Moths of North Carolina
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Common Name:
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Phyllonorycter Members:
6 NC Records

Phyllonorycter quercialbella (Fitch, 1859) - No Common Name

Superfamily: Gracillarioidea Family: GracillariidaeSubfamily: LithocolletinaeTribe: [Lithocolletini]P3 Number: 330321.00 MONA Number: 785.00
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.
Field Guide Descriptions: Online Photographs: MPG, BugGuide, GBIF, BOLDTechnical Description, Adults: Braun, 1908.                                                                                 
Adult Markings: The following description is based on Braun (1908). The face, palpi, tuft, and antennae are white, except for the extreme tips of the antennae which are dark brown. The thorax and basal two-thirds of the forewing are shining white, while the apical third is suffused with golden. A rather broad golden basal streak begins at the base on the costa and extends parallel to the fold to the middle of the wing or beyond. In the apical golden portion of the wing, there are three costal white streaks that are nearly perpendicular to the margin. All three have dark margins on the anterior side, but the margin is best developed in the anteriormost streak. A dorsal white streak with a dark anterior margin occurs opposite the first costal streak. A second indistinct dorsal streak that often lacks the black margin occurs opposite the second costal streak. There is a conspicuous black apical spot, and the cilia are whitish, but tipped with fuscous around the apex. The marginal line in the cilia is dark brown. The hindwing and cilia are pale grayish ocherous, and the legs are whitish ocherous. Phyllonorycter quercialbella closely resembles P. argentifimbriella but it has only three costal streaks, compared with four in P. argentifimbriella.
Wingspan: 7 mm (Braun, 1908)
Adult ID Requirements: Identifiable from good quality photos of unworn specimens.
Immatures and Development: The larvae make tentiform mines on the undersides of oak leaves, and the mine is usually near the leaf margin (Eiseman, 2019).
Distribution in North Carolina
Distribution: Scattered populations of Phyllonorycter quercialbella have been found in eastern North America from Minnesota and Quebec eastward to Massachusetts and southward to eastern Tennessee and North Carolina. As of 2020, our records for North Carolina are from the Coastal Plain and eastern Piedmont.
County Map: Clicking on a county returns the records for the species in that county.
Flight Dates:
 High Mountains (HM) ‚Č• 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 have at least two broods. Adults are first on the wing in April and early May, with a second bout of activity in July and August.
Habitats and Life History
Habitats: The larvae mine the leaves of several oak species and are restricted locally to habitats with the host species. Examples include forested urban neighborhoods, bottomland forests, and a variety of mesic to dry hardwood forests.
Larval Host Plants: The known hosts include White Oak (Q. alba), Blackjack Oak (Q. marilandica), Willow Oak (Q. phellos), and Black Oak (Q. velutina). - View
Observation Methods: The adults are attracted to lights, and also have been successfully reared from mines with mature larvae or pupae.
See also Habitat Account for General Oak-Hickory Forests
Status in North Carolina
Natural Heritage Program Status:
Natural Heritage Program Ranks: GNR S2S4
State Protection: Has no legal protection, although permits are required to collect it on state parks and other public lands.
Comments: Phyllonorycter quercialbella is widespread in the eastern US, but seemingly uncommon based on the small number of records for this species. We currently do not have sufficient information about North Carolina populations to assess this species' conservation status within the state.

 Photo Gallery for Phyllonorycter quercialbella - No common name

Photos: 8

Recorded by: David George, Jeff Niznik on 2024-06-10
Chatham Co.
Recorded by: Jim Petranka on 2022-04-23
Madison Co.
Recorded by: Jim Petranka and Bo Sullivan on 2021-08-02
Ashe Co.
Recorded by: Jim Petranka and Bo Sullivan on 2021-08-02
Ashe Co.
Recorded by: Kyle Kittelberger on 2020-07-07
Wake Co.
Recorded by: Mark Shields on 2019-07-30
Onslow Co.
Recorded by: Harry Wilson on 2015-07-31
Wake Co.
Recorded by: Harry Wilson on 2015-07-31
Wake Co.