Moths of North Carolina
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View PDFPyralidae Members:
Dioryctria Members:
2 NC Records

Dioryctria pygmaeella Ragonot, 1887 - Bald Cypress Coneworm Moth

Superfamily: Pyraloidea Family: PyralidaeSubfamily: PhycitinaeTribe: PhycitiniP3 Number: 800447.00 MONA Number: 5849.00
Comments: One of forty species in this genus that occur in North America north of Mexico (Pohl et al., 2016). Eight species have been recorded in North Carolina.
Field Guide Descriptions: Leckie and Beadle (2018)Online Photographs: MPG, BugGuide, BOLDTechnical Description, Adults: Heinrich (1956); Neunzig (1997)                                                                                 
Adult Markings: Mottled with patches or bands of red, black, white, orange, and purple. The pattern and coloration are similar to other species of Dioryctria, including amatella, merkeli, taedivorella, and zimmermani. However, pygmaeella is relatively smooth and lacks the heavy ridges of raised scales found in those species.
Wingspan: 15-21 mm (Heinrich, 1956)
Adult Structural Features: Both male and female reproductive structures are distinctive (see Heinrich, 1956, and Neunzig, 1997, for descriptions and illustrations)
Adult ID Requirements: Identifiable from good quality photos of unworn specimens.
Immatures and Development: Larvae are borers in the cones of cypress (Heinrich, 1956)
Distribution 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)

Click on graph to enlarge
Habitats and Life History
Habitats: Except for the record from Mecklenburg County, our records all come from the Coastal Plain, with nearly all from sites that contain cypresses. One record from Onslow County, however, comes from a site without any cypresses known to occur nearby but where Red Cedars are likely to occur.
Larval Host Plants: Feeds on Bald Cypress (Heinrich, 1956) and also Pond Cypress. Heppner (2003), however, also lists Red Cedar as a host plant, at least in Florida
See also Habitat Account for Cypress Swamps and Savannas
Status in North Carolina
Natural Heritage Program Status:
Natural Heritage Program Ranks: GNR S2S4
State Protection: Has no legal protection, although permits are required to collect it on state parks and other public lands.
Comments: The possible use of Red Cedars as a larval host plant needs to be investigated here in North Carolina. While we currently assume that this species is a member of the Cypress Swamp and Savannas guild, that could easily change if it feeds to any extent on Red Cedars growing in Coastal Marshes, Dune Grasslands, or other types of habitats further inland.

 Photo Gallery for Dioryctria pygmaeella - Bald Cypress Coneworm Moth

Photos: 2

Recorded by: Mark Shields on 2019-06-06
Onslow Co.
Recorded by: Mark Shields on 2019-06-06
Onslow Co.