Moths of North Carolina
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View PDFNepticulidae Members: 1 NC Records

Fomoria hypericella (Braun, 1925) - No Common Name



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Taxonomy
Superfamily: Nepticuloidea Family: NepticulidaeP3 Number: 160064.00 MONA Number: 61.00
Comments: Fomoria is a small genus of leaf-mining micromoths with four described species from North America.
Identification
Field Guide Descriptions: Online Photographs: MPG; BugGuideTechnical Description, Adults: Braun, 1925Technical Description, Immature Stages: Braun, 1925; Eiseman, 2019.                                                                                 
Adult Markings: The following description of the adults is from Braun (1925). The tuft on the head is reddish orange, and sometimes has a few brown scales on the vertex. The eye-cap is silvery or pale golden and often shades to dark brown outwardly. The antenna stalk is dark fuscous. The collar is blackish, with a few brownish ocherous scales that are especially evident on the dorsum. The forewing is bluish black and densely irrorate. The scales are pale blue at the base, and shade to black beyond the base. The cilia on the forewing are gray and palest around the apex. The hindwing and cilia are gray. The legs are bluish black, and the tarsi paler gray. Characters that are useful in identifying this species include the dark forewing that lacks whitish marks or fasciae, the orange tuft, and the dark collar between the head and thorax.
Wingspan: 4-5 mm (Braun, 1925).
Adult ID Requirements: Identifiable from good quality photos of unworn specimens.
Immatures and Development: Females lay eggs on the lower leaf surface adjacent to the midrib. The larva produces a long, linear, and rather convoluted upper-surface mine that gradually increases to a width of 2-3 mm. The mine may take on a blotchy appearance at the end. The dark, granular frass is initially deposited in a continuous narrow central line, but becomes more scattered with time. Just prior to pupation, the larva cuts a semicircular slit in the lower leaf surface. It then either spins a bright brownish cocoon that is placed at or near the slit, or exits the leaf and spins a cocoon externally (Braun, 1925; Eiseman, 2019).
Larvae ID Requirements: Identifiable from good quality photos, especially where associated with known host plants.
Distribution in North Carolina
Distribution: Fomoria hypericella is broadly distributed throughout the eastern US where the host plants occur locally. Populations have been found as far north as Vermont, Connecticut, and Massachusetts. From there, they occur southward to Mississippi and Alabama, and westward to Ohio and Oklahoma (Eiseman, 2019). As of 2019, our only county record is from the 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 (1925) found mines with pupae in late July, with the adults emerging in early to mid-August. Our records for active mines in North Carolina are also from late July and early August.
Habitats and Life History
Habitats: Fomoria hypericella feeds on St. John's-wort (Hypericum spp.), which includes a mix of species that occupy habitats ranging from marshes, streambanks, bogs, and pine savannas, to dry forests, sandy woodlands, and dry rock outcrops.
Larval Host Plants: The known hosts include species of Hypericum and Triadenum (Braun, 1925; Eiseman, 2019). Many authors (e.g., Weakley, 2015) currently treat Triadenum as a subgroup within the genus Hypericum. Some of the known hosts include H. cistifolium, H. fraseri, H. hypericoides, H. prolificum, H. tetrapetalum, and H. virginicum. This species has been found on H. hypericoides in North Carolina.
Observation Methods: The adults appear to rarely visit lights. Most records are for either occupied mines, or for adults that were raised from mines. We recommend searching Hypericum leaves in July and August for active mines, then rearing the adults.
Wikipedia
Status in North Carolina
Natural Heritage Program Status:
Natural Heritage Program Ranks: GNR SU
State Protection:
Comments: Fomoria hypericella produces very small mines that are easily overlooked, and it may be more common that the available records suggest. Additional collecting effort and data are needed before we can assess its conservation status.

 Photo Gallery for Fomoria hypericella - No common name

Photos: 3

Recorded by: Tracy S. Feldman on 2019-07-30
Wake Co.
Comment: A linear slightly widening mine with a dark frass trail on Hypericum hypericoides. The larva forms a narrow, convoluted upper surface mine that gradually widens. Note how the frass tends to become more scattered as the larva matures.
Recorded by: Tracy S. Feldman on 2019-07-30
Wake Co.
Comment: A linear slightly widening mine with a dark frass trail on Hypericum hypericoides. The larva forms a narrow, convoluted upper surface mine that gradually widens. Note how the frass tends to become more scattered as the larva matures. The light green area at the end of the frass trail is where the larva is feeding.
Recorded by: Tracy S. Feldman on 2019-07-30
Wake Co.
Comment: A linear widening mine with a dark frass trail on Hypericum hypericoides. Note how the frass becomes more scattered as the larva matures. The light brown oval structure (partially encircled by the thin frass line near the leaf tip) is a cocoon.