Moths of North Carolina
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View PDFGracillariidae Members: 9 NC Records

Caloptilia hypericella (Braun, 1918) - No Common Name



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Taxonomy
Superfamily: Gracillarioidea Family: GracillariidaeSubfamily: GracillariinaeTribe: [Gracillariini]P3 Number: 330130.00 MONA Number: 608.00
Comments: Caloptilia is a large genus with nearly 300 described species; 64 species have been described from North America north of Mexico. The larvae mostly feed on woody plants and begin as leaf-mining sap-feeders. The latter instars usually exit the mines and feed within a conical roll that begins at the leaf apex or at the tip of a leaf lobe.
Identification
Field Guide Descriptions: Online Photographs: MPG, BugGuide, iNaturalist, Google, BAMONA, GBIFTechnical Description, Adults: Braun (1918)Technical Description, Immature Stages: Braun (1918), Eiseman (2019)                                                                                 
Adult Markings: This species lacks the bold patterning that is seen in many Caloptilia and has an overall drab, ochreous coloration with darker mottling. Braun (1918) described the forewings as having an ocherous ground color that is overlain with shining purplish fuscous. The dark coloration on the dorsal half of the wing fades into a lighter wash of varying width that extends along much of the length of the costa. The lighter wash is often narrowest near the wing tip, broadens to reach its maximum width near the middle of the wing, then fades out towards the wing base. There is normally a series of minute fuscous dots on the costal edge. The face is whitish and the labial palps are whitish, but often overlain with extensive dark coloration. The cilia are fuscous and have 3-4 indistinct darker lines running through them. The tibia and femur of the front and middle leg are dark brown to blackish, while the tarsi are whitish with dark spots near the tarsal joints. The rear legs are whitish, but dusted with fuscous coloration. This species is superficially similar to some specimens of C. rhoifoliella, but is smaller (wing span 8.5-10 mm versus 12-13 mm) and lacks the series of dark brown dots or small rectangular blotches along the costa and fold. The light coloration along the costa also extends more basally in C. hypericella
Wingspan: 8.5-10 mm (Braun, 1918)
Forewing Length: 5 mm (BugGuide)
Adult ID Requirements: Identifiable from good quality photos of unworn specimens.
Immatures and Development: The larva makes a small linear mine that expands into an elongated blotch on the underside of the leaf. The blotch is small (typically < 2 mm wide and 7-8 mm long) and becomes tentiform when mature. An indistinct central frass line is usually evident in the linear portion. The larva eventually abandons the blotch and constructs a conical shelter by rolling the tip of the leaf downward into a cone (Braun 1918; Eiseman 2019). This usually involving using the whole leaf. The cocoon is constructed on the underside of the curled leaf.
Larvae ID Requirements: Identifiable from good quality photos, especially where associated with known host plants.
Distribution in North Carolina
Distribution: Populations are known from scattered localities in eastern North America, including Ontario, Quebec, Michigan, Vermont, and Massachusetts, southward to Alabama, Mississippi and Florida (Eiseman, 2019; MPG). As of 2022, we have scattered records of mines or adults from the mountains eastward to the 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)

Click on graph to enlarge
Flight Comments: Local populations appear to have two or more broods per year. Larvae have been found in April, July, and late August in Ohio and Kentucky (Braun 1918; Eiseman 2019). As of 2022, our limited records for adults extend from April through October.
Habitats and Life History
Habitats: Given the large number of host species used, populations likely occur in a wide range of habitats such as old fields, roadsides, rocky woods, and dry to mesic forests.
Larval Host Plants: As the name implies, C. hypericella is a specialist on Hypericum species (St. John's Wort). Eiseman (2019) found this species on Triadenum, which is now generally treated as being a subgroup within the genus Hypericum (Weakley 2015). Species in eastern North America that are used as hosts include H. adpressum, H. cistifolium, H. crux-andreae, H. fraseri, H. hypericoides, H. mutilum, H. prolificum, H. punctatum, H. sphaerocarpum, Hypericum stragulum, H. tetrapetalum, and H. virginicum (Eiseman 2019).
Observation Methods: The adults appear to only rarely visit lights, and searching for leaf mines on Hypericum species may be the most productive way to document local populations.
Wikipedia
See also Habitat Account for St. John's-wort Thickets
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: Caloptilia hypericella appears to be uncommon throughout its range based on the rather small number of locality records for eastern North America.

 Photo Gallery for Caloptilia hypericella - No common name

Photos: 15

Recorded by: Jim Petranka on 2022-06-28
Madison Co.
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Recorded by: Jim Petranka on 2021-10-06
Madison Co.
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Recorded by: Jim Petranka on 2021-04-11
Madison Co.
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Recorded by: Mark Shields on 2021-04-08
Onslow Co.
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Recorded by: Jim Petranka and Becky Elkin on 2020-06-19
Madison Co.
Comment: The upper surface of the leaf of Hypericum punctatum with two tentiform mines.
Recorded by: Jim Petranka and Becky Elkin on 2020-06-19
Madison Co.
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Recorded by: Jim Petranka and Becky Elkin on 2020-06-19
Madison Co.
Comment: A leaf of Hypericum punctatum with two lower surface mines. Note the linear portion that eventually ends in a tentiform mine. See companion photo of the upper surface.
Recorded by: Jim Petranka and Becky Elkin on 2019-11-04
Transylvania Co.
Comment: A lower-surface mine on Hypericum stragulum. Note the rather faint linear portion with a central frass line on the left that eventually widens into a blotch.
Recorded by: Jim Petranka and Becky Elkin on 2019-11-04
Transylvania Co.
Comment: A view of the upper leaf surface of Hypericum stragulum. Only the blotch portion of the mine is visible from above (see companion photo of the lower surface).
Recorded by: Tracy S. Feldman on 2018-06-12
Wake Co.
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Recorded by: Tracy S. Feldman on 2018-06-12
Wake Co.
Comment: Leaf mines on Hypericum hypericoides.
Recorded by: Tracy S. Feldman on 2018-06-12
Wake Co.
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Recorded by: Tracy S. Feldman on 2016-08-30
Scotland Co.
Comment: A leaf mine on Hypericum hypericoides. The mine typically begins as a linear track that later enlarges to form a blotch.
Recorded by: Tracy S. Feldman on 2016-08-30
Scotland Co.
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Recorded by: Kyle Kittelberger, Brian Bockhahn on 2014-06-09
Avery Co.
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