Moths of North Carolina
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View PDFGracillariidae Members: 5 NC Records

Phyllonorycter occitanica (Frey & Boll, 1876) - No Common Name



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Taxonomy
Superfamily: Gracillarioidea Family: GracillariidaeSubfamily: LithocolletinaeP3 Number: 330313.00 MONA Number: 777.00
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: BugGuide; MPGTechnical Description, Adults: Braun, 1908                                                                                 
Adult Markings: The following description is based primarily on Braun (1908). The face and palpi are white, and the tuft is white with a few brownish scales. The antenna is whitish and annulated with yellowish or yellowish brown. The ground color of the thorax and forewing is deep saffron. A white transverse band extends from the anterior margin of the thorax through the patagia, and then becomes continuous with the basal streak on the forewing. A second dorsal streak occurs at the basal fifth of the wing that is oblique and weakly curved posteriorly. These first two basal streaks are pointed at the apex, lack a dark margin, and terminate well before reaching the costa. At the middle of the wing there is a narrow fascia with a dark margin on the anterior (basal) side. The middle fascia is almost always complete, but on some individuals may be interrupted by a very short gap between a dorsal and costal streak. Beyond this, a pair of dorsal and costal white streaks with dark anterior margins occurs at three-quarters of the wing length. These are sometimes connected to form a fascia. In the apical region of the wing there are scattered dark scales that are sometimes organized into a more well-defined patch. Faint whitish spots are sometimes evident in this region. The apical cilia are saffron gray, and the hindwings and cilia are whitish. The legs are whitish with brown spots.
Adult ID Requirements: Identifiable from good quality photos of unworn specimens.
Immatures and Development: As of 2020, this poorly studied species has only been found in Texas, North Carolina, and Tennessee. Most of our knowledge of the larval stage is based on discoveries of mines by Tracy Feldman in North Carolina, and subsequent descriptions of the mines by Eiseman (2019). The larvae feed on elms and produce lower-surface tentiform mines. The mines are typically formed at the angle between the midrib and the lateral veins. The mines are usually bound by two or three lateral veins, and extend away from the midrib. The frass is deposited in a loose mass in the half of the mine that is closer to the midrib, and the pupa emerges at the opposite end (Eiseman, 2019). In specimens examined by Eiseman (2019), the lower epidermis was finely wrinkled but lacked creases.
Distribution in North Carolina
Distribution: Phyllonorycter occitanica was originally described from Texas, and was recently found in North Carolina and Tennessee. As of 2020, our records are all from the east-central part of the state and reflect work by Tracy Feldman on leafminers in this region.
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: This species is probably bivoltine, with adults active from May through late summer.
Habitats and Life History
Habitats: Phyllonorycter occitanica 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: The only documented hosts are Winged Elm (Ulmus alata) and Slippery Elm (U. rubra).
Observation Methods: The adults appear to rarely visit lights. They are perhaps best obtained by rearing adults from active mines that are present on elms following the spring leaf-out.
Wikipedia
Status in North Carolina
Natural Heritage Program Status:
Natural Heritage Program Ranks: GNR S3S5
State Protection:
Comments:

 Photo Gallery for Phyllonorycter occitanica - No common name

Photos: 8

Recorded by: Tracy S. Feldman on 2019-07-01
Wake Co.
Comment: View of the lower surface of an Ulmus alata leaf with a lower-surface tentiform mine --reared to adulthood.
Recorded by: Tracy S. Feldman on 2019-07-01
Wake Co.
Comment: Upper surface of leaf with a lower-surface tentiform mine on Ulmus alata--reared to adulthood.
Recorded by: Tracy S. Feldman and Charley Eiseman on 2018-06-04
Scotland Co.
Comment: An adult that was reared from a lower-surface tentiform mine on Ulmus alata. Photo by Charley Eiseman.
Recorded by: Tracy S. Feldman on 2018-05-20
Scotland Co.
Comment: An occupied lower-surface tentiform mine on Ulmus alata. The larva/pupa was reared to adulthood.
Recorded by: Tracy S. Feldman on 2018-05-20
Scotland Co.
Comment: An occupied lower-surface tentiform mine on Ulmus alata. The larva/pupa was reared to adulthood.
Recorded by: Tracy S. Feldman on 2017-07-19
Durham Co.
Comment: An adult that was reared from a lower-surface tentiform mine on Ulmus alata. Photo by Charley Eiseman.
Recorded by: Tracy S. Feldman on 2017-07-10
Durham Co.
Comment: Two occupied lower-surface tentiform mines on Ulmus alata -- reared to adulthood.
Recorded by: Tracy S. Feldman on 2017-07-10
Durham Co.
Comment: Two occupied lower-surface tentiform mines on Ulmus alata -- reared to adulthood.