Moths of North Carolina
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16 NC Records

Acrocercops astericola (Frey & Boll, 1873) - No Common Name



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Taxonomy
Superfamily: Gracillarioidea Family: GracillariidaeSubfamily: GracillariinaeTribe: [Gracillariini]P3 Number: 330218.00 MONA Number: 692.00
Identification
Field Guide Descriptions: Online Photographs: MPG, BugGuide, iNaturalist, Google, BAMONA, GBIFTechnical Description, Immature Stages: Eiseman, 2019                                                                                 
Adult Markings: The following is based in part on Forbes (1923). The head and thorax vary from white to light tan, and the palps are whitish, with a dark blotch often evident near the middle. The eyes are reddish. The antenna is white with dark annulations, and about as long as the forewing. The ground color of the forewing is luteus with heavy brown dusting. The forewing has a series of either paired white blotches and streaks, or complete fascias, all with blackish anterior margins. These typically include a pair of small costal and dorsal blotches just before the mid-point of the wing, a complete or nearly complete fascia just beyond the mid-point that terminates just before the inner margin, and two thinner and smaller fascias (sometimes incomplete) just before the wing tip. At the apex there is a white spot with a dark anterior margin. The fringe has two dark bars that parallel the base of the fringe. The legs are light tan with darker bands and blotches. The upper portions of the front and middle legs are heavily marked with black, while the lower tarsi are whitish with small black blotches near the joints. Adults often posture with the front of the body strongly elevated above the substrate. Leucospilapteryx venustella is superficially similar to Acrocercops astericola, but the latter lacks a well-defined white streak that extends along the inner margin from the base to near the first dorsal blotch.



Wingspan: 9 mm (Forbes, 1923).
Adult ID Requirements: Identifiable from good quality photos of unworn specimens.
Immatures and Development: The larvae mine the leaves of asters. The hatchling initially produces a rather long, convoluted, linear greenish to yellowish epidermal mine on the underside of the leaf (visible from above). This then expands abruptly into a large blotch that has scattered frass. The blotch is often yellowish and later becomes patchily full-depth and often puffy (Eiseman, 2019). The mature larvae are bright red and pupation occurs externally within an elongated cocoon.


Larvae ID Requirements: Identifiable from good quality photos, especially where associated with known host plants.
Distribution in North Carolina
Distribution: Acrocercops astericola is widely distributed in North America. Most records are from eastern North America, including southern Canada (Ontario; Quebec) and much of the eastern US, but populations also occur in western Canada (British Columbia; Alberta) and Colorado. In the eastern US, the range extends from the northeastern states to as far south as northern Florida, and as far west as Wisconsin, Oklahoma and Texas. As of 2021, our records are from the eastern Piedmont and the mid- to higher elevations in the Blue Ridge.
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: Adults or occupied mines have been found from March-October in this wide-ranging species. Local populations typically breed after asters have fully leafed out. As of 2021, our records for mines are from June through October.
Habitats and Life History
Habitats: This species uses a variety of asters that are found in both mesic forests and forest edges, as well as more open, sunny habitats. Representative habitats include mesic hardwood and mixed-hardwood forests, the edges of woodlands and forest roads, and moist to somewhat drier habitats in sunny sites such as abandoned agricultural fields, ditches, and road corridors.
Larval Host Plants: The larvae mine the leaves of a variety of asters, including species of Doellingeria, Eurybia, Oclemena, Symphyotrichum and Euthamia. Some of the known hosts include Tall Flat-top Aster (Doellingeria umbellata), White Wood-aster (Eurybia divaricata), Bigleaf Aster (E. macrophylla), Grass-leaved Flat-top Goldenrod (Euthamia graminifolia), Whorled Wood-aster (Oclemena acuminata), Heartleaf Aster (Symphyotrichum cordifolium), White Panicle Aster (S. lanceolatum), Calico Aster (S. lateriflorum), New England Aster (S. novae-angliae), New York Aster (S. novi-belgii) and Purplestem Aster (S. puniceum). As of 2021, we have records for Mountain Wood-aster (Eurybia chlorolepis), E. divaricata, Symphyotrichum cordifolium, and S. undulatum.
Observation Methods: The adults regularly visit UV lights. The leaf mines are rather conspicuous on native asters and the adults have been successfully reared from mines.
Wikipedia
See also Habitat Account for General Forests and Fields
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: We have only nine records for this species as of 2021, and additional information is needed on its distribution and abundance before we can assess its conservation status. It can be locally common at mid- to higher elevations in the mountains and is probably more widespread than our limited records suggest.

 Photo Gallery for Acrocercops astericola - No common name

Photos: 21

Recorded by: Jim Petranka and Becky Elkin on 2022-09-18
Yancey Co.
Comment: Occupied mines were on Eurybia chlorolepis; larvae red.
Recorded by: Jim Petranka and Becky Elkin on 2022-09-18
Yancey Co.
Comment:
Recorded by: Jim Petranka and Becky Elkin on 2022-08-17
Yancey Co.
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Recorded by: Jim Petranka and John Petranka on 2022-08-09
Watauga Co.
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Recorded by: Jim Petranka and Becky Elkin on 2022-07-20
Mitchell Co.
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Recorded by: Jim Petranka on 2022-05-14
Madison Co.
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Recorded by: Jim Petranka on 2022-03-14
Buncombe Co.
Comment: A reared adult from Symphyotrichum cordifolium; mine on Oct 26, 2021; adult emerged on March 14, 2022.
Recorded by: Jim Petranka on 2022-03-14
Buncombe Co.
Comment: A reared adult from Symphyotrichum cordifolium; mine on Oct 26, 2021; adult emerged on March 14, 2022.
Recorded by: Jim Petranka on 2022-03-06
Yancey Co.
Comment: An adult that emerged from an overwintering mine that was collected on Oct 14, 2021 (see companion photo of the mine).
Recorded by: Jim Petranka and Becky Elkin on 2021-10-25
Buncombe Co.
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Recorded by: Jim Petranka and Becky Elkin on 2021-10-14
McDowell Co.
Comment: Occupied mines were on Eurybia divaricata.
Recorded by: Jim Petranka and Becky Elkin on 2021-10-14
McDowell Co.
Comment: Occupied mines were on Eurybia divaricata.
Recorded by: Jim Petranka and Becky Elkin on 2021-10-14
McDowell Co.
Comment: A final instar larva from a mine on Eurybia divaricata.
Recorded by: Jim Petranka and Becky Elkin on 2021-10-14
Yancey Co.
Comment: See adult that emerged after on 2022-03-06 after overwintering in refrigerator.
Recorded by: Jim Petranka and Becky Elkin on 2021-10-14
Yancey Co.
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Recorded by: tom ward on 2021-10-11
Buncombe Co.
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Recorded by: Jim Petranka and Becky Elkin on 2021-08-30
Yancey Co.
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Recorded by: Jim Petranka and Becky Elkin on 2021-08-26
Yancey Co.
Comment: An unoccupied mine on Eurybia chlorolepis.
Recorded by: Jim Petranka on 2021-06-27
Buncombe Co.
Comment: Mines were very common on Symphyotrichum cordifolium and S. undulatum. Most had a linear portion that ballooned out into a vary large, puffy, full-depth blotch.
Recorded by: Harry Wilson on 2013-08-31
Wake Co.
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Recorded by: Kyle Kittelberger on 2013-08-27
Wake Co.
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