Moths of North Carolina
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View PDFTineidae Members: 33 NC Records

Acrolophus texanella (Chambers, 1878) - Texas Grass Tubeworm Moth


Taxonomy
Superfamily: Tineoidea Family: TineidaeSubfamily: [Acrolophinae]Tribe: [Acrolophini]P3 Number: 300052.00 MONA Number: 383.00
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, BAMONATechnical Description, Adults: Hasbrouck (1964)                                                                                 
Adult Markings: This is a small to medium-sized Acrolophus that is varies substantially in size and patterning across its range. The labial palp of the male overarching the entire thorax, and is densely covered with long, hair-like, dark brown scales. Similar scaling occurs on the head, thorax, and the upper legs of fresh specimens. The vestiture in the head region is generally darker than the forewings. The antenna is brown to yellowish and projects well beyond the tips of the male's palps. The forewing is brownish and often heavily tinged with grayish to light grayish brown scales. A broad, dark, oblique band or triangular blotch is often present that extends from the costa at about two-thirds the wing length towards the anal angle. This is often better develop in females, and may fill much of the apical third of the wing. A large dark blotch is often present anterior to this at about one-half and just below the inner margin. Some individuals lack both marks, with any spotting or blotching indistinct or missing. The hindwing is fuscous-gray. Examination of the eyes and antennae are helpful in identifying questionable specimens. This species has setose eyes and distinctive unipectinate antennae, with each antennal segment completely encircled by a ring of scales. Females have short palps that project forward, and the dark coloration on the apical third of the forewing is often more pronounced.
Wingspan: 19 mm (Hasbrouck, 1964)
Adult Structural Features: Hasbrouck (1964) has detailed descriptions and illustrations of the male genitalia. The antenna of the males is distinctive: unipectinate, straw yellow to light brown, compressed, and rough or serrate in appearance due to the presence of a ring of slightly raised scales encircling each segment. The eyes are setose and the labial palps of the males extend well over the thorax.
Adult ID Requirements: Identifiable from photos showing hindwings, abdomen, or other specialized views [e.g., frons, palps, antennae, undersides].
Immatures and Development: The larval life history is undocumented.
Distribution in North Carolina
Distribution: Acrolophus texanella is found in the central and eastern United States from central Texas, Oklahoma, Kansas, Missouri, and Illinois, eastward to the Atlantic Seaboard from Florida to Maryland. As of 2020, we have records from all three physiographic provinces. This species is common in the Piedmont, and relatively uncommon in the Coastal Plain and 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: The adults fly from March through December in Florida and May through October in other areas outside of North Carolina. As of 2020, our records from mid-May through early August. Populations appear to be univoltine in all regions of the state.
Habitats and Life History
Habitats: The preferred habitats are poorly documented. This species seems to do well in disturbed habitats such as residential neighborhoods and other urban environments.
Larval Host Plants: Heppner (2003) list 'grass' as the host plant, but does not provide specifics. It is uncertain if this is based on direct observations, or is merely a general statement for a group whose members often feed on grasses.
Observation Methods: The adults 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 habitat requirements and abundance of this species to assess its conservation status.

 Photo Gallery for Acrolophus texanella - Texas Grass Tubeworm Moth

Photos: 28

Recorded by: David L. Heavner on 2021-07-18
Chatham Co.
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Recorded by: David George on 2021-07-18
Durham Co.
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Recorded by: David George on 2021-07-11
Durham Co.
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Recorded by: David George on 2021-07-07
Durham Co.
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Recorded by: David George on 2021-07-04
Durham Co.
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Recorded by: Dean Furbish on 2021-06-30
Wake Co.
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Recorded by: Dean Furbish on 2021-06-30
Wake Co.
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Recorded by: David George on 2021-06-29
Durham Co.
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Recorded by: Stephen Hall on 2020-08-01
Orange Co.
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Recorded by: Owen McConnell on 2020-07-06
Durham Co.
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Recorded by: Simpson Eason on 2020-07-05
Durham Co.
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Recorded by: Gary Maness on 2020-07-05
Guilford Co.
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Recorded by: Gary Maness on 2020-07-05
Guilford Co.
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Recorded by: Gary Maness on 2020-07-05
Guilford Co.
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Recorded by: Owen McConnell on 2020-07-03
Durham Co.
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Recorded by: Steve Hall on 2020-06-25
Orange Co.
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Recorded by: Owen and Pat McConnell on 2020-06-25
Durham Co.
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Recorded by: Gary Maness on 2020-06-21
Guilford Co.
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Recorded by: Gary Maness on 2020-06-21
Guilford Co.
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Recorded by: Ken Kneidel on 2019-06-12
Mecklenburg Co.
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Recorded by: Ken Kneidel on 2019-06-12
Mecklenburg Co.
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Recorded by: Ken Kneidel on 2019-06-12
Mecklenburg Co.
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Recorded by: Jim Petranka and Becky Elkin on 2018-07-03
Madison Co.
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Recorded by: Lenny Lampel on 2017-06-21
Mecklenburg Co.
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Recorded by: Darryl Willis on 2017-06-10
Cabarrus Co.
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Recorded by: Lenny Lampel on 2016-07-07
Mecklenburg Co.
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Recorded by: Lenny Lampel on 2013-07-03
Mecklenburg Co.
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Recorded by: Harry Wilson on 2012-06-14
Wake Co.
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