Moths of North Carolina
Scientific Name:
Common Name:
Family (Alpha):
« »
View PDFNepticulidae Members: 7 NC Records

Stigmella villosella (Clemens, 1861) - No Common Name


Taxonomy
Superfamily: Nepticuloidea Family: NepticulidaeP3 Number: 160055.00 MONA Number: 80.00
Comments: Members of the genus Stigmella are a group of small leaf-mining moths that typically create linear mines, although a few species form linear-blotch or blotch mines. Newton and Wilkinson (1982) recognized 51 species in their revision on the North American fauna, and new discoveries have since raised the total to around 57 species. Almost all species are specialists and rarely use more than one genus of host plants. Host-specificity, mine characteristics, and genitalic differences are helpful in recognizing closely related forms that are externally similar.
Identification
Field Guide Descriptions: Online Photographs: BugGuide; iNaturalistTechnical Description, Adults: Braun, 1917.Technical Description, Immature Stages: Braun, 1017; Eiseman, 2019.                                                                                 
Adult Markings: The following description of the adults is from Braun (1917) and Newton and Wilkinson (1982). The palps are gray. The antenna is dark brownish gray and the eye-cap is pale golden. The tuft on the front of head and vertex is orange-ochraceous. The collar is dark brown with gold reflections. The thorax and the forewing between the base and the fascia are brilliant metallic bronzy, and somewhat purple at the base of the costa. A golden colored fascia is present at two-thirds the wing length. The wing beyond the fascia is bluish-purple. The fringe is golden brown and shining silver at the apex, which produces the impression of a large apical spot at the apex. The hindwings and cilia are gray. The abdomen and legs are black, but the posterior tarsi are silvery. This species can be distinguished from all other species by the metallic golden apex and apical spot.

Wingspan: 2.8-4.6 mm for males; 4.0-4.4 mm for females (Newton and Wilkinson, 1982).
Adult Structural Features: The following description of the genitalia is from Newton and Wilkinson (1982). Males: The uncus is bilobed. Each lobe is flattened with a deep notch between them. The gnathos has a broad transverse ventral plate. The posteriorly-directed lateral arms are very closely juxtaposed basally, and are narrow and long. The dorsolateral arms are broad with long posteriorly-directed processes, and short, stout anteriorly-directed processes. The tegumen is a narrow arcuate strap. The vinculum has lateral arms that bifurcate dorsally. These articulate with the tegumen and the posterior branches fuse dorsal to the tegumen. The saccus is broad and weakly bilobed. The valve is narrow with a stout, pointed style, and the cuiller tapers anteriorly. The transtilla has lateral arms that are broad and long. The ventral arms are short and pointed, and the transverse bars fused and narrow. The aedeagus is flask-shaped and longer than the capsule. The vesica has cornuti as many large denticles orientated in a ridge posteriorly. It has two more heavily sclerotized spines apically and a globular plate of minute papillae. Females: The ductus bursae is weakly funicular proximal to the genital aperture, and long and broad. The accessory sac is very large relative to the bursa and adorned with small denticles. These become more dense distally and have a duct arising distally. The bursa copulatrix is large and covered with irregular chains of pectinations proximally. These are not apparent distally. The signum is absent. The anterior apophyses are broad basally, and are long and tapering. The posterior apophyses are very long and straight, and reach beyond the anterior apophyses. Newton and Wilkinson (1982) remarked that the flask-shaped aedeagus of the male genitalia, and the many small cornuti arranged in a ridge, differentiate this species from S. rosaefoliella and S. slingerlandella. The form of the valve differs in S. apicialbella. The presence of a large, spiculate accessory sac in the female genitalia distinguishes S. villosella from S. rosaefoliella and S. slingerlandella. Females of S. villosella and S. apicialhella resemble each other in aspects of the genitalia, but differ in their external features.
Adult ID Requirements: Identifiable from good quality photos of unworn specimens.
Immatures and Development: The egg may be deposited on either leaf surface, and typically is placed next to a vein. The pale brownish larva produces a long, narrow serpentine track. Frass is initially deposited in a dense, black, central line, but it becomes wider and more diffuse near the end of the larval period. Shortly prior to pupating, the larva cuts an exit slit in the upper leaf surface and spins a brownish cocoon externally.
Larvae ID Requirements: Identifiable from good quality photos, especially where associated with known host plants.
Distribution in North Carolina
Distribution: Stigmella villosella is found in southeastern Canada (Quebec; Nova Scotia) and New England. From there, the range extends westward to Ohio, Oklahoma, and Texas and southward to Kentucky, Maryland, and North Carolina. As of 2020, we have a few scattered records from the Blue Ridge to the Coastal Plain.
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
Flight Comments: Braun (1917) reported that there are three generations in southern Ohio and vicinity. Mature larvae are first found seasonally in the middle of June. Additional broods occur in the latter part of July and in October.
Habitats and Life History
Habitats: Stigmella villosella is a specialist on Rubus spp., which includes blackberries and raspberries. These are common in disturbed habitats such as fields, fencerows, and roadsides. They also occur in natural habitats such as fens, grassy balds, and mesic and bottomland forests.
Larval Host Plants: Eiseman (2019) reported the following hosts: Allegheny Blackberry (Rubus allegheniensis), Common Dewberry (R. flagellaris), Swamp Dewberry (R. hispidus), Black Raspberry (R. occidentalis), Wineberry (R. phoenicolasius), and Dwarf Raspberry (R. pubescens). As of 2022, we have host records for R. allegheniensis, R. pensilvanicus and Southern Dewberry (R. trivialis).
Observation Methods: The adults are rarely attracted to lights, and most records are from leaf mines. There are almost no images of the adults, so we recommend locating mines, and rearing and photographing the adults.
Wikipedia
See also Habitat Account for General Forests and Fields
Status in North Carolina
Natural Heritage Program Status:
Natural Heritage Program Ranks: GNR SU
State Protection:
Comments: We currently do not have sufficient data to assess the conservation status of this species within the state.

 Photo Gallery for Stigmella villosella - No Common Name

Photos: 15

Recorded by: Jim Petranka and John Petranka on 2022-05-24
Beaufort Co.
Comment:
Recorded by: Jim Petranka and Becky Elkin on 2021-10-25
Buncombe Co.
Comment:
Recorded by: Jim Petranka and Becky Elkin on 2021-10-25
Buncombe Co.
Comment:
Recorded by: Jim Petranka and Becky Elkin on 2021-10-25
Buncombe Co.
Comment:
Recorded by: Ken Kneidel on 2021-09-26
Mecklenburg Co.
Comment:
Recorded by: Ken Kneidel on 2021-09-26
Mecklenburg Co.
Comment:
Recorded by: Ken Kneidel on 2021-09-26
Mecklenburg Co.
Comment:
Recorded by: Dean Furbish on 2021-01-02
Harnett Co.
Comment:
Recorded by: Dean Furbish on 2021-01-02
Harnett Co.
Comment:
Recorded by: Jim Petranka on 2020-10-08
Buncombe Co.
Comment: An unoccupied mine on Rubus allegheniensis.
Recorded by: Tracy S. Feldman on 2019-07-15
Wake Co.
Comment: Unoccupied mine on Rubus pensilvanicus--linear, with central frass trail. On the same leaf as an Ectoedemia rubifoliella mine--it is the one on the left when facing the top of the leaf.
Recorded by: Tracy S. Feldman on 2019-07-15
Wake Co.
Comment: Unoccupied mine on Rubus pensilvanicus--linear, with central frass trail. On the same leaf as an Ectoedemia rubifoliella mine--it is the one on the left when facing the top of the leaf.
Recorded by: Tracy S. Feldman on 2019-07-15
Wake Co.
Comment: Unoccupied mine on Rubus pensilvanicus--linear, with central frass trail. On the same leaf as an Ectoedemia rubifoliella mine--it is the one on the left when facing the top of the leaf.
Recorded by: Tracy S. Feldman on 2018-11-26
Scotland Co.
Comment: Unoccupied mine on Rubus trivialis--linear, with central frass trail.
Recorded by: Tracy S. Feldman on 2018-11-26
Scotland Co.
Comment: Unoccupied mine on Rubus trivialis--linear, with central frass trail.