Moths of North Carolina
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86 NC Records

Ecdytolopha insiticiana Zeller, 1875 - Locust Twig Borer Moth



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Taxonomy
Superfamily: Tortricoidea Family: TortricidaeSubfamily: OlethreutinaeTribe: GrapholitiniP3 Number: 621387.00 MONA Number: 3497.00
Comments: The genus Ecdytolopha includes 14 described species that occur from southern Canada to Peru, with most found in Central and South America.
Species Status: Ecdytolopha insiticiana is a native species that can be a significant pest in plant nurseries. Boring by the larvae can disfigure stems and in some cases stunt plant growth.
Identification
Field Guide Descriptions: Covell (1984); Beadle and Leckie (2012)Online Photographs: MPG, BugGuide, iNaturalist, Google, BAMONA, GBIF, BOLDTechnical Description, Adults: Soloman (1995)Technical Description, Immature Stages: MacKay (1959); Soloman (1995)                                                                                 
Adult Markings: In this species the palps and antennae are brown and the head tuft brownish black. The thorax is mottled with brown and black and has a blackish scale tuft on the posterior half. The basal half of the forewing is dark brown to grayish brown with fine blackish mottling. The dark coloration extends from the base to about mid-way on the inner margin, then slants posteriorly towards the costal margin and adjoins a pronounced pale dirty white to pinkish white region that covers much of the remainder of the forewing. The whitish region has a small irregular black patch on the inner margin in the subtornal region. Smaller fine black specks and spots may extend from the black patch towards the costa. Just beyond four-fifths, a rather faint and slightly curved dark brown to blackish streak extends from above the costal margin to near the mid-point of the termen. The hindwings are uniformly gray. The adults can be easily identified by the rather distinctive patterning on the forewing. Ecdytolopha mana is similar, but lacks the black patch in the subtornal region and specializes on hackberries (Celtis).
Wingspan: 17-26 mm (Soloman, 1995).
Forewing Length: 9-13.5 mm (Gilligan et al., 2008).
Adult Structural Features: Gilligan et al., 2008 and Gilligan and Epstein (TortAI) provide descriptions and illustrations of the male and female genitalia. The male genitalia are characterized by a rounded tegumen, long valvae, and deciduous cornuti in the vesica. The female genitalia have a deep invagination of sternum VII where the ostium is located, two signa in the corpus bursae, and a sclerotized patch near the junction of the corpus bursae and ductus bursae. Males can be separated from other Ecdytolopha species by a hair pencil in a narrow concavity on the anal margin of the hindwing. Females can be separated by genitalic characters.
Structural photos
Adult ID Requirements: Identifiable from good quality photos of unworn specimens.
Immatures and Development: The following is based on Soloman's (1995) detailed description of the life history when feeding on Black Locust, which is the primary host. Harman and Berisford (1979) also have a detailed account of the larval life history. Females lay their eggs on bark and each hatchling bores a hole into a current-year stem with succulent growth. It then feeds on the stem pith and internal tissues to create an elongated gallery. The gallery is often > 10 cm in length, and most larvae bore towards the shoot tip. Boring typically triggers the plants to produce elongated, gall-like swellings that are readily evident during the winter months. The entrance hole almost always begins at a thorn base where the petiole attaches, and the larva periodically ejects frass from the hole. Each gallery usually contains only one larva, but in rare instances a gallery can contain up to 3-5 larvae. There are seven instars that vary from dull yellow in the early stages to bright crimson in the final instars. The mature larvae are 18-20 mm in length, with a yellowish-brown to brownish-black head and a yellowish-brown thoracic shield and anal plate (MacKay, 1959). Development for the first seasonal brood takes around 20 days, and the mature larvae leave the shoots and pupate under leaf litter. Populations in the southern portion of the range typically have a second generation. The larvae in the second generation overwinter in the galleries, and the adults emerged during the spring warm-up.
Larvae ID Requirements: Identifiable from good quality photos, especially where associated with known host plants.
Distribution in North Carolina
Distribution: Ecdytolopha insiticiana has been documented in Ontario and Manitoba, and occurs throughout much of the central and eastern US where the host plant occurs. It is generally either rare or absent in much of the Coastal Plain from Virginia southward. In the US the range extends from Maine southward to northern Florida and westward to Texas, Oklahoma, Colorado, Nebraska, and North Dakota. As of 2022, our records for North Carolina are all from the Blue Ridge and Piedmont, except for one Coastal Plain record from the Sandhills.
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
Immature 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: Local populations are univoltine at northern latitudes and bivoltine in the southern portion of the range. The adults have been observed from March through October in different areas of the range, with a seasonal peak from May through August. As of 2022, we have records of adults that extend from late April through early September, with populations in the Piedmont and lower elevations in the Blue Ridge appearing to be bivoltine.
Habitats and Life History
Habitats: Ecdytolopha insiticiana is strongly affiliated with Black Locust (Robinia pseudoacacia), which naturally occurs as a minor element in many hardwood forest communities in North Carolina. Black Locust is more common today along roadsides, in early successional forests, and in other sunny, disturbed habitats.
Larval Host Plants: Black Locust (Robinia pseudoacacia) is the primary host (Fernald, 1882; Forbes, 1923; Heinrich, 1926; Kimball and Jones, 1943; MacKay, 1959; Schaffner, 1959; Prentice, 1965; Harman and Berisford, 1979; Covell, 1984; Godfrey et al., 1987; Heppner, 2007; Lam et al., 2011; Gilligan and Epstein, 2014). The larvae may possibly use other species of Robinia, and on rare occasions may use Wisteria spp. (Harman and Berisford, 1979; Heinrich, 1926; Robinson et al., 2010). As of 2023, our only documented host in North Carolina is Black Locust. - View
Observation Methods: The adults are attracted to lights. Infected plants can be easily identified by the presence of frass clumps near the bases of the petioles, and by the elongated, swollen stem segments.
Wikipedia
See also Habitat Account for Locust Groves and Thickets
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 appears to be common in the Blue Ridge and western Piedmont, but less so in the eastern Piedmont. We have not observed any evidence of recent population declines.

 Photo Gallery for Ecdytolopha insiticiana - Locust Twig Borer Moth

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

Recorded by: Emily Stanley on 2024-05-16
Buncombe Co.
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Recorded by: Mark Basinger on 2024-05-16
Buncombe Co.
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Recorded by: Mark Basinger on 2024-05-16
Buncombe Co.
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Recorded by: Jim Petranka on 2024-05-11
Madison Co.
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Recorded by: Jim Petranka and Becky Elkin on 2024-05-01
Madison Co.
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Recorded by: Jim Petranka on 2024-04-29
Madison Co.
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Recorded by: David George, Stephen Dunn, Jeff Niznik on 2023-07-31
Macon Co.
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Recorded by: David George, Stephen Dunn, Jeff Niznik, Rich Teper, Becky Watkins on 2023-07-30
Swain Co.
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Recorded by: David George, Stephen Dunn, Jeff Niznik, Rich Teper, Becky Watkins on 2023-07-29
Swain Co.
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Recorded by: Jim Petranka on 2023-07-08
Madison Co.
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Recorded by: Jim Petranka on 2023-06-30
Madison Co.
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Recorded by: John Petranka on 2023-06-06
Alleghany Co.
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Recorded by: Jim Petranka on 2023-06-02
Madison Co.
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Recorded by: Jim Petranka on 2023-05-23
Madison Co.
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Recorded by: Jim Petranka on 2023-05-11
Madison Co.
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Recorded by: Jim Petranka on 2023-05-05
Madison Co.
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Recorded by: K. Bischof on 2023-04-23
Transylvania Co.
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Recorded by: Jim Petranka and John Petranka on 2023-04-19
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: John Petranka on 2022-08-09
Watauga Co.
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Recorded by: Jim Petranka and Becky Elkin on 2022-08-09
Watauga Co.
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Recorded by: Jim Petranka on 2022-07-13
Madison Co.
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Recorded by: Gary Maness on 2022-06-16
Guilford Co.
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Recorded by: Jim Petranka and Becky Elkin on 2022-06-07
Madison Co.
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Recorded by: Simpson Eason on 2022-06-02
Durham Co.
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Recorded by: Ken Kneidel on 2022-05-27
Yancey Co.
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Recorded by: Ken Kneidel on 2022-05-27
Yancey Co.
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Recorded by: Jim Petranka on 2022-05-15
Madison Co.
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Recorded by: Jim Petranka on 2022-05-11
Madison Co.
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Recorded by: Jim Petranka on 2021-08-06
Madison Co.
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