Moths of North Carolina
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35 NC Records

Acrolophus morus (Grote, 1881) - No Common Name


Taxonomy
Superfamily: Tineoidea Family: TineidaeSubfamily: [Acrolophinae]Tribe: [Acrolophini]P3 Number: 300081.00 MONA Number: 367.00
Comments: The genus Acrolophus is a mostly neotropical taxon with over 250 described species, including 54 that are currently recognized in North America. The labial palps on the males of many species are very elongated and densely hairy. The larvae of some species live in silk-lined burrows in the ground and feed on the roots and young shoots of grasses and herbs. However, the life histories of most species remain undocumented and in need of study. Members of this genus were previously placed in their own family (Acrolophidae), but they are now treated as a subgroup within the Tineidae based on molecular phylogenetic studies.
Identification
Field Guide Descriptions: Covell (1984); Beadle and Leckie (2012)Online Photographs: MPG, BugGuide, iNaturalist, Google, BAMONA, GBIFTechnical Description, Adults: Hasbrouck (1964)                                                                                 
Adult Markings: This species is unusual in exhibiting sexual dimorphism in coloration. The males are dark gray to blackish and the females a dull ocherish yellow to light or medium brown. The labial palp is intermediate in length and recurved back over the head, but extends only slightly onto the anterior margin of the thorax. The eyes are naked and lack prominent tufts of lashes. The antenna is simple, laminate, with the segments laterally flattened. In females, the hair-like scales that cover the thorax and head are dark reddish brown with pale to whitish tips (often uniformly blackish in males). The ground color of the forewing of females is ocherish yellow to medium brown. A pale ocherous band that is lighter than the ground extends along the internal margin from the base and terminates at or shortly before the anal angle. The band constricts near the mid-wing due to a wedge-shaped blackish mark that extends nearly to the inner margin. A small black spot is often evident within the pale band between the dark wedge and the extreme wing base. The costa has a series of dark spots that extend along most of the length and become larger before the apex. A small, dark, curved discal streak is usually present at about two-thirds the wing length. The hindwing is brownish fuscous, with the fringe slightly darker than the ground. The males have similar patterning, but are darker with an overall grayish brown or blackish tone. This is the only species in North Carolina with a flight period in October; all others fly during the spring and summer.
Wingspan: 25-30 mm (Forbes, 1923), but exceptionally small specimens are occasionally encountered (e.g., 18 mm; Hasbrouck, 1964).
Adult Structural Features: Hasbrouck (1964) has descriptions and illustrations of the male genitalia. This species is not closely related to any of the other acrolophids found in America north of Mexico. It differs from the other members of the genus by having labial palps of intermediate length, naked eyes, laminate antennae, a bifid uncus, and paired gnathos.
Adult ID Requirements: Identifiable from good quality photos of unworn specimens.
Immatures and Development: The life history of the larval stage is largely undocumented. There is one record of a caterpillar that was feeding on birch leaves (Hasbrouck, 1964).
Larvae ID Requirements: Identifiable only through rearing to adulthood.
Distribution in North Carolina
Distribution: Acrolophus morus is found in eastern North America. The range extends from the New England states and adjoining areas of extreme southern Canada (Ontario; Quebec) southward to North Carolina, eastern Tennessee and vicinity. It extends westward to Kentucky, Illinois, Wisconsin, and Minnesota. MPG has the range extending as far south as northern Florida and Mississippi. This is inconsistent with both iNaturalist records and the range that was reported by Hasbrouck (1964). As of 2020, our records are all from the Piedmont and lower mountains.
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: Records for adults are from June through November in areas outside of North Carolina, with a strong seasonal peak in October. As of 2020, all of our records are from October, with almost all from the first three weeks of the month.
Habitats and Life History
Habitats: The habitat requirements are poorly resolved. A single record of this species feed on birch leaves implies that forested habitats are required.
Larval Host Plants: There is one record of an adult being reared from a caterpillar that was feeding on birch leaves (Hasbrouck, 1964). This is atypical for a genus that has many species that feed on plant roots, and needs to be verified through additional observations.
Observation Methods: The adults are attracted to lights during their brief flight period in October.
Wikipedia
Status in North Carolina
Natural Heritage Program Status:
Natural Heritage Program Ranks: GNR SU
State Protection: Has no legal protection, although permits are required to collect it on state parks and other public lands.
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 Photo Gallery for Acrolophus morus - No common name

Photos: 29

Recorded by: Jim Petranka on 2021-10-15
Madison Co.
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Recorded by: Jim Petranka on 2021-10-14
Madison Co.
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Recorded by: Jim Petranka on 2021-10-11
Madison Co.
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Recorded by: Vin Stanton on 2021-10-08
Buncombe Co.
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Recorded by: Vin Stanton on 2021-10-08
Buncombe Co.
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Recorded by: tom ward on 2021-10-01
Buncombe Co.
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Recorded by: Stephen Hall on 2020-10-22
Orange Co.
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Recorded by: Stephen Hall on 2020-10-22
Orange Co.
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Recorded by: Jim Petranka on 2020-10-20
Madison Co.
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Recorded by: Jim Petranka on 2020-10-15
Madison Co.
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Recorded by: Jim Petranka on 2020-10-12
Madison Co.
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Recorded by: Jim Petranka on 2020-10-12
Madison Co.
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Recorded by: Ken Kneidel on 2020-10-10
Yancey Co.
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Recorded by: Ken Kneidel on 2020-10-10
Yancey Co.
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Recorded by: Vin Stanton on 2019-10-11
Buncombe Co.
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Recorded by: Vin Stanton on 2019-10-11
Buncombe Co.
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Recorded by: Owen McConnell on 2019-10-07
Graham Co.
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Recorded by: Jim Petranka and Becky Elkin on 2019-10-06
Madison Co.
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Recorded by: Jim Petranka and Becky Elkin on 2019-10-06
Madison Co.
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Recorded by: Jim Petranka and Becky Elkin on 2019-10-02
Madison Co.
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Recorded by: Jim Petranka and Becky Elkin on 2019-10-02
Madison Co.
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Recorded by: David L. Heavner on 2018-10-08
Buncombe Co.
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Recorded by: David L. Heavner on 2018-10-08
Buncombe Co.
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Recorded by: Jim Petranka and Becky Elkin on 2018-10-04
Madison Co.
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Recorded by: Jim Petranka and Becky Elkin on 2018-10-04
Madison Co.
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Recorded by: Julie Tuttle on 2017-10-09
Chatham Co.
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Recorded by: Darryl Willis on 2015-10-10
Cabarrus Co.
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Recorded by: Lenny Lampel on 2013-10-17
Mecklenburg Co.
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Recorded by: Lenny Lampel on 2013-10-17
Mecklenburg Co.
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