Moths of North Carolina
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View PDFGracillariidae Members: 17 NC Records

Phyllocnistis vitifoliella Chambers, 1871 - no common name



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Taxonomy
Superfamily: Gracillarioidea Family: GracillariidaeSubfamily: PhyllocnistinaeP3 Number: 330409.00 MONA Number: 854.00
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; BAMONATechnical Description, Adults: Chambers, 1871. Technical Description, Immature Stages: Eiseman, 2019.                                                                                  
Adult Markings: The following is based primarily on Chambers’ (1871) original description. The head, thorax, and antenna are glistening snowy white. The ground color of the forewing is also glistening snowy white, but tinged with light golden towards the apex. Overlaying this are a series of narrow, blackish streaks or lines that are less than half the width of the forewing. Near the middle of the wing is a narrow oblique blackish costal streak. Just behind it is a small straight blackish streak that is slightly oblique and that opposes a similar small dorsal streak. There is a conspicuous circular black spot at the wing tip. Just anterior to this there are two straight black costal streaks. At the tip of the wing are three blackish diverging lines in the cilia that tend to converge towards the apical spot. A blackish marginal line arches forward from the apical spot towards the dorsal margin. There is often a broad area of golden wash that adjoins the marginal line on the anterior side. The hindwing and cilia are silvery white. Chambers (1871) noted that P. vitegenella closely resembles P. vitifoliella, but differs in having antennae that are dark above (whitish in P. vitifoliella), a semi-oval dorsal spot (absent in P. vitifoliella), and the second costal streak that unites with the opposite dorsal streak to form a narrow fascia (these remain separated in P. vitifoliella).
Immatures and Development: The larvae produce elongated, winding mines on the upper surfaces of leaves. A larva initially mines the epidermis, which produces a silvery mine (Eiseman, 2019). It then mines deeper into the inner tissues and produces dark frass. The frass tends to be loosely concentrated near the middle, but can sometimes be diffuse and fill much of the mine. The frass, along with necrotic tissue, tends to turn the entire track darker with age. Pupation occurs in an enlarged chamber at the end of the mine. This species can be easily distinguished from P. vitigenella based on the presence of frass in the mine, and the fact that the pupation chamber of P. vitifoliella is not completed beneath a fold on the leaf margin. Chambers (1871) found numerous overwintering adults beneath the bark of hickories in Kentucky.
Larvae ID Requirements: Identifiable from good quality photos, especially where associated with known host plants.
Distribution in North Carolina
Distribution: Phyllocnistis vitifoliella is primarily found in the eastern US and Quebec, with a disjunct population in California. Population records are somewhat unreliable because of the similarity of this species with other white Phyllocnistis species. As of 2020, we have only a few scattered records that include the Blue Ridge, Piedmont, and 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
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: Chambers (1871) noted that the larva mine grape leaves from May to October in Kentucky. We have records of adults in early May, and records of occupied mines as late as October.
Habitats and Life History
Habitats: Local populations are strongly associated with wild grapes, which appear to be the primary hosts. Grapes inhabit a variety of forest and edge habitats. Representative habitats include forest edges along roadways and trails, mature hardwood or mixed hardwood-pine forests, and floodplains where they often arch over trees and shrubs near the water's edge.
Larval Host Plants: The larvae feed on wild grapes (Muscadinia and Vitis spp.; Robinson et al., 2010; Eiseman, 2019). Some of the known hosts include Muscadine (Muscadinia rotundifolia), Summer Grape (V. aestivalis), Possum Grape (V. baileyana), Riverbank Grape (V. riparia), and Frost Grape (V. vulpina). Mines resembling those of P. vitifoliella have occasionally been found on the upper leaves of Virginia Creeper (Pathenocissus quinquifolia) but it is uncertain if these are indeed those of P. vitifoliella (Eiseman, 2019).
Observation Methods: We recommend looking for mines on the upper surfaces of grape leaves; photographs of individuals that are reared from mines are needed to better document phenotypes that occur in North Carolina.
Wikipedia
See also Habitat Account for General Vitaceous Tangles
Status in North Carolina
Natural Heritage Program Status:
Natural Heritage Program Ranks: GNR SU
State Protection:
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 Photo Gallery for Phyllocnistis vitifoliella - no common name

Photos: 25

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 2021-09-24
Buncombe Co.
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Recorded by: Jim Petranka and Becky Elkin on 2021-09-24
Buncombe Co.
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Recorded by: Jim Petranka and Becky Elkin on 2021-09-12
Madison Co.
Comment: An occupied mine on a Vitis sp.
Recorded by: Jim Petranka and Becky Elkin on 2021-09-12
Madison Co.
Comment: A backlit image of an occupied mine; note the feeding larva at the end of the mine.
Recorded by: Jim Petranka and Becky Elkin on 2021-08-27
Henderson Co.
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Recorded by: Dean Furbish on 2021-06-11
Wake Co.
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Recorded by: Dean Furbish on 2021-06-02
Wake Co.
Comment: Upper surface linear mines on Vitis rotundifolia with prominent frass trails.
Recorded by: Jim Petranka on 2020-09-12
Madison Co.
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Recorded by: Ken Kneidel on 2020-08-30
Burke Co.
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Recorded by: Jim Petranka on 2020-08-25
Madison Co.
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Recorded by: Simpson Eason on 2020-08-08
Durham Co.
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Recorded by: Simpson Eason on 2020-08-08
Durham Co.
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Recorded by: Simpson Eason on 2020-08-08
Durham Co.
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Recorded by: Jim Petranka on 2020-07-12
Madison Co.
Comment: An upper surface linear mine on Vitis baileyana (Possum Grape). Note the prominent frass trail that distinguish this species from P. vitegenella.
Recorded by: Harry Wilson on 2020-05-11
Wake Co.
Comment: On grape leaves.
Recorded by: Harry Wilson on 2020-05-11
Wake Co.
Comment: On grape leaves.
Recorded by: Kyle Kittelberger on 2020-05-04
Wake Co.
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Recorded by: Jim Petranka and Becky Elkin on 2019-10-11
Madison Co.
Comment: A view of a grape leaf with a linear mine. Note the pupal chamber at the end.
Recorded by: Jim Petranka and Becky Elkin on 2019-10-11
Madison Co.
Comment: A close-up of a linear mine that shows the frass (see companion image).
Recorded by: Jim Petranka and Becky Elkin on 2019-10-11
Madison Co.
Comment: A backlit image of a mine that shows the black frass that is typical of this species.
Recorded by: Tracy S. Feldman on 2019-10-02
Scotland Co.
Comment: active upper-surface linear mines with clear central frass trails on Muscadinia rotundifolia.
Recorded by: Tracy S. Feldman on 2019-10-02
Scotland Co.
Comment: active upper-surface linear mines with clear central frass trails on Muscadinia rotundifolia.
Recorded by: Tracy S. Feldman on 2018-06-06
Wake Co.
Comment: A view of two upper surface linear mines on Muscadinia rotundifolia. Note the prominent frass trails that distinguish this species from P. vitegenella.
Recorded by: Harry Wilson on 2013-08-31
Wake Co.
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