Moths of North Carolina
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View PDFAmphisbatidae Members: 30 NC Records

Psilocorsis cryptolechiella (Chambers, 1872) - Black-fringed Leaftier Moth


Taxonomy
Superfamily: Gelechioidea Family: AmphisbatidaeSubfamily: [Amphisbatinae]Tribe: [Amphisbatini]P3 Number: 420260.00 MONA Number: 956.00
Comments: Psilocorsis is a small genus with around 15 described species and several undescribed forms. They range from southeastern Canada to northern South America, but appear to be absent from the West Coast (Hodges, 1974). Seven species occur in North America north of Mexico (Pohl et al., 2016), three of which have been recorded in North Carolina.
Species Status: Hodges (1974) synonomized several forms which were treated as distinct species by Forbes (1923), Clarke (1941) and others with Psilocorsis cryptolechiella. These included P. faginella, P. obsoletella, P. dubitatella, and P. cressonella.
Identification
Field Guide Descriptions: Covell (1984); Leckie and Beadle (2018).Online Photographs: MPG, BugGuide, iNaturalist, Google, BAMONATechnical Description, Adults: Chambers (1872); Clarke (1941); Hodges (1974)Technical Description, Immature Stages: Chambers (1872); Clarke (1941)                                                                                 
Adult Markings: The following description is primarily based on descriptions in Forbes (1923), Clarke (1941), Hodges (1974). The head and thorax are dark yellowish brown and the labial palp is slender, strongly recurved, and pointed. The second segment of the labial palp is ochreous with a dark fuscous longitudinal stripe beneath, while the third segment is fuscous with a median and lateral longitudinal whitish stripe. The antenna is yellowish brown above with darker annulations. The head, thorax, and base of the forewing are reddish-orange and darker than the ground color of the rest of the forewing, which is pale yellow to orange. The forewing is striated with narrow, well-defined, elongated lines of dark brown. The scales of the forewing are somewhat reflective, producing a shimmering effect (Hodges, 1974). Chambers (1872) described the wings as "pale golden, with the lustre of 'watered' silk, produced by a multitude of transverse, narrow, wavy, dark brown lines". An adterminal line of dark spots is present that usually extends from the apex to about mid-way across the outer margin, where they either stop or become greatly reduced in size. The fringe is dark gray with a blackish marginal band at the base. Psilocorsis quercicella is similar in size and also has dark adterminal spots and a gray fringe. However, it lacks the narrow, long striations found in P. cryptolechiella, having more diffuse, somewhat elongated blotches that dust the forewing. In P. quercicella the dark suffusion of the forewing at two-thirds is usually in the form of a diffuse blotch that extends from the middle of the wing to the inner margin. In specimens where it extends beyond the middle, the costal portion is less developed. In P. cryptolechiella the region typically has a dark, diffuse band or dark dusting across the entire wing. P. reflexella is much larger than the other two species and usually has a darker ground color, a more poorly marked adterminal line, and a lighter, non-contrasting fringe.
Wingspan: 13-17 mm (Clarke, 1941).
Forewing Length: 5.5-7.5 mm (Hodges, 1974)
Adult Structural Features: Clarke (1941) provides detailed descriptions of the male and female genitalia, which closely resemble those of P. quercicella. The latter can be distinguished from P. cryptolechiella by the cornuti, which consist of a patch of long spines. In P. cryptolechiella they consist of one long stout cornutus and a patch of very fine ones. In the female of P. quercicella the base of the ductus bursae is uniformly slender and very lightly sclerotized, In P. cryptolechiella it has two discrete sclerotized patches, one at the base and the other distad (Hodges, 1974). The hair pencil from the first abdominal segment of the male is strongly developed in both species (Clarke, 1941).
Adult ID Requirements: Identifiable from good quality photos of unworn specimens.
Immatures and Development: The larvae are leaftiers and create feeding shelters by binding two overlapping leaves together with silk. Marquis et al. (2019) reported that females in Missouri oviposit from May through September, with larvae present from May through October. There are two generations per year, and pupation occurs in the leaf litter. The larvae resemble those of P. quercicella, but only the first thoracic segment is dark on P. cryptolechiella, versus all three segments dark on P. quercicella (Clarke, 1941). The body is somewhat flattened, varies from greenish to yellowish, and the sides have two rows of small tubercles (Clemens, 1860). Marquis et al. (2019) provide details about how to distinguish the larvae from other species that look very similar.
Larvae ID Requirements: Identifiable from close inspection of specimens or by DNA analysis.
Distribution in North Carolina
Distribution: Psilocorsis cryptolechiella occurs throughout much of the eastern US. and in adjoining areas of southern Canada (Manitoba; Ontario; Quebec; New Brunswick; Nova Scotia). In the US, the range extends from the northeastern states westward to Illinois, eastern Kansas, central Oklahoma, and eastern Texas, and southward to the Gulf Coast and northern Florida. As of 2020, our records extend from coastal forests to lower elevations in the mountains. Populations are well represented in the Coastal Plain and eastern Piedmont, but less so farther west.
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: Hodges (1974) noted that most local populations appear to be bivoltine, with the first brood in mid-spring to late-spring, and a second in mid-summer. As of 2020, we have records from early May through mid-September. The Piedmont populations show evidence of being bivoltine, but sample sizes are too small in the remaining provinces to assess seasonal broods.
Habitats and Life History
Habitats: The larvae are polyphagous and feed on a variety of hardwoods, particularly oaks (Marquis et al., 2019). Many of our records come from wooded residential neighborhoods, and a few are from rich upland hardwood slopes in the mountains. Local populations can be expected in a variety of other habitats that support hardwood forests.
Larval Host Plants: The larvae are polyphagous and utilized a variety of hardwood trees. The principal host plants are various species of oaks (Hodges, 1974; Marquis et al., 2019), but the larvae also feed to a lesser extent on other hardwoods is different areas of the range (Robinson et al. (2010). These include Yellow Birch (Betula alleghaniensis), Paper Birch (B. papyrifera), Gray Birch (B. populifolia), Pecan (Carya illinoinensis), American Beech (Fagus grandifolia), Northern Bayberry (Morella pensylvanica), Black Locust (Robinia pseudoacacia) and American Chestnut (Castanea dentata). Oaks that are used include White Oak (Quercus alba), Shingle Oak (Q. imbricaria), Overcup Oak (Quercus lyrata), Chinquapin Oak (Q. muehlenbergii), Post Oak (Q. stellata), Black Oak (Q. velutina) and Northern Red Oak (Quercus rubra).
Observation Methods: The adults are attracted to lights. We have little data on the host plants that are used in North Carolina, so we encourage naturalists to search for the leaf-bound nests on oaks, beeches and other hosts.
Wikipedia
See also Habitat Account for General 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: Too little is currently known about the distribution, habitat associations, and host plant range to make any estimate about this species conservation status in North Carolina.

 Photo Gallery for Psilocorsis cryptolechiella - Black-fringed Leaftier Moth

Photos: 20

Recorded by: Gary Maness on 2021-05-20
Guilford Co.
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Recorded by: Steve Hall on 2020-07-22
Orange Co.
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Recorded by: Steve Hall on 2020-06-02
Orange Co.
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Recorded by: Gary Maness on 2020-06-01
Guilford Co.
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Recorded by: Gary Maness on 2020-05-28
Guilford Co.
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Recorded by: Steve Hall on 2020-05-24
Orange Co.
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Recorded by: Gary Maness on 2020-05-16
Guilford Co.
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Recorded by: Mark Shields on 2020-05-10
Onslow Co.
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Recorded by: Gary Maness on 2019-08-21
Guilford Co.
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Recorded by: Gary Maness on 2019-08-11
Guilford Co.
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Recorded by: Stephen Hall on 2019-07-26
Orange Co.
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Recorded by: Gary Maness on 2019-07-21
Guilford Co.
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Recorded by: Gary Maness on 2019-07-08
Guilford Co.
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Recorded by: Gary Maness on 2019-06-01
Guilford Co.
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Recorded by: Steve Hall on 2019-05-06
Orange Co.
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Recorded by: Stephen Hall on 2018-06-01
Orange Co.
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Recorded by: Darryl Willis on 2016-04-19
Cabarrus Co.
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Recorded by: Steve Hall on 2015-05-08
Orange Co.
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Recorded by: Paul Scharf on 2014-05-19
Warren Co.
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Recorded by: T. DeSantis on 2012-05-13
Camden Co.
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