Moths of North Carolina
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View PDFGracillariidae Members: 5 NC Records

Phyllonorycter celtisella (Chambers, 1871) - No Common Name



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Taxonomy
Superfamily: Gracillarioidea Family: GracillariidaeSubfamily: LithocolletinaeP3 Number: 330275.00 MONA Number: 743.00
Comments: Phyllonorycter is a genus of small and often colorful moths, with 79 described species in North America. The larvae of most form underside tentiform mines on woody plants and pupate within the mines.
Identification
Field Guide Descriptions: Online Photographs: MPG; BugGuide; BAMONATechnical Description, Adults: Braun, 1908.Technical Description, Immature Stages: Braun, 1908; Eiseman, 2019.                                                                                  
Adult Markings: The following is primarily based on descriptions in Chambers (1871a) and Braun (1908). The face and palpi are silvery white, and the antenna is silvery and annulated above with dark brown. The tuft, thorax, and ground color of the forewing are different shades of saffron. There is a white patch in the center of the saffron tuft, and a white line across the anterior margin and sides of the upper thorax. The white line on each side of the thorax is sometimes absent. When present, it is confluent with a rather long, narrow, median basal white streak on the forewing. The streak extends from the wing base to about two-fifths of the wing length, and is faintly edged with dark scales on the costal margin. Just before the middle of the forewing, there is a white chevron-shaped fascia with a tip that projects apically. The fascia is rather boldly marked with dark scales on the anterior (basal) margin. Just before the base of the dorsal cilia, there is a second fascia or partial fascia that is less well-defined. This may consists of either a white streak with a dark anterior margin, or a fragmented and reduced version of this. Instead of a complete fascia, specimens may have a dorsal and costal streak with many dark brown scales interspersed to obscure the white, or merely two or three patches of dark scales with most of the white obscured. The dorsal margin of the wing has a narrow white line that is margined with scattered dark scales. It extends from the base to the first fascia, and sometimes is faintly evident all the way to the base of the cilia. The apex is dusted with dark brown scales on a white ground that is often sufficiently dense to form a patch. There is a short, oblique white costal streak that abuts the dark scale patch on the anterior side. Sometimes the dusting is not thick, and the whole apical portion of the wing is sparsely flecked with dark brown scales. The legs are whitish with darker marks along their length. Characters that are helpful in identifying this species include the saffron ground color, the long, narrow, median basal white streak on the forewing, and the first fascia that is boldly marked with dark scales on the basal margin. Phyllonorycter basistrigella is somewhat similar, but has an incomplete fascia that consists of a dorsal and costal streak, and that lack a bold dark margin.
Adult ID Requirements: Identifiable from good quality photos of unworn specimens.
Immatures and Development: After hatching, the larva enters the leaf on the lower surface and initially make a narrow linear mine. As it matures, it cuts through the parenchyma to the upper side, where the mine broadens into an elongate blotch. The mature mine is tent-like and has a characteristic longitudinal ridge on the upper leaf surface. The larva eventually consumes the entire parenchyma, so that only the dark discolored remnants of the leaf remain (Braun, 1908; Eiseman and Davis, 2020). Pupation occurs within the mine.
Larvae ID Requirements: Identifiable from good quality photos, especially where associated with known host plants.
Distribution in North Carolina
Distribution: Phyllonorycter celtisella is widely distributed in eastern North America where the host plants occur locally. Populations occur from Ontario and Connecticut southward and westward to Kentucky, North Carolina, Iowa, Oklahoma, and Texas (Eiseman and Davis, 2020). As of 2021, all of our records are from the east-central portion on the state.
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
Flight Comments: The adults appear shortly after the spring leaf-out. Our earliest record for mines is early May, which suggest that the adults emerge in April in North Carolina. Local populations probably produce as least two broods through the late spring and summer months.
Habitats and Life History
Habitats: The larvae only feed on hackberries (Celtis spp.). The hosts include (C. laevigata), which is found on riverbanks, natural levees, and forested floodplains, and (C. occidentalis), which prefers nutrient-rich forests with high soil pH.
Larval Host Plants: The known hosts are Southern Hackberry (Celtis laevigata) and Northern Hackberry (C. occidentalis). As of 2021, our records in North Carolina are all from C. laevigata. Celtis occidentalis is uncommon in North Carolina, and is mostly confined to the mountains and upper Piedmont where mafic or calcareous bedrocks occur. Although we have no records for the mountains, P. celtisella could be present where scattered, local populations of Northern Hackberry occur.
Observation Methods: The adults are attracted to UV lights, but are most easily obtained by rearing them from mines on hackberries. Braun (1908) noted that the mines are often abundant on hackberries, and they can be easily identified by the conspicuous crease that occurs on the upper surface of the mine. Phyllonorycter celtifoliella also mines hackberries, but produces a crease on the underside of the leaf.
Wikipedia
See also Habitat Account for Rich Wet-Dry Hardwood Forests
Status in North Carolina
Natural Heritage Program Status:
Natural Heritage Program Ranks: GNR SU
State Protection:
Comments: We currently do not have sufficient data on the distribution and abundance of populations in North Carolina to assess the conservation status of this species.

 Photo Gallery for Phyllonorycter celtisella - No common name

Photos: 11

Recorded by: Jim Petranka on 2021-06-07
Catawba Co.
Comment:
Recorded by: Jim Petranka on 2021-06-07
Catawba Co.
Comment:
Recorded by: Ken Kneidel on 2020-09-02
Mecklenburg Co.
Comment: on Celtis occidentalis (ID made by Charley Eiseman).
Recorded by: Ken Kneidel on 2020-09-02
Mecklenburg Co.
Comment: on Celtis occidentalis (ID made by Charley Eiseman).
Recorded by: Ken Kneidel on 2020-09-02
Mecklenburg Co.
Comment:
Recorded by: Tracy S. Feldman on 2019-05-08
Scotland Co.
Comment: An upper-surface tentiform mine on Celtis laevigata. Note the conspicuous longitudinal ridge on the upper epidermis that is diagnostic for this Celtis specialist.
Recorded by: Tracy S. Feldman on 2019-05-08
Scotland Co.
Comment: An upper-surface tentiform mine on Celtis laevigata. Note the conspicuous longitudinal ridge on the upper epidermis that is diagnostic for this Celtis specialist.
Recorded by: Tracy S. Feldman on 2019-05-08
Scotland Co.
Comment: An upper-surface tentiform mine on Celtis laevigata. Note the conspicuous longitudinal ridge on the upper epidermis that is diagnostic for this Celtis specialist.
Recorded by: Tracy S. Feldman on 2017-07-05
Durham Co.
Comment: A unoccupied mine on Celtis laevigata.
Recorded by: Tracy S. Feldman on 2017-07-05
Durham Co.
Comment: A unoccupied mine on Celtis laevigata.
Recorded by: Kyle Kittelberger on 2013-07-28
Wake Co.
Comment: