Moths of North Carolina
Scientific Name:
Common Name:
Family (Alpha):
« »
View PDFGracillariidae Members:
Parornix Members:
3 NC Records

Parornix preciosella (Dietz, 1907) - No Common Name

Superfamily: Gracillarioidea Family: GracillariidaeSubfamily: ParornichinaeP3 Number: 330206.00 MONA Number: 680.00
Comments: The genus Parornix contains around 70 species of small moths that are mostly found in north temperate regions. They are well represented in North America, but many are difficult to distinguish on external morphology and require the examination of genitalia. The last major taxonomic treatment was by Dietz (1907). There are several undescribed species that are known, and a modern taxonomic treatment is needed.
Field Guide Descriptions: Online Photographs: MPG, BugGuide, iNaturalist, Google, BAMONA, GBIFTechnical Description, Adults: Dietz (1907)Technical Description, Immature Stages: Dietz (1907)                                                                                 
Adult Markings: This is a distinctively marked Parornix with five costal streaks and three dorsal streaks on a dark brown ground. The following detailed description is based on that of Dietz (1907). The labial palp is mostly white, with the second and third joints having a dark fuscous band occupying the middle portion of each. The face is silvery white, while the vertex is dark brown with sparsely interspersed white scales. The antenna is about as long as the forewing, and is dark brown with fine white annulations. The thorax is dark brown, with intermixed silvery white scales. The forewing ground color is dark bronze-brown, with markings that are pure silvery white. There are five short costal streaks. The first is close to the base, is slightly oblique posteriorly, and crosses the fold. The second is at one-third and is posteriorly oblique. It usually connects with the first dorsal streak to produce a curved fascia that is widest on the dorsal margin. The third streak is at one-half, is posteriorly oblique, and does not reach the fold. The fourth streak is at about four-fifths, runs perpendicular to the costal margin, and reaches to the middle of the wing. The fifth is just before the apex, extends into the cilia, and reaches nearly to the dorsal margin. There are three dorsal streaks. The first forms a fascia with second costal streak. The second and third are at about two-thirds and three-fourths, and in-between the two closest costal streaks. The fringe is dark brown with a diffuse, broad zone of white in the middle. The hindwing is grayish-fuscous, and the fringe concolorous. The legs are dark fuscous proximally, with white tarsi that are banded with dark fuscous.
Wingspan: 8 mm (Dietz (1907)
Adult ID Requirements: Identifiable from good quality photos of unworn specimens.
Immatures and Development: The larvae mine the leaves of blueberries or other hosts and produce tentiform mines on the undersides of leaves (Eiseman, 2019). The completed mine is light tan and is slightly puckered with longitudinal ridges. The frass tends to be collected in a large, dense mass. When mature, the larva exits through a puncture in one end. Eiseman (2019) noted that captive larvae spin their brown cocoons beneath a tight fold at the edge of a leaf, but those in the wild pupate on the ground surface. Larvae in the fall occasionally pupate in the mine. On Choke Cherry, the mine is slightly more puckered, and the mine is usually based on the midrib, extending out between two or more side veins. The larva is pale yellowish-green, with a green dorsal line, and with four transversely placed spots on the thorax (Dietz, 1907).
Larvae ID Requirements: Identifiable from good quality photos, especially where associated with known host plants.
Distribution in North Carolina
Distribution: Parornix preciosella is found in eastern North America at mostly northern latitudes. Scattered populations have been found in Ontario, Vermont, Connecticut, Massachusetts, New York, New Jersey, Pennsylvania, Maryland, Ohio, and North Carolina. As of 2021, we have two records that are both 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
Flight Comments: Adults have been observed from June through October in areas outside of North Carolina, with a seasonal peak in July through September. As of 2021, our two records are both from May.
Habitats and Life History
Habitats: The preferred habitats are poorly documented. Blueberries appear to be the primary hosts in North Carolina. They can be found in a variety of habitats within the state, ranging from bogs, swamps, and other wetlands, to open woods, upland forests, and heath balds.
Larval Host Plants: The hosts include both blueberries (Vaccinium) and Choke Cherry (Prunus virginiana). The specific hosts include Lowbush Blueberry (V. angustifolium) and Northern Highbush Blueberry (V. corymbosum).
Observation Methods: The adults are attracted to lights. We have much to learn about the larval ecology, and recommend searching for mines on blueberries or other hosts and rearing the adults.
See also Habitat Account for General Shrublands and Thickets
Status in North Carolina
Natural Heritage Program Status:
Natural Heritage Program Ranks: GNR S3S4
State Protection:
Comments: This species appears to be at the southern limit of its range and uncommon in the state, with only two records as of 2021. Additional information is needed on its distribution and abundance before we can assess its conservation status.

 Photo Gallery for Parornix preciosella - No common name

Photos: 5

Recorded by: Tracy S. Feldman on 2022-07-26
Orange Co.
Recorded by: Tracy S. Feldman on 2022-07-26
Orange Co.
Recorded by: Tracy S. Feldman on 2019-05-28
Wake Co.
Comment: This adult was reared from a blueberry (Vaccinium) leaf.
Recorded by: Tracy S. Feldman on 2019-05-28
Wake Co.
Comment: This adult was reared from a blueberry (Vaccinium) leaf.
Recorded by: Kyle Kittelberger, Brian Bockhahn on 2017-05-03
Stokes Co.