Moths of North Carolina
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View PDFGracillariidae Members:
Phyllocnistis Members:
19 NC Records

Phyllocnistis hyperpersea Davis and Wagner, 2011 - No Common Name



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Taxonomy
Superfamily: Gracillarioidea Family: GracillariidaeSubfamily: PhyllocnistinaeTribe: PhyllocnistiniP3 Number: 330397.00 MONA Number: 845.10
Comments: Phyllocnistis is a large genus with more than 125 described species worldwide, with 16 species currently recognized in North America. Davis and Wagner (2011) surmised that there may be hundreds of undescribed species in the neotropics. The adults of some species are very similar, and knowledge of the hostplant and mine characteristics is helpful in identifying morphologically similar species (Eiseman, 2019).
Species Status: This species was recently described by Davis and Wagner (2011), and is one of two species of Phyllocnistis in North Carolina that feed on Redbays (Persea sp.).
Identification
Field Guide Descriptions: Online Photographs: MPG, BugGuide, iNaturalist, Google, BAMONA, GBIFTechnical Description, Adults: Davis and Wagner (2011)Technical Description, Immature Stages: Davis and Wagner (2011)                                                                                 
Adult Markings: The following is based on descriptions provided by Davis and Wagner (2011). The frons is shiny white, smooth, and glabrous, while the vertex is whitish with subtle faint orange tints. The antenna has an orange-fuscous luster above, and the labial palps are white and reduced, with the length less than the height of the eye. The upper thorax is silvery straw-colored, and sometimes with orange tints. The forewing has a longitudinal fascia that usually ends just before joining the transverse fascia. The longitudinal fascia is thinly edged with black scales above and below except distad. The transverse fascia is usually complete, and leaves the costal margin at a 45° angle. It is usually more thickly edged with black scales along the proximal (basal) side. The distal side is somewhat rounded with black, with the edge-scaling weakened medially. The second costal fascia is poorly differentiated, and does not fuse with the transverse fascia as in Phyllocnistis subpersea. A well developed spot of black scales occurs near the tip of the wing. The costal and apical strigulae are modestly differentiated, and there are often only two of the latter. The black fringe scales about the tornus are only modestly differentiated compared to those of Phyllocnistis subpersea. They are few in number, are not strongly raised, and are not appreciably broadened. The dorsal and outer surfaces of the foretibiae and foretarsi, and to lesser extent those of the mesothoracic legs, are fuscous metallic orange, while the third tarsomere of the hindleg is often darkened, Otherwise, the legs are mostly silvery white and unmarked. The abdomen is also silvery white and unmarked. Diagnostic features that help to distinguish P. hyperpersea from P. subpersea are its small size (forewing length < 2.3 mm), the short labial palps (less than the height of the eye), the presence of a prominent black apical spot, and the second costal fascia that is weakly developed and does not fuse with the transverse fascia as in P. subpersea. In addition, the black fringe scales about the tornus are fewer in number, narrower, and less blackened relative to those of P. subpersea (Davis and Wagner, 2011). These species can also be distinguished based on characteristics of the mines.
Forewing Length: 1.9–2.2 mm (Davis and Wagner, 2011).
Adult Structural Features: Davis and Wagner (2011) provide detailed descriptions of the male and female genitalia. Because of the general similarity of both male and female genitalia that exists among most members of Phyllocnistis, species identifications that rely upon standard genitalic characters are challenging (Davis and Wagner, 2011). The genitalia of Phyllocnistis hyperpersea from P. subpersea are very similar. Subtle differences include the fact that the valva of P. subpersea is curved slightly dorsad and is relatively shorter (~ 1.6× length of the vinculum), and the basal apodeme of the valva is directed slightly caudad in repose. The female genitalia are also similar to those of P. subpersea, except the ductus bursae of P. subpersea is slightly shorter (~ 2.2× the length of the papillae anales), and it gradually enlarges to a moderately slender, elliptical, corpus bursae. The ductus seminalis is ~ 1.8× the length of the corpus bursae. Davis and Wagner (2011) noted that the pupae of Phyllocnistis often show species-specific differences in external anatomy. In particular, the frontal process (cocoon-cutter) of the pupa of P. subpersea consists of a pair of stout, conical spines arising near the apex, and a single more subapical and strongly curved spine from the upper frons. In contrast, the frontal process of P. hyperpersea consists of a single spine that extends forward as a relatively large and broadly triangular, acute spine.
Adult ID Requirements: Identifiable from good quality photos of unworn specimens.
Immatures and Development: The egg is deposited on the upper leaf surface away from the midrib, and the larva passes through three sap-feeding instars that create a long serpentine mine. The mine begins as a narrow tract ~ 0.3 mm wide and gradually enlarges before the pupation chamber to a width of ~ 2–2.5 mm. The mine has a relatively broad, dark brownish, median frass trail and is almost always located on the upper leaf surface. The frass line is much broader than that of P. subpersea. It is about ¼ of the mine width in the early instars but broadens to more than half the mine width in mature mines. After the larva feeds on one side of the blade, it often crosses over near the leaf apex to the other side and continue mining (Davis and Wagner, 2011). However, deviations from this common pattern occur. Pupation occurs away from the leaf edge in a circular or slightly oval nidus.
Larvae ID Requirements: Identifiable from good quality photos, especially where associated with known host plants.
Distribution in North Carolina
Distribution: Phyllocnistis hyperpersea has been found from extreme southeastern Virginia, south along the Atlantic Coastal Plain to the Florida Everglades. As of 2022 we have records from most of the lower Coastal Plain and from the Sandhills region and vicinity.
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: As of 2022, we have no information on the flight season in North Carolina since most of our records are based on unoccupied mines. Davis and Wagner (2011) had adults emerge from mines from Sept-June in southern Florida, and in June in southern Virginia.
Habitats and Life History
Habitats: Phyllocnistis hyperpersea is a specialist on Redbays (Persea). Our two native species are found in both wetlands (Persea palustris) and drier, sandy habitats (P. borbonia).
Larval Host Plants: Larvae feed on Persea species, including our two native species, Upland Redbay (Persea borbonia) and Swamp Redbay (P. palustris). As of 2022, mines from North Carolina were only found on P. palustris, which is much more common in the state than Persea borbonia. Davis and Wagner (2011) reported that P. subpersea used P. borbonia in southeastern Virginia. These were likely P. palustris since the two species are easily confused, and P. borbonia is not known to occur in Virginia.
Observation Methods: The adults appear to rarely if ever visit lights and almost all records are based on leaf mines or reared adults.
Wikipedia
See also Habitat Account for Laurel Shrublands
Status in North Carolina
Natural Heritage Program Status:
Natural Heritage Program Ranks: [GNR] S1S3
State Protection: Has no legal protection, although permits are required to collect it on state parks and other public lands.
Comments: Phyllocnistis hyperpersea appears to be uncommon in North Carolina, but can be found with some regularity in the Coastal Plain whereverP. palustris occurs locally. It is highly threatened by the widespread and continuing loss of Redbay trees throughout the Southeast due to an introduced pathogen, the Laurel Wilt fungus (Raffaelea lauricola).

 Photo Gallery for Phyllocnistis hyperpersea - No common name

Photos: 21

Recorded by: Jim Petranka on 2022-05-25
Beaufort Co.
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Recorded by: Jim Petranka and Becky Elkin on 2022-03-16
Brunswick Co.
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Recorded by: Jim Petranka and Becky Elkin on 2022-03-16
Columbus Co.
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Recorded by: R. Newman on 2022-02-21
Carteret Co.
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Recorded by: Jim Petranka and Becky Elkin on 2022-02-18
Hyde Co.
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Recorded by: Jim Petranka and Becky Elkin on 2022-02-17
Hyde Co.
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Recorded by: Jim Petranka and Becky Elkin on 2022-02-16
Beaufort Co.
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Recorded by: Jim Petranka, John Petranka, Becky Elkin, and Sally Gewalt on 2021-12-06
Dare Co.
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Recorded by: Jim Petranka, John Petranka, Becky Elkin, and Sally Gewalt on 2021-12-05
Dare Co.
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Recorded by: Jim Petranka, John Petranka, Becky Elkin, and Sally Gewalt on 2021-12-05
Dare Co.
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Recorded by: Jim Petranka and Becky Elkin on 2021-09-30
Scotland Co.
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Recorded by: Jim Petranka and Becky Elkin on 2021-09-30
Scotland Co.
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Recorded by: Jim Petranka on 2021-03-29
Bladen Co.
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Recorded by: J.B. Sullivan on 2021-03-12
Craven Co.
Comment: An upper surface mine on a leaf of Persea.
Recorded by: Mark Shields on 2019-11-27
Onslow Co.
Comment: An upper surface mine on a leaf of Swamp Bay (Persea palustris).
Recorded by: Tracy S. Feldman on 2017-05-22
Moore Co.
Comment: An upper surface mine on a leaf of Swamp Redbay (Persea palustris). This is a typical mine pattern where the larva feeds on one side of the leaf, then crosses over near the apex to feed on the opposing side. Note the terminal, circular nidus that houses the pupa.
Recorded by: Tracy S. Feldman on 2017-05-22
Moore Co.
Comment: Young mines on Persea palustris. Note how the eggs are placed away from the midrib.
Recorded by: Tracy S. Feldman on 2017-05-22
Moore Co.
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Recorded by: Tracy S. Feldman on 2015-06-23
Scotland Co.
Comment: A young upper-surface mine on Persea palustris.
Recorded by: Tracy S. Feldman on 2015-06-23
Scotland Co.
Comment: Several linear upper-surface mines on Persea palustris.
Recorded by: Tracy S. Feldman on 2015-06-23
Scotland Co.
Comment: A view of the undersides of leaves of Persea palustris that contained several linear upper-surface mines (see companion photo from 2015-06-23).