Moths of North Carolina
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View PDFGracillariidae Members:
Caloptilia Members:
1 NC Records

Caloptilia porphyretica (Braun, 1923) - No Common Name

No image for this species.
Superfamily: Gracillarioidea Family: GracillariidaeSubfamily: GracillariinaeTribe: [Gracillariini]P3 Number: 330148.00 MONA Number: 625.00
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.
Species Status: Caloptilia porphyretica was originally described by Braun (1923) based on specimens that she collected from the Balsam Mountains in North Carolina. It has rarely been collected in the eastern US since, except in New Jersey where the species has become a minor pest on commercial blueberry farms (Barry et al., 2010).
Field Guide Descriptions: Online Photographs: MPG, BugGuide, GBIF, BOLD                                                                                 
Adult Markings: Braun's original description based on specimens from North Carolina is as follows: Second segment of labial palpi yellow, third segment white with a dark brown tip; maxillary palpi yellow, dark brown in outer half of segments. Antennae brown, purplish toward base, with fainter annulations. Face yellow, head and thorax purple, middle of thorax posteriorly yellow. Fore wings brilliant purple, the deepest color in the costal part of the wing before the costal yellow area; an elongate yellow patch on the base of dorsum; a bright yellow costal area, beginning at basal fourth and reaching almost to the apex, extends downward to the fold, sometimes at one point a little below it, and along the fold almost to the middle of the wing, thence its outer margin curves upward to within one-third or one-fourth of costa; beyond this sending a short pointed projection toward the middle of the wing. The margin of the narrow portion of the costal yellow area is not usually clearly defined, the yellow passing gradually into the purple. Cilia brown with three darker brown lines. Hind wings gray, cilia brownish. Fore and middle legs dark brown with pure white tarsi, the tarsal segments sometimes minutely tipped with dark brown. Hind legs with basal segments bright yellow, posterior half of femora dark brown, tibiae and tarsi grayish straw color, tibiae shading into dark brown toward apex, tarsal segments slightly darkened at their tips. Abdomen bright yellow beneath, brownish above. Braun (1923) noted that this species most closely resembles C. superbifrontella, but that C. superbifrontella lacks the deep brilliant purple coloration of C. porphyretica. We have been unable to locate any images of this species on internet resources other than BOLD, suggesting that it is rare in the eastern US.
Wingspan: 10 mm (Braun, 1923)
Immatures and Development: The mine is a tentiform underside mine with a wrinkled lower epidermis. As the larva matures it eventually abandons the mine and constructs a feeding shelter by rolling the tip of a leaf downward onto the underside of the leaf (Braun, 1923). The cocoon is constructed outside the leaf shelter. Braun (1923) noted that larvae that were mining on 14 July produced adult moths on 8 August and 10 August, while larvae collected in August produced moths on 20 and 23 August. Barry et al. (2010) conducted a detailed study of larval development of C. porphyretica on blueberry farms in New Jersey where this species is often a minor pest on commercially grown Highbush Blueberries (Vaccinium corymbosum). The flight season began in late April and there were three generations per year. The late-instar larvae of the final generation overwintered.
Larvae ID Requirements: Identifiable from good quality photos, especially where associated with known host plants.
Distribution in North Carolina
Distribution: This species appears to have only been found in North Carolina and New Jersey.
County Map: Clicking on a county returns the records for the species in that county.
Flight Dates:
 High Mountains (HM) ‚Č• 4,000 ft.
 Low Mountains (LM) < 4,000 ft.
 Piedmont (Pd)
 Coastal Plain (CP)

Click on graph to enlarge
Flight Comments: This species is multivoltine in New Jersey, with seasonal activity beginning in late April and ending in October.
Habitats and Life History
Habitats: The habitat preferences are largely unknown, other than Braun's vague reference of specimens being on azaleas in the Balsam Mountain.
Larval Host Plants: The reported host species include azaleas (Rhododendron) in the Balsam Mountains of North Carolina (Braun, 1923) and Highbush Blueberries (Vaccinium corymbosum) in New Jersey. - View
See also Habitat Account for Montane Rhododendron Thickets and Balds
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: Caloptilia porphyretica was originally described by Braun (1923) based on specimens that she collected from the Balsam Mountains in North Carolina. It has not been collected in the state since then, but populations may still exist in the area.