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

Marmara viburnella Eiseman and Davis, 2017 - No Common Name

view caption

view caption

view caption
Superfamily: Gracillarioidea Family: GracillariidaeSubfamily: MarmarinaeP3 Number: 330248.10 MONA Number: 718.30
Comments: The genus Marmara includes 20 described North American species. The larvae of most species mine the bark of woody plants, and most specialize on either a single genus or two closely related genera of host plants. There are numerous North American species that have yet to be described (Eiseman et al., 2017).
Species Status: Marmara viburnella is a recently described species that mines both the leaves and the stems of its host plants.
Field Guide Descriptions: Online Photographs: MPG, BugGuideTechnical Description, Adults: Eiseman et al., 2017.Technical Description, Immature Stages: Eiseman et al., 2017.                                                                                 
Adult Markings: The following is based on the description of the adults from Eiseman et al. (2017). The frons and vertex are silvery white and the back of the head blackish. The eyes are red in live specimens. The maxillary palp is white with a prominent black tip. The first two segments of the labial palp are black (one specimen with inner surfaces white), while the third segment is white with a black ventral spot. The antenna is dusky and paler beneath, with the pedicel black and conspicuously elongated in the female. The thorax is shining blackish above and the forewing shining blackish with silvery markings. There is a broad transverse fascia in the basal one-fourth that gradually broadens dorsally. At one-half the wing length, there are opposing dorsal and costal spots that are either separate or narrowly joined in the middle. At three-fourths, there is a prominent costal spot that extends to the middle of wing, and a smaller, opposing dorsal spot. A fainter costal spot of similar size occurs at the apex that is mottled with blackish scales. The fringe is white. The hindwing is dusky and slightly paler than the forewing. The coxae are white with black scales distally. The front leg is mostly black on the upper portions, while the tarsus are white with black bands anteriorly. The middle leg is similar but the tibia is black with a broad, white central band that is more or less interrupted centrally with black scales. The middle tarsus is white with a few black scales. The hind femur is white with a broad black band distally, the tibia black with two broad white bands, and the tarsus white with a broad black band proximally and a few black scales distally. The patterning of M. viburnella closely resembles those of several other Marmara species with darkly banded forewings, but M. viburnella is the only known species that both mines leaves and pupates under a bark flap. It also is the only species that uses viburnums as host plants. This species is best identified by genitalia, by rearing of adults from the host plants, or by the leaf mines on the host plants.

Wingspan: 6 mm (Eiseman et al., 2017.
Adult Structural Features: The following is a description of the male genitalia from Eiseman et al. (2017). The uncus is absent and the tegumen is a slender, dorsal arched band. The vinculum is a moderately broad ventral band with the anterior margin slightly curved caudally and reflexed medially to form slender triangular lobe. The gnathos is membranous and poorly defined. The valva is separated nearly from the base into three distinct lobes: a relatively short, slender, costal lobe bearing a dense comb of 18–20 short, stout spines; an elongate, slender, more lateral cucullar lobe that expands abruptly to form a setose, triangular distal lobe; and the largest, most ventral, valvular lobe that gradually broadens apically to a nearly truncate, inwardly curved apex. The phallus is short, acute, and has a greatly inflated phallobase that is approximately equal in length to the distal, tubular portion of the phallus. According to the authors, the male genitalia of M. viburnella are most similar to that of M. fulgidella in possessing a greatly inflated phallobase and inwardly curved apex of the valvular lobes. The forewing pattern of M. fulgidella is distinct in possessing much broader white fascia.
Adult ID Requirements: Identifiable only by close inspection of structural features or by DNA analysis.
Immatures and Development: Our knowledge of the life history of this species is largely based on observations by Eiseman et al. (2017) of populations in Massachusetts. At their study sites, the adults emerge in June and early July and deposit eggs on the upper surfaces of Viburnum leaves. The female lays a single egg on each leaf, typically over a prominent vein. The sap-feeding larvae hatch in early July and form shallow, meandering linear leaf mines that are less than 1 mm wide. The mine is initially epidermal and often appear whitish or like a tiny, shining snail trail. It soon deepens and becomes pale brown with a very fine, central frass line (visible under magnification). Eventually the mine enters the leaf midrib, then proceeds down the petiole and into the stem. Once in the stem, the larva quickly tunnels deeper into the bark, and the mine usually is not externally visible for more than a few centimeters. The larvae presumably overwinters and finishes feeding in the spring like other bark-mining Marmara. The mature larva cuts a semicircular flap in the bark and spins its cocoon on the underside of the bark flap. The cocoon is an oblong envelope of white silk, approximately 5–6 mm long and 2–3 mm wide, and is spun on the underside of the bark flap. The pupation site is typically over one meter above ground, and on a relatively smooth branch or a portion of the main stem that is less than 1 cm thick. Upon emergence, the pupa is thrust through the cocoon near one end.

Larvae ID Requirements: Identifiable from good quality photos, especially where associated with known host plants.
Distribution in North Carolina
Distribution: Marmara viburnella occurs in the eastern United States and southeastern Canada. Populations have been found in Quebec, Massachusetts, Vermont, Connecticut, Rhode Island, Illinois, Maryland, North Carolina, and Louisiana. As of 2022, we have only a few site records that include Buncombe, Durham and Wake counties.
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: Eiseman et al. (2017) found apparently occupied leaf mines of M. viburnella in Massachusetts as late as 8 August, and have found completed leaf mines, with larvae already feeding in stems, as early as 19 July in Massachusetts and 30 June in Illinois. As of 2022, leaf mines have been found in North Carolina from early June through August. This suggests that the adults may first be on the wing in May in North Carolina.
Habitats and Life History
Habitats: Marmara viburnella is a specialist on viburnums. It has been documented using species in North Carolina that occur in habitats that range from alluvial forests and wetlands to mesic upland woods and bluffs.
Larval Host Plants: The leaf mines or bark flaps have been found of several species of Viburnum (nomenclature follows Weakley, 2015), including Carolina Arrow-wood (V. carolinianum), Arrow-wood (V. dentatum), Hobblebush (V. lantanoides), Northern Wild Raisin (V. cassinoides), Black Haw (V. prunifolium), and Downy Arrow-wood (V. rafinesqueanum). As of 2022, we have host records for Carolina Arrow-wood, Arrow-wood, Black Haw, and Downy Arrow-wood.
Observation Methods: We recommend searching for the leaf mines to document new locality records.
See also Habitat Account for General Viburnum Thickets
Status in North Carolina
Natural Heritage Program Status:
Natural Heritage Program Ranks: GNR S1S3
State Protection:
Comments: This species was described in 2017 and we have only three county records for North Carolina as of 2022. Additional collection efforts are needed before the status of the species in North Carolina can be assessed.

 Photo Gallery for Marmara viburnella - No Common Name

Photos: 9

Recorded by: David George on 2022-09-29
Durham Co.
Recorded by: Jim Petranka on 2022-08-04
Buncombe Co.
Comment: A linear mine on Viburnum dentatum that eventually orients to the leaf petiole.
Recorded by: Jim Petranka on 2022-08-04
Buncombe Co.
Comment: A linear mine on Viburnum dentatum that eventually orients to the leaf petiole.
Recorded by: Tracy S. Feldman on 2019-06-04
Wake Co.
Comment: This is probably an unoccupied mine on Viburnum carolinianum.
Recorded by: Tracy S. Feldman on 2019-06-04
Wake Co.
Comment: A mine on Viburnum carolinianum; note how the mine leads toward the petiole.
Recorded by: Tracy S. Feldman on 2018-06-18
Wake Co.
Comment: On Viburnum carolinianum.
Recorded by: Tracy S. Feldman on 2017-08-08
Durham Co.
Comment: Leaf mines on Viburnum prunifolium.
Recorded by: Tracy S. Feldman on 2017-08-08
Durham Co.
Comment: Leaf mines on Viburnum prunifolium.
Recorded by: Tracy S. Feldman on 2016-07-31
Durham Co.
Comment: Leaf mines on Viburnum rafinesqueanum that lead to the petiole.