Moths of North Carolina
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Cryptolectica Members:
105 NC Records

Cryptolectica strigosa (Braun, 1914) - No Common Name



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Taxonomy
Superfamily: Gracillarioidea Family: GracillariidaeSubfamily: GracillariinaeTribe: [Gracillariini]P3 Number: 330222.00 MONA Number: 697.00 MONA Synonym: Acrocercops strigosa
Comments: The genus Cryptolectica includes three recognized species in North America.
Species Status: Although this species appears to be uncommon throughout much of its range, observations made by Jim Petranka in the Blue Ridge indicate that local populations in North Carolina can reach very high densities. The adults prefer dark resting spots during the day, and may enter homes through cracks or vents where their sheer numbers can become a nuisance. On 16 August, 2021, Jim Petranka estimated via direct count that there were 2,285 resting adults that were lining the walls and ceiling of a small wooden tool shed. Large aggregates of resting moths such as this have rarely been reported (e.g., Sourakov, 2018), and merit additional study.
Identification
Field Guide Descriptions: Online Photographs: MPG, BugGuide, iNaturalist, Google, BAMONA, GBIF, BOLDTechnical Description, Adults: Braun (1914)Technical Description, Immature Stages: Braun (1914); Eiseman (2019).                                                                                 
Adult Markings: Cryptolectica strigosa has pale brownish forewings with a series of seven oblique white lines that are roughly equidistant and parallel. The third line forks below the fold, and the fourth and fifth are slightly interrupted in the middle. There is a short white streak at the apex and a similar one beyond it that crosses the cilia. The legs are whitish gray with broad dark annulations (Braun 1914). Individuals characteristically rest with the front of the body raised well above the surface of the substrate.
Wingspan: 10 mm based on a male examined by Braun (1914).
Forewing Length: 4.3-5.1 mm (mean = 4.8 mm) for 10 NC specimens.
Adult ID Requirements: Identifiable from good quality photos of unworn specimens.
Immatures and Development: The larvae are leafminers on members of the white oak group. The early mine is a highly elongated, narrow, sinuous gallery. This later balloons into a very large, whitish blotch. The larva that is inside eventually consumes the entire parenchyma, which produces a distinctive blotch with tissue-paper thin walls. The mature larva eventually leaves the blotch and spins a dense, brownish cocoon in a fold of a leaf (Braun 1914; Eiseman 2019). Older, degraded mines often appear brownish, particularly in the blotch portion of the mine.
Larvae ID Requirements: Identifiable from good quality photos, especially where associated with known host plants.
Distribution in North Carolina
Distribution: Cryptolectica strigosa is found in eastern North America. Scattered populations occur in southern Canada (Ontario; Quebec) and in the US from Massachusetts and neighboring states westward to Ohio, and southward to KY, eastern Tennessee, and western NC. As of 2022, records for NC are mostly from lower-elevation sites in the Blue Ridge, along with one record from Stokes County (iNaturalist) in the Piedmont. White Oak is widespread in the eastern US, so factors other than host species availability likely determine this species southernmost and easternmost range limits.
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: Jim Petranka studied a population in Madison Co., North Carolina and observed the adults almost year-round. In this population the adults overwinter and occasionally appear at lights on warm fall and winter nights. The primary breeding bout occurs in late March through early May after the leaves of oaks are fully expanded. Large numbers of mature mines are present on White Oak leaves by early June, followed by a seasonal peak in adult numbers in June and July. The adults at this site appeared to aestivate during the hottest summer moths then became active outside of shelters with the arrival of cooler seasonal temperatures. Jim Petranka observed a thousand or more adults on multiple occasions in a small tool shed in August through early September that appeared to be aestivating. They became more active by mid-September and dispersed into the surrounding forest shortly thereafter. The adults began reappearing in large numbers the following year in early to mid-July, which presumably represents the emergence of adults from the first brood.
Habitats and Life History
Habitats: Local populations often reach high densities in mesic to drier hardwood forests that support White Oak and Chestnut Oak. White Oak and Chestnut Oak are primary hosts for the larvae, and local populations are presumably restricted to sites that have one or both of these species. The occurrence of large numbers of adults in a darkened tool shed in Madison County suggests that large hollow trees may provide important microhabitats for these small moths.
Larval Host Plants: The larvae feed on members of the white oak group and have been observed using both White Oak (Quercus alba) and Chestnut Oak (Q. montana) in North Carolina. They also will readily use Burr Oak (Q. macrocarpa ) wherever it is planted as an ornamental. - View
Observation Methods: The conspicuous leaf mines can be located by searching the foliage of White Oak or Chestnut Oak after the leaves are fully formed in the spring. The foliage of oak seedlings or small saplings often have numerous mines. The adults are attracted to both black lights and incandescent lights, but generally prefer areas with dim lighting such as window panes or areas that are several feet from a bright light.
Wikipedia
Status in North Carolina
Natural Heritage Program Status:
Natural Heritage Program Ranks: GNR [S4S5]
State Protection: Has no legal protection, although permits are required to collect it on state parks and other public lands.
Comments: This species appears to be locally common in some areas of the lower mountains. Local populations show no evidence of declines and the species appears to be secure in North Carolina.

 Photo Gallery for Cryptolectica strigosa - No common name

69 photos are available. Only the most recent 30 are shown.

Recorded by: Jim Petranka on 2024-05-05
Madison Co.
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Recorded by: Jim Petranka on 2023-09-24
Madison Co.
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Recorded by: David George, Stephen Dunn on 2023-08-12
Caswell Co.
Comment: unoccupied upper-surface mine on Quercus alba
Recorded by: Jim Petranka on 2023-08-06
Madison Co.
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Recorded by: David George, Stephen Dunn, Jeff Niznik on 2023-07-31
Macon Co.
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Recorded by: David George, Stephen Dunn, Jeff Niznik on 2023-07-31
Macon Co.
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Recorded by: David George, Stephen Dunn, Jeff Niznik, Rich Teper, Becky Watkins on 2023-07-30
Swain Co.
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Recorded by: David George, Stephen Dunn, Jeff Niznik, Rich Teper, Becky Watkins on 2023-07-30
Swain Co.
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Recorded by: David George, Stephen Dunn, Jeff Niznik, Rich Teper, Becky Watkins on 2023-07-30
Swain Co.
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Recorded by: David George, Stephen Dunn, Jeff Niznik, Rich Teper, Becky Watkins on 2023-07-30
Swain Co.
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Recorded by: Jim Petranka on 2023-07-26
Madison Co.
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Recorded by: Jim Petranka on 2023-07-17
Madison Co.
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Recorded by: Jim Petranka on 2023-07-14
Madison Co.
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Recorded by: Jim Petranka on 2023-04-15
Madison Co.
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Recorded by: Jim Petranka on 2023-04-12
Madison Co.
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Recorded by: Jim Petranka on 2023-04-06
Madison Co.
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Recorded by: Jim Petranka and Becky Elkin on 2022-08-24
Clay Co.
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Recorded by: Jim Petranka on 2022-07-09
Madison Co.
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Recorded by: Jim Petranka on 2022-07-03
Madison Co.
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Recorded by: Jim Petranka on 2022-06-28
Madison Co.
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Recorded by: Jim Petranka on 2022-06-25
Madison Co.
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Recorded by: Jim Petranka on 2022-06-23
Buncombe Co.
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Recorded by: tom ward on 2022-06-11
Buncombe Co.
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Recorded by: Jim Petranka and Becky Elkin on 2022-06-05
Mitchell Co.
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Recorded by: Jim Petranka on 2022-05-18
Madison Co.
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Recorded by: Jim Petranka on 2022-05-11
Madison Co.
Comment: Occupied mines were on White Oak seedlings.
Recorded by: Jim Petranka on 2022-05-05
Madison Co.
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Recorded by: Jim Petranka on 2022-05-03
Madison Co.
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Recorded by: Jim Petranka on 2022-04-23
Madison Co.
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Recorded by: Jim Petranka and Becky Elkin on 2021-09-12
Madison Co.
Comment: Unoccupied mines were common on Chestnut Oak (Q. montana)