Moths of North Carolina
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22 NC Records

Proleucoptera smilaciella (Busck, 1900) - No Common Name



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Taxonomy
Superfamily: Yponomeutoidea Family: LyonetiidaeSubfamily: CemiostominaeP3 Number: 360201.00 MONA Number: 474.00
Comments: The genus Proleucoptera contains only a single described species in North America.
Identification
Field Guide Descriptions: Online Photographs: MPG, BugGuide, iNaturalist, Google, BAMONA, GBIFTechnical Description, Adults: Busck (1900a)Technical Description, Immature Stages: Busck (1900a)                                                                                 
Adult Markings: The following is primarily based on the original description by Busck (1900a). The antenna is golden white with a well-developed eye cap. The thorax, head tuft and face are silvery white, and the labial and maxillary palps are obsolete. The ground color of the forewing is silvery white. Beginning near the middle of the costa there is an outwardly obliquely golden yellow streak with parallel dark edges that extends to the middle of the wing. Between this and the apex there is a golden yellow blotch that is thinly edged with black. A conspicuous deep black spot is present at the tornus. A light golden band with thin black margins arches around the black spot towards the wing tip. It often converges at the wing tip with two fine dark streaks that radiate into the apical cilia. In addition to the two dark streaks, the white apical cilia have dark fuscous tips. The hindwing is dark purplish brown to nearly black, and the cilia a shade lighter. The legs are golden white with dark narrow banding on the tarsi, and the posterior tibia is hairy.

This species is similar to Proleucoptera albella and worn specimens can be difficult to place. Forbes (1923) notes that P. smilaciella is larger and that the first fascia (streak) is much narrower (three times as long as wide versus almost squarish in P. albella). The fascia is also more oblique and starts nearer the base. There are often three or four dark lines that converge on the apex (often partially missing on worn specimens, and rarely evident in P. albella). The silvery-gray spot is smaller than in C. albella, and is completely surrounded before and above with the golden yellow band.
Wingspan: Alar expanse 7-5-8.5 mm (Busck, 1900a).
Adult ID Requirements: Identifiable from good quality photos of unworn specimens.
Immatures and Development: A female normally lays one to several large white eggs on the underside of a leaf. The hatchling initially forms a short, narrow, serpentine track that soon widens into a large irregular upper-surface blotch mine that often obliterates the early part of the mine (Busck, 1900a). Fresh mines are yellowish white, while the older mines often appear reddish brown on the upper side of the leaf and contrast sharply with the green leaf blade. The greenish larvae usually feed communally and often in close proximity to one another. Large blotches commonly have two to seven individuals. The frass is black and consists of small granular particles that are scattered throughout the blotch, except near the edges where larvae are actively feeding.

The full grown larva is greenish, about 5.5 mm long, moniliform, and somewhat flattened and tapered backwards. The first thoracic segments are the broadest and nearly twice as wide as the head (Busck, 1900a). When fully grown the larva exits the mine through a moon-shaped cut in the upper epidermis and spins a spindle-shaped white cocoon. The cocoon is suspended beneath two parallel silken bands that are broad, flat, and connected at the middle. The individual bands are about 10 mm long and 1.5 mm wide.
Larvae ID Requirements: Identifiable from good quality photos, especially where associated with known host plants.
Distribution in North Carolina
Distribution: Proleucoptera smilaciella is found throughout much of the eastern US from Massachusetts southward to Florida, and westward to Illinois and Texas. Populations have also been found in California, Manitoba, Ontario, and New Brunswick (Eiseman, 2019). We have records from the Blue Ridge, Piedmont, and Coastal Plain.
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
Immature 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: Local populations are multivoltine, with several overlapping generations occurring from May through September. The adults of the final brood overwinter and emerge following the spring leaf-out (Busck, 1900a; Eiseman, 2019).
Habitats and Life History
Habitats: Local populations are restricted to sites with greenbrier (Smilax spp.), particularly species that inhabit moist to mesic forests or forest edge habitats.
Larval Host Plants: Proleucoptera smilaciella is monophagous on greenbriers. Documented host plants include Cat Greenbrier (Smilax glauca), Smooth Carrion-flower (S. herbacea), Downy Carrion-flower (S. pulverulenta), and Common Greenbrier (S. rotundifolia). As of 2022, we have records from all of these host species, as well as Laurel Greenbrier (S. laurifolia).
Observation Methods: The adults are attracted to lights, and the large leaf mines are easy to spot on the upper surfaces on greenbrier leaves.
Wikipedia
See also Habitat Account for General Greenbrier Tangles
Status in North Carolina
Natural Heritage Program Status:
Natural Heritage Program Ranks: GNR S3S4
State Protection:
Comments: This species is probably more common than our records suggest since most records are based on leaf mines, which in general have received little attention from naturalists and field biologists.

 Photo Gallery for Proleucoptera smilaciella - No common name

45 photos are available. Only the most recent 30 are shown.

Recorded by: Jim Petranka and John Petranka on 2022-08-10
Watauga Co.
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Recorded by: Jim Petranka on 2022-08-02
Transylvania Co.
Comment: A reared adult; larvae and a pupa on July 15; adult emerged on August 2.
Recorded by: Dean Furbish on 2022-07-19
Wake Co.
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Recorded by: Dean Furbish on 2022-07-19
Wake Co.
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Recorded by: Dean Furbish on 2022-07-19
Wake Co.
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Recorded by: Jim Petranka on 2022-07-15
Transylvania Co.
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Recorded by: Jim Petranka on 2022-07-15
Transylvania Co.
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Recorded by: Jim Petranka on 2022-07-15
Transylvania Co.
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Recorded by: Jim Petranka on 2022-07-13
Madison Co.
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Recorded by: Jim Petranka on 2022-07-13
Madison Co.
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Recorded by: Jim Petranka on 2022-07-11
Henderson Co.
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Recorded by: Jim Petranka on 2022-07-11
Henderson Co.
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Recorded by: Jim Petranka on 2022-07-11
Henderson Co.
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Recorded by: Jim Petranka and Becky Elkin on 2022-06-29
Madison Co.
Comment: A reared adult from Smilax herbacea; mine on June 10; adult on June 29.
Recorded by: Jim Petranka and Becky Elkin on 2022-06-29
Madison Co.
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Recorded by: Jim Petranka on 2022-06-23
Buncombe Co.
Comment: A communal feeding group on Smilax herbacea.
Recorded by: Jim Petranka on 2022-06-23
Buncombe Co.
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Recorded by: Jim Petranka and Becky Elkin on 2022-06-10
Madison Co.
Comment: A relatively young mine on Smilax herbacea.
Recorded by: Jim Petranka and Becky Elkin on 2022-06-10
Madison Co.
Comment: A relatively young mine on Smilax herbacea with three larvae.
Recorded by: tom ward on 2022-05-05
Buncombe Co.
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Recorded by: Jim Petranka and Becky Elkin on 2021-09-24
Henderson Co.
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Recorded by: Jim Petranka and Becky Elkin on 2021-09-24
Henderson Co.
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Recorded by: Jim Petranka and Becky Elkin on 2021-07-06
Madison Co.
Comment: A backlit image showing a communal feeding group on Smilax; note the greenish color of these mature larvae.
Recorded by: Jim Petranka and Becky Elkin on 2021-07-06
Madison Co.
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Recorded by: Jim Petranka and Becky Elkin on 2021-07-01
Buncombe Co.
Comment: A fresh mine on Smilax herbacea.
Recorded by: Jim Petranka and Becky Elkin on 2021-07-01
Buncombe Co.
Comment: A backlit mine on Smilax herbacea with seven larvae.
Recorded by: Jim Petranka and Becky Elkin on 2021-07-01
Buncombe Co.
Comment: A backlit mine on Smilax herbacea showing the frass.
Recorded by: Jim Petranka and Becky Elkin on 2021-07-01
Buncombe Co.
Comment: Several occupied mines were observed on Smilax herbacea, with 1-7 larvae per mine. The larvae began spinning cocoons three days later.
Recorded by: Jim Petranka on 2021-03-29
Bladen Co.
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Recorded by: Jim Petranka on 2021-03-29
Bladen Co.
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