Moths of North Carolina
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View PDFGracillariidae Members: 6 NC Records

Acrocercops albinatella (Chambers, 1872) - No Common Name

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Superfamily: Gracillarioidea Family: GracillariidaeSubfamily: AcrocercopinaeP3 Number: 330215.00 MONA Number: 689.00
Comments: The genus Acrocercops includes nine recognized species in North America. The adults of most species are rather boldly marked, and the larvae are leaf miners that produce linear blotch mines.
Field Guide Descriptions: Online Photographs: MPG, BugGuide, BOLDTechnical Description, Adults: Forbes, 1923.                                                                                 
Adult Markings: This species has strongly contrasting white and light brown patterning. The face, palpi, head, and thorax are silvery white and the forewing ground color is light brown. The silvery white central band on the thorax continues as a band of variable width on the inner margin of the wing, but is interrupted by projections of the brown area to create two large, silvery patches. The band markedly narrows between the second (median) patch and the anal angle. Three white, oblique costal streaks project towards the white band on the inner margin. The first usually joins the large basal patch, while the others are curved and tapered, and do not reach the band along the inner margin. There is also a white apical spot that is edged with a black crescent near the wing tip. Individuals characteristically rest with the front of the body raised well above the surface of the substrate.
Wingspan: 9 mm (Forbes, 1923).
Adult ID Requirements: Identifiable from good quality photos of unworn specimens.
Immatures and Development: Larvae mine the lower leaf surfaces of oaks. The early instar larva initially creates a long, narrow, winding mine that eventually balloons into a large, tentiform blotch (Eiseman, 2019). The last instar develops a reddish coloration, and eventually evacuates the mine and spins a flat, brownish cocoon. Larvae complete their development in approximately 10 days in Florida populations. The pupal stage is also very brief (Cornelissen and Stiling, 2006; Eiseman, 2019).
Larvae ID Requirements: Identifiable from good quality photos, especially where associated with known host plants.
Distribution in North Carolina
Distribution: Acrocercops albinatella is widely distributed in eastern North America from southern Ontario, southern Quebec, and the northeastern US, southward to Florida and westward to Missouri. Our North Carolina records as of 2019 include Scotland and Onslow Cos. in the Coastal Plain and Avery Co. in the mountains (BugGuide).
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: Adults emerge with the spring warm-up and can be found as early as February and March in Florida (Cornelissen and Stiling, 2006) and April and June in New York (Forbes, 1923). Our very limited records for North Carolina are from May-September. There are two or more broods per year.
Habitats and Life History
Habitats: The larvae feed on a large number of oak species that occupy habitats that range from bottomland forests to xeric oak communities in the Sandhills.
Larval Host Plants: The larvae mine oak leaves (Eiseman, 2019). Host species that are used in the eastern US include White Oak (Q. alba), Bear Oak (Q. ilicifolia), Florida Scrub Oak (Q. inopina), Turkey Oak (Q. laevis), Laurel Oak (Q. laurifolia), Dwarf Live Oak (Q. minima), Myrtle Oak (Q. myrtifolia), Water Oak (Q. nigra), Pin Oak (Q. palustris), Northern Red Oak (Q. rubra), Post Oak (Q. stellata) and Black Oak (Q. velutina).
Observation Methods: The adults occasionally visit lights and the larvae produce conspicuous blotch mines on the undersides of oak leaves. Collecting active mines and rearing adults may be the most effective way to obtain new adult records.
See also Habitat Account for General Oak-Hickory Forests
Status in North Carolina
Natural Heritage Program Status:
Natural Heritage Program Ranks: GNR SU
State Protection:

 Photo Gallery for Acrocercops albinatella - No common name

Photos: 7

Recorded by: Mark Shields on 2020-07-10
Onslow Co.
Recorded by: Mark Shields on 2020-06-19
Onslow Co.
Recorded by: Mark Shields on 2020-05-07
Onslow Co.
Recorded by: Mark Shields on 2019-09-06
Onslow Co.
Recorded by: Tracy S. Feldman on 2016-05-16
Scotland Co.
Comment: View of a leaf mine on Quercus laevis.
Recorded by: Tracy S. Feldman on 2016-05-16
Scotland Co.
Comment: A leaf mine on Quercus laevis. The larva initially makes a long, narrow, winding mine (seen near the junction of the mid- and lateral vein) that eventually enlarges into a large blotch.
Recorded by: Kyle Kittelberger on 2014-06-08
Avery Co.