Moths of North Carolina
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View PDFTischeriidae Members: 6 NC Records

Coptotriche aenea (Frey & Boll, 1873) - Blackberry Leafminer Moth



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Taxonomy
Superfamily: Tischerioidea Family: TischeriidaeP3 Number: 230021.00 MONA Number: 149.00
Comments: Coptotriche is a genus of specialized leafminers that currently consists of 28 recognized Nearctic species. Most species fall within one of two major groups. Members of the first group typically have orangish to yellowish forewings (rarely white) and specialize on oaks and chestnuts, while members of the second group have dark gray, brown, or blackish forewings and mostly feed on members of the Rosaceae (Braun, 1972; Eiseman, 2019).
Identification
Field Guide Descriptions: Online Photographs: MPG; BugGuide; Microleps.comTechnical Description, Adults: Braun, 1972.Technical Description, Immature Stages: Braun, 1972.                                                                                 
Adult Markings: The following is from Braun's (1972) description of adults based on studies of 59 specimens from throughout the range of the species. The face is white with a slight metallic luster, and the head is bronzy lustrous. The antennal shaft of the male has long cilia, while that of the female has very fine short cilia towards the tip. The forewing is very lustrous metallic coppery and becomes darker and slightly purplish tinged at the apex. However, the brilliancy of the luster varies considerably among individuals. The hindwing is dark bronzy purplish and the cilia are concolorous. Near the base of the costa, a line of black scales is present that scarcely projects. The legs are dark gray, and the hind tarsi are white above. The abdomen is blackish bronzy. Coptotriche aenea is a member of the Rosaceae-feeding group and is superficially similar to other species with brownish, drab coloration. This is the only member of this group that feeds on Rubus spp., and the females have fine short cilia on the antennae that are confined to the tip. Other species with ciliated antennae use host plants other than Rubus and have cilia of similar size throughout the entire length of the female's antenna.
Wingspan: 6.5-7.5 mm (Braun, 1972).
Adult Structural Features: Braun (1972) provides keys for identifying males and females based on genitalia. Her verbatim description of the genitalia follows: vinculum very obtusely angled; harpe broadly rounded at apex, clothed inwardly with long setae; anellus cylindric, its lateral margins sclerotized; aedeagus forking at two-thirds the length of the stalk, forks narrowing to the acute apices, clothed with scale-like cuticular outgrowths of several sizes; forks of uncus not widely separated, the sclerotization between them with a median pair of elliptical lobes, not always defined. Female genitalia (fig. 128). Ovipositor and lateral lobes equal in size, peg setae of the ovipositor lobes slender, some elongate and curved, setae of lateral lobes variable; sex opening posteriorly angled; posterior apophyses slender, anterior apophyses as long as the posterior apophyses; prela moderate in size, curved outwardly at apices.
Adult ID Requirements: Identifiable from photos showing hindwings, abdomen, or other specialized views [e.g., frons, palps, antennae, undersides].
Immatures and Development: The larvae mine the leaves of blackberries, dewberries, and raspberries (Rubus spp.). The mine usually lies between two lateral veins, but occasionally crosses a vein. The larva constructs a circular hole for ejection of frass at the beginning of the mine. The mine gradually increases in width and develops a light brown color. As feeding progresses, the loosened epidermis is drawn into several prominent longitudinal folds and the leaf is drawn together. The mine shape varies considerable and can range from being an elongated blotch to somewhat funnel-shaped. Pupation takes place in a silken-lined chamber beneath the longitudinal folds, and the pupae have long forked setae.
Larvae ID Requirements: Identifiable from good quality photos, especially where associated with known host plants.
Distribution in North Carolina
Distribution: Coptotriche aenea occurs throughout much of eastern North America. Populations have been documented from southern Canada to as far south as Texas and Florida (Braun, 1972; Eiseman, 2019). We have only a few records for North Carolina as of 2019 that are from the Blue Ridge and Coastal Plain (BugGuide). Additional searches for leaf mines will likely yield many more records.
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: Records from throughout the range of C. aenea indicate that adults have multiple broods and are active throughout most of the growing season. Larvae in fall broods may overwinter and pupate during the spring warm-up. Both of our records from the lower mountains as of 2019 were for overwintering larvae.
Habitats and Life History
Habitats:
Larval Host Plants: The larvae mine the leaves of several species of Rubus, including Allegheny Blackberry (R. allegheniensis), Northern Dewberry (R. flagellaris), Pennsylvania Blackberry (Rubus pensilvanicus), Swamp Dewberry (R. hispidus), Black Raspberry (R. occidentalis), Dwarf Red Blackberry (R. pubescens), and Southern Dewberry (R. trivialis).
Wikipedia
See also Habitat Account for General Successional Fields and Forblands
Status in North Carolina
Natural Heritage Program Status:
Natural Heritage Program Ranks: GNR SU
State Protection:
Comments:

 Photo Gallery for Coptotriche aenea - Blackberry Leafminer Moth

Photos: 14

Recorded by: Ken Kneidel on 2020-11-20
Cabarrus Co.
Comment:
Recorded by: Ken Kneidel on 2020-11-20
Cabarrus Co.
Comment:
Recorded by: Jim Petranka and Becky Elkin on 2019-11-30
Madison Co.
Comment: View of the upper surface of a Rubus leaf with three overlapping mines. Two overwintering larvae were inside.
Recorded by: Jim Petranka and Becky Elkin on 2019-11-30
Madison Co.
Comment: View if the underside of a Rubus leaf with three mines. A feeding larvae defecates through a circular pore on the leaf (indicated by arrow), so that the mines are frass-free.
Recorded by: Jim Petranka and Becky Elkin on 2019-11-30
Madison Co.
Comment: A backlit leaf showing two overwintering larvae.
Recorded by: Jim Petranka and Becky Elkin on 2019-11-04
Transylvania Co.
Comment: A view of an upper surface mine on Southern Dewberry. Identification verified by Charley Eiseman.
Recorded by: Jim Petranka and Becky Elkin on 2019-11-04
Transylvania Co.
Comment: A view of the lower leaf surface of Southern Dewberry with an upper surface mine.
Recorded by: Jim Petranka and Becky Elkin on 2019-11-04
Transylvania Co.
Comment: View of a dissected mine and the larva that was actively feeding inside.
Recorded by: Tracy S. Feldman on 2018-07-10
Wake Co.
Comment: An adult that was reared from larvae in mine D1053 combined mine with several larvae from Lake Crabtree--photographed at night in variable light--thus the coloration varies.
Recorded by: Tracy S. Feldman on 2018-07-10
Wake Co.
Comment: An adult that was reared from larvae in mine D1053 combined mine with several larvae from Lake Crabtree--photographed at night in variable light--thus the coloration varies.
Recorded by: Tracy S. Feldman on 2018-06-22
Wake Co.
Comment: Large combined mine on Rubus pensilvanicus.
Recorded by: Tracy S. Feldman on 2018-06-22
Wake Co.
Comment: Large combined mine on Rubus pensilvanicus.
Recorded by: Tracy S. Feldman on 2018-06-22
Wake Co.
Comment: Large combined mine on Rubus pensilvanicus.
Recorded by: Tracy S. Feldman on 2017-06-20
Scotland Co.
Comment: