Moths of North Carolina
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Phyllonorycter Members:
27 NC Records

Phyllonorycter lucetiella (Clemens, 1859) - Basswood Miner Moth



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Taxonomy
Superfamily: Gracillarioidea Family: GracillariidaeP3 Number: 330299.00 MONA Number: 764.00
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, iNaturalist, Google, BAMONA, GBIF                                                                                 
Adult Markings: The following is primarily based on the descriptions in Clemens (1859) and Forbes (1923). The antenna, head, tufts, thorax, and basal half of the forewing are white to silvery white, while the apical half of the forewing is suffused with golden. A faint, narrow, golden costal streak extends from the base to about one-third the forewing length. At about the middle, there is a white fascia that is bordered on the anterior margin by a thin line of black scales (sometimes missing or faintly present). These terminate on the costa, where they are more prominent and usually form a small black spot. At the beginning of cilia there is a pair of white streaks that are black-margined anteriorly. The dorsal streak is oblique and prominently marked with blackish scales on the anterior margin. The costal streak is much shorter and margined anteriorly with blackish scales that form a well-developed spot. The golden ground color extends from just anterior to the median fascia to the paired streaks, then as a small region of golden scales that occurs just posterior to the gap between the dorsal and costal streaks. The cilia and remaining area posterior to the streaks is mostly white, or white with suffused golden coloration. The legs are white to silvery white and lack any conspicuous dark markings.
Wingspan: 6-7 mm (Forbes, 1923).
Adult ID Requirements: Identifiable from good quality photos of unworn specimens.
Immatures and Development: The larvae produce lower-surface mines that are constructed between either two lateral veins, or the midvein and a lateral vein. The mines are usually roughly rectangular in shape, but sometimes triangular. A mine first appears only as a flat, whitish blotch on the lower surface. As it grows, the larva progessively consumes the parenchyma in the mine while working its way inward from the margins. When viewed from the upper leaf surface, this produces a green central patch that is eventually lost as all of the parenchyma is consumed (Clemens, 1859; Eiseman, 2019). The frass is concentrated along the margins. Most mines are rather flat, but those near the leaf margin may be tentiform (Eiseman, 2019). Pupation occurs within the mine in an oval cocoon. The larva is cylindrical with a pale brown head,
pale greenish white body, and with a series of dorsal brown spots from the third ring posteriorly (Clemens, 1859).
Larvae ID Requirements: Identifiable from good quality photos, especially where associated with known host plants.
Distribution in North Carolina
Distribution: Phyllonorycter lucetiella is found in eastern North America, including southern Canada (Ontario; Quebec) and through many areas of the eastern US. This species tends to have northern affinities, with most records occurring from Minnesota eastward to the northeastern states, and then south or southwestward to Pennsylvania, eastern Kentucky, eastern Tennessee, and western North Carolina. Populations in the Florida panhandle appear to be disjuncts. As of 2021, our records are all from sites in the Blue Ridge, except for one record from the South Mountains in the 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 appear to be bivoltine, with a peak in the initial brood in July, and a second peak in September-October. As of 2021, our records are consistent with this pattern.
Habitats and Life History
Habitats: Phyllonorycter lucetiella is monophagous on American Basswood, which is typically found at forested sites with rich, circumneutral soils. Typical habitats include rich cove forests and forest slopes in the mountains and Piedmont. In the Coastal Plain, American Bass is mostly found in forests that grow over marl, shell middens, or bluffs with circumneutral soils.
Larval Host Plants: American Basswood (Tilia americana) is the only native host. Eiseman (2019) also reported this species using an ornamental hybrid Tilia (T. ×europaea).
Observation Methods: The adults occasionally visit lights, but many records are based on the leaf mines that are rather conspicuous on Tilia leaves. We encourage naturalists to search for the leaf mines during the summer and early autumn months.
Wikipedia
See also Habitat Account for Rich Dry-Mesic Hardwood Forests
Status in North Carolina
Natural Heritage Program Status:
Natural Heritage Program Ranks: GNR [S4]
State Protection:
Comments: This species is probably restricted to the mountains in North Carolina given its northern affinities. The mine are rather common on American Basswood at mid-elevational sites in the mountains.

 Photo Gallery for Phyllonorycter lucetiella - Basswood Miner Moth

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

Recorded by: Jim Petranka and Becky Elkin on 2022-09-20
Haywood Co.
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Recorded by: Jim Petranka and Becky Elkin on 2022-09-20
Haywood Co.
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Recorded by: Jim Petranka on 2022-07-08
Buncombe Co.
Comment: Unoccupied mine was on Tilia americana.
Recorded by: Jim Petranka on 2022-07-08
Buncombe Co.
Comment: Unoccupied mine was on Tilia americana.
Recorded by: Jim Petranka on 2022-06-27
Madison Co.
Comment: Adult was reared from Tilia americana; mine on June 18; adult on June 27.
Recorded by: Jim Petranka and Becky Elkin on 2022-06-18
Madison Co.
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Recorded by: tom ward on 2022-05-04
Buncombe Co.
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Recorded by: tom ward on 2022-04-30
Buncombe Co.
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Recorded by: Jim Petranka and Becky Elkin on 2021-10-11
Burke Co.
Comment: Unoccupied mine was on Tilia americana.
Recorded by: Jim Petranka and Becky Elkin on 2021-09-22
Buncombe Co.
Comment: A bscklit image of an occupied mine was on Tilia americana.
Recorded by: Jim Petranka and Becky Elkin on 2021-09-02
Madison Co.
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Recorded by: Jim Petranka and Becky Elkin on 2021-09-02
Madison Co.
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Recorded by: Jim Petranka and Bo Sullivan on 2021-08-02
Ashe Co.
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Recorded by: Jim Petranka, Becky Elkin and Bo Sullivan on 2021-08-02
Ashe Co.
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Recorded by: Jim Petranka, Becky Elkin and Bo Sullivan on 2021-08-02
Ashe Co.
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Recorded by: Jim Petranka on 2021-07-30
Madison Co.
Comment: Occupied mine was on Tilia.
Recorded by: Jim Petranka on 2021-07-30
Madison Co.
Comment: Occupied mine was on Tilia.
Recorded by: Jim Petranka and Becky Elkin on 2021-07-27
Avery Co.
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Recorded by: Jim Petranka and Becky Elkin on 2021-07-26
Graham Co.
Comment: An adult that was reared from a mine on Tilia americana; mine collected on 21 July; adult emerged on 26 July (see companion photo of the mine).
Recorded by: Jim Petranka and Becky Elkin on 2021-07-24
Jackson Co.
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Recorded by: Jim Petranka and Becky Elkin on 2021-07-23
Graham Co.
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Recorded by: Jim Petranka and Becky Elkin on 2021-07-23
Graham Co.
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Recorded by: Jim Petranka and Becky Elkin on 2021-07-22
Clay Co.
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Recorded by: Jim Petranka and Becky Elkin on 2021-07-22
Clay Co.
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Recorded by: Jim Petranka and Becky Elkin on 2021-07-21
Graham Co.
Comment: An upper-surface view of the mine; an adult was reared and emerged on 2021-07-26 (see companion photo).
Recorded by: Jim Petranka and Becky Elkin on 2021-07-21
Graham Co.
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Recorded by: Jim Petranka and Becky Elkin on 2021-07-18
Swain Co.
Comment: An adult that was reared from a mine collected on 2021-07-09 (see companion photos of the mine).
Recorded by: Jim Petranka and Becky Elkin on 2021-07-13
Avery Co.
Comment: A view of the upper leaf surface on an occupied, lower-surface mine on Tilia americana.
Recorded by: Jim Petranka and Becky Elkin on 2021-07-13
Avery Co.
Comment: A view of the lower leaf surface on an occupied, lower-surface mine on Tilia americana.
Recorded by: Jim Petranka and Becky Elkin on 2021-07-13
Avery Co.
Comment: A view of the upper leaf surface on an occupied, lower-surface mine on Tilia americana.