Moths of North Carolina
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View PDFGracillariidae Members: 6 NC Records

Phyllonorycter lucidicostella (Clemens, 1859) - Lesser Maple Leaf Blotch Miner Moth



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Taxonomy
Superfamily: Gracillarioidea Family: GracillariidaeSubfamily: LithocolletinaeTribe: [Lithocolletini]P3 Number: 330300.00 MONA Number: 765.00
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: Beadle and Leckie (2012)Online Photographs: MPG; BugGuideTechnical Description, Adults: Braun, 1908.                                                                                  
Adult Markings: The following description is primarily based on descriptions in Clemens (1859) and Braun (1908). The antenna is white, and the head and tuft silvery white. The forewing is silvery white from the base to about the middle, then grades from silvery white to pale golden from there to the tip. There is a pale golden to golden-brown streak that extends from the base to about the middle of the wing or just beyond. The streak slowly angles away from the costa and terminates close to or at the dark margin on the first costal streak. In addition to the basal streak, there can be varying degrees of golden coloration below the fold. In some specimens there is only a thin golden line that extends from the golden apical half of the wing along the fold toward the base. At the other extreme, individuals may have the entire basal half of the wing below the fold suffused with golden coloration. There are four costal and two dorsal silvery streaks that have a dark margin on the anterior (basal) edge. The second dorsal streak is often obscure and may lack the dark margin. The first dorsal streak is opposite the second costal streak, and the apical spot is black and rounded. The cilia are pale gray and have a dark marginal line. The hindwings are bluish gray with gray cilia. Phyllonorycter argentifimbriella is very similar to P. lucidicostella, but has a forewing with less golden coloration, and a dark brown basal streak that often has a narrow golden margin (the streak is mostly golden in P. lucidicostella, but may have a darker margin). In addition, the streak of P. argentifimbriella is noticeably narrower than that of P. lucidicostella, and the second dorsal streak is more prominent (often greatly reduced in P. lucidicostella). These species segregate by host plants, so reared adults can be accurately assigned to species based on the hosts (oaks versus maples).
Wingspan: 6.5 - 7.0 mm (Braun, 1908; Forbes, 1923)
Adult ID Requirements: Identifiable from good quality photos of unworn specimens.
Immatures and Development: The larvae mine the undersides of maple leaves, and produce elongated, tentiform mines. Frass is collected into a ball within the mine, and the pupa is suspended in a web of silk. The mines that Eiseman (2019) examined measured 14 by 3.5 mm and had one to several distinct creases in the lower epidermis. The pupa was thrust from the end of the mine that was opposite the frass ball. Mines that Jim Petranka examined from Sugar Maples in Madison County averaged 24 x 15.6 mm (range = 20-32 x 13-18; N = 8) and lacked creases in the lower epidermis. Mines from another population in Buncombe County averaged 17.6 x 10.4 mm (range = 14-20 x 9-14; N = 5) and also lacked creases in the lower epidermis.
Larvae ID Requirements: Identifiable from good quality photos, especially where associated with known host plants.
Distribution in North Carolina
Distribution: Phyllonorycter lucidicostella is found in eastern North America from Ontario and Nova Scotia, westward to Illinois and Minnesota, and southward to Kentucky and North Carolina. We have records from both the coast and the high 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: Local populations appear to have two or more broods per year (Eiseman, 2019). Active mines of this species are often abundant on Sugar Maples during October. Individuals presumably overwinter as pupae, with the adults emerging during the spring warm-up and leaf-out. As of 2020, our earliest records for occupied mines are from June, while the latest are from October.
Habitats and Life History
Habitats: This species feeds on maples and is generally restricted to habitats where the host trees occur. Examples include floodplains, streambanks, mesic hardwood forests, mixed-hardwood forests, and wooded urban environments.
Larval Host Plants: The known hosts include Florida Maple (A. floridanum), Silver Maple (A. saccharinum), and Sugar Maple (A. saccharum). The mines are often common on Sugar Maples in the autumn.
Observation Methods: The adults are attracted to lights, and the mines are sometimes common on maple leaves. The adults should be reared since two other Phyllonorycter species mine maple leaves and produce similar mines.
Wikipedia
See also Habitat Account for Rich Wet-Mesic Hardwood Forests
Status in North Carolina
Natural Heritage Program Status:
Natural Heritage Program Ranks: GNR SU
State Protection: Has no legal protection, although permits are required to collect it on state parks and other public lands.
Comments: We currently do not have sufficient information on the distribution and abundance of this species to accurately assess its conservation status within the state.

 Photo Gallery for Phyllonorycter lucidicostella - Lesser Maple Leaf Blotch Miner Moth

Photos: 13

Recorded by: Jim Petranka and Becky Elkin on 2020-07-08
Buncombe Co.
Comment: An adult that was reared from a mine on Sugar Maple.
Recorded by: Jim Petranka and Becky Elkin on 2020-07-08
Buncombe Co.
Comment: An adult that was reared from a mine on Sugar Maple.
Recorded by: Jim Petranka and Becky Elkin on 2020-07-08
Buncombe Co.
Comment: An adult that was reared from a mine on Sugar Maple.
Recorded by: Jim Petranka and Becky Elkin on 2020-06-25
Buncombe Co.
Comment: A view of the upper leaf surface of a Sugar Maple with a mine.
Recorded by: Jim Petranka and Becky Elkin on 2020-06-25
Buncombe Co.
Comment: A view of a mine on the lower leaf surface of a Sugar Maple.
Recorded by: Jim Petranka and Becky Elkin on 2020-06-25
Buncombe Co.
Comment: A view of a second mine on the lower leaf surface of a Sugar Maple.
Recorded by: Jim Petranka and Becky Elkin on 2020-06-09
Madison Co.
Comment:
Recorded by: Jim Petranka and Becky Elkin on 2020-02-20
Madison Co.
Comment:
Recorded by: Jim Petranka and Becky Elkin on 2020-02-20
Madison Co.
Comment:
Recorded by: Jim Petranka and Becky Elkin on 2020-02-20
Madison Co.
Comment:
Recorded by: on 2019-10-14
Madison Co.
Comment: A view of upper leaf surface of a Sugar Maple with two mines.
Recorded by: on 2019-10-14
Madison Co.
Comment: A view of upper leaf surface of a Sugar Maple with two mines.
Recorded by: on 2019-10-14
Madison Co.
Comment: A dissected mine with the larva and frass ball exposed.