Moths of North Carolina
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View PDFDrepressariidae Members: 54 NC Records

Agonopterix thelmae Clarke, 1941 - Thelma's Agonopterix Moth



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Taxonomy
Superfamily: Gelechioidea Family: DrepressariidaeSubfamily: DepressariinaeTribe: [Depressariini]P3 Number: 420097.00 MONA Number: 884.00
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, BAMONATechnical Description, Adults: Clarke (1941); Hodges (1974)                                                                                 
Adult Markings: The following is based primarily on descriptions in Clarke (1941) and Hodges (1974). The labial palp is whitish ochreous, with the second segment irrorated exteriorly with reddish fuscous. The third segment has a blackish-fuscous sub-basal and supra-medial band. The antenna has a whitish ochreous basal segment that is indistinctly annulated with fuscous basally. The whitish ochreous section grades towards fuscous in the apical third. The head, thorax, and ground color of the forewing are whitish ochreous, and the thorax and forewing are speckled with fuscous and suffused with dull reddish. There is a fuscous spot on each side of the thorax beneath the inner edge of the tegula. A narrow fuscous line is usually evident just beyond the light basal area that extends to the costa. At the basal third there are two diagonal blackish-fuscous discal spots. The latter is just above an orange-red streak on the cell, which has a third dark spot at its terminus (sometimes inconspicuous). A somewhat rounded, diffuse dark blotch is present between the orange-red streak and the costa. A diffuse, brownish, longitudinal band usually adjoins the streak on the inner side. The band often extends both anteriorly and posteriorly beyond the streak. The portion that extends posteriorly eventually curves towards the inner margin, then sharply angles back towards the apex. A series of indistinct fuscous spots occurs along the costa and around the termen. The cilia are whitish ochreous with a reddish tint. The hindwing is fuscous with cilia that are whitish ochreous and banded with fuscous. The legs are whitish ochreous and suffused and irrorated with reddish fuscous except at the joints. Two features that help to distinguish this species are the red to reddish-orange streak along the cell, and the dark blotch between the streak and the costa. Agonopterix robiniella) is superficially similar, but lacks the reddish-orange streak along the cell and has a curved, diffuse band that extends from the mid-costal region towards the inner margin of the wing base. Agonopterix thelmae also lacks a brick-red sub-basal annulus on the third segment of labial palpus that is present in A. robiniella. Agonopterix dimorphella also superficially resembles A. thelmae), but is darker and smaller, lacks the reddish-orange streak, and has a pale yellow spot at the end of the cell.
Wingspan: 17-25 mm (Clarke, 1941).
Forewing Length: 7.3-11.3 mm (Hodges, 1974).
Adult Structural Features: Clarke (1941) provides detailed descriptions and illustrations of the male and female genitalia, and Hodges (1974) discusses genitalic differences that are useful in distinguishing A. robiniella from A. thelmae. In particular, males of A. robiniella have the transtilla slightly indented medially, whereas it is uniformly broad in A. thelmae. In A. robiniella the heavily sclerotized costal margin of the sacculus usually is equal to the length of the process, whereas in A. thelmae it is 1/4 to 1/3 longer than the process. In the female, the anterior margin of the eight abdominal sternum is straight in A. robiniella, while in A. thelmae it bears a rounded medial projection.
Structural photos
Adult ID Requirements: Identifiable from good quality photos of unworn specimens.
Immatures and Development: The larval life history is undocumented.
Distribution in North Carolina
Distribution: Agonopterix thelmae is found in eastern North America in southern Canada (Ontario; Quebec; Nova Scotia; New Brunswick), and from the northeastern states westward and southwestward to Iowa, Illinois, Kentucky, Tennessee, and western North Carolina. This species is absent from most of the southeastern Piedmont and Coastal Plain. As of 2020, our records are all from the Blue Ridge, with all but three from lower elevation sites.
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: This species is univoltine. Adult have been found from June through November in different areas of the range, with a peak in numbers from August to October. As of 2020, our records extend from July through early November.
Habitats and Life History
Habitats: The hosts and specific habitat requirements are unknown. Many of our records are from wooded, residential neighborhoods.
Larval Host Plants: The hosts are unknown. Hodges (1974) surmised that this species may use legumes since it is closely related to A. robiniella.
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: As of 2020 we have 15 site records for the western mountains which suggests that this species is somewhat secure. Additional information is needed on its distribution and abundance before we can accurately assess its conservation status.

 Photo Gallery for Agonopterix thelmae - Thelma's Agonopterix Moth

Photos: 23

Recorded by: Jim Petranka on 2021-10-24
Madison Co.
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Recorded by: Jim Petranka on 2021-10-14
Madison Co.
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Recorded by: Jim Petranka on 2021-10-09
Madison Co.
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Recorded by: tom ward on 2021-10-04
Buncombe Co.
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Recorded by: Stephen Hall on 2021-09-13
Ashe Co.
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Recorded by: Jim Petranka on 2020-11-10
Madison Co.
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Recorded by: Jim Petranka and Becky Elkin on 2020-09-23
Madison Co.
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Recorded by: Jim Petranka and Becky Elkin on 2020-09-13
Madison Co.
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Recorded by: Owen McConnell on 2019-10-15
Graham Co.
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Recorded by: Jim Petranka and Becky Elkin on 2019-09-26
Madison Co.
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Recorded by: Jim Petranka and Becky Elkin on 2019-09-23
Madison Co.
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Recorded by: Jim Petranka and Becky Elkin on 2019-09-10
Madison Co.
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Recorded by: Jim Petranka and Becky Elkin on 2019-09-09
Madison Co.
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Recorded by: Jim Petranka and Becky Elkin on 2019-07-20
Madison Co.
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Recorded by: Jim Petranka and Becky Elkin on 2019-07-12
Madison Co.
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Recorded by: Jim Petranka and Becky Elkin on 2018-11-01
Madison Co.
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Recorded by: Jim Petranka and Becky Elkin on 2018-09-29
Madison Co.
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Recorded by: Jim Petranka and Becky Elkin on 2018-09-06
Madison Co.
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Recorded by: Jim Petranka and Becky Elkin on 2018-08-29
Madison Co.
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Recorded by: Jim Petranka and Becky Elkin on 2018-08-29
Madison Co.
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Recorded by: Jim Petranka and Becky Elkin on 2018-07-18
Madison Co.
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Recorded by: Stephen Hall on 2017-08-30
Ashe Co.
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Recorded by: Vin Stanton on 2010-09-14
Buncombe Co.
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