Moths of North Carolina
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View PDFDrepressariidae Members: 1 NC Records

Agonopterix hyperella (Ely, 1910) - No Common Name


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Taxonomy
Superfamily: Gelechioidea Family: DrepressariidaeSubfamily: DepressariinaeP3 Number: 420068.00 MONA Number: 856.00
Comments: Agonopterix is a large holarctic genus with more than 125 species, with most occurring in the Palearctic Region. Currently, there are 47 recognized species in North America. Our species are largely confined to the western mountains.
Identification
Field Guide Descriptions: Online Photographs: MPG, BugGuide, iNaturalist, Google, BAMONA, GBIFTechnical Description, Adults: Ely (1910)                                                                                 
Adult Markings: The following is based on the descriptions by Ely (1910) and Clarke (1941). The labial palps are pale yellowish to creamy white and heavily overlaid with fuscous exteriorly. The third segment has a broad black subapical annulation. The head is pale yellowish in front and grayish above. The thorax varies from dark yellow-gray to dark lavender-gray. The forewing is dark grayish lavender and shaded with yellowish brown, especially towards the inner margin. Near the wing base there is a narrow, yellowish white, transverse band that is preceded by two black spots -- one near the costa, and the other at the inner angle. Along the costal margin there are small, alternating, black and yellowish patches that produce a somewhat striated appearance. A black crescent-shaped streak is present in the center of the cell that is margined with yellowish brown and followed by a grayish shade. A white discal spot is present just beyond it. At the base of the cilia there is a thin fuscous to black line. The cilia are light purplish fuscous mixed with gray. The hindwing is smoky gray, with the cilia more yellowish. The legs are yellow to creamy white and shaded with fuscous outwardly except at the joints. The abdomen is gray, more yellowish below, with a row of black dots situated laterally. Hodges (1974) noted that this species is very similar to A. lythrella. As with A. lythrella, A. hyperella has a dark, curved streak beginning at about one-third the wing length, and a small white spot just beyond its terminus. It differs in having a gray to grayish brown forewing, versus a distinctly reddish brown forewing in A. lythrella. The curved streak on A. hyperella is also broader and better developed. On A. lythrella this mark is much shorter and more narrow, and sometimes divided into two distinct dots. Hodges (1974) also noted that the first tarsal segment of the foreleg is usually unicolorous in A. hyperella versus pale yellowish white in A. lythrella. Although Hodges (1974) surmised that A. hyperella may just be a form of A. lythrella, it appears to be a good species based on DNA barcoding, and clusters with a group that is not sister to A. lythrella.
Wingspan: 15 to 18 mm (Ely, 1910; Clarke, 1941).
Adult Structural Features: Clarke (1941) provides detailed descriptions and illustrations of the male and female genitalia. Although Hodges (1974) was unable to find characters in the male genitalia to separate A. lythrella and A. hyperella, Clarke (1941) noted that the stout, gently recurved clasper of A. hyperella distinguishes it from A. lythrella, which has a clasper that is slender and straight. In the females A. hyperella lacks a signum, whereas one is present in A. lythrella.
Adult ID Requirements: Identifiable from good quality photos of unworn specimens.
Immatures and Development: Very little is known about the larval life history. Ely (1910) reared adults in May from larvae that were collected in late April on St. John's-wort.
Distribution in North Carolina
Distribution: Agonopterix hyperella is found in eastern North America. The range is poorly delineated, with only a few scattered records from Massachusetts, Maryland, Indiana, Kentucky, Tennessee, Virginia, North Carolina and northern Alabama. Hodges (1974) collected a specimen from Highlands in 1958, and no other specimens have been found in North Carolina since then.
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: The adult presumably overwinter and become active with the spring warm-up. Adult or larval records extend from May through September. The North Carolina specimen was collected in late August.
Habitats and Life History
Habitats: Very little is known about the habitat requirement. The known hosts occur in both dry forested slopes and in more open, disturbed habitats such as roadsides, fields, and woodland borders.
Larval Host Plants: Ely (1910) found larvae on Shrubby St. John's-wort (Hypericum prolificum) and Common St. John's-wort (Hypericum perforatum). Other Hypericum species are probably used.
Observation Methods: The adults appear to rarely visit lights. We recommend searching for the larvae on Hypericum during May and June.
Wikipedia
See also Habitat Account for St. John's-wort Thickets
Status in North Carolina
Natural Heritage Program Status:
Natural Heritage Program Ranks: GNR SH
State Protection:
Comments: We have a single historical record from Highlands from 1958, and the current status of the species is uncertain.