Moths of North Carolina
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View PDFTortricidae Members: 14 NC Records

Catastega timidella Clemens, 1861 - Oak Trumpet Skeletonizer Moth



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Taxonomy
Superfamily: Tortricoidea Family: TortricidaeSubfamily: OlethreutinaeTribe: EucosminiP3 Number: 621267.00 MONA Number: 3333.00
Identification
Field Guide Descriptions: Online Photographs: MPG, BugGuide, iNaturalist, Google, BAMONATechnical Description, Adults: Forbes (1923).                                                                                 
Adult Markings: This species was originally described based on the larvae and larval cases, and a detailed description of the adults is lacking other than that of Forbes (1923). The adult are similar in overall size and coloration to certain Gretchena species, and are mostly reliably assigned to genus based on their distinctive genitalia (Brown, 1986; Gilligan et al., 2008). The forewing is weakly longitudinally bicolored, with the costal area brownish, and the whitish dorsal area lined with fuscous (Heinrich, 1923). The whitish coloration along the dorsal margin tends to weakly extend towards the dorsal margin to about one-third the wing length, then angle sharply inward to about the mid-wing, before again angling weakly towards the dorsal margin. It eventually becomes ill-defined in the apical third. The legs are banded and the costa is outwardly striate. A dark, pre-tornal triangular spot is present that often has two blackish spots at or just beyond its apex. Two or three small dark dots are also often present along the dorsal margin anterior to the pre-tornal triangular spot. The apical fringe has a dark line that is cut in places by whitish coloration (Brown, 1986; Forbes, 1923). This species tends to have a more conspicuously bicolored forewing relative to both Gretchena spp. and C. aceriella, which is not bicolored and has a prominent sub-basal transverse band that extends from the middle of the wing to the inner margin at an oblique angle. Both of our Catastega species produce distinctive tubular frass cases on the undersides of leaves and have different hosts (oaks versus maples) that allow reliable identifications to species. Many of our locality records are based on larval records.
Wingspan: 17-19 mm (Heinrich, 1923)
Adult ID Requirements: Identifiable only by close inspection of structural features or by DNA analysis.
Immatures and Development: The young larva spins a thin sheet of webbing on the underside of an expanding oak leaf to create a feeding chamber. The feeding chamber is often constructed along the midrib or along a major lateral vein, and the expanding leaf buckles with time to form a tent-like structure. As the larva feeds beneath the sheet, it constructs a distinctive funnel-like case for protection that is woven from fecal pellets and silk. The size of the protective fecal case is slowly expanded as the larva window-feeds on the leaf surface, and the chamber can be straight or broadly curved. The final instar eventually leaves the shelter and moves to the ground where it constructs a cocoon in the leaf litter. The adults emerge the following spring following the spring warm-up.
Larvae ID Requirements: Identifiable from good quality photos, especially where associated with known host plants.
Distribution in North Carolina
Distribution: Catastega timidella is found in eastern North America is association with oak forests. Populations have been from the New England states westward through southern Canada to Minnesota, then southward through the eastern US to as far south as southeastern Texas and Florida. As of 2021, we have scattered records from throughout the state, with most from the western mountains.
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
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: Local populations appear to be univoltine. Adult records extend from March through August, with a peak in activity from April through June. As of 2021, our records are from April through mid-May.
Habitats and Life History
Habitats: Local populations are strongly dependent on oaks as hosts and are associated with hardwood or mixed hardwood-pine forests. They can also be found in residential areas where oaks are present.
Larval Host Plants: Catastega timidella uses oaks as hosts (Eiseman, 2019), including White Oak (Quercus alba), Burr Oak (Q. macrocarpa), and Northern Red Oak (Q. rubra). This species was found on a walnut (Juglans sp.) and a birch (Betula sp.) in Canada (Miller 1987), but these taxa are presumably almost never used as hosts. As of 2021, our records for North Carolina are from either Northern Red Oak or White Oak.
Observation Methods: The adults occasionally visit lights and the fecal tubes can be found beneath silk sheets on the undersides of leaves. Acrobasis minimella is another oak feeder that produces fecal tubes, but these are larger and much more sinuous that those of C. timidella.
Wikipedia
See also Habitat Account for General Oak-Hickory Forests
Status in North Carolina
Natural Heritage Program Status:
Natural Heritage Program Ranks: GNR [S3-S4]
State Protection: Has no legal protection, although permits are required to collect it on state parks and other public lands.
Comments: This species is far less frequently encountered in the state than is C. aceriella, but appears to be relatively secure due to its statewide distribution and use of oaks as hosts.

 Photo Gallery for Catastega timidella - Oak Trumpet Skeletonizer Moth

Photos: 14

Recorded by: Jim Petranka and Becky Elkin on 2021-10-20
Surry Co.
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Recorded by: Jim Petranka and Becky Elkin on 2021-08-26
Yancey Co.
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Recorded by: Jim Petranka and Becky Elkin on 2021-08-03
Watauga Co.
Comment: An occupied tentiform structure on Northern Red Oak.
Recorded by: Jim Petranka and Becky Elkin on 2021-08-03
Watauga Co.
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Recorded by: Jim Petranka, Becky Elkin and Bo Sullivan on 2021-08-02
Ashe Co.
Comment: A tentiform mine on Northern Red Oak.
Recorded by: Jim Petranka, Becky Elkin and Bo Sullivan on 2021-08-02
Ashe Co.
Comment: An underside fecal tube that was exposed from beneath a silk covering.
Recorded by: Gary Maness on 2021-04-29
Guilford Co.
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Recorded by: Gary Maness on 2021-04-29
Guilford Co.
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Recorded by: Jim Petranka on 2021-04-26
Madison Co.
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Recorded by: Jim Petranka on 2021-04-26
Madison Co.
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Recorded by: on 2020-09-15
Yancey Co.
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Recorded by: on 2020-09-15
Yancey Co.
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Recorded by: Jim Petranka on 2019-05-17
Madison Co.
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Recorded by: Jim Petranka on 2019-05-17
Madison Co.
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