Moths of North Carolina
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View PDFGracillariidae Members: 3 NC Records

Macrosaccus morrisella (Fitch, 1859) - No Common Name



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Taxonomy
Superfamily: Gracillarioidea Family: GracillariidaeSubfamily: LithocolletinaeP3 Number: 330336.00 MONA Number: 773.00
Comments: Macrosaccus is a small genus of gracillariid moths that mine the leaflets of legumes. There are five described species in Central and North America. Three of the species were previously assigned to the genus Phyllonorycter (Davis and De Prins, 2011).
Identification
Field Guide Descriptions: Online Photographs: MPG, BugGuide, BAMONATechnical Description, Adults: Davis and DePrins (2011)Technical Description, Immature Stages: Davis and DePrins (2011); Eiseman (2019)                                                                                 
Adult Markings: The following is based on a detailed description by Davis and De Prins (2011). The frons is smooth and shiny white, and the vertex is extremely rough. The vestiture consists of a tuft of elongate, piliform, mostly dark brown scales that are intermixed with white scales. The labial palps are white, and the antennae have whitish tips, but are otherwise dark fuscous dorsally. The forewing pattern is complex. The ground color of the costal half is mostly light orange brown, while the basal third and dorsal half of the forewing are usually darker, mostly black to sometimes pale golden gray between the white streaks. There are four equally spaced, white, costal streaks. These are bordered basally by black to dark gray scales and distally by light gray scales. There are three similar white dorsal streaks with dark borders, and the middle streak is connected to the second costal streak to form a narrow white fascia. Finally, a white, narrow, basal streak is present (sometimes obscure) that extends from the wing base for a short distance, and runs roughly parallel to the dorsal margin. A black apical spot is present near the wing tip and the fringe has a dark margin. The hindwing and fringe are uniformly gray. The legs are mostly dark fuscous dorsally with two or three dark annuli or bands on the tibia and tarsal region. Macrosaccus morrisella, M. uhlerella and M. robiniella are very small leaf-miners that superficially resemble one another, but differ in host plants and structural features. M. morrisella has a white streak at the base of the forewing (absent or greatly reduced on M. robiniella and M. uhleri), and the median white facia is complete (normally broken in M. robiniella). In addition, the basal white dorsal strigula is more pronounced on M. morrisella and the basal two costal streaks are less oblique.
Forewing Length: 2.3-2.8 mm (Davis and DePrins, 2011).
Adult Structural Features: Davis and De Prins (2011) provide detailed descriptions and illustrations of the male and female genitalia. The male genitalia are most similar to that of M. robiniella, particularly with regard to the more abruptly constricted apical third of the valva. The female genitalia differ from the latter in lacking the minute longitudinally oriented striae and spicules in the walls of the corpus bursae.
Adult ID Requirements: Identifiable from good quality photos of unworn specimens.
Immatures and Development: The leaf mine begins as an elongated, serpentine track on the underside of the leaf and later develops into an elongated oval whitish patch (Eiseman, 2019). This eventually becomes tentiform (the leaf becomes distorted to produce a tent-like shelter for the larva). Davis and DePrins (2011) provide descriptions and photographs of the leaf mines of all three Macrosaccus species that are found in the eastern US.
Larvae ID Requirements: Identifiable from good quality photos, especially where associated with known host plants.
Distribution in North Carolina
Distribution: Macrosaccus morrisella is widespread in eastern North America. Populations have been documented from southern Canada (Manitoba; Ontario; Quebec) eastward to the east coast, and southward and westward to Kentucky, the Carolinas, Texas, and Colorado. Populations in Colorado and Texas appear to be disjunct from the main range. Our records for this species come from low to mid-elevations in the central and southern 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: Adults outside of North Carolina have been collected during most months of the year during the growing season, but peak activity is July-Sept. We have an adult record from late April, and active mines through early September.
Habitats and Life History
Habitats: The host plant (American Hog-peanut) is mostly found in forest or along forest edges with moist soils. It can also tolerate fairly dry conditions (Weakley, 2015).
Larval Host Plants: In North Carolina, M. morrisella is a specialist on American Hog-peanut (Amphicarpaea bracteata), while M. uhlerella feeds on false indigo (Amorpha spp.) and M. robiniella on Robinia spp. Outside of North Carolina, M. morrisella also uses Slickseed Fuzzybean (Strophostyles leiosperma), which is found in the central US.
Observation Methods: Searching for leaf mines on Amphicarpaea may be the best way to locate local populations.
Wikipedia
See also Habitat Account for General Wet-Mesic Hardwood Forests
Status in North Carolina
Natural Heritage Program Status:
Natural Heritage Program Ranks: GNR S3S5
State Protection: Has no legal protection, although permits are required to collect it on state parks and other public lands.
Comments: Hog-peanut is listed as S5. It occupies a fairly wide range of habitats and occurs from the Mountains eastward across the Piedmont. On that basis, we estimate that this species is secure within the state, although more information on its distribution, habitat associations, and population trends are needed to more accurately determine its conservation status.

 Photo Gallery for Macrosaccus morrisella - No common name

Photos: 4

Recorded by: Jim Petranka and Becky Elkin on 2019-09-02
Madison Co.
Comment: A view of the underside of American Hog Peanut with a tentiform leaf mine.
Recorded by: Jim Petranka and Becky Elkin on 2019-09-02
Madison Co.
Comment: A side view of American Hog Peanut with a tentiform leaf mine.
Recorded by: Jim Petranka and Becky Elkin on 2019-04-24
Madison Co.
Comment:
Recorded by: Jim Petranka and Becky Elkin on 2019-04-24
Madison Co.
Comment: