Moths of North Carolina
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View PDFTischeriidae Members: 7 NC Records

Coptotriche badiiella (Chambers, 1875) - No Common Name



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Taxonomy
Superfamily: Tischerioidea Family: TischeriidaeP3 Number: 230023.00 MONA Number: 129.00
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).
Species Status: Coptotriche badiiella is one of several morphologically similar species of Coptotriche in North Carolina that specialize on oaks. Distinguishing between species based on photographs can be challenging, and additional information on the characteristics of the leaf mines, pupae, hindwings and genitalia can greatly facilitate the identification of species.
Identification
Field Guide Descriptions: Online Photographs: MPG, BugGuide, iNaturalist, Google, BAMONATechnical Description, Adults: Braun (1972)Technical Description, Immature Stages: Braun (1972)                                                                                 
Adult Markings: The following is from Braun's (1972) description based on studies of 164 specimens from throughout the range of the species. The face and antennal scape are either white or faintly tinged with ocherous. The tuft is whitish, and the head ocherous in the posterior and lateral regions. The antenna is whitish, but fuscous beneath on the male. The lateral region of the thorax is more deeply colored than the head. The forewing varies from pale sulphur yellow to orange yellow, and shades to reddish or brownish orange along the costa and in the apical third of the wing. The apical third has scattered dark dusting that usually forms a distinct dark line around the apex at the base of the cilia. A patch of dark dusting is present at the tornus that is sometimes faint or obsolete, and is rarely large and conspicuous. The dorsal margin is darker than the general ground color, and has a few dark-tipped scales scattered along it. In some specimens, the reddish or brownish orange color may spread over the entire wing so that the wing appears uniformly colored and the tornal spot is obscured. The underside of the base of the costa of the male is fuscous. The hindwing and cilia are tinged with ocherous, especially toward the apex. The wing is very narrow in the male, and somewhat broader in the female toward base. The legs are pale ocherous and dusted with fuscous outwardly. The abdomen is pale ocherous above, with darker, but pale dusting beneath. Braun (1972) noted that the adults often vary substantially in terms of the ground color, the amount of dark dusting, the degree of development of the tornal patch (sometimes obsolete), and the degree of spreading of the darker orange brown color over the wing surface. Genitalia provide the most reliable characters for identifying this species. The pupa also has a pointed tubercle on the head that is a unique character for this species.
Wingspan: 7.5 to 8 mm (Braun, 1972.
Adult Structural Features: Braun (1972) provides keys and illustrations for identifying both males and females based on genitalia. Her verbatim description of the genitalia follows: vinculum abruptly tapering to an acute angle, then produced as a long slender rod; harpes large, greatly exceeding uncus, cucullus indicated; anellus with deep ventral sinus, and two lateral minutely spinulose elongate lobes; stalk of aedeagus long, very slender, forks long, midsection clothed with pointed scale-like cuticular outgrowths; forks of uncus broad, abruptly tapering near tips, narrowly separated at base by a crescent-shaped sclerotization. Female genitalia: ovipositor and lateral lobes subequal, peg setae separated, setae of lateral lobes stout; sex opening arched posteriorly; tips of posterior apophyses triangularly enlarged; sternite of segment 8 reduced, arms of patibulum widening in basal third; prela slender, bases narrow. Male C. badiiella have distinctive genitalia; the aedeagus -- and the anellus with lateral lobes -- distinguish this species from related forms. For females, the best distinguishing characters are the slender prela and the triangularly enlarged tips of the posterior apophyses.
Adult ID Requirements: Identifiable only by close inspection of structural features or by DNA analysis.
Immatures and Development: The larvae mine the leaves of oaks, and with few exceptions use White Oak (Quercus alba) as their primary host. According to Braun (1972), the egg is placed against a vein and the mine appears white from the loosened epidermis. The mine is initially narrow and has a dense, white, silk-lined area. It later expands into an elongated blotch with time (Eiseman, 2019). As the larva matures, the leaf epidermis near the beginning of the mine develops several fine wrinkles and the leaf becomes somewhat bent. In very young leaves, the epidermis may be torn as the leaf enlarges. The mature larva has a distinctive dark pattern on the dorsum of the thorax, and the pupa has a diagnostic beak-like structure that project from the front of the head (see images). The mature mines from a site in the Piedmont of North Carolina that were examined by Jim Petranka consisted of elongated blotches with very short lateral lobes. The larvae pupated within the mine beneath an area that was thickened with silk. This drew opposing portions of the leaf together to form a tentiform pupation chamber.
Distribution in North Carolina
Distribution: Most of our understanding of the distribution of Coptotriche badiiella is based on Braun's (1972) comprehensive study of museum and reared specimens. Local populations occur in Ontario, the Midwest, and the Northeast, then south and southwestward to Arkansas, Louisiana, Kentucky, and North Carolina. Populations are rather poorly documented in North Carolina, but include records from Macon Co. (Braun, 1972) and from several recent leaf mine records in the Piedmont.
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: Braun (1972) noted that there are two or three generations in a year.
Habitats and Life History
Habitats: This species relies heavily on White Oak and presumably is restricted to habitats with the host species, including urban landscapes and hardwood and mixed hardwood-pine forests.
Larval Host Plants: Records of mines -- or adults reared from mines -- are almost always from White Oak (Quercus alba), which is common throughout the state. Braun (1972) reported the use of Pin Oak (Q. palustris) in Indiana. In North Carolina, Q. palustris occurs as small, scattered populations in the Piedmont, and at a few localities in the Coastal Plain. As of 2021, all of our records are from White Oak.
Observation Methods: Most of the specimens in collections are from individuals that were reared from White Oak, suggesting that the adults rarely visit lights. We recommend searching for mines and rearing adults after the spring leaf-out. The distinctive beak on the pupa is also a good diagnostic trait.
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 do not have sufficient data on the distribution and abundance of this species to assess its conservation status. It appeared to be rare in North Carolina, but recent searches for leaf mines have yielded several new county records.

 Photo Gallery for Coptotriche badiiella - No common name

Photos: 16

Recorded by: Jim Petranka and Becky Elkin on 2021-10-11
Burke Co.
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Recorded by: Jim Petranka and Becky Elkin on 2021-10-11
Burke Co.
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Recorded by: Dean Furbish on 2021-10-03
Wake Co.
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Recorded by: Dean Furbish on 2021-10-03
Wake Co.
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Recorded by: Jim Petranka, John Petranka, Becky Elkin, Sally Gewalt on 2021-09-29
Durham Co.
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Recorded by: Jim Petranka, John Petranka, Becky Elkin, Sally Gewalt on 2021-09-29
Durham Co.
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Recorded by: Jim Petranka, John Petranka, Becky Elkin, Sally Gewalt on 2021-09-29
Durham Co.
Comment: A view of a mature mine with an elongated, whitish pupation chamber on the right. The mine was originally collected on 29 September and rephotographed on 17 October after the larva pupated.
Recorded by: Jim Petranka, John Petranka, Becky Elkin, Sally Gewalt on 2021-09-29
Durham Co.
Comment: A view of the underside of a White Oak leaf with a tentiform pupation chamber. Local areas of the leaf were drawn together by a dense area of silk that was spun on the upper side of the leaf.
Recorded by: Jim Petranka, John Petranka, Becky Elkin, Sally Gewalt on 2021-09-29
Orange Co.
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Recorded by: Jim Petranka, John Petranka, Becky Elkin, Sally Gewalt on 2021-09-29
Orange Co.
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Recorded by: Jim Petranka, John Petranka, Becky Elkin, Sally Gewalt on 2021-09-29
Orange Co.
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Recorded by: Jim Petranka, John Petranka, Becky Elkin, Sally Gewalt on 2021-09-29
Orange Co.
Comment: Ventral view of a pupa from a mine on White Oak with a beak-like structure on the head (see companion photos of the mines and larva).
Recorded by: Jim Petranka on 2021-08-11
Randolph Co.
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Recorded by: Jim Petranka on 2021-08-11
Randolph Co.
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Recorded by: Jim Petranka on 2021-08-11
Randolph Co.
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Recorded by: Jim Petranka on 2021-08-11
Randolph Co.
Comment: Occupied mines were on White Oak.