Moths of North Carolina
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View PDFTineidae Members: 12 NC Records

Acrolophus propinqua (Walsingham, 1887) - Walsingham's Grass Tubeworm Moth


Taxonomy
Superfamily: Tineoidea Family: TineidaeSubfamily: [Acrolophinae]Tribe: [Acrolophini]P3 Number: 300063.00 MONA Number: 374.00 MONA Synonym: Acrolophus propinquus
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: Online Photographs: MPG, BugGuide, iNaturalist, Google, BAMONATechnical Description, Adults: Hasbrouck (1964)                                                                                 
Adult Markings: This species varies widely in size and color. Several forms were described as separate species by earlier workers that were later treated as being conspecific with Acrolophus propinqua (Hasbrouck, 1964). Most forms are fairly plain and lack conspicuous spots or streaks of color. The form "busckellus" differs from typical forms by having a whitish streak along the inner margin, and in being speckled with several dark brown spots (Haimbach, cited by Hasbrouck, 1964). The males of A. propinqua have elongated palps that reach the posterior margin of the thorax. They are densely covered with hairy scales and are most typically fuscous, but sometimes darker and almost blackish in some color forms. The male antenna is stout, serrated, reddish to reddish brown, and lacks complete rings of raised scales around the segments. The head, thorax, and forewings are commonly reddish brown to purplish fuscous. The forewings often lack any conspicuous markings, but may be faintly brindled with dark marks. They sometimes have faint dark spotting on the termen and costa. The females are similar, but have short palps that are either held slightly erect or project forward. This species is most reliably identified by genitalic characters.
Wingspan: 26-34 mm (Hasbrouck, 1964, citing several different descriptions).
Adult Structural Features: Hasbrouck (1964) has detailed descriptions and illustrations of the male genitalia. The antenna and palps are similar to those of A. plumifrontella, A. mortipennella, and A. popeanella. The male antenna is stout, serrated, and typically cinereous in color. These species also lack complete rings of raised scales around the segments. The eyes are setose, and the palps of the males extend across the thorax. Hasbrouck (1964) relied primarily on male genitalic features in lumping several forms previously described as distinct species based on maculation.
Adult ID Requirements: Identifiable only by close inspection of structural features or by DNA analysis.
Immatures and Development: The larval life history is undocumented.
Larvae ID Requirements: Identifiable only through rearing to adulthood.
Distribution in North Carolina
Distribution: Hasbrouck (1964) found this species to be widespread in the central and eastern United States, with the range extending from Missouri and Arkansas eastward to Massachusetts and Florida. As of 2020, our records extend from the western Coastal Plain and eastern Piedmont to the lower elevations in the 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: Adults fly from April through September in areas outside of North Carolina, with a seasonal peak in June and July. As of 2020, our records extend from May through September, with most in June.
Habitats and Life History
Habitats: The larval hosts are undocumented and it is uncertain if this species is dependent on specific hosts to complete the life cycle.
Larval Host Plants: The hosts are unknown. Many Acrolophus live in underground burrows and feed on the roots and young shoots of grasses and herbs. However, there are exceptions and the life history of the larval stage remains undocumented.
Observation Methods: Both the males and females are attracted to lights.
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.
Comments: We currently do not have sufficient information on the distribution, abundance, and habitat requirements of this species to assess its conservation status.

 Photo Gallery for Acrolophus propinqua - Walsingham's Grass Tubeworm Moth

Photos: 11

Recorded by: Michael P. Morales on 2021-07-10
Cumberland Co.
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Recorded by: Michael P. Morales on 2021-07-10
Cumberland Co.
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Recorded by: Michael P. Morales on 2021-07-10
Cumberland Co.
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Recorded by: tom ward on 2021-07-06
Buncombe Co.
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Recorded by: David George on 2021-06-19
Durham Co.
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Recorded by: Dean Furbish on 2021-06-14
Wake Co.
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Recorded by: Dean Furbish on 2021-06-14
Wake Co.
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Recorded by: Dean Furbish on 2021-06-14
Wake Co.
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Recorded by: Jim Petranka on 2019-06-22
Madison Co.
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Recorded by: Jim Petranka on 2019-06-22
Madison Co.
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Recorded by: Darryl Willis on 2017-06-19
Cabarrus Co.
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