Moths of North Carolina
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View PDFElachistidae Members: 0 NC Records

Nites maculatella (Busck, 1908) - No Common Name

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Superfamily: Gelechioidea Family: ElachistidaeSubfamily: DepressariinaeTribe: [Depressariini]P3 Number: 420160.00 MONA Number: 945.00
Comments: Nites is a small North American genus with five recognized species.
Field Guide Descriptions: Online Photographs: MPG, BugGuide, iNaturalist, Google, BAMONATechnical Description, Adults: Clarke, 1941; Hodges, 1974                                                                                 
Adult Markings: The following is based on the description by Clarke (1941). The labial palp is white. The second segment is irrorated with fuscous and black and suffused with fuscous in the brush. The third segment has a subbasal annulus and the apex is blackish fuscous. The antenna is brown and broadly annulated with dull ochreous-white. The head, thorax, and ground color of the forewing is ochreous white and suffused and speckled with brown, blackish fuscous and ochreous scaling. At the extreme base, there is a transverse blackish fuscous line from the costa to the inner angle that is interrupted in the middle by the white ground color. At the basal third there is a white discal spot that is preceded by some blackish fuscous scales. At the end of the cell there is a similar spot, and in between, a conspicuous longitudinal, blackish-fuscous streak. In the subterminal region there are three or four veins that are strongly marked with blackish fuscous (appearing as short streaks). Beyond these there is a series of blackish-fuscous spots that extend from the apical third of the costa around the termen to the inner margin. The cilia are concolorous with the ground. The hindwing is pale gray and darker apically, while the cilia are white with a fuscous sub-basal band. The legs are whitish ochreous and suffused and mottled with fuscous except at the joints. The abdomen is ochreous and sparsely irrorated with blackish fuscous beneath. Clarke (1941) and Hodges (1974) noted that this species resembles several other Nites species, but these are all northern forms that do not occur in North Carolina.
Wingspan: 21-23 mm (Clarke, 1941)
Forewing Length: 8.7-9.7 mm (Hodges, 1974)
Adult Structural Features: Clarke (1941) has descriptions and illustrations of the male and female genitalia.
Adult ID Requirements: Identifiable from good quality photos of unworn specimens.
Immatures and Development: The larvae are leaftiers on trees and can be found from late-spring to early summer (Hodges, 1974), but specifics on the larval ecology and life history are lacking.
Distribution in North Carolina
Distribution: Nites maculatella is found in eastern North America in southern Canada (Ontario; Quebec) and in Maine and Vermont southward and westward to Maryland, Pennsylvania, West Virginia, Ohio, Indiana, and Kentucky. An apparently isolated set of populations also occurs in Missouri.
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: The adults are in flight from May through October, with the seasonal peak in June through August.
Habitats and Life History
Habitats: The only known host is American Hornbeam. This species is common along streambanks, in bottomland forests, and occasionally in upland sites with moist, rich soils.
Larval Host Plants: Hodges (1974) reported that adults were reared from American Hornbeam (Carpinus caroliniana). It is possibly that other members of the Betulaceae are used as hosts, but this has not been verified.
Observation Methods: The adults are attracted to lights.
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: This species is at the southern limit of its range in North Carolina and is seemingly uncommon in the area. We currently do not have sufficient information on its distribution and abundance to assess its conservation status.