Moths of North Carolina
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Proteoteras Members:
12 NC Records

Proteoteras crescentana Kearfott, 1907 - Northern Boxelder Twig Borer Moth


Taxonomy
Superfamily: Tortricoidea Family: TortricidaeSubfamily: OlethreutinaeTribe: EucosminiP3 Number: 621136.00 MONA Number: 3233.00
Identification
Field Guide Descriptions: Online Photographs: MPG, BugGuide, iNaturalist, Google, BAMONA, GBIF, BOLDTechnical Description, Immature Stages: Wong et al. (1983)                                                                                 
Adult Markings: The head, thorax, palps and ground color of the forewing vary from greenish gray to light or medium brown and are often dusted with black. The most conspicuous mark is a contrasting black band that runs from the middle of the costa inward, then bends rearward and projects towards the apex (Forbes, 1923). This mark is less wavy and much more sharply marked than the band found in Proteoteras aesculana and runs in a more unbroken sweep from the costa to the apex. It typically narrows beyond the bend near the middle of the wing and tends to contrast sharply with lighter brown coloration along the dorsal third of the wing. The costa lacks a dark blotch at around one-fourth that is present in some of our Proteoteras species, and the series of alternating dark and light spots along the costa are generally less prominent. As in other members of this genus, both the thorax and forewing have conspicuous tufts that give them a lumpy appearance. The hindwing is light to medium brown.
Wingspan: 16-19 mm (Heinrich, 1923).
Adult Structural Features: Wong et al. (1983) provide illustrations of the male genitalia and female sternite 7. Males have a small amount of dark costal scaling on the dorsal surface of the hindwing, but none on the ventral surface (Gilligan et al., 2008).
Adult ID Requirements: Identifiable from good quality photos of unworn specimens.
Immatures and Development: Peterson (1958) conducted a detailed study of the larval life history of Proteoteras willingana in Saskatchewan. Later studies indicate that Peterson's study may have possibly involved two closely related species (P. willingana; P. crescentana) that have essentially identical larval life histories (Wong et al., 1983). A detailed account of the larval life history for P. crescentana is not available, but the following account of Peterson's study of P. willingana presumably applies reasonably well to that of P. crescentana.

The females lay their eggs singly on the undersides of Box-elder leaves following the spring leaf-out and the hatchlings appear in July. The first three instars construct a silk shelter on the leaf surface that is usually near the midvein or a lateral vein then skeletonize the tissues within or adjoining the shelter. At the end of the third instar in late-July or early August, the larva leaves its shelter and bores into the base of the leaf petiole or between the petiole and the stem and enters a leaf bud where it hollows out a hibernation chamber. The hibernation chamber occasionally extends partly or entirely into the stem next to the bud and the larva molts to the fourth instar inside it. The winter is passed in a silken cocoon spun inside the hibernation chamber.

During the spring warm-up, the larva leaves the hibernation cell and burrows into and feeds on a healthy bud on the same stem where it forms another chamber. After a few days the larva vacates the bud and bores into the current tip growth of a twig. During this period it feeds and burrows extensively to produce a much larger chamber that may exceed 2.5 cm in length and swell to produce a spindle-shaped gall-like structure. In late May and June, the mature larva drops to the ground, spins a cocoon in the leaf-litter and pupates. The adult typically emerge 2-3 weeks later.

The fully grown larvae are around 13 mm long and are pale white with reddish-brown heads that are darkest around the eyes and mouth. The thoracic shield is yellowish brown (Soloman, 1995).
Distribution in North Carolina
Distribution: Proteoteras crescentana occurs primarily in the eastern US, but can be found in extreme southern Canada from Prince Edward Island and Nova Scotia to as far west as Alberta. In the US, populations occur from Maine and other New England states westward to eastern North Dakota, and southward though much of the eastern US to Georgia, Alabama, Louisiana, and Texas. It is poorly represented in the Coastal Plain, and the western limit of the range terminates at the interface of the Eastern Deciduous Forest and Great Plains. As of 2022, our records are all from the Piedmont and lower elevations in the 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 are univoltine. The adults have been observed from April through July in different areas of the range, with a peak in June and July. In North Carolina, the adults have a more restricted flight season than certain species such as P. aesculana. As of 2024, our records extend from late May through early July.
Habitats and Life History
Habitats:
Larval Host Plants: Box-elder (Acer negundo) is the primary host (Forbes, 1923; Heinrich, 1923; Prentice, 1966; Wong et al., 1983; Miller, 1987; Lam et al., 2011; Beadle and Leckie, 2012), Other maples are suspected of being used on very rare occasion (Brown et al., 2008), but this has yet to be verified by rearing. - View
Observation Methods: The adults are attracted to lights and the spindle-shaped stem-swellings can be found on Box-elder.
Wikipedia
See also Habitat Account for Rich Wet Hardwood Forests
Status in North Carolina
Natural Heritage Program Status:
Natural Heritage Program Ranks: GNR [S2S4]
State Protection:
Comments: This species appears to be uncommon in North Carolina, but we currently do not have sufficient information to confidently assess its conservation status.

 Photo Gallery for Proteoteras crescentana - Northern Boxelder Twig Borer Moth

Photos: 17

Recorded by: David George, Jeff Niznik on 2024-05-25
Chatham Co.
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Recorded by: Vin Stanton on 2022-07-09
Buncombe Co.
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Recorded by: Vin Stanton on 2022-07-09
Buncombe Co.
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Recorded by: Gary Maness on 2020-06-06
Guilford Co.
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Recorded by: Gary Maness on 2020-06-06
Guilford Co.
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Recorded by: Ken Kneidel on 2019-07-03
Mecklenburg Co.
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Recorded by: Jim Petranka and Becky Elkin on 2019-07-02
Madison Co.
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Recorded by: Jim Petranka and Becky Elkin on 2019-07-02
Madison Co.
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Recorded by: Jim Petranka and Becky Elkin on 2019-06-11
Madison Co.
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Recorded by: Jim Petranka and Becky Elkin on 2019-06-11
Madison Co.
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Recorded by: Gary Maness on 2019-06-05
Guilford Co.
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Recorded by: Gary Maness on 2019-06-05
Guilford Co.
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Recorded by: Gary Maness on 2019-06-05
Guilford Co.
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Recorded by: Gary Maness on 2019-05-28
Guilford Co.
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Recorded by: Gary Maness on 2019-05-28
Guilford Co.
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Recorded by: Darryl Willis on 2018-06-16
Cabarrus Co.
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Recorded by: Darryl Willis on 2015-06-09
Cabarrus Co.
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