Moths of North Carolina
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Marmara Members:
4 NC Records

Marmara serotinella Busck, 1915 - No Common Name

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Superfamily: Gracillarioidea Family: GracillariidaeSubfamily: MarmarinaeP3 Number: 330247.00 MONA Number: 717.00
Comments: The genus Marmara contains about 20 described species from North America and numerous undescribed species. Most species are monophagous, and the mines have been found on over 80 North American plant genera in 40 families (Eiseman et al., 2017). This suggests that there are dozens of undescribed species in the US.
Field Guide Descriptions: Online Photographs: MPG, BugGuide, iNaturalist, Google, BAMONA, GBIF, BOLDTechnical Description, Adults: Busck, 1915.Technical Description, Immature Stages: Eiseman, 2019                                                                                 
Adult Markings: The following is based on the description by Busck (1915). The labial palp is silvery white, and the second joint has a blackish brown apical annulation. The maxillary palp is dark fuscous. The face and front parts of the head are silvery white, and the top of the head dark brown. The antenna is white with blackish brown annulations, and the thorax is blackish brown. The forewing has a blackish brown ground color with silvery white markings. There is a broad, triangular, white fascia at the basal third that is broadest on the dorsal edge and attenuated on the costal edge. A second oblique white fascia occurs beyond the middle of the wing that is thinner on the middle and sometimes completely interrupted to form paired dorsal and costal streaks. At the apical fourth there is a small white costal spot and an opposing dorsal spot. Beyond this is a small white dash or a few white dots in the costal cilia. The cilia are dark fuscous. The hindwing is dark brownish fuscous, and the legs are silvery white with dark brown bands and blotches concentrated on the upper regions. This species is similar to M. salictella, but on M. serotinella the white fascia at the basal third is conspicuously much broader on the dorsal edge compared to the costal edge.
Wingspan: 6 mm (Busck, 1915).
Adult ID Requirements: Identifiable from good quality photos of unworn specimens.
Immatures and Development: The larvae mine the stems and branches of wild cherries and make long, somewhat winding mines just under the epidermis. The track is usually a different color than the color of the surrounding bark and rather conspicuous. The larvae have a flattened, serrated shape that is typical of Marmara species. Very little is known about the larval life history. This species may follow a pattern that resembles that of other Marmara stem miners where the larva mines during the active growing season, overwinters, then resumes mining in the spring before pupating. However, this has not been verified.
Larvae ID Requirements: Identifiable from good quality photos, especially where associated with known host plants.
Distribution in North Carolina
Distribution: Marmara serotinella is found in eastern North America where scattered populations have been found in Ontario, Michigan, Ohio and the northeastern states southward to Virginia and North Carolina. As of 2022, our records are from the western Coastal Plain, eastern Piedmont, and a lower elevation site 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
Flight Comments: The very limited data on adults indicate that local populations are univoltine, with the adults active in July and August.
Habitats and Life History
Habitats: This species is dependent on Black Cherry for reproduction. Black Cherry is common in hardwood and mixed-hardwood forests in the mountains and elsewhere. The seeds are dispersed by birds, and plants often become established in disturbed habitats such as fencerows, abandoned fields, forest edges and urban landscapes.
Larval Host Plants: Black Cherry (Prunus serotina) is the primary and perhaps exclusive host (Robinson et al., 2010). Eiseman (2019) found a mine on Fire Cherry (P. pensylvanica) that closely resembled that of M. serotinella, suggesting that this species is also a host. As of 2022, our records for North Carolina are all from Black Cherry. - View
Observation Methods: The adults appear to very rarely visit lights and most records are based on stem mines. We encourage naturalists to search for the stem mines on Black Cherry.
See also Habitat Account for General Rosaceous Thickets
Status in North Carolina
Natural Heritage Program Status:
Natural Heritage Program Ranks: GNR S2S3
State Protection:
Comments: As of 2020 we have only two state records, which likely reflects the fact that little effort has been put forth to document stem miners in North Carolina. We need additional data before the conservation status of this species can be accurately assessed.

 Photo Gallery for Marmara serotinella - No common name

Photos: 5

Recorded by: Jim Petranka and Becky Elkin on 2022-06-14
Madison Co.
Recorded by: Dean Furbish on 2020-12-29
Wake Co.
Recorded by: Tracy S. Feldman on 2017-01-10
Scotland Co.
Comment: This species makes elongated mines just under the epidermis of the branches and trunks of Black Cherry (Prunus serotina).
Recorded by: Tracy S. Feldman on 2017-01-10
Scotland Co.
Comment: This species makes elongated mines just under the epidermis of the branches and trunks of Prunus serotina. Note the mine near the center of the photograph.
Recorded by: Tracy S. Feldman on 2017-01-10
Scotland Co.
Comment: This species makes elongated mines just under the epidermis of the branches and trunks of Black Cherry (Prunus serotina).