Moths of North Carolina
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View PDFTineidae Members:
Niditinea Members:
13 NC Records

Niditinea sabroskyi Metz, Davis and Davis, 2018 - Sabrosky's Niditinea

Superfamily: Tineoidea Family: TineidaeSubfamily: TineinaeP3 Number: 300165.10 MONA Number: 412.10
Comments: The genus Niditinea has 14 described species that are thought to have originally had a Holarctic distribution (Robinson, 2009). Certain members of this genus (e.g., N. fuscella) have since been spread around the world by humans. We currently have three described species in the US and at least three undescribed species (Metz et al., 2018).
Field Guide Descriptions: Online Photographs: MPG, BugGuide, iNaturalist, Google, BAMONA, GBIF, BOLDTechnical Description, Adults: Metz et al. (2018)                                                                                 
Adult Markings: The following description is based primarily on the description by Metz et al. (2018). The head is mostly reddish orange. The antenna is about seven tenths as long as the forewing and dark brown with a copper luster. The scape has a distinct pecten of dark brown scales. The labial palp is 20% longer than the maxillary palp, with reddish beige medially, and dark brown laterally. The maxillary palp is upturned with silvery white scales. The dorsum of the thorax has reddish beige scales that are mixed with dark brown scales throughout, along with a patch of dark brown scales anteriorly on the tegula. The legs are banded with dark brown and white patterning. The forewing has a reddish beige ground color with scattered dark brown to blackish scales. These tend to be more concentrated through the center of wing from the base to the tip, along the base of the costal margin, and around the apical circumference where they produce a checkered pattern. There are three large, dark brown spots. These include a matched pair of sub-costal and sub-dorsal spots at about one-half the wing length, and a single median spot at about two-thirds. The fringe is reddish beige with a dark brown line near the middle that parallels the checkered line on the wing tip. The hindwing is brown with a copper luster, and has a frenulum with a single bristle in the male, and two bristles in the female. The fringe is slightly lighter. The abdomen is brown above with a coppery luster.

Metz et al. (2018) noted that fresh specimens of Niditinea usually can be identified to species by color alone. The scales of the head and dorsum of the thorax of N. sabroskyi tend towards reddish-orange, and the anal area of the forewing is less tinged with brown. The head and thoracic scales of N. orleansella tend to creamy-white, with dark gray to black scales, and the anal area of the forewing is usually tinged with dark gray scales. The head and thoracic scales of N. fuscella are darker, and tend towards brown, with dark brown scales. The anal area of the forewing is less differentiated, usually with a broad band or spot adjacent to the hind margin. Some specimens of N. sabroskyi are dark and resemble those of N. fuscella, so definitive identifications require the examination of genitalia.
Forewing Length: 5.2–6.9 mm (Metz et al., 2018)
Adult Structural Features: Metz et al. (2018) provide descriptions and illustrations of the male and female genitalia, and discuss how to distinguish this species from congenerics.
Adult ID Requirements: Identifiable from good quality photos of unworn specimens.
Immatures and Development: The larvae have frequently been found in bird nests where they presumably feed on droppings, feathers, and other organic matter.
Distribution in North Carolina
Distribution: The distribution N. sabroskyi is obfuscated by the fact that many museum specimens that were labelled as either N. fuscella or N. orleansella are actually this recently described species. Metz et al. (2018) identified specimens based on genitalia from throughout much of the eastern US, including from New Hampshire, Massachusetts, the District of Columbia, New Jersey, New York, Maryland, North Carolina, Florida, West Virginia, Illinois, Missouri, Ohio, Oklahoma, and Texas. As of 2020, we have records from the Coastal Plain and eastern 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 February through September in areas outside of North Carolina, with southern populations active in late winter or early spring, and northern ones later. As of 2020, our limited records are from April and June, excluding specimens that were reared from human waste (Metz et al., 2018).
Habitats and Life History
Habitats: The larvae of this species are associated with bird nests. They have been found in avian species that inhabit urban environments, as well as more natural systems such as bottomland forests and wetlands.
Larval Host Plants: Metz et al. (2018) found that this species tends to specialize on bird nests, where the larvae presumably feed on organic debris such as feathers or droppings. There is one instance of the larvae being taken from a wasp nest, one from chicken feathers, and another where they were raised on human waste. Bird nests that were used include those of the Prothonotary Warbler, Crested Caracara, Song Sparrow, American Robin, European House Sparrow, European Starling and Osprey. - View
Observation Methods: The adults are attracted to lights, and the larvae have been reared from bird nests and chicken feathers. We encourage naturalists to attempt to raise these from abandoned bird nests to better document the moth fauna in North Carolina that uses this food resource.
Status in North Carolina
Natural Heritage Program Status:
Natural Heritage Program Ranks: GNR SU
State Protection:
Comments: We currently do not have sufficient information on the distribution and abundance of this species to assess its conservation status.

 Photo Gallery for Niditinea sabroskyi - Sabrosky's Niditinea

Photos: 10

Recorded by: David George, Stephen Dunn, Jeff Niznik on 2024-04-29
Chatham Co.
Recorded by: David George, Jeff Niznik on 2023-04-21
Durham Co.
Recorded by: John Petranka on 2022-10-05
Orange Co.
Recorded by: John Petranka on 2022-08-01
Orange Co.
Recorded by: Mark Shields on 2021-04-08
Onslow Co.
Recorded by: David L. Heavner on 2021-04-04
Chatham Co.
Recorded by: David L. Heavner on 2021-04-04
Chatham Co.
Recorded by: Kyle Kittelberger on 2020-06-13
Wake Co.
Recorded by: Mark Shields on 2020-04-24
Onslow Co.
Recorded by: T. DeSantis on 2013-08-04
Camden Co.