Moths of North Carolina
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Bucculatrix Members:
8 NC Records

Bucculatrix angustata Frey & Boll, 1876 - No Common Name

Superfamily: Gracillarioidea Family: BucculatricidaeSubfamily: [Bucculatriginae]Tribe: [Bucculatrigini]P3 Number: 330040.00 MONA Number: 522.00
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.
Field Guide Descriptions: Beadle and Leckie (2012)Online Photographs: MPG, BugGuide, iNaturalist, Google, BAMONA, GBIFTechnical Description, Adults: Braun (1963, p. 89)Technical Description, Immature Stages: Braun (1963)                                                                                 
Adult Markings: This is a very small moth with a distinctive white patterning on a darker background. The following description is based on the description by Braun (1963). The face is white and the tuft whitish with a median brown line. The eye-cap is whitish, while the antennal stalk is pale brownish white with dark brown annulations toward the apex. The thorax is pale to dark brown, with the median area usually darker. The ground color of the forewing is dark brown (especially females) to whitish brown, and marked with non-silvery white streaks. A prominent longitudinal white streak runs from the base out to about three-fifths the length of the wing and is bordered with a zone of dark brown dusting on both sides. Two white, posteriorly oblique streaks extends from the costa towards the middle of the wing. The first begins at about one-half the wing length and curves towards the middle of the wing. The second is at about three-fourths, is slightly less oblique, and has a distinctive black spot or dash at its apex. Dark shading is often evident between the two streaks. Two similar, posteriorly oblique white streaks occur on the inner margin, one beginning at about one-half and the other at three-fourths. These often enclosed a dark crescent-shaped region between them. A dark spot located at the apex of the wing may also be partially or nearly completely encircled with an often triangular-shaped white mark. A line of dark-tipped scales curves around the apex through the pale cilia. The hindwing is narrowly lanceolate and is pale brownish gray. The legs are pale brownish gray, with the tarsal segments black-tipped. Braun (1963) noted that the black dot or short longitudinal line at the tip of the second costal streak is a good diagnostic character. It is especially noticeable in paler specimens, and is often discernible in much worn and nearly denuded specimens.
Wingspan: 7-9 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 slender, setose before the sharp-pointed apex, costa concave below apex; socii elongate, widely separated, setose; anellus conical, notched at apex; aedeagus tapering to slender point from elongate entrance of penis; vinculum rounded. Scale sac with many small and broadly oval scales. Females: ostium in the intersegmental membrane, its margin sclerotized and flaring; specialized scale tufts on intersegmental membrane lateral to ostium and on segment 8 dorsad of lateral line; ductus bursae weakly sclerotized in posterior two-thirds; signum of radiating spined ribs, producing a flattened, somewhat leaf-shaped aspect.
Adult ID Requirements: Identifiable from good quality photos of unworn specimens.
Immatures and Development: The larvae mine the leaves of several genera of composites, including asters and goldenrods. The mine begins as a long, linear, gradually widening track with a continuous central frass line. The larva then leaves the initial mine and forms a second mine in the same leaf that is broader (Braun, 1963; Eiseman, 2019). The second mine may be broadly linear or more or less trumpet-shaped. Braun (1963) noted that small blotch-like mines are occasionally made upon leaving the linear mine. The cocoon is white and slender, with six or seven fine ridges.
Distribution in North Carolina
Distribution: Bucculatrix angustata is a common and widespread species. Specimens have been found in southern Canada (Alberta; Manitoba; Ontario; Quebec; Nova Scotia), and throughout much of the eastern US. The range in the US extends from the New England states southward to southern Alabama and the Gulf States, and westward to Texas, Iowa, Wisconsin and Minnesota. Populations appear to be absent or rare in most of the non-mountainous regions of the Atlantic Seaboard from Maryland southward to Florida. As of 2021, our records come from both lower and higher elevations in the mountains, and at one site in the eastern Piedmont.
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
Flight Comments: Local populations are multivoltine, with records extending from April through October in areas outside of North Carolina. As of 2021, our records extend from mid-March through early June.
Habitats and Life History
Habitats: The habitats that are preferred are poorly documented. Based on host plants, they probably include open woods and woodland edges, as well as more open, sunny sites such as old fields and roadways.
Larval Host Plants: The larvae use members of at least three genera of composites, including Asters (Symphyotrichum), Goldenrods (Solidago), and Fleabanes (Erigeron). Asters appear to be the most important hosts (Eiseman, 2019). The known hosts include Heartleaf Aster (Symphyotrichum cordifolium), Drummond's Aster (S. drummondii), Smooth Blue Aster (S. laeve), Calico Aster (S. lateriflorum), New England Aster (S. novae-angliae), New York Aster (S. novi-belgii) and Annual Fleabane (E. annuus).
Observation Methods: The adults come to blacklights but we do not have enough information to estimate how often. We recommend searching for leaf mines and rearing adults to better document host use and preferred habitats in North Carolina.
Status in North Carolina
Natural Heritage Program Status:
Natural Heritage Program Ranks: GNR [SU]
State Protection: Has no legal protection, although permits are required to collect it on state parks and other public lands.
Comments: This species may turn out to be widespread in the western half of the state, but we currently do not have enough information to estimate its conservation status.

 Photo Gallery for Bucculatrix angustata - No common name

Photos: 8

Recorded by: tom ward on 2022-05-05
Buncombe Co.
Recorded by: Jim Petranka and Bo Sullivan on 2021-08-02
Ashe Co.
Recorded by: Jim Petranka and Becky Elkin on 2020-04-07
Madison Co.
Recorded by: Jim Petranka and Becky Elkin on 2020-03-19
Madison Co.
Recorded by: Jim Petranka and Becky Elkin on 2020-03-19
Madison Co.
Recorded by: Jim Petranka and Becky Elkin on 2019-04-10
Madison Co.
Recorded by: T. DeSantis on 2016-03-12
Durham Co.
Recorded by: B. Bockhahn, P. Scharf, K. Kittelberger on 2014-06-07
Avery Co.