Moths of North Carolina
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View PDFHeliozelidae Members: 3 NC Records

Coptodisca lucifluella (Clemens, 1860) - No Common Name



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Taxonomy
Superfamily: Adeloidea Family: HeliozelidaeP3 Number: 210088.00 MONA Number: 247.00
Comments: This New World genus includes 16 described North American species of small leaf-mining moths, as well as several undescribed species. When mature, the larva cuts a disc of tissue out of the leaf and uses it to form a cocoon. All known species of Coptodisca feed on woody plants, and most are restricted to a single plant genus.
Identification
Field Guide Descriptions: Online Photographs: MPG, BugGuide, iNaturalist, Google, BAMONA                                                                                 
Adult Markings: The following description is primarily based on Chambers (1874). The head, thorax and much of the basal half of the forewing are silvery white to light gray, while the remainder of the forewing has complex patterning that includes several silvery streaks or patches on a dark brown to blackish ground color. The blackish ground color occurs along the dorsal margin (sometimes narrowly extending towards the base of the wing) and spreads inwardly beyond the mid-point where it is replaced by a golden yellow costal region. A large silvery white triangular costal patch with convergent black borders occurs just beyond the mid-point and is bordered on either side with golden orange. A second large triangular patch occurs along the inner margin that is opposite and slightly anterior to the first costal patch. This patch is surrounded by the dark ground color that extends to the base of the cilia. Near the wing tip there is a small silvery costal patch at the apex with a black margin on the anterior edge. A large, fan-shaped apical patch occurs at the end of the wing that sometimes has a dark streak that extends to the apex of the cilia. Near the base of the apical patch there is a very small white spot on both sides of the patch. This species has wing patterning that is similar to several closely related Coptodisca (e.g., C. ostryaefoliella, C. saliciella and C. splendoriferella), but each specializes on different host plants. On C. lucifluella the dark ground color on the forewing extends forward well beyond the large triangular mark on the inner margin. As a result, the golden orange area toward the apex forms a broad band that is restricted to the costal third of the wing. On related species, this area is replaced with golden orange coloration that extends well beyond the costal third of the wing and often all the way to the inner margin. Male genitalia of Coptodisca are difficult to dissect and embed in a fixed position. Reliable identification can be achieved by rearing adults from their host plants or through DNA analysis.
Adult ID Requirements: Identifiable from good quality photos of unworn specimens.
Immatures and Development: According to Eiseman (2019), the larva initially forms a somewhat tortuous linear tract that soon becomes an elongated, green to light brown, full-depth blotch. As the blotch expands, it usually obliterates the initial linear tract. The mine is packed with coarse, stringy frass. Completed mines are 4.5–13 mm long and 2–6 mm wide. When mature, the larva cuts a disc of tissue out of the leaf and uses it to form a cocoon (pupal case). The pupal case is 2.2–4.2 mm long by 1.3–2.4 mm wide, and may be attached to the mined leaf or to another substrate some distance away. Forbes (1923) found cocoons on tree trunks under loose bark. This species is multivoltine, and development from the egg to adult stage may take as few as 18 days (Eiseman, 2019).
Larvae ID Requirements: Identifiable from good quality photos, especially where associated with known host plants.
Distribution in North Carolina
Distribution: Coptodisca lucifluella occurs throughout much of eastern North America, from Ontario and Massachusetts, southward to Georgia, and westward to Wisconsin and eastern Texas (Eiseman, 2019). Populations have been introduced in New Mexico, Mexico and Italy. Populations in Italy have shifted hosts to walnuts (Juglans) and have become significant pests in commercial orchards (Bernardo et al., 2015). Our records for North Carolina as of 2021 are from Scotland County in the Coastal Plain and Madison County in the lower 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: Populations are multivoltine and are active from shortly after the spring leaf-out through September or October. Clemens (1860) found mines with larvae in September and October. Individuals pupated in October, then overwintered and emerged as adults in June.
Habitats and Life History
Habitats: Coptodisca lucifluella is a specialist on hickories and is found is found in a variety of forested habitats with hickories.
Larval Host Plants: The known hosts include Pignut Hickory (C. glabra), Pecan (C. illinoinensis), Shagbark Hickory (C. ovata), Mockernut Hickory (C. tomentosa), and Black Hickory (C. texana) further to the west (Eiseman, 2019). This species was recently introduced into Europe where it subsequently switched hosts to walnuts (Bernardo et al., 2015). As of 2021, we have records from Shagbark Hickory and either a Mockernut or Sand Hickory (C. pallida; identity of the host was uncertain).
Observation Methods: Adults occasionally visit lights and the leaf mines are often readily evident on hickory leaves. This species has a very brief generation time and adults have been successfully reared from leaf mines or pupal cases.
Wikipedia
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:
Comments: We currently do not have sufficient information on the distribution and abundance of this species in North Carolina to assess its conservation status.

 Photo Gallery for Coptodisca lucifluella - No common name

Photos: 6

Recorded by: Jim Petranka, John Petranka, Becky Elkin, and Steve Hall on 2021-09-28
Durham Co.
Comment:
Recorded by: Jim Petranka, John Petranka, Becky Elkin, and Steve Hall on 2021-09-28
Durham Co.
Comment:
Recorded by: Jim Petranka and Becky Elkin on 2021-09-03
Madison Co.
Comment: A pupal case on Shagbark Hickory (see companion photos of the occupied mine).
Recorded by: Jim Petranka and Becky Elkin on 2021-09-03
Madison Co.
Comment: A finished mine with the oval cut-out on Shagbark Hickory (see companion photo of the pupal case).
Recorded by: Jim Petranka and Becky Elkin on 2021-09-03
Madison Co.
Comment: An occupied mine on Shagbark hickory (see companion photos of the completed mine and pupal case).
Recorded by: Charley Eiseman (and Tracy S. Feldman) on 2015-06-02
Scotland Co.
Comment: An adult reared from a widening linear mine on Carya (the species identity was uncertain; it was either C.pallida or C. tomentosa). Photograph by Charley Eiseman.