Moths of North Carolina
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View PDFNepticulidae Members: 3 NC Records

Stigmella myricafoliella (Busck, 1900) - No Common Name


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Taxonomy
Superfamily: Nepticuloidea Family: NepticulidaeP3 Number: 160023.00 MONA Number: 94.00
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.
Species Status: The validity of Stigmella myricafoliella was questioned by Wilkinson and Scoble (1979), who suggested that is may be conspecific with S. ostryaefoliella. Another specialist on bayberries, S. obscurella (Braun, 1917), is now considered to be conspecific with S. myricafoliella.
Identification
Field Guide Descriptions: Online Photographs: MPG, BugGuide, BOLDTechnical Description, Adults: Busck (1900)Technical Description, Immature Stages: Eiseman, 2019                                                                                 
Adult Markings: The following description of the adults is based on Busck's (1900) original description of specimens from Florida. The eye-cap is silvery white. The antenna is silvery fuscous, and the extreme tip is white. The head tuft is light golden yellow. The thorax and forewing are deep bluish black with strong metallic reflections. At two-thirds the wing length, there is a transverse, white fascia that is a little broader on the dorsal than on the costal edge. The dorsal cilia at the fascia are white, while the rest of cilia are dark purplish gray. The hindwing is light gray, while the abdomen is shining black above and silvery below. The legs are purplish with white tarsi. Adult S. myricafoliella are largely indistinguishable externally from closely related forms such as S. corylifoliella and S. ostryaefoliella. This species is best identified from genitalia, DNA analysis, or by differences in host plants and larval coloration.

Wingspan: 2.8-3.5 mm (Braun, 1017)
Immatures and Development: The pale green larvae produce elongated, upper leaf surface mines that gradually widen to around 1 mm in width (Braun, 1917). The mines are usually contorted, but are sometimes rather straight. The frass characteristics vary. Some individuals produce a narrow central frass line, while others produce a more diffuse pattern that is much wider (Eiseman, 2017). At the end of the larval stage, the larva emerged through a cut and spins an external light brown cocoon.
Larvae ID Requirements: Identifiable from good quality photos, especially where associated with known host plants.
Distribution in North Carolina
Distribution: Stigmella myricafoliella is widely distributed in eastern North America from Nova Scotia to as far south as Florida in areas where the host plants occur locally (Eiseman, 2019). As of 2019, we have records from the eastern Piedmont and the Inner Coastal Plain.
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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Flight Comments: Braun (1917) reported (as Nepticula obscurella) that there are two generations per year in New York and New Jersey.
Habitats and Life History
Habitats: The larvae are specialists on bayberries (Morella). Our native species inhabit a variety of habitats, including dunes, sandflats, interdune swales, pocosins, brackish marshes, wet savannas, pine flatwoods, and other wet to moist habitats (Weakley, 2015).
Larval Host Plants: The known hosts include Pocosin Bayberry (Morella caroliniensis), Common Wax-myrtle (M. cerifera), and Northern Bayberry (M. pensylvanica).
Observation Methods: The polyphagous Stigmella corylifoliella occasionally mines Morella leaves and can be distinguished by the yellow larvae (pale green in S. myricafoliella).
Wikipedia
See also Habitat Account for Myricaceous Thickets
Status in North Carolina
Natural Heritage Program Status:
Natural Heritage Program Ranks: GNR SU
State Protection:
Comments: Stigmella myricafoliella is one of numerous leaf-mining species that are poorly documented in North Carolina. We currently do not have sufficient information on the distribution and abundance of this species within the state to assess its conservation status.