Moths of North Carolina
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Sole representative of Bedelliidae in NC
11 NC Records

Bedellia somnulentella (Zeller, 1847) - Morning-glory Leafminer Moth

Superfamily: Yponomeutoidea Family: BedelliidaeSubfamily: [Bedelliinae]Tribe: [Bedelliini]P3 Number: 360247.00 MONA Number: 466.00
Species Status: Bedellia somnulentella feeds on members of the Convolvulaceae, including morning glories and the sweet potato. This species is thought to be native to temperate regions of Asia (Capinera, 2002), and has been introduced worldwide. It is a significant agricultural pest on sweet potatoes.
Field Guide Descriptions: Online Photographs: MPG, BugGuide, iNaturalist, Google, BAMONA, GBIF, BOLDTechnical Description, Adults: Powell and Opler (2009)Technical Description, Immature Stages: Eiseman, 2019; Powell and Opler, 2009                                                                                 
Adult Markings: The adult is rather drab with the head, thorax, and forewings mostly uniformly grayish-brown to reddish brown. The head has a prominent tuft of hairs that tend to project upwards and forwards. The antenna is finely annulated with dark brown and extends to the tip of the wing. The forewing is finely speckled with dark-brown scales throughout, except along the dorsal margin where a thin whitish band or wash extends from the base to the tornus. Three equally spaced small blotches or spots are sometimes evident in the white band, particularly on fresh specimens. The hindwing is narrowly lanceolate and light gray to grayish brown. The fringe on both wings is well developed and also light gray to grayish brown. The legs are similar in color to the forewing ground, and finely speckled with dark brown. Individuals normally rest with the front end of the body elevated, with all but the middle legs tucked beneath the body.
Forewing Length: 3.5-5.5 mm (Powell and Opler, 2009)
Adult ID Requirements: Identifiable from good quality photos of unworn specimens.
Immatures and Development: The larva feed on the leaves of members of the morning glory family. The hatchling initially makes a narrow, full-depth, serpentine mine with a central frass line. It later abandons this and feeds in a series of transparent, full-depth blotch mines (Eiseman, 2019; The larva sits with the anterior part of the body inside the leaf mine, and with the posterior part outside the mine. Stringy frass accumulates at the posterior end of the body, which may serve a defensive purpose ( A single larva may mine several leaves, and several larvae often mine a single leaf. An infested leaf typically has loose webbing, numerous feeding "windows" or translucent patches, and a small accumulation of stringy black frass just outside each mine ( The larvae are greenish with a series of dark red spots along either side and two or three paired white spots along the back. The naked pupa is suspended in strands of silk on the leaf or a nearby object. Adults apparently overwinter.
Larvae ID Requirements: Identifiable from good quality photos, especially where associated with known host plants.
Distribution in North Carolina
Distribution: Bedellia somnulentella is found worldwide, primarily in temperate regions. It is not native to North America, but is now widespread across the continent. This species appears to be uncommon in North Carolina, which may reflect undercollecting. As of 2022, we have only a few scattered site records that are from all three physiographic provinces.
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 observed during every month of the year in areas outside of North Caroina, but typically have a seasonal peak in July through September. As of 2022, our records extend from February through December.
Habitats and Life History
Habitats: Populations are generally found in open, sunny areas where the host plants grow. Representative habitats include roadsides, urban landscapes and gardens, old fields, sweet potato fields, and openings in forests.
Larval Host Plants: The larvae feed on members of the Convolvulaceae, including the Sweet Potato (Ipomoea batatas), Common Morning-glory (Ipomoea purpurea), and other Ipomoea species. The larvae also feed on species of Calystegia and Convolvulus, including Northeastern Bindweed (Calystegia sepium) and Field Bindweed (Convolvulus arvensis). There are records of this species using willows (Salix sp.), and Paper Birch (Betula papyrifera) in Canada that need further verification. In North Carolina, this species has been documented using Common Morning-glory and Seashore False Bindweed (Convolvulus soldanella). - View
See also Habitat Account for General Fields, Gardens, and Ruderal Habitats
Status in North Carolina
Natural Heritage Program Status:
Natural Heritage Program Ranks: GNR S2S4
State Protection: Has no legal protection, although permits are required to collect it on state parks and other public lands.
Comments: This is an introduced species that does not merit protection.

 Photo Gallery for Bedellia somnulentella - Morning-glory Leafminer Moth

Photos: 8

Recorded by: Mark Shields on 2020-05-16
Onslow Co.
Recorded by: Mark Shields on 2020-03-30
Onslow Co.
Recorded by: Mark Shields on 2020-03-02
Onslow Co.
Recorded by: Mark Shields on 2020-02-05
Onslow Co.
Recorded by: Mark Shields on 2019-12-16
Onslow Co.
Recorded by: Mark Shields on 2019-09-25
Onslow Co.
Recorded by: Mark Shields on 2019-09-20
Onslow Co.
Recorded by: Harry Wilson on 2015-08-28
Wake Co.