Moths of North Carolina
Scientific Name:
Common Name:
Family (Alpha):
« »
View PDFBucculatricidae Members:
Bucculatrix Members:
9 NC Records

Bucculatrix polymniae Braun, 1963 - No Common Name



view caption

view caption

view caption

view caption
Taxonomy
Family: BucculatricidaeP3 Number: 330045.00 MONA Number: 526.00
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.
Species Status: Bucculatrix polymniae was described by Anette Braun in 1963 from three populations in KY and nearby Ohio and has rarely been observed since then. It was discovered in western North Carolina in 2022. All of the published information on this species are from Braun's (1963) monograph on the genus Bucculatrix.
Identification
Field Guide Descriptions: Online Photographs: iNaturalistTechnical Description, Adults: Braun (1963)Technical Description, Immature Stages: Braun (1963)                                                                                 
Adult Markings: The following is based on the original description by Braun's (1963). The face is creamy white and the tuft has a mixture of creamy white, fulvous, and dark brown hairs. The eye-cap is creamy white and the stalk of the antenna is dark brown with narrow pale annulations. The thorax is brown, while the forewing ground color is brown with a series of streaks. The largest mark is a straight ocherous streak that extends from the base of the wing parallel to the fold for two-thirds of the wing length. A very oblique ocherous costal streak that begins near the base joins the longitudinal streak at about one-fourth the wing length and enclosing a small patch of ground color. Before the middle of the costa there is an oblique silvery streak that is followed by a less oblique silvery streak at two-thirds. Before the middle of dorsum there is a curved ocherous streak that is more or less overlaid with silvery scales and that is followed by a patch of blackish raised scales. Before the tornus there is a very oblique silvery spot, while at the tornus there is an inwardly oblique narrow streak whose apex is opposite the apex of the second silvery costal streak. A few silvery scales are present at the apex and a creamy white triangular patch is present in cilia above the apex. An apical pencil is present that consists of a line of black overlapping scales that extends obliquely from the apex to the tip of the cilia. The cilia are gray, with a line of dark-tipped scales extending through them from the tornus and curving in at the apex to the base of the line of black scales from the apex. The hindwing and cilia are gray, and the legs are dark brown overall. The hind tibia is whitish ocherous and clothed with whitish ocherous hairs except for the spurs and apical hairs.

Braun (1963) noted that the apical pencil of overlapping scales (easily lost) and the ciliary line incurving to the apex of the wing are unique and distinctive characters for this species. Bucculatrix polymniae does not appear to be attracted to lights and all records to date are based on individuals that have been reared from the host plant. This may be the easiest way to be certain about the identity of specimens.
Wingspan: 6-7 mm (Braun, 1963)
Adult Structural Features: Braun (1963) noted that the male lacks an antennal notch and instead has a scarcely perceptible excavation where the notch is normally present. Detailed descriptions and illustrations of the male and female genitalia are in her monograph, and the following is based on her descriptions.

Male genitalia: The harpe is broad apically, indistinctly bilobed at the apex, and has lobes with strong, heavy, short setae. The socii are large with heavy curved setae, while the uncus is narrow pointed and microscopically setose. The anellus is an elongated tube, while the aedeagus is long and gradually narrows and curves to the apex. The vinculum is produced anteriorly to a rounded point, and the scale sac is large.

Female genitalia: The ostium is circular and the ductus bursae is forked in segment 7. The forks enter the bursa separately and lateral to the ostium. Oval patches of specialized scales are on the intersegmental membrane. The posterior ventral margin of segment 7 has lateral pointed projections and a quadrate projection mid-ventrally. The signum is a ring of spined ribs that are irregularly spined, with an occasional spine conspicuously larger than the rest.
Immatures and Development: Females deposit ovate eggs on the upper surface of the leaf and often near a vein. The eggs are distinctive in having iridescent green or coppery colors with wavy bars and knobs. The mines are long and narrow (< 1 mm wide) with a central frass line. Mines in North Carolina vary from being relatively straight to highly convoluted. The relatively straight mines tend to be the most common type and often follow the midrib or lateral veins. They can reach 5-6 cm in total length, and a single leaf may have two or more mines.

The larvae eventually exit the mines through the lower surface and feed on the leaf surface for the remainder of the larval stage where they create a series of irregular feeding patches. The larvae are pale green with a faint reddish tinge anteriorly and are nearly concolorous with the under surface of the leaf. Molting of the third and fourth instars occurs in a white papery molting cocoon that is spun on the underside of the leaf and usually near a vein. The final instar spins a white pupation cocoon that is often constructed against the midrib or near the base of the petiole. It is short, rounded at either end, and has two prominent ridges that are twisted diagonally. The pupation cocoon can sometimes have a partial third ridge (Braun, 1963).
Larvae ID Requirements: Identifiable from good quality photos, especially where associated with known host plants.
Distribution in North Carolina
Distribution: Braun (1963) found a population in northeastern Kentucky, along with two other populations in adjoining areas of southern Ohio. In 2022, several populations were discovered in North Carolina. These include several lower-elevation sites in the Blue Ridge and other sites 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
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: Braun (1963) found that there are three generations in Kentucky and Ohio. Larvae that mine in June produce adults in early July. A second generation of larvae that appears in the latter part of August produces adults in early September. A final generation feeds in October then overwinters in the pupal state. The adults emerging soon after the spring leaf-out. As of 2022, our limited records for feeding larvae are all from October and early November.
Habitats and Life History
Habitats: Bucculatrix polymniae is a specialist on Hairy Leafcup. This species is typically found in mesic hardwood settings such as alluvial bottomlands, moist slopes, ravines, and cove forests.
Larval Host Plants: Hairy Leafcup (Smallanthus uvedalia) is the only known host and all of our host records as of 2022 are for this species.
Observation Methods: The adults do not appear to be attracted to lights and local populations are best documented by searching for the mines, cocoons or larvae on Hairy Leafcup, particularly during late summer or early fall when larval numbers reach their seasonal peak.
Wikipedia
See also Habitat Account for Rich Wet-Mesic Hardwood Forests
Status in North Carolina
Natural Heritage Program Status:
Natural Heritage Program Ranks: GNR [S2-S3]
State Protection:
Comments: This seemingly rare species that was previously known from only three sites in the eastern US was recently discovered at several sites in western North Carolina and the eastern Piedmont. We currently have too little information to accurately assess its conservation status.

 Photo Gallery for Bucculatrix polymniae - No common name

Photos: 24

Recorded by: John Petranka on 2022-11-02
Orange Co.
Comment: An unoccupied mine on Smallanthus uvedalia.
Recorded by: John Petranka on 2022-11-02
Orange Co.
Comment: An externally feeding larva on Smallanthus uvedalia.
Recorded by: John Petranka on 2022-11-02
Orange Co.
Comment:
Recorded by: John Petranka on 2022-10-29
Durham Co.
Comment:
Recorded by: Jim Petranka and Becky Elkin on 2022-10-24
McDowell Co.
Comment: An unoccupied mine on Smallanthus.
Recorded by: Jim Petranka and Becky Elkin on 2022-10-24
McDowell Co.
Comment: Backlit image of an unoccupied mine on Smallanthus.
Recorded by: Jim Petranka and Becky Elkin on 2022-10-24
McDowell Co.
Comment: A larva in a molting cocoon on Smallanthus.
Recorded by: John Petranka on 2022-10-15
Orange Co.
Comment:
Recorded by: John Petranka on 2022-10-15
Orange Co.
Comment:
Recorded by: John Petranka on 2022-10-15
Orange Co.
Comment:
Recorded by: Jim Petranka and Becky Elkin on 2022-10-12
Madison Co.
Comment: A backlit image of a mine on Smallanthus.
Recorded by: Jim Petranka and Becky Elkin on 2022-10-12
Madison Co.
Comment: View of the upper surface of a Smallanthus leaf with a mine.
Recorded by: Jim Petranka and Becky Elkin on 2022-10-12
Madison Co.
Comment: A pupation cocoon on Smallanthus.
Recorded by: Jim Petranka and Becky Elkin on 2022-10-12
Madison Co.
Comment: View of the upper surface of a Smallanthus leaf with a mine.
Recorded by: Jim Petranka and Becky Elkin on 2022-10-12
Madison Co.
Comment:
Recorded by: Jim Petranka and Becky Elkin on 2022-10-12
Madison Co.
Comment:
Recorded by: Jim Petranka on 2022-10-09
Buncombe Co.
Comment:
Recorded by: Jim Petranka on 2022-10-09
Buncombe Co.
Comment:
Recorded by: Jim Petranka on 2022-10-09
Buncombe Co.
Comment: Two deserted molting cocoons on Smallanthus uvedalia.
Recorded by: Jim Petranka on 2022-10-09
Madison Co.
Comment:
Recorded by: Jim Petranka on 2022-10-09
Madison Co.
Comment: Two larvae with feeding patches.
Recorded by: Jim Petranka on 2022-10-09
Madison Co.
Comment: A larva spinning a molting cocoon.
Recorded by: Jim Petranka on 2022-10-09
Madison Co.
Comment: Mines on Smallanthus uvedalia.
Recorded by: Jim Petranka on 2022-10-09
Madison Co.
Comment: A backlit image of a mine on Smallanthus.