Moths of North Carolina
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View PDFBucculatricidae Members: 2 NC Records

Bucculatrix staintonella Chambers, 1878 - No Common Name



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Taxonomy
Superfamily: Gracillarioidea Family: BucculatricidaeP3 Number: 330031.00 MONA Number: 513.00
Comments: Bucculatrix is a large genus of small leaf-mining moths, with around 300 species worldwide. A total of 103 Nearctic species have been described, and many others will likely be described in the future. Braun (1963) covered 99 species in her monograph, and four additional Nearctic species have been described since then.
Identification
Field Guide Descriptions: Online Photographs: MPG, BugGuide, iNaturalist, Google, BAMONATechnical Description, Adults: Braun (1963)Technical Description, Immature Stages: Eiseman (2019)                                                                                 
Adult Markings: This species is variable in coloration and patterning. The following description is based from Braun (1963). The face and head are white, while the tuft is typically white, but usually with ocherous or brown hairs centrally. The eye-cap is white and the antennal stalk pale ocherous gray. The thorax is white, with a pale ocherous median stripe. The forewings vary markedly in patterning among populations and individuals. Some individuals are pure white, with merely a few brownish black-tipped scales at the apex and in the cilia of the termen. In many cases individuals are creamy white with more or less well-defined oblique and longitudinal ocherous streaks. In addition, a more or less distinct line of blackish scales extends from just within the margin of the termen to the apex of wing, and a small, but often conspicuous dot of black raised scales is present beyond the middle of the fold. Braun's (1963) description of distinctly marked individuals follows, but expect intermediates between these and the pure white forms. The costal margin near the base is often dark brown. Just within the costal margin there is a line of pale ocherous scales. This line of scales meets a very oblique narrow ocherous or dark-dusted streak before the middle of the costa. The streak bends and runs parallel to the costa just before reaching the middle of wing. Its apex meets a second, less oblique and broader costal streak with dark-tipped scales that sometimes crosses the wing. On the costa beyond the second oblique streak, there is a more or less defined triangular patch of ocherous or fuscous-tipped scales. These are sometimes represented as a third, subterminal costal streak. In addition to these marks, there is an ocherous streak along the fold, a rather broad ocherous streak or spot beyond the middle of the inner margin, and a small black dot on its inner edge on the fold. A small group of black raised scales is present just basally to a marginal row of scales on the termen. It continues as a black line to the apex of the wing. At the tornus, there sometimes is an elongate group of dark-tipped scales. The cilia may also have scattered, dark-tipped scales that sometimes form a line in the cilia of the termen. The hindwings and cilia are usually pale grayish, rarely ferruginous ocherous. The legs are whitish, with the tarsal segments tipped with dark brown. The abdomen has fuscous shading above. Given the level of variation among individuals, this species is best identified by using either genitalia, genetic markers (barcoding), or rearing from known host plants. This is one of only three Bucculatrix species that are known to use asters (Symphyotrichum spp.) and the only one that uses Sneezeweed (Helenium).
Wingspan: 6.5 to 9 mm (Braun, 1963)
Adult Structural Features: The male and female genitalia, along with associated scale tufts and patches, are distinctive and are described and illustrated by Braun (1963). The following are her verbatim descriptions. Males: harpe with a triangular flat apical area densely clothed with heavy black setae, the distal rows hooked, the setae progressively longer and more slender proximad, finally hair-like; socii elongate, setose; anellus a cone, sclerotized ventrally; vinculum quadrate, produced anteriorly into a long slender rod; aedeagus slender except at base, sinuous. Scale sac bilobed. Females: near anterior margin of segment 8 and lateral to ostium, a pair of internal curved sclerotized processes; ostium with minute sclerotized points; extending laterally from either side of ostium a transverse sclerotized band: laterally near posterior margin of segment 7, a cluster of short, specialized but striated scales; ductus bursae slender, widening near bursa, signum a narrow collar of spined ribs at the posterior end of bursa, spines long and slender.
Immatures and Development: The larvae make full-depth mines on the leaves of asters and sneezeweed, and mine characteristics appear to be influences by the host plant, as well as leaf size and shape. Eiseman (2019) reported that in Iowa, Illinois, and Massachusetts, he and his colleagues reared Bucculatrix staintonella from asters (Symphyotrichum). At these sites, the larva mines throughout its development, but sometimes exits to establish secondary mines in fresh leaves. In larger leaves, the mine is linear with a central frass line (see microleps.org), but in small leaves it may appear as a transparent blotch with most of the frass line obliterated. Eiseman (2019) found young larvae in Massachusetts as early as 1 January, and older larvae as late as early April. Populations in the North appear to be univoltine. In North Carolina, Tracy Feldman found B. staintonella larvae and cocoons on Sneezeweed (Helenium) in early September, with adults emerging in mid-September. On this host, the larvae formed long, very narrow, linear mines. They exited to feed externally and to spin molting cocoons like typical Bucculatrix larvae. On both Helenium and Symphyotrichum, the elongate pupation cocoons were similar.
Distribution in North Carolina
Distribution: Scattered populations of Bucculatrix staintonella have been found across a wide region of eastern and central North America, including South Dakota, Colorado, and New Mexico to the west. Populations farther east have been found in Louisiana, Florida, North Carolina, Tennessee, Missouri, Iowa, Illinois, and Massachusetts (Braun, 1963; Eiseman, 2019). As of 2021, we have only a single site record from the western 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)

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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: Most records of adults from areas outside on North Carolina are from March through July. As of 2021, our two state records are both from September.
Habitats and Life History
Habitats: The preferred habitats are poorly delineated. Our two records from Scotland County are from Yellow Sneezeweed, which is typically found in open, sunny habitats such as roadsides, heavily grazed pastures, and waste places. There in one record from the Tennessee side of the Great Smoky Mountains, suggesting that this species may use asters in the western part of the state.
Larval Host Plants: The documented hosts include species of aster (Symphyotrichum), including Heartleaf Aster (S. cordifolium), and Yellow Sneezeweed (Helenium amarum).
Observation Methods: Adults occasionally visit lights. We also recommend searching for the leaf mines and rearing the adults to better document the habitat requirements and host use in North Carolina.
Wikipedia
Status in North Carolina
Natural Heritage Program Status:
Natural Heritage Program Ranks: GNR [SU]
State Protection:
Comments: As of 2021, we have only two records for the state. This species has likely been widely overlooked within the state and additional information is needed on its distribution and abundance before we has assess its conservation status.

 Photo Gallery for Bucculatrix staintonella - No common name

Photos: 4

Recorded by: Tracy S. Feldman and Charley Eiseman on 2018-09-14
Scotland Co.
Comment:
Recorded by: Tracy S. Feldman on 2018-09-04
Scotland Co.
Comment: Note the long narrow mines on this Helenium amarum leaf.
Recorded by: Tracy S. Feldman on 2018-09-04
Scotland Co.
Comment: A larva on Helenium amarum.
Recorded by: Tracy S. Feldman on 2018-09-04
Scotland Co.
Comment: A view of an elongated pupation chamber on Helenium amarum.