Moths of North Carolina
Scientific Name:
Common Name:
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Elatobia Members:
2 NC Records

Elatobia carbonella (Dietz, 1905) - No Common Name

Superfamily: Tineoidea Family: TineidaeSubfamily: TineinaeP3 Number: 300179.00 MONA Number: 425.00
Field Guide Descriptions: Online Photographs: MPG, BugGuide, iNaturalist, Google, BAMONA, GBIF, BOLDTechnical Description, Adults: Dietz (1905)Technical Description, Immature Stages: Powell and Opler (2009)                                                                                 
Adult Markings: The following description is based on that of Dietz (1905). The entire insect is dark fuscous brown, except for the hindwing. Bristly, white-tipped hairs are present on both the labial palps and the head. The forewing is elongate and obtusely pointed, and the general fuscous color is interspersed with scattered dark brown and paler scales. The former are aggregated into a spot at the end of cell and also generally more dominant in the apical part of the wing where they are somewhat arranged into ill-defined lines. The hindwing is pale fuscous and has a brassy luster. The cilia are concolorous and have a paler basal line. The abdomen and underside of the body is ocherous fuscous, and the tarsal joints are paler at the apex. Dietz (1905) noted that the white tipped, rough hairs on the head and palps give specimens a peculiar, hoary appearance. This nondescript species is best identified by genitalia.
Wingspan: 14-19 mm (Dietz, 1905).
Forewing Length: 6-8 mm (Powell and Opler, 2009)
Structural photos
Adult ID Requirements: Identifiable from good quality photos of unworn specimens.
Immatures and Development: Powell and Opler (2009) noted that this species lives in close association with Cryptoporus volvatus (= Polyporus volvatus), a veiled polypore fungus that grows on dead conifers. This unusual polypore has a flap of tissue that grows around the fruiting body so that it resembles a puffball. Spores that are released accumulate inside the chamber rather than being released into the air, as is typical for most polypores. Wood-boring beetles feed on the spores and spore tissues and disperse the spores to other trees as they bore into the trunks. The moth larvae live inside the spore-bearing cavity that opens to the underside of the fruiting body where they presumably feed on the layer of accumulated spores. Cryptoporus volvatus is only common for a few years after forest fires or insect infestations kill trees. This suggests that Elatobia carbonella is a colonizing species that seeks out recent burns.
Larvae ID Requirements: Identifiable from good quality photos, especially where associated with known host plants.
Distribution in North Carolina
Distribution: Although this species was originally described from Pennsylvania, it is far more common in the western US (California; New Mexico). Populations in the East have been found in Quebec, Pennsylvania (historical), and recently at a single site in coastal North Carolina by J. B. Sullivan.
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: Powell and Opler (2009) reported that the adults fly from April to August in California. Our one record is from late March.
Habitats and Life History
Habitats: Our one record comes from a Longleaf Pine savanna.
Larval Host Plants: The larvae feeds on fungi, especially in recently burned areas. The only known hosts is the Veiled Polypore Cryptoporus volvatus, which grows on the trunks of dead conifers. - View
Observation Methods: Adults are attracted to lights.
Status in North Carolina
Natural Heritage Program Status:
Natural Heritage Program Ranks: GNR SU
State Protection:
Comments: This is apparently a rare species in the eastern US and was only recently discovered in North Carolina. Additional information is needed on its distribution and habitat requirements before we can assess its conservation status.

 Photo Gallery for Elatobia carbonella - No common name

Photos: 3

Recorded by: John Petranka on 2022-08-24
Orange Co.
Recorded by: John Petranka on 2022-08-24
Orange Co.
Recorded by: J.B. Sullivan on 2020-03-28
Carteret Co.
Comment: Verified by dissection by J. B. Sullivan and J-F Landry