Moths of North Carolina
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110 NC Records

Acrolophus panamae Busck, 1914 - Panama Grass Tubeworm Moth


Taxonomy
Superfamily: Tineoidea Family: TineidaeSubfamily: [Acrolophinae]Tribe: [Acrolophini]P3 Number: 300083.00 MONA Number: 368.00
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: Leckie and Beadle (2018)Online Photographs: MPG, BugGuide, iNaturalist, Google, BAMONA, GBIF, BOLDTechnical Description, Adults: Hasbrouck (1964)                                                                                 
Adult Markings: This species is somewhat variable in coloration and patterning, but can be recognized by its short palps, and by a large tuft of ocherous gray hairs that often obscure the sides of the head. These tufts are missing in the females. The following detailed description of the male is based in part from Busck's original description (see Hasbrouck, 1964). The labial palp is shorter than in many Acrolophus and only reaches the vertex. The first joint is long and curved, and the second and third joints short. The upper head and thorax vary from light yellowish brown to grayish or ocherous brown. The ground of the forewing is variable, with a mixture of whitish, tan, dark brown, and black scales. Many individuals have an ochreous brown caste, but other may be darker. The ground is overlain with a a rather poorly defined darker patterning. A wide, dark brown to blackish band is usually evident that begins on the inner margin at about one-half the wing length. The band extend to about the middle, then angles anteriorly and ends near the base of the costa. A second broad, irregular band or blotch extends from the costa in the subapical region and fills much of the subterminal region. A series of blackish brown costal spots are often evident on the costal margin, along with some diffused marginal brown spots on the terminal edge. The hindwing is dark brownish fuscous, and the abdomen dark brown above. The legs are dark brown exteriorly, with the tarsi banded with brown and paler annulations. On the underside of the thorax there is a large, dense tuft of ocherous gray hairs that often obscures the sides of the head and the base of the forewings. The females are larger, somewhat lighter in color, and have labial palps that project more forward. They rarely visit lights, as is the case with the females of many Acrolophus species.
Wingspan: 10-12 mm for males; 17-21 mm for females (Hasbrouck, 1964)
Adult Structural Features: Hasbrouck (1964) has descriptions and illustrations of the male genitalia. This species is related to a group of species that have a shortened labial palp and a type of antenna in which each segment is clothed only dorsad or dorsolaterad with scales. Aside from these general features, A. panamae may be distinguished from the other members of the genus by its naked eyes, fused gnathos, and very obscurely bifid uncus.
Adult ID Requirements: Identifiable from good quality photos of unworn specimens.
Immatures and Development: The larval life history is undocumented.
Larvae ID Requirements: Identifiable only through rearing to adulthood.
Distribution in North Carolina
Distribution: Acrolophus panamae is found from Columbia and Panama northward to the southeastern US. This species occurs primarily in non-mountainous regions of the Southeast and Eastern Seaboard. The range extends from extreme southern New York southward to Georgia and Florida, and westward to Louisiana and western Tennessee. As of 2020, our records are all from the Coastal Plain and eastern and central Piedmont.
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: Adults have been found from March through October in areas of the US outside of North Carolina, with the seasonal peak in activity in June and July. Local populations in North Carolina appear to be univoltine, with adults flying from mid-June to late-July. We have one record from late September.
Habitats and Life History
Habitats: The larvae are undocumented and the preferred habitats are unknown. Our records include residential neighborhoods as well as more natural sites, but it is uncertain whether the larvae are dependent on particular plant species or forested habitats for their food resources.
Larval Host Plants: The hosts are poorly documented. Many Acrolophus species feed on grass roots, but it is uncertain if A. panamae does the same. Heppner (2007) reports grasses are used as hosts, but it is unclear if this is based on actual observation or just inferred based on the hosts of other Acrolophus species. - View
Observation Methods: The adults are attracted to lights.
Wikipedia
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: Populations are somewhat common in the eastern half of the state and are seemingly secure.

 Photo Gallery for Acrolophus panamae - Panama Grass Tubeworm Moth

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

Recorded by: David George, Jeff Niznik on 2024-07-08
Chatham Co.
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Recorded by: David George, Jeff Niznik on 2024-07-08
Chatham Co.
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Recorded by: David George on 2024-07-04
Chatham Co.
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Recorded by: David George on 2024-07-04
Chatham Co.
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Recorded by: David George, Jeff Niznik, Stephen Dunn on 2024-06-29
Chatham Co.
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Recorded by: Mark Basinger on 2024-06-29
Rowan Co.
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Recorded by: Mark Basinger on 2024-06-29
Rowan Co.
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Recorded by: Dean Furbish, Lior S. Carlson on 2024-06-25
Orange Co.
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Recorded by: David George, Stephen Dunn, Jeff Niznik, Patrick Coin on 2024-06-22
Chatham Co.
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Recorded by: Stephen Dunn on 2024-06-19
Orange Co.
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Recorded by: Dean Furbish, Lior S. Carlson on 2024-06-17
Lincoln Co.
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Recorded by: David George, Steve Hall, Patrick Coin, Mark Basinger on 2024-06-16
Chatham Co.
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Recorded by: Mark Basinger on 2024-06-13
Wilson Co.
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Recorded by: Mark Basinger on 2024-06-13
Wilson Co.
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Recorded by: Dean Furbish on 2024-06-12
Wake Co.
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Recorded by: Dean Furbish on 2024-06-08
Wake Co.
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Recorded by: David George, John Petranka on 2023-08-05
Orange Co.
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Recorded by: Chuck Smith on 2023-07-27
Davidson Co.
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Recorded by: Jeff Niznik, Stephen Dunn on 2023-07-26
Chatham Co.
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Recorded by: David George on 2023-07-26
Durham Co.
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Recorded by: David George, Jeff Niznik on 2023-07-24
Orange Co.
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Recorded by: Michael P. Morales on 2023-07-22
Cumberland Co.
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Recorded by: Michael P. Morales on 2023-07-22
Cumberland Co.
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Recorded by: David George, Steve Hall, Stephen Dunn, Jeff Niznik, Rich Teper, Becky Watkins on 2023-07-22
Orange Co.
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Recorded by: David George, Jeff Niznik on 2023-07-19
Durham Co.
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Recorded by: David George on 2023-07-17
Durham Co.
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Recorded by: Owen McConnell on 2023-07-16
Durham Co.
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Recorded by: David George, Stephen Dunn, Jeff Niznik on 2023-07-13
Orange Co.
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Recorded by: Dean Furbish on 2023-07-12
Wake Co.
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Recorded by: Dean Furbish on 2023-07-11
Wake Co.
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