Moths of North Carolina
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18 NC Records

Marmara smilacisella (Chambers, 1875) - No Common Name



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Taxonomy
Superfamily: Gracillarioidea Family: GracillariidaeSubfamily: GracillariinaeTribe: [Gracillariini]P3 Number: 330248.00 MONA Number: 718.00
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.
Identification
Field Guide Descriptions: Online Photographs: MPG, BugGuide, iNaturalist, Google, BAMONA, GBIFTechnical Description, Adults: Braun, 1909Technical Description, Immature Stages: Braun, 1909                                                                                 
Adult Markings: The following is primarily based on the description in Braun (1909) from specimens in Ohio. The head and face are silvery gray, except the vertex which has a few fuscous scales. The antenna is shining brownish gray. The labial palp is silvery white, with the apex of the second joint beneath somewhat roughened with dark brown scales, and the terminal joint with a dark brown annulation near the tip. The maxilary palp is dark blackish brown. The thorax is dark brown, and the ground color of the forewings dark brown and somewhat mottled with whitish scales. The markings are silvery white and somewhat variable. A silvery white basal fascia occurs at about one-third the wing length that is slightly broader on the dorsal margin. This is sometimes reduced to either a single dorsal spot, or two small costal and dorsal spots. A second fascia occurs near the middle of the wing that is narrowest in the middle and slightly bowed posteriorly. It is often interrupted in the middle to form a pair of triangular streaks, with the costal one slightly more anterior. This is followed by a pair of dorsal and costal streaks at about three-fourths that are roughly triangular, with the costal being the larger of the two. A final costal streak or spot is often evident near the apex, and there are often one or two curved whitish bars with black margins on the posterior edge at the wing tip. The fringe is white, and the hindwing grayish fuscous to dark brown. The legs are black with silvery annulations of varying widths. Specimens in the southern part of the range tend to be more mottled and to have the fascia and streaks reduced in size, often to only small dorsal and costal spots. BOLD specimens show two BINS, indicating significant genetic variation in this species.



Wingspan: 5.0-5.5 mm (Braun, 1909)
Immatures and Development: The larvae mine the leaves of Greenbrier (Smilax spp.) and produce silvery white linear mines that darken with age. The mine rarely exceed 2.5 mm in diameter and usually has a very long, winding course that often criss-crosses itself repeatedly. In many cases the mine may nearly cover the surface of a smaller leaf (Braun, 1909; Eiseman, 2019). A brownish, diffuse central frass line may be present, but is often absent or represented by broken fragments. The larva is flattened with serrated edges along the margin. It is initially pale, but turns bright red at maturity. The larva eventually exits the mine and spins a yellowish white cocoon with a group of iridescent globules at each end (Braun, 1909; Eiseman, 2019). Larvae in the final seasonal brood overwinter and emerge the following year after the spring warm-up. Mines in North Carolina are produced on both the upper and lower leaf surfaces, but more commonly on the upper surface.
Larvae ID Requirements: Identifiable from good quality photos, especially where associated with known host plants.
Distribution in North Carolina
Distribution: Marmara smilacisella is found in the eastern US from Indiana, Ohio, and Maryland southward to Texas, Alabama, and Florida. This species occurs statewide in North Carolina.
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: There are very few adult records other than reared adults, so the flight season is rather poorly documented. Local populations appear to be bivoltine. Braun (1909) collected mines in Ohio in late August and the adults emerged in late September. A second generation occurs later and the adults overwinters as larvae (Eiseman, 2019). As of 2020, all of our records are based on leaf mines.
Habitats and Life History
Habitats: This species feeds on several species of Greenbrier (Smilax). Smilax is common throughout the state in habitats ranging from bottomlands to dry ridges. Species are commonly encountered in pine, hardwood, and mixed-hardwood forests, in thickets and along woodland borders, and even in dune systems along the coast.
Larval Host Plants: The larvae are stenophagous on Smilax species. The documented hosts include Saw Greenbrier (S. bona-nox), Cat Greenbrier (S. glauca), Laurel Greenbrier (S. laurifolia), Common Greenbrier (S. rotundifolia), Lanceleaf Greenbrier (S. smallii), and Bristly Greeenbrier (S. hispida). As of 2020, we have mine records for all of these species except S. hispida.
Observation Methods: The adults appear to rarely visit lights and the great majority of records are based on leaf mines.
Wikipedia
See also Habitat Account for General Greenbrier Tangles
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 is widespread in the state and presumably more common than our limited records suggest due to a lack of effort to systematically survey leafminers throughout the state.

 Photo Gallery for Marmara smilacisella - No common name

Photos: 28

Recorded by: Jim Petranka and Becky Elkin on 2022-08-03
Polk Co.
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Recorded by: Jim Petranka and Becky Elkin on 2022-03-19
Anson Co.
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Recorded by: Jim Petranka and Becky Elkin on 2022-03-19
Anson Co.
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Recorded by: Ken Kneidel on 2022-01-23
Mecklenburg Co.
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Recorded by: Ken Kneidel on 2022-01-23
Mecklenburg Co.
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Recorded by: Ken Kneidel on 2022-01-23
Mecklenburg Co.
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Recorded by: Dean Furbish on 2022-01-08
Harnett Co.
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Recorded by: Vin Stanton on 2021-12-25
Carteret Co.
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Recorded by: Jim Petranka, John Petranka, Becky Elkin, and Sally Gewalt on 2021-12-04
Dare Co.
Comment: An unoccupied, upper-surface mine on Smilax bona-nox.
Recorded by: Jim Petranka, John Petranka, Becky Elkin, and Sally Gewalt on 2021-12-04
Dare Co.
Comment: An unoccupied, lower-surface mine on Smilax bona-nox.
Recorded by: Jim Petranka on 2021-08-11
Randolph Co.
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Recorded by: Morgan Freese on 2021-04-03
New Hanover Co.
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Recorded by: Dean Furbish on 2021-01-06
Wake Co.
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Recorded by: Ken Kneidel on 2020-12-23
Mecklenburg Co.
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Recorded by: Ken Kneidel on 2020-12-23
Mecklenburg Co.
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Recorded by: Jim Petranka and Becky Elkin on 2019-12-28
Madison Co.
Comment: This unoccupied leaf mine was on Smilax rotundifolia; note the central frass trail.
Recorded by: Mark Shields on 2019-11-27
Onslow Co.
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Recorded by: Tracy S. Feldman on 2019-10-16
Scotland Co.
Comment: An empty mine on Smilax bona-nox. The mines of this species are distinguishable from the mines of Liriomyza schmidti (a fly that also also uses this host), by the roughly similar width of the mines all along the mine track, and (especially) by a central frass trail (not present in Liriomyza mines). See the companion photo that shows the larval exuviae.
Recorded by: Tracy S. Feldman on 2019-10-16
Scotland Co.
Comment: An empty mine of M. smilacisella on Smilax bona-nox. Note the larval exuviae at the end of the mine.
Recorded by: Tracy S. Feldman on 2019-07-29
Scotland Co.
Comment: An empty mine on Smilax glauca.
Recorded by: Tracy S. Feldman on 2018-08-02
Wake Co.
Comment: An empty mine on Smilax glauca -- note the central frass trail, and how the width of the mine remains roughly the same along the length of the mine.
Recorded by: Tracy S. Feldman on 2018-08-02
Wake Co.
Comment: An empty mine on Smilax glauca -- note the central frass trail, and how the width of the mine remains roughly the same along the length of the mine.
Recorded by: Tracy S. Feldman on 2018-01-16
Scotland Co.
Comment: An empty mine on Smilax smallii.
Recorded by: Tracy S. Feldman on 2018-01-16
Scotland Co.
Comment: An empty lower-surface mine on Smilax smallii.
Recorded by: Tracy S. Feldman on 2017-02-08
Scotland Co.
Comment: An empty mine on Smilax laurifolia.
Recorded by: Tracy S. Feldman on 2017-02-08
Scotland Co.
Comment: An empty mine on Smilax laurifolia.
Recorded by: Tracy S. Feldman on 2017-02-08
Scotland Co.
Comment: An empty mine on Smilax laurifolia.
Recorded by: F. Williams on 2012-02-26
Camden Co.
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