Moths of North Carolina
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39 NC Records

Phyllocnistis liquidambarisella Chambers, 1875 - No Common Name



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Taxonomy
Superfamily: Gracillarioidea Family: GracillariidaeSubfamily: PhyllocnistinaeTribe: [Phyllocnistini]P3 Number: 330400.00 MONA Number: 848.00
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).
Identification
Field Guide Descriptions: Online Photographs: MPG, BugGuide, iNaturalist, Google, BAMONA, GBIFTechnical Description, Immature Stages: Chambers (1875; Eiseman, 2019).                                                                                  
Adult Markings: The ground color of the forewing is silvery white with faint golden-yellowish coloration often present in the apical fourth. Just beyond mid-length, a curved dark line (narrow streak) extends from the costa to near the middle of the wing. This is followed by three relatively straight and shorter dark lines that are spaced out towards the apical spot, and that extend well into the fringe along the costa. Just posterior to the curved dark line on the costa, there is a similar curved line that originates on the dorsal margin and extends to the middle of the wing. The terminus of this line projects towards the first straight line on the costa. There is a well developed black apical spot, and a dark line in the apical fringe that originates at the spot and arches anteriorly towards the dorsal margin. Two or three additional faint dark lines are often evident in the apical fringe of unworn specimens. These radiate away from the apical spot. Chambers (1875) noted that the adults appear to be indistinguishable from Phyllocnistis vitifoliella and are best identified through rearing from the host plant.
Wingspan: 6 mm (Forbes, 1923)
Immatures and Development: The larvae produce long, winding, convoluted tracks on the upper surface of Sweetgum leaves. As a larva mines, it often loops back to parallel a previous section of mined leaf. The mine may be confined to a single lobe of a leaf, but more often winds through two or more leaf lobes. The larva produces a dark, liquid excrement that fills much of the mine (Eiseman, 2019). Pupation occurs at the end of the mine, often beneath the folded edge of the leaf. This is the only Phyllocnistis that exploits Sweetgum, and the distinctive mines are difficult to confuse with that any other species. Larvae often mine expanding leaves and cause minor distortions of the leaf surface and leaf shape.
Larvae ID Requirements: Identifiable from good quality photos, especially where associated with known host plants.
Distribution in North Carolina
Distribution: Local populations of P. liquidambarisella are restricted to sites where Sweetgum is present. The species is found through much of the southeastern US to at least as far north as southern Ohio and New Jersey. In North Carolina, populations occur throughout the Coastal Plain and eastern Piedmont. Populations were recently located in the mountains, and appear to be locally common along the French Broad River drainage where Sweetgum is present.
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: The flight season is poorly documented because of the scarcity of adult records. Fully formed leaf mines have been observed in North Carolina as early as late June, so the adults are likely on the wing sometime in May.
Habitats and Life History
Habitats: The larvae are dependent on Sweetgum (Liquidamber styraciflua) for reproduction. Sweetgum tends to be an early successional species that establishes well in disturbed habitats. Sweetgum tolerates a wide range of soil moisture and soil pH regimes, and can be found in a variety of habitats, including mature forests. Examples include floodplain and bottomland forests, swamplands, clearcuts, abandoned fields, roadways, and mesic to drier hardwood and mixed pine-hardwood forests.
Larval Host Plants: Larvae feed on Sweetgum (Robinson et al., 2010)
Observation Methods: There are remarkably few adult records for this species, presumably because the adults are not attracted to lights. Almost all records are based on the leaf mines. We recommending searching for occupied mines during the late spring or early summer, then rearing and photographing the adults.
Wikipedia
See also Habitat Account for Sweetgum Groves and Forests
Status in North Carolina
Natural Heritage Program Status:
Natural Heritage Program Ranks: [GNR] SU
State Protection: Has no legal protection, although permits are required to collect it on state parks and other public lands.
Comments:

 Photo Gallery for Phyllocnistis liquidambarisella - No common name

53 photos are available. Only the most recent 30 are shown.

Recorded by: Jim Petranka and Becky Elkin on 2022-08-03
Polk Co.
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Recorded by: Dean Furbish on 2022-07-04
Wake Co.
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Recorded by: Jim Petranka and Becky Elkin on 2022-06-12
Madison Co.
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Recorded by: Gary Maness on 2022-06-07
Guilford Co.
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Recorded by: Tracy S. Feldman on 2022-06-06
Durham Co.
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Recorded by: Tracy S. Feldman on 2022-06-06
Durham Co.
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Recorded by: Jim Petranka on 2022-06-01
Richmond Co.
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Recorded by: Jim Petranka on 2022-05-25
Beaufort Co.
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Recorded by: Jim Petranka on 2022-05-20
Buncombe Co.
Comment: Occupied mine was on Sweetgum.
Recorded by: Dean Furbish on 2022-05-12
Alamance Co.
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Recorded by: Dean Furbish on 2022-05-06
Pender 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, John Petranka, Becky Elkin, Sally Gewalt on 2021-09-29
Orange Co.
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Recorded by: Jim Petranka, John Petranka, Becky Elkin, and Steve Hall on 2021-09-28
Durham Co.
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Recorded by: Jim Petranka on 2021-08-11
Randolph Co.
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Recorded by: Jim Petranka on 2021-08-10
Richmond Co.
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Recorded by: Jim Petranka and Becky Elkin on 2021-07-22
Clay Co.
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Recorded by: Jim Petranka on 2021-06-22
Richmond Co.
Comment: One of two adults were reared from mines on Sweetgum; mines were collected on 7 June; adults emerged on 21 June.
Recorded by: Jim Petranka on 2021-06-22
Richmond Co.
Comment: One of two adults were reared from mines on Sweetgum; mines were collected on 7 June; adults emerged on 21 June.
Recorded by: Dean Furbish on 2021-06-12
Wake Co.
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Recorded by: Jim Petranka on 2021-06-09
Catawba Co.
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Recorded by: Jim Petranka on 2021-06-07
Richmond Co.
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Recorded by: Jim Petranka on 2021-05-29
Buncombe Co.
Comment: A mine on Sweetgum; note the folded leaf edge where pupation occurred.
Recorded by: Dean Furbish on 2021-05-29
Wake Co.
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Recorded by: Ken Kneidel on 2021-05-22
Burke Co.
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Recorded by: Ken Kneidel on 2021-05-22
Burke Co.
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Recorded by: Jim Petranka on 2020-11-07
Buncombe Co.
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Recorded by: Ken Kneidel on 2020-11-04
Mecklenburg Co.
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Recorded by: Jim Petranka on 2020-09-11
Madison Co.
Comment: One of numerous mines that were on Sweetgum leaves.
Recorded by: Jim Petranka and Becky Elkin on 2020-08-17
Madison Co.
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