Moths of North Carolina
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95 NC Records

Agonopterix canadensis (Busck, 1902) - Canadian Agonopterix Moth



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Taxonomy
Superfamily: Gelechioidea Family: DepressariidaeSubfamily: DepressariinaeTribe: [Depressariini]P3 Number: 420091.00 MONA Number: 878.00
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: Beadle and Leckie (2012)Online Photographs: MPG, BugGuide, iNaturalist, Google, BAMONA, GBIF, BOLDTechnical Description, Adults: Clarke, 1941Technical Description, Immature Stages: Clarke (1933)                                                                                 
Adult Markings: The following description is based primarily on that of Clarke (1941). The labial palp is pale ochreous-white and the second segment is evenly sprinkled with blackish fuscous exteriorly. The third segment has a black tip and a broad black subbasal and subapical annulus. The antenna is fuscous with indistinct black annulations. The head and thorax are pale yellowish gray and the face creamy white. The ground color of the forewing varies from pale yellowish gray to more fuscous. The thorax and base of the wing is slightly lighter than the forewing ground color and forms a curved band that extends to the costa before grading into a series of alternating light and dark blotches. These extend along the costa to the termen where they are reduced in size. A small black spot is present at the base of the wing, and a rapidly fading blackish-fuscous shade adjoins the light basal band. The remainder of the forewing ground is sprinkled with black specks. There are three well-developed black discal spots, including a pair of oblique spots at about one-third and a third spot at the end of the cell. A blackish to blackish-fuscous blotch occurs just posterior to the oblique pair of discal spots and somewhat more costally. The hindwing is light fuscous, and the legs are ochreous-white and mottled with blackish fuscous except at the joints. This species is best distinguished from our other Agonopterix species by the three black discal spots and the associated blackish blotch near the mid-wing, the basal band that terminates near the costa, and the narrow blackish-fuscous shading that adjoins the light basal band. Agonopterix senicionella is very similar, but has a light tan ground color, larger and more diffuse dark discal spots, and blackish dusting on the terminal half of the wings on fresh specimens.
Wingspan: 17 mm (Clarke, 1941).
Forewing Length: 7.4-11.5 mm (Hodges, 1974)
Adult Structural Features: Clarke (1941) provided a detailed description of the female genitalia.
Adult ID Requirements: Identifiable from good quality photos of unworn specimens.
Immatures and Development: Clarke (1933) studied a population in Washington State that fed on Tall Ragwort and noted that feeding begins in the terminal leaves of the food plant. These are webbed together by the young larvae to form a tube from which they feed on the leaves. As feeding progresses the larvae descend the plants and feed on nearby lateral leaves from newly constructed tubes. When feeding is completed, the larvae descend to the ground, then burrow just beneath the surface and pupate. Pupation usually occurs 2 or 3 days after a larva enters the soil, and the adults emerge 12-14 days later.

Jim Petranka observed larvae feeding on the developing buds of Golden Ragwort (Packera aurea) during the early spring months in western North Carolina. The larvae webbed together the stem and clusters of developing flower buds to form a tube and fed on the developing seeds. Individuals occasionally bored into the hollow stem, and two individuals were found within the stem within 4-8 cm of the flower buds and feeding shelters. The pupal stage of one reared adult lasted around 10 days. The older larvae had a dull green to greenish brown abdomen, a reddish-brown head, and a blackish prothoracic shield.
Larvae ID Requirements: Identifiable from good quality photos, especially where associated with known host plants.
Distribution in North Carolina
Distribution: Agonopterix canadensis is widely distributed across much of southern Canada and the northern and north-central United States. Populations in the west tend to follow the major mountain ranges southward to Colorado and central California. In the eastern US the range extend southward along the Appalachians to western North Carolina. As of 2020, our records are from both the lower and higher elevations in the mountains.
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: Adults have been collected during almost every month of the year and the flight season varies given the large geographic range of this species. Local populations are thought to be univoltine in many areas, with the overwintering adults breeding shortly after the spring warm-up. In North Carolina, local populations typically have three seasonal peaks. One occurs in January and February and reflects overwintering adults. Based on records for larvae in March and April, breeding appears to first occur in February, with the adults emerging around May through July. A second occurs in May through July and presumably reflects adults emerging from the first brood of larvae. A third emergence occurs in September and early October and appears to be adults from a second brood. These presumably overwinter and breed the following February. The overwintering adults are often active during bouts of warm winter weather.
Habitats and Life History
Habitats: The habitats and host plants are poorly documented for eastern populations. Many of our records are from semi-wooded residential neighborhoods and other sites with a mixture of forests and edge habitat.
Larval Host Plants: This species is polyphagous, but the hosts that are used in the eastern US are poorly documented. Records from Canada (Robinson et al., 2010) include Paper Birch (Betula papyrifera), Balsam Poplar (Populus balsamifera), Quaking Aspen (P. tremuloides), a willow (Salix sp.), an undetermined species of Malus, and Burdock (Arctium). Clarke (1933) found larvae on Tall Ragwort (Senecio serra) in Washington State. Jim Petranka found the larvae feeding on the flower buds of Golden Ragwort (Packera aurea) at three sites in Madison County. - View
Observation Methods: The adults are attracted to lights.
Wikipedia
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: Populations appear to be restricted to the mountains in North Carolina, where they are sometimes locally common. The southern Appalachians appear to be at the southern limit of this species range and more information is needed on its distribution and abundance before we can accurately assess its conservation status.

 Photo Gallery for Agonopterix canadensis - Canadian Agonopterix Moth

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

Recorded by: Jim Petranka on 2024-02-22
Madison Co.
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Recorded by: Jim Petranka on 2024-02-15
Madison Co.
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Recorded by: Emily Stanley on 2024-01-26
Buncombe Co.
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Recorded by: Jim Petranka on 2024-01-24
Madison Co.
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Recorded by: Jim Petranka on 2023-09-24
Madison Co.
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Recorded by: Jim Petranka on 2023-09-23
Madison Co.
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Recorded by: Jim Petranka on 2023-09-19
Madison Co.
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Recorded by: David George, Ed Corey on 2023-06-17
Avery Co.
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Recorded by: Jim Petranka on 2023-05-08
Madison Co.
Comment: A reared adult from Packera aurea.
Recorded by: Jim Petranka on 2023-05-05
Madison Co.
Comment: A reared adult from Packera aurea.
Recorded by: Jim Petranka on 2023-04-16
Madison Co.
Comment: A reared adult from Packera aurea (see companion photos of the larval feeding shelters from 23 March, 2023).
Recorded by: Jim Petranka on 2023-04-12
Madison Co.
Comment: A cluster of silk-bound flower buds (below the normal flower buds) that contained a single larvae. These were common on Packera aurea.
Recorded by: Jim Petranka on 2023-04-12
Madison Co.
Comment: A larva that was removed from bound flower buds of Packera aurea.
Recorded by: Jim Petranka on 2023-04-12
Madison Co.
Comment: A larva that was removed from bound flower buds of Packera aurea.
Recorded by: Jim Petranka on 2023-03-24
Madison Co.
Comment: The larvae were feeding on developing flower heads of Packera aurea; each larva bound several heads together with silk to form a feeding shelter.
Recorded by: Jim Petranka on 2023-03-24
Madison Co.
Comment: The larvae were feeding on developing flower heads of Packera aurea; each larva bound several heads together with silk to form a feeding shelter.
Recorded by: Jim Petranka on 2023-03-24
Madison Co.
Comment: A larvae that was extracted from a feeding shelter on Packera aurea.
Recorded by: Jim Petranka on 2023-02-22
Madison Co.
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Recorded by: Jim Petranka on 2023-02-08
Madison Co.
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Recorded by: Jim Petranka on 2023-01-02
Madison Co.
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Recorded by: John Petranka and Chuck Smith on 2022-10-12
Burke Co.
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Recorded by: Jim Petranka on 2022-10-12
Madison Co.
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Recorded by: Jim Petranka on 2022-10-07
Madison Co.
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Recorded by: Vin Stanton on 2022-10-03
Buncombe Co.
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Recorded by: Jim Petranka on 2022-09-24
Madison Co.
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Recorded by: Jim Petranka on 2022-09-17
Madison Co.
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Recorded by: Jim Petranka and Becky Elkin on 2022-06-07
Madison Co.
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Recorded by: Jim Petranka on 2022-06-04
Madison Co.
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Recorded by: Jim Petranka on 2022-02-23
Madison Co.
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Recorded by: Jim Petranka on 2021-10-09
Madison Co.
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