the adults fly during most months of the year except for November and December. Northern populations have a more restricted flight season, and typically are active from May through September. Most populations in North Carolina appear to be bivoltine, with the adults first flying from late-March to late-June, then again from mid-August to late-September.
Habitats and Life History
Habitats: Most of our records come from open areas or residential developments.
Larval Host Plants: Beggerticks (Bidens spp.) appear to be the primary hosts (Forbes, 1923; Decker, 1932; MacKay, 1959; Covell, 1984; Godfrey et al., 1987; Miller, 1987; Lam et al., 2011; Beadle and Leckie, 2012). The known hosts include Bearded Beggarticks (B. aristosa), Spanish-needles (B. bipinnata), Nodding Beggarticks (B. cernua), Devil's Beggarticks (B. frondosa) and Tall Beggar-ticks (B. vulgata). Decker (1932) found overwintering larvae in the stems of several other species that were near Bidens but found no evidence of feeding. He concluded that they were using these strictly as overwintering habitats and that they were not true host plants. The list included Ambrosia trifida, Chenopodium album, Solidago spp., Amaranthus retroflexus, Polygonum spp., a Typha and a Carex. - View
Observation Methods: The adults are attracted to lights and the larvae can be found in the stems of beggerticks.
Wikipedia
See also Habitat Account for General Successional Fields and Forblands
Status in North Carolina
Natural Heritage Program Status:
Natural Heritage Program Ranks: GNR S4S5
State Protection: Has no legal protection, although permits are required to collect it on state parks and other public lands.
Comments: This species is widespread and common within the state and appears to be secure.

 Photo Gallery for Epiblema otiosana - Bidens Borer Moth

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

Recorded by: David George, Jeff Niznik on 2024-05-25
Chatham Co.
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Recorded by: Simpson Eason on 2024-05-21
Durham Co.
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Recorded by: Mark Basinger on 2024-05-20
Wilson Co.
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Recorded by: Mark Basinger on 2024-05-20
Wilson Co.
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Recorded by: David George, Rich Teper on 2024-05-13
Chatham Co.
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Recorded by: Mark Basinger on 2024-05-07
Wilson Co.
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Recorded by: R. Newman on 2024-04-20
Carteret Co.
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Recorded by: David George, Jeff Niznik on 2023-09-04
Orange Co.
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Recorded by: Simpson Eason on 2023-09-02
Durham Co.
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Recorded by: Mark Basinger on 2023-08-29
Wilson Co.
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Recorded by: Mark Basinger on 2023-08-29
Wilson Co.
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Recorded by: David George, Jeff Niznik on 2023-07-09
Orange Co.
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Recorded by: David George, Stephen Dunn, Jeff Niznik on 2023-06-25
Orange Co.
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Recorded by: Simpson Eason on 2023-06-10
Durham Co.
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Recorded by: David George, Stephen Dunn, Jeff Niznik on 2023-06-03
Orange Co.
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Recorded by: David George, Jeff Niznik on 2023-05-17
Chatham Co.
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Recorded by: Dean Furbish on 2023-05-14
Wake Co.
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Recorded by: R. Newman on 2023-04-29
Carteret Co.
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Recorded by: David George, Stephen Dunn on 2023-03-27
New Hanover Co.
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Recorded by: David George, Stephen Dunn on 2022-09-09
Orange Co.
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Recorded by: David George, Lior Carlson, Richard Teper on 2022-09-06
Orange Co.
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Recorded by: Michael P. Morales on 2022-09-03
Sampson Co.
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Recorded by: Michael P. Morales on 2022-09-03
Sampson Co.
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Recorded by: Michael P. Morales on 2022-09-03
Sampson Co.
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Recorded by: R. Newman on 2022-08-27
Carteret Co.
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Recorded by: Jim Petranka and Becky Elkin on 2022-08-14
Madison Co.
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Recorded by: Jim Petranka and Becky Elkin on 2022-08-14
Madison Co.
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Recorded by: David George on 2022-06-21
Caswell Co.
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Recorded by: Stephen Hall on 2022-05-30
Orange Co.
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Recorded by: Simpson Eason on 2022-05-27
Durham Co.
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