Moths of North Carolina
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6 NC Records

Phyllonorycter argentinotella (Clemens, 1859) - No Common Name



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Taxonomy
Superfamily: Gracillarioidea Family: GracillariidaeSubfamily: LithocolletinaeP3 Number: 330267.00 MONA Number: 734.00
Comments: Phyllonorycter is a genus of small and often colorful moths, with 79 described species in North America. The larvae of most form underside tentiform mines on woody plants and pupate within the mines.
Identification
Field Guide Descriptions: Online Photographs: MPG; BugGuide; MONATechnical Description, Adults: Clemens (1859); Braun (1908).                                                                                 
Adult Markings: The following description is based on Clemens (1859) and Braun (1908). The antenna is silvery white, and sometimes has faint darker annulations. The face is silvery white, and the tuft is silvery white with golden coloration at the apex and sides. The thorax and forewing ground color is pale reddish saffron. A conspicuous white transverse band is present that extends from the anterior margin of the thorax through the patagia, and then becomes continuous with the basal streak on the forewing. Overall, there are five costal and four dorsal white streaks, most of which are curved posteriorly and have dark scales on the anterior margin. The first costal and dorsal streaks lack a black margin. The first dorsal streak has a broad base and tapering to a point in the middle of the wing, while the first costal streak is rather slender, and only one-half as long as the first dorsal. The second costal and second dorsal streaks are just before the middle of the wing, and often have a few scattered dark scales on the anterior margin. The third costal and dorsal streaks form a pair that are opposite each other and both have dark scales on the anterior margin. The fourth dorsal streak is about midway between the fourth and fifth costal streaks. These streaks may have a few dark marginal scales, but sometimes lack them. At the apex is a small patch of scattered black scales. The cilia is saffron and paler on the inner margin. The hindwings are shining silver-gray, with rather dark cilia. The abdomen is yellowish fuscous above, and the legs are whitish with faint brown spots. Features that help distinguish this species include the conspicuous white transverse band that extends from the thorax into the basal portion of the forewing, the occurrence of paired streaks that do not meet to form fascia, and the presence of four dorsal streaks on the forewing. Phyllonorycter occitanica is superficially similar, but has a well-developed fascia about mid-way, rather than separate dorsal and costal streaks.
Wingspan: 7-8.5 mm (Braun, 1908).
Adult ID Requirements: Identifiable from good quality photos of unworn specimens.
Immatures and Development: The larva produce an underside tentiform mine on elm leaves. When mature, they pupate within the mine within a transparent silken web that occupies about half the mine (Braun, 1908). The mines are often placed between two lateral veins, with one end close to the midrib. Eiseman (2019) noted that a green patch often remains on the upper surface of the leaf above the pupation site. In the single mine that was examined in detail, the mine was bounded by the midrib and two adjacent lateral veins, and had several distinct longitudinal creases in the lower epidermis. The pupa emerged near the midrib and the frass was scattered in the half of the mine that was towards the leaf margin. Tracy Feldman found a specimen on Winged Elm in North Carolina that was associated with a folded leaf tip, but mines from Madison Co. were similar to Eiseman's description with well-developed longitudinal creases. Adults from the final seasonal overwintering brood emerge in late spring or early summer.
Larvae ID Requirements: Identifiable from good quality photos, especially where associated with known host plants.
Distribution in North Carolina
Distribution: Phyllonorycter argentinotella occurs from Ontario, Quebec, Maine, and Vermont, southward to Kentucky and North Carolina, and westward to Iowa and Oklahoma. As of 2020, our records are from lower elevations in the mountains and from the eastern Piedmont.
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: Local populations probably have two or more broods per year. Our records for active mines in North Carolina are from June through early August (Eiseman and Davis, 2020), and in the fall from September through November.
Habitats and Life History
Habitats: This species is found in forests or forest edges where elms grow. Habitats can range from bottomland forests and moist slopes, to drier ridges and open woods. In addition to using forested sites, elms sometimes grow in disturbed habitats such as abandoned fields and roadways. Most species prefer sites with rich, circumneutral soils.
Larval Host Plants: Phyllonorycter argentinotella specializes on elms (Braun, 1908; Eiseman, 2019). The known hosts include Winged Elm (Ulmus alata), American Elm (U. americana), and Slippery Elm (U. rubra).
Observation Methods: The adults occasionally visit UV lights, but many records are from adults that were reared from active mines on elm leaves.
Wikipedia
See also Habitat Account for General Elm Forests
Status in North Carolina
Natural Heritage Program Status:
Natural Heritage Program Ranks: GNR SU
State Protection:
Comments: We currently do not have sufficient data on the distribution and abundance of populations to assess the conservation status of this species.

 Photo Gallery for Phyllonorycter argentinotella - No common name

Photos: 12

Recorded by: Jim Petranka and Becky Elkin on 2020-08-17
Madison Co.
Comment: Unoccupied mines were on Winged Elm; frass deposits were near the edge of the leaf.
Recorded by: Jim Petranka and Becky Elkin on 2020-08-17
Madison Co.
Comment: Unoccupied mines were on Winged Elm; frass deposits were near the edge of the leaf.
Recorded by: Jim Petranka and Becky Elkin on 2020-08-01
Madison Co.
Comment: View of the upper leaf surface of Slippery Elm (Ulmus rubra) with a lower-surface tentiform mine.
Recorded by: Jim Petranka and Becky Elkin on 2020-08-01
Madison Co.
Comment: View of the lower leaf surface of Slippery Elm (Ulmus rubra) with a lower-surface tentiform mine. Note the series of longitudinal creases on the mine surface.
Recorded by: Kyle Kittelberger on 2020-07-12
Wake Co.
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Recorded by: Tracy S. Feldman on 2018-06-23
Wake Co.
Comment:
Recorded by: Tracy S. Feldman on 2018-06-23
Wake Co.
Comment:
Recorded by: Tracy S. Feldman and Charley Eiseman on 2017-11-01
Scotland Co.
Comment: An occupied lower-surface tentiform mine on Ulmus alata.
Recorded by: Tracy S. Feldman and Charley Eiseman on 2017-11-01
Scotland Co.
Comment: An occupied lower-surface tentiform mine on Ulmus alata. See companion photo of the adult that was raised.
Recorded by: Tracy S. Feldman and Charley Eiseman on 2017-11-01
Scotland Co.
Comment: An adult that was raised from an occupied mine on Ulmus alata. Photo by Charley Eiseman.
Recorded by: Harry Wilson on 2013-07-07
Wake Co.
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Recorded by: Harry Wilson on 2013-07-07
Wake Co.
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