Moths of North Carolina
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Stigmella Members:
11 NC Records

Stigmella apicialbella (Chambers, 1873) - No Common Name



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Taxonomy
Superfamily: Nepticuloidea Family: NepticulidaeP3 Number: 160056.00 MONA Number: 81.00
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: MPG; BugGuide; iNaturalistTechnical Description, Adults: Braun, 1917.                                                                                 
Adult Markings: The following description is based on Braun (1917) and Newton and Wilkinson (1982). The palps are whitish. The tuft is ochraceous, while the collar is creamy white. The eye-cap is white, and the antenna is dark brown and faintly annulated with a paler shade. The thorax is dark purplish brown. The forewing is dark brown with a faint purple to bronze luster that shines more strongly beyond the fascia. Beyond the middle of the wing there is a narrow, oblique white fascia that reaches the margin further from the base on the dorsum. A distinct whitish patch is present at the tip of the wing that is formed from white scales at the extreme tip of the wing, along with whitish apical cilia. The remaining cilia are gray, and the hindwing and hindwing cilia are dark gray. The legs are shining grayish ocherous. The hind femur is creamy white and the hind tarsi dark gray. The abdomen is dark purplish above and pale beneath. This species is easy to distinguish based on the combination of a yellow head, a white collar, a narrow medial white fascia on the forewing, and an apical triangular white spot that extends into the fringe (Nieukerken et al., 2018).

Wingspan: 3.6-4.2 mm for males; 3.6-4.8 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 with a deep notch between the lobes. Each lobe is papillate. The gnathos has a broad transverse ventral plate. The posteriorly-directed lateral arms are closely juxtaposed, narrow, and do not reach the uncus. The dorsolateral arms have short, anteriorly directed processes. The tegumen is arcuate and straplike. The vinculum has narrow lateral arms that articulate with the tegumen at the dorsal extremities. The ventral plate is narrow with a medial expansion on the posterior margin. The saccus is as wide as the ventral plate, and is deeply lobed, with each lobe being as long as broad at the base. The valve has a narrowly pointed style and a broad cuiller with a distal hook, and does not reach the uncus. The transtilla has lateral arms that are narrow and arcuate, and ventral arms that reach the saccus. The transverse bars are fused to form a continuous arcuate strap. The Juxta is quadrate and broadens posteriorly. The aedeagus is flask-shaped and equal to the length of the capsule. The vesica has cornuti as many large denticles orientated in a ridge posteriorly, and with a globular plate of minute papillae. Females: The ductus bursae is long. The accessory sac is very large and adorned with many small denticles distributed laterally and in a small distal patch. There is a long simple duct that arises proximally. The bursa copulatrix is smaller than the accessory sac and lacks pectinations. The signum is absent. The anterior apophyses are long, narrow, and arcuate, while the posterior apophyses are straight, narrow, and equal in length to the anterior apophyses.
Adult ID Requirements: Identifiable from good quality photos of unworn specimens.
Immatures and Development: The eggs are deposited on both leaf surfaces. They are sometimes placed next to a vein, but not in a leaf axil. The yellow larva forms a long, upper surface linear mine that gradually widens. It is usually rather straight, partly following veins, but may be more contorted (Eiseman, 2019). The frass pattern varies substantially. The frass can be deposited in a narrow central line, in zigzagging arcs, or in a way that completely fills the mine (Eiseman, 2019). The larva eventually exits the mine and spins an ovoid, dark brown cocoon.
Larvae ID Requirements: Identifiable from good quality photos, especially where associated with known host plants.
Distribution in North Carolina
Distribution: Stigmella apicialbella is widespread in eastern North America where the host species occur locally. It has been found in Canada (Ontario; Quebec; New Brunswick), and in the US from Illinois eastward to New England, then southwestward to Alabama and Mississippi (Nieukerken et al. 2018; Eiseman, 2019). As of 2019, we have records from the Inner Coastal Plain and the eastern 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
Flight Comments: Braun (1917) noted that there are three generations in southern Ohio and vicinity. She found full grown larvae in mid-June, in late July, and in August and September.
Habitats and Life History
Habitats: Stigmella apicialbella is a specialist on several species of elms. These occupy habitats that range from swamp margins, bottomland forests, and moist, rich slopes, to drier slopes and rocky woods. They also occur in open, disturbed habitats such as fencerows and old fields. Elms show a general preference for nutrient-rich soils.
Larval Host Plants: The known hosts include Winged Elm (Ulmus alata), American Elm (U. americana), Slippery Elm (U. rubra), and Rock Elm (U. thomasii).
Observation Methods: The adults rarely visit lights and almost all records are based on either leaf mines, or adults that were raised from mines.
Wikipedia
See also Habitat Account for General Elm Forests
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 apicialbella - No common name

Photos: 18

Recorded by: David George on 2022-09-22
Durham Co.
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Recorded by: Tracy S. Feldman on 2022-07-26
Orange Co.
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Recorded by: Tracy S. Feldman on 2022-07-21
Durham Co.
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Recorded by: Tracy S. Feldman on 2022-07-21
Durham Co.
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Recorded by: Tracy S. Feldman on 2022-07-21
Durham Co.
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Recorded by: Dean Furbish on 2021-10-08
Wake Co.
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Recorded by: Dean Furbish on 2021-10-08
Wake Co.
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Recorded by: Jim Petranka, John Petranka, Becky Elkin, Sally Gewalt on 2021-09-29
Orange Co.
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Recorded by: Jim Petranka, John Petranka, Becky Elkin, Sally Gewalt on 2021-09-29
Orange Co.
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Recorded by: Ken Kneidel on 2021-09-22
Mecklenburg Co.
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Recorded by: Ken Kneidel on 2021-09-22
Mecklenburg Co.
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Recorded by: Tracy S. Feldman on 2019-05-30
Durham Co.
Comment: Photos show an empty linear mine with distinctive frass trails on Ulmus alata.
Recorded by: Tracy S. Feldman on 2017-08-23
Scotland Co.
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Recorded by: Tracy S. Feldman on 2016-10-27
Scotland Co.
Comment: these were unoccupied mines on Ulmus rubra. Linear mines with clear frass trail.
Recorded by: Tracy S. Feldman on 2016-10-27
Scotland Co.
Comment: these were unoccupied mines on Ulmus rubra. Linear mines with clear frass trail.
Recorded by: Tracy S. Feldman on 2015-11-28
Durham Co.
Comment: Photos show empty linear mines with clear frass trails on Ulmus alata.
Recorded by: Tracy S. Feldman on 2015-11-28
Durham Co.
Comment: Photos show empty linear mines with clear frass trails on Ulmus alata.
Recorded by: Harry Wilson on 2013-09-01
Wake Co.
Comment: