Moths of North Carolina
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Common Name:
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View PDFNepticulidae Members:
Stigmella Members:
2 NC Records

Stigmella sclerostylota Newton & Wilkinson, 1982 - No Common Name

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Superfamily: Nepticuloidea Family: NepticulidaeP3 Number: 160016.00 MONA Number: 91.10
Comments: Members of the genus Stigmella are a group of small leaf-mining moths that typically create linear mines, although a few species form linear-blotch or blotch mines. Newton and Wilkinson (1982) recognized 51 species in their revision on the North American fauna, and new discoveries have since raised the total to around 57 species. Almost all species are specialists and rarely use more than one genus of host plants. Host-specificity, mine characteristics, and genitalic differences are helpful in recognizing closely related forms that are externally similar.
Field Guide Descriptions: Online Photographs: MPG, BugGuide, iNaturalist, Google, BAMONA, GBIF, BOLDTechnical Description, Adults: Newton and Wilkinson (1982)                                                                                 
Adult Markings: The following description of the adults is from Newton and Wilkinson (1982). The palps are whitish. The antenna is dark brown and the eye-caps are shining white. The tufts on the front of the head and vertex are dark brown. The thorax and dorsum of the abdomen are dark brown with purple reflections. The ground color of the forewing is dark brown with purplish gray reflections, while the fringe is pale gray-brown and shining silver. The hindwing ground color and fringe are brown. The legs are brownish above, with white tarsi. Stigmella sclerostylota is difficult to distinguishable externally from S. castaneaefoliella and S. flavipedella and is best identified using genitalia and DNA barcoding. The only consistent difference between S. sclerostylota and S. flavipedella is that the latter has yellow patches on the tarsi as opposed to the whitish tarsi of S. sclerostylota.
Wingspan: 4.0-4.4 mm
Adult Structural Features: The following description of the genitalia is from Newton and Wilkinson (1982). Males: The uncus is convex with heavily sclerotized lateral lobes. The gnathos is M-shaped with a narrow transverse ventral plate. The posteriorly-directed lateral arms are heavily sclerotized and reach just beyond the uncus. The dorsolateral arms have long anteriorly-directed processes. The tegumen is an arcuate, oval plate. The vinculum has lateral arms that are broad and fused with the tegumen at the dorsal extremities. The ventral plate is broad, and the saccus is very narrow and weakly bilobed. The valve does not reach the uncus, and is deeply bifurcate to form a broad, bifid style which is heavily sclerotized distally. The cuiller is constricted and the style has small, terminally digitate scales. The cuiller also has plumulate scales, particularly along inner margin. The transtilla has lateral arms that are short and broad, while the ventral arms are short and taper distally. The transverse bars are long and straight; they meet but do not fuse. The juxta is quadrate and bears two V-shaped folds with vertices that are adjacent; it articulates laterally with the bases of the valves. The aedeagus is narrow and regular in width, and about three-quarters of the length of the genital capsule. The vesica has cornuti as a comma-shaped plate of minute papillae. Females: The ductus bursae is short and broad. The accessory sac is small and evenly adorned with large denticles and with an accessory duct arising distally. The bursa copulatrix is very large and covered with long chains of pectinations. The signum is single, comprising a U-shaped band of spinose ridges. The anterior apophyses are broad and taper distally, while the posterior apophyses have papillate lobes at the base. The posterior apophyses are straight, narrow, and extend just beyond the anterior apophyses. Newton and Wilkinson (1982) provide details about genitalic traits that are helpful in separating S. sclerostylota from closely related forms (S. castaneaefoliella, S. flavipedella, and S. saginella).
Immatures and Development: Females lay their eggs on both leaf surfaces of oaks. The larvae produce a long, linear, upper-surface mine that gradually widens as the larva grows. Frass is deposited centrally as a rather diffuse line that also gradually widens (Newton and Wilkinson, 1982; Eiseman, 2019). The larvae emerge through a cut slit at maturity from either leaf surface.
Larvae ID Requirements: Identifiable from good quality photos, especially where associated with known host plants.
Distribution in North Carolina
Distribution: Stigmella sclerostylota appears to be widely distributed across eastern North America, but we currently have very few records. Populations occur in Ontario, Arkansas, Texas, and North Carolina (Eiseman, 2019). As of 2022, we have only two records for North Carolina that are based on mine characteristics and reared adults. These are from Scotland and Wake Cos.
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)

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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: Newton and Wilkinson (1982) surmised that local populations are bivoltine in Canada, with emergence dates during late April and early May, and in the US during mid-June and early July. Our limited records include occupied mines in July and September.
Habitats and Life History
Habitats: Stigmella sclerostylota specializes on oaks, but there are very few locality records and much to learn about its habitat requirements.
Larval Host Plants: The documented hosts include White Oak (Quercus alba), Water Oak (Q. nigra), Northern Red Oak (Q. rubra) and possibly Black Oak (Q. velutina). As of 2022, our have host records for Water Oak and Northern Red Oak.
Observation Methods: The adults appear to only occasionally visit lights. We recommend searching for mines and rearing the adults. Adult identification generally requires DNA barcoding or the examination on genitalia.
See also Habitat Account for General Oak-Hickory Forests
Status in North Carolina
Natural Heritage Program Status:
Natural Heritage Program Ranks: GNR S2S3
State Protection:
Comments: This species appears to be uncommon based on the scarcity of records in the eastern US. We currently do not have sufficient information on its distribution and abundance in North Carolina to assess its conservation status.