Moths of North Carolina
Scientific Name:
Common Name:
Family (Alpha):
« »
View PDFDepressariidae Members:
Agonopterix Members:
12 NC Records

Agonopterix senicionella (Busck, 1902) - No Common Name



view caption

view caption

view caption

view caption
Taxonomy
Family: DepressariidaeP3 Number: 420094.00 MONA Number: 881.00
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: Busck (1902), Hodges (1974)                                                                                  
Adult Markings: The following is based primarily on the original description by Busck (1902). The antenna is ocherous with narrow black annulations, and the labial palp is light ocherous overall. The second joint of the labial palp is sprinkled with white and black scales and the terminal joint has an annulation at the base, around the middle, and at the extreme apex. The face varies from very light yellowish to nearly white, and the head and thorax are light ocherous.

The forewing is dark ocherous gray, mottled with lighter ocherous, and sparsely sprinkled with black and white scales. The base of the wing is concolorous with the thorax and lighter than the rest of the wing. It is rather sharply edged outwardly by an area of somewhat darker shade relative to the rest of the wing. In the middle of the cell there is a more or less conspicuous black dot that is usually preceded by a similar dot that is nearer the costa. At the end of the cell is a third somewhat inconspicuous black dot. Between these dots there is usually a somewhat diffuse dark fuscous blotch that is displaced towards the costa. Along the costa and the round apical edge is a series of more or less pronounced blackish dots. The hindwing is shining dark gray with a faint blackish line at the apex before the cilia. The cilia are a shade lighter than the wing, and the abdomen is grayish ocherous with two longitudinal rows of black dots on the underside. The legs are light ocherous and the spurs and tarsal joints are sparsely sprinkled with black scales.

Busck (1902) and Hodges (1974) noted that individuals are variable and sometimes deviate from the general description above. The degree of yellow-brown overlay on the forewing is variable. Some specimens are pale yellow with a slight overlay, while others are nearly uniformly yellowish brown with a small yellow area at the base of the forewing. The two dark spots at the end of the cell of the forewing usually are well developed, but they may be faint to absent in some specimens. Specimens with dark forewings also tend to have darker hindwings than do those with pale forewings.

Hodges (1974) noted that A. senicionella is closely related to A. flavicomella, A. robiniella, A. thelmae and A. lecontella. It may be separated from A. flavicomella by the more even coloring on the forewing and by the heavy overlay of yellow brown. The hindwing of A. senicionella is dark yellowish gray, while that of A. flavicomella is pale yellowish white to yellowish gray. The remaining species can be separated from A. senicionella by their yellow-orange to orange (not yellow to yellow-brown) forewings. This species also resembles A. canadensis but tends to be lighter colored and have a heavier dusting of dark brown on the posterior half of the forewings. The genitalia are also distinctive, the host plant is invariably present where local populations occur.
Wingspan: 17 mm (Busck, 1902)
Forewing Length: 6.8 to 9.3 mm (Hodges, 1974)
Immatures and Development: Agonopterix senicionella is a specialist on Golden Ragwort (Packera aurea) and produced leaf rolls that distort the leaves. The larva rolls the edges of the young leaves under then ties the opposing sides together until they form a fairly compact structure. Leaf rolls that we have examined in North Carolina typically begin at the leaf tip and work downward with time towards the petiole. Rolling may occur all the way to the petiole, or terminate before then. The larvae feed within the roll to produce a patchwork of skeletonized and intact leaf tissue, and each roll contains a single larva. The larvae vary from yellowish white to yellowish green, with the greenish coloration becoming more pronounced in later instars. A light-colored dorsal crease is usually evident in older larvae where the abdominal segments meet dorsally, and the head and thorax have conspicuous dark plates. Busck (1902) noted that this is one of the earliest micromoths to lay eggs in the Washington, DC area, with the young larva appearing in March and the adults emerging in late April and May. Rolled leaves that were examined in western North Carolina in May had larvae from early to late instars depending on the elevation. Adults that were reared emerged in June. Additional field observations are needed to better delineate the larval phenology and flight season.
Larvae ID Requirements: Identifiable from good quality photos, especially where associated with known host plants.
Distribution in North Carolina
Distribution: The distribution of A. senicionella is rather poorly documented. Hodges (1974) noted that is is known from the lower Potomac Valley and southeastern Michigan. There appear to be other valid records from northern Virginia, West Virginia, southern Ohio, and northern Kentucky. This species was only recently found in western North Carolina where it can be locally common.
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. Our limited observations suggest that the adults probably overwinter and lay eggs during the spring warm-up.
Habitats and Life History
Habitats: This species is found locally in moist to mesic deciduous forests, in woodland openings, along forest edge habitats, and in road corridors and other open sites where the host plant grows.
Larval Host Plants: Agonopterix senicionella is one of only two moths that are known to use Packera aurea as a host plant, the other being Phyllocnistis insignis. Packera aurea produces pyrrolizidine alkaloids that are toxic to most herbivorous mammals. This may perhaps explain the paucity of lepidopterans that use this species as a host.
Observation Methods: Local populations are most easily documented by looking for the rolled leaves of Golden Ragwort during April and May. This species was only recently documented in North Carolina, but appears to be locally common where Golden Ragwort is present.
Wikipedia
Status in North Carolina
Natural Heritage Program Status:
Natural Heritage Program Ranks:
State Protection:
Comments: Although this species was only recently documented in North Carolina, it can be locally abundant based on observations of leaf rolls.

 Photo Gallery for Agonopterix senicionella - No common name

Photos: 26

Recorded by: Jim Petranka on 2022-06-19
Madison Co.
Comment:
Recorded by: Jim Petranka on 2022-06-12
Madison Co.
Comment: A reared adult from Packera aurea.
Recorded by: Jim Petranka on 2022-06-12
Madison Co.
Comment: A reared adult from Packera aurea.
Recorded by: Jim Petranka on 2022-06-10
Buncombe Co.
Comment: A reared adult from Packera aurea.
Recorded by: Jim Petranka on 2022-06-10
Buncombe Co.
Comment: A reared adult from Packera aurea.
Recorded by: Jim Petranka on 2022-06-08
Buncombe Co.
Comment: A reared adult from Packera aurea.
Recorded by: Jim Petranka on 2022-06-08
Buncombe Co.
Comment: A reared adult from Packera aurea.
Recorded by: Jim Petranka on 2022-06-06
Madison Co.
Comment: An adult that was reared from a rolled leaf on Packera aurea. Fold collected on May 14; adult emerged on June 6.
Recorded by: Jim Petranka and Becky Elkin on 2022-05-18
Buncombe Co.
Comment:
Recorded by: Jim Petranka and Becky Elkin on 2022-05-18
Buncombe Co.
Comment:
Recorded by: Jim Petranka on 2022-05-15
Madison Co.
Comment: Three examples of rolled leaves on Packera aurea.
Recorded by: Jim Petranka on 2022-05-15
Madison Co.
Comment: An early instar larva.
Recorded by: Jim Petranka on 2022-05-14
Buncombe Co.
Comment: Rolled leaves with larvae were common on Packera aurea at this site.
Recorded by: Jim Petranka on 2022-05-14
Buncombe Co.
Comment: A larva that was removed from a leaf roll.
Recorded by: Jim Petranka on 2022-05-14
Buncombe Co.
Comment: A larva that was removed from a leaf roll.
Recorded by: Jim Petranka on 2022-05-14
Buncombe Co.
Comment: Rolled leaves with larvae were common on Packera aurea.
Recorded by: Jim Petranka on 2022-05-14
Buncombe Co.
Comment: A larva that was removed from a leaf roll.
Recorded by: Jim Petranka on 2022-05-14
Yancey Co.
Comment: A larva that was removed from a leaf roll.
Recorded by: Jim Petranka on 2022-05-14
Yancey Co.
Comment: Rolled leaves with larvae were common on Packera aurea.
Recorded by: Jim Petranka and Becky Elkin on 2022-05-13
Madison Co.
Comment: Rolled leaves with larvae were common on Packera aurea.
Recorded by: Jim Petranka and Becky Elkin on 2022-05-13
Madison Co.
Comment: Rolled leaves with larvae were common on Packera aurea.
Recorded by: Jim Petranka and Becky Elkin on 2022-05-13
Madison Co.
Comment: A larva that was removed from a leaf roll.
Recorded by: Jim Petranka and Becky Elkin on 2022-05-13
Madison Co.
Comment: Leaf rolls with greenish larvae were found on Packera aurea.
Recorded by: Jim Petranka on 2022-05-13
Madison Co.
Comment: A larva that was removed from a leaf roll.
Recorded by: Jim Petranka on 2022-05-13
Madison Co.
Comment: A larva that was removed from a leaf roll.
Recorded by: Jim Petranka on 2022-05-13
Madison Co.
Comment: