Moths of North Carolina
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Phyllonorycter Members:
4 NC Records

Phyllonorycter scudderella (Frey & Boll, 1873) - No Common Name



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Taxonomy
Family: GracillariidaeSubfamily: LithocolletinaeP3 Number: 330328.00 MONA Number: 794.00
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; BugGuideTechnical Description, Adults: (Davis and Deschka, 2001)Technical Description, Immature Stages: (Davis and Deschka, 2001)                                                                                 
Adult Markings: The following is primarily based on the description in Braun (1908) and Davis and Deschka (2001). The ground color of the head, thorax and forewing is light yellowish brown to golden brown. The tuft has reddish brown scales between the antennae, and whitish scales posteriorly. The head and palps are brownish white, and the antenna is brownish white with darker annulations (sometimes entirely white). The thorax is white with a pair of reddish brown spots on either side of the midline, and heavy brownish suffusion anteriorly on the tegula. The markings of the forewings are somewhat indistinct, but the forewing is distinctive in having a large area of black scales in the region of the fold. The basal one-fourth of the dorsal margin is edged with white, and there are a series of whitish streaks as follows. A basal streak extends to about one-third the wing length, where it is margined with blackish scales around the apex. A pair of posteriorly oblique streaks is present at mid-length. The costal streak is shorter and triangular, while the dorsal streak is constricted on the fold. Both are black margined anteriorly, with the dorsal streak having an extensive area of black scales between it and the tip of the basal streak. A second pair of streaks is present at about two-thirds. These streaks are also black margined anteriorly, and the dorsal streak often has extensive dark scaling between it and the first dorsal streak. The costal streak is narrow and almost perpendicular to the costa, while the dorsal streak is more broadly triangular and positioned just before the tornus. A small, third dorsal streak is present beyond the tornus. Toward the apex are two narrow and slightly curved costal streaks that extend to about the middle of the wing. At the apex there is a black dot or a streak that is bordered with white scales toward the base and above. The cilia are somewhat lighter than the forewing ground color and have a blackish marginal line around the apex. The legs are brownish white, and the tibia of the front leg is striped with black. One of the most distinctive features of this species is the region of dark scales between the tip of the white basal streak and the first dorsal streak. A similar region of dark scales is usually present between the first and second dorsal streak.

Wingspan: 7.5-9 mm (Braun, 1908).
Forewing Length: 3.0-4.3 mm (Davis and Deschka, 2001)
Adult Structural Features: Davis and Deschka (2001) provide descriptions and illustrations of the genitalia. In the male, the vinculum is slender and Y-shaped, and abruptly constricted to form a short saccus. The valvae is asymmetrical: the left valva is broad, variable in width, and at least twice the width of the right valva. It is much broader near the middle, and with a stout, sinuate spine arising near the apex. The length of the spine is slightly greater than the maximum width of the valva. A minute, oval pore is located subapically on the spine. The right valva is slender, only slightly broader near the base, with a smaller, usually curved spine arising further from the apex. The aedeagus is slender with a small subapical spine, and is approximately equal to the eighth sternite in length. In the female, the lamella antevaginalis is well developed and projects caudally free from the abdominal wall as a thin, quadrate plate about as broad as long. The caudal margin is truncated to broadly rounded. The antrum terminates abruptly, with a relatively long accessory duct arising medially. The equally slender but more elongate ductus bursae arises laterally. The signum is a small elliptical disk that bears a single, slightly furcate spine.
Adult ID Requirements: Identifiable from good quality photos of unworn specimens.
Immatures and Development: The larvae form elongated tentiform mines that are roughly oval in shape. These are constructed on the underside of the leaf and have longitudinal wrinkles. Pupation occurs within the mine, and the pupa protrudes from the surface at eclosion. Mines that Jim Petranka observed in Madison Co. were initially flat and white, but became tentiform and brownish white with age. The larvae frequently folded the edges of willow leaves when forming a tent.
Larvae ID Requirements: Identifiable from good quality photos, especially where associated with known host plants.
Distribution in North Carolina
Distribution: Phyllonorycter scudderella is found in eastern and western North America. Western populations extend from southeastern Alaska to Oregon. In the East, it occurs from Ontario to Newfoundland, then south and southwest to the northeastern states to Ohio and New Jersey. As of 2020, we have only a single record from the low mountains that may be part of a southern disjunct population in the southern Appalachians.
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 the first brood occurring from mid-March to early May, and the second from late June to early October (Davis and Deschka, 2001). Braun (1908) noted that the larvae are abundant in October and November in Ohio, and we have records of mines in mid-October with larvae. The adults overwinter and become active with the spring warm-up.
Habitats and Life History
Habitats: This species uses a variety of willows as hosts. Our native species are associated with sunny areas of wetlands such as wet thickets, ditches, bogs, and stream edges.
Larval Host Plants: Phyllonorycter scudderella specializes on Salix species. The documented hosts include Weeping Willow (S. babylonica), Bebb Willow (S. bebbiana), Sageleaf Willow (S. candida), and Pussy Willow (S. discolor; Davis and Deschka, 2001). As of 2020, our one record of a mine was on Silky Willow (S. sericea).
Observation Methods: The adults appear to only rarely visit lights and are best obtained by rearing from mines on willows.
Wikipedia
See also Habitat Account for Montane Shoreline Shrub Thickets
Status in North Carolina
Natural Heritage Program Status:
Natural Heritage Program Ranks: GNR SU
State Protection:
Comments: We have only a single record as of 2020 of this northern species, suggesting that it is uncommon in the state. More information is needed on its distribution and abundance before we have assess its conservation status.

 Photo Gallery for Phyllonorycter scudderella - No common name

Photos: 9

Recorded by: Jim Petranka on 2021-03-12
Madison Co.
Comment: An adult that was reared from a mine on Silky Willow (see companion photos of the mine from 2020-10-14)
Recorded by: Jim Petranka on 2021-03-12
Madison Co.
Comment: An adult that was reared from a mine on Silky Willow (see companion photos of the mine from 2020-10-14)
Recorded by: Jim Petranka on 2020-10-14
Madison Co.
Comment: An occupied mine on the underside of a Salix sericea leaf. This young mine is flat and lacks creases (note the feeding larva).
Recorded by: Jim Petranka on 2020-10-14
Madison Co.
Comment: An occupied tentiform mine on the underside of a Salix sericea leaf. Note the longitudinal creases.
Recorded by: Jim Petranka on 2020-10-14
Madison Co.
Comment: An occupied tentiform mine on the underside of a Salix sericea leaf. Note the longitudinal creases and folded leaf margin.
Recorded by: Jim Petranka on 2020-10-13
Madison Co.
Comment: An adult that was reared from a mine on Silky Willow (see companion photos of the mine from 2020-09-20)
Recorded by: Jim Petranka on 2020-10-13
Madison Co.
Comment: An adult that was reared from a mine on Silky Willow (see companion photos of the mine from 2020-09-20)
Recorded by: Jim Petranka on 2020-09-20
Madison Co.
Comment: View of a young lower-surface mine on Salix sericea (see companion photos of mature mine and the adult that emerged on 2020-10-13).
Recorded by: Jim Petranka on 2020-09-20
Madison Co.
Comment: View of a completed lower-surface mine on Salix sericea (see companion photos of young mine from 2020-09-20 and the adult that emerged on 2020-10-13).