Moths of North Carolina
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View PDFBucculatricidae Members: 1 NC Records

Bucculatrix eupatoriella Braun, 1918 - No Common Name


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Taxonomy
Superfamily: Gracillarioidea Family: BucculatricidaeSubfamily: [Bucculatriginae]Tribe: [Bucculatrigini]P3 Number: 330043.00 MONA Number: 525.00
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, p. 94)Technical Description, Immature Stages: Braun (1963)                                                                                 
Adult Markings: This is a minute brown and silver moth with a reddish brown tuft on its head. The following description is based on that of Braun (1963). The face is yellow and the tuft light reddish brown. The eye-cap is small and yellowish, and the antennal stalk brown and indistinctly annulated. The ground color of the forewing and the thorax is uniform brown to bright ocher-brown, with markings that are brilliant silvery. Two oblique, silver streaks extend from the costa to the middle of the wing. The first begins along the costa at about one-third the wing length, and the second at about two-thirds. The ground between the two is shaded with dark brown. On the dorsal margin, and slightly anterior to the first costal streak, there is a short, curved silvery streak that is followed by a large patch of dark brown raised scales. Opposite the second costal streak, there is a pair of short, nearly confluent silvery dorsal streaks. The first is margined anteriorly, and the second posteriorly, with black-tipped scales. A faint creamy white spot is present along the costa and in the cilia near the apex. Near the apex, there is a silvery white spot that is followed by a black line that extends along the termen to the anal angle. This is sometimes broken or incomplete and only represented as a dash behind the white spot. A second dark line is present near the middle of the cilia that extends from the apex to the dorsal edge. The legs are gray-brown, with the base and apical fourth of the posterior tibia and spurs blackish, the mid-portion and hairs whitish, and the tarsal segments dark-tipped. The abdomen is fuscous above.
Wingspan: 5-6.8 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, broadly expanding at apex, cucullus bilobed, each lobe armed with strong setae; socii setose, diverging, tapering to pointed apices; uncus present, hood-like; anellus elongate, contracting and weakly sclerotized toward apex; aedeagus tapering, curving to the two-valved aperture; vinculum broadly rounded. Scale sac present. Females: ventral anterior margin of ostium strongly sclerotized, posteriorly the lateral margins terminating in free curved pointed projections directed obliquely ventrally; segment 8 lateral to ostium densely scaled; signum the typical ring of spined ribs, much wider ventrally.
Adult ID Requirements: Identifiable from good quality photos of unworn specimens.
Immatures and Development: The larvae feed on Common Boneset, and each larva produces a long, contorted, linear mine with a continuous, central frass line. The larva eventually leaves the mine and eats out scattered small patches of tissue from the lower leaf surface. A single leaf may have more than 20 mines. When many larvae are present, the leaf may become riddled with holes (Braun, 1963). The short, white cocoon has four well-defined ridges, plus an inconspicuous ridge on either side. It is often spun along the midrib on the underside of the leaf. Besides the major breeding cohort in late summer, Braun (1963) surmised that there is probably a later fall generation that passes the winter in the pupal state. The adults emerge in the spring and produce a small spring generation, with the moths appearing in early July. This needs to be verified by additional field observations.
Larvae ID Requirements: Identifiable from good quality photos, especially where associated with known host plants.
Distribution in North Carolina
Distribution: Bucculatrix eupatoriella is a seemingly rare species with only a few scattered records from Ontario, Quebec, Vermont, Ohio, and North Carolina. As of 2021, we have only a single historical record from the southern half of the Blue Ridge Mountains in North Carolina.
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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Flight Comments: The adults are active from July through September. Our one record comes from 22 July. Braun (1963) states that there may be as many as three generations per year.
Habitats and Life History
Habitats: The larvae feed on Eupatorium perfoliatum (Braun, 1963). This species is associated with wet habitats, including marshes, swamps, bogs, and wet pastures (Weakley, 2015). It is found widely throughout the state.
Larval Host Plants: The only known host is Common Boneset (Eupatorium perfoliatum).
Observation Methods: The adults appear to rarely visit lights. We recommend searching Common Boneset for larvae during the summer months and rearing the adults.
Wikipedia
Status in North Carolina
Natural Heritage Program Status:
Natural Heritage Program Ranks: GNR [SH]
State Protection: Has no legal protection, although permits are required to collect it on state parks and other public lands.
Comments: This species is known in North Carolina only from a single, historic record. Its known host plant, however, is common and widespread in wetlands, and the same may eventually be found to be true for the moth as well. Currently, we have too little information to accurately assess its conservation status.