Moths of North Carolina
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View PDFNepticulidae Members: 15 NC Records

Stigmella caryaefoliella (Clemens, 1861) - No Common Name



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Taxonomy
Superfamily: Nepticuloidea Family: NepticulidaeP3 Number: 160019.00 MONA Number: 93.10
Comments: Members of the genus Stigmella are a group of small leaf-mining moths that typically create linear mines, although a few species form linear-blotch or blotch mines. Newton and Wilkinson (1982) recognized 51 species in their revision on the North American fauna, and new discoveries have since raised the total to around 57 species. Almost all species are specialists and rarely use more than one genus of host plants. Host-specificity, mine characteristics, and genitalic differences are helpful in recognizing closely related forms that are externally similar.
Species Status: Wilkinson and Scoble (1979) synonymized S. caryaefoliella and S. obscurella (Braun, 1912) with S. ostryaefoliella on the basis of the male genitalia. Nieukerken et al. (2016) removed these synonyms and recognized all three as good species. Each species feeds on a different host and has distinct DNA barcodes and morphologies.
Identification
Field Guide Descriptions: Online Photographs: MPG, BugGuide, BOLDTechnical Description, Adults: Wilkinson and Scoble (1979)Technical Description, Immature Stages: Payne et al., 1972                                                                                 
Adult Markings: The following description of the adults is based on Braun (1917) and Wilkinson and Scoble (1979). The palps are gray and lustrous, and the antenna is purplish gray and lustrous. The tuft is pale ochreous to bright orange-ochreous. The eye-cap is shining creamy white, and often has brownish purple shading around the edges. The collar varies from pale ochreous to gray-purple. The thorax and forewing are dark grayish brown to deep purplish black, and sometimes have bronze or purple reflections. There is a single, broad, white, postmedial fascia on the forewing. The fascia has a silvery shine and is broadest on the dorsum. The cilia are gray to blackish and concolorous with the wings. The hindwing and cilia are gray. The legs are purplish gray and lustrous, with pale ochreous to purplish patches, particularly on the forelegs, midlegs, hind tarsi and tibial spurs. Stigmella caryaefoliella is difficult to distinguish from closely related forms such as S. ostryaefoliella based on external characteristics. Reliable identification is best achieved using genitalia, DNA barcoding, or by rearing adults from the host plants.
Wingspan: 3.2-4.2 for males; 3.6-4.2 for females (Wilkinson and Scoble, 1979).
Adult Structural Features: Wilkinson and Scoble (1979) synonymized S. caryaefoliella with S. ostryaefoliella on the basis of the male genitalia. The following description of the males is based on their account of S. ostryaefoliella. The tegumen is in the form of a narrow band, and the posterior edge is not serrated. The uncus is weakly bilobed, with the lobes extending into short, inwardly pointed, arcuate papillae. The gnathos has horns that are clearly branched. The valves are broad with stout, elongated, hair-like scales that arise from the inner aspect of the tip. The transtilla has a horizontal bar that is not significantly bilobed.
Immatures and Development: The larvae produce whitish to light tan upper surface mines on hickory leaflets. The mine is narrow and elongated, and gradually widens to about 2 mm in width as the larva grows. The mine often follows a lateral vein or the midrib for a substantial portion of its length. A narrow, dark, central frass line extends along the length of the mine. The larva are pale green when young and dark green when mature. The mature larva exits the leaf through a crescent-shaped slit in the upper epidermis and spins a light tan to brownish red cocoon on the ground (Braun, 1917; Payne et al., 1972, Eiseman, 2019).
Larvae ID Requirements: Identifiable from good quality photos, especially where associated with known host plants.
Distribution in North Carolina
Distribution: Stigmella caryaefoliella is widely distributed in eastern North America where the host plants occur locally. Populations have been documented in Ohio, Ontario, Quebec, and the New England states south and southwestward to Arkansas, Tennessee, Mississippi, Alabama, Georgia, and Florida. As of 2020, we have records from the Inner Coastal Plain and eastern 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
Flight Comments: There appear to be two or possibly three broods per year. Braun (1917) noted that full grown larvae first occur seasonally in the middle of June in the vicinity of southern Ohio. A second and third brood occurs in July, and in late August and early September. Elsewhere, mines with larvae have been found as late as October. We have records for unoccupied mines in May and June.
Habitats and Life History
Habitats: Stigmella caryaefoliella is a specialist on hickories and occurs in a variety of hardwood or mixed conifer-hardwood forests with the host species.
Larval Host Plants: The known hosts include Bitternut Hickory (Carya cordiformis), Pecan (C. illinoinensis), Shagbark Hickory (C. ovata), and Mockernut Hickory (C. tomentosa).
Observation Methods: The adults appear to rarely visit lights and most records are based on either leaf mines or adults that were raised from mines. We recommend searching for mines, and rearing and photographing the adults.
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 have very few records for this species in North Carolina, which likely reflect the extent to which leaf-mining species have been undercollected, rather than true rarity. Additional data on the distribution and abundance of this species is needed before we can assess its conservation status.

 Photo Gallery for Stigmella caryaefoliella - No Common Name

Photos: 27

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: Jim Petranka and Becky Elkin on 2021-09-30
Scotland Co.
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Recorded by: Jim Petranka and Becky Elkin on 2021-09-30
Scotland 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, and Steve Hall on 2021-09-28
Durham Co.
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Recorded by: Jim Petranka, John Petranka, Becky Elkin, and Steve Hall on 2021-09-28
Durham Co.
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Recorded by: Jim Petranka and Becky Elkin on 2021-09-24
Buncombe Co.
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Recorded by: Jim Petranka and Becky Elkin on 2021-09-24
Buncombe Co.
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Recorded by: Steve Hall, Carol Tingley, Van Cotter, and Meriel Goodwin on 2021-09-21
Durham Co.
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Recorded by: Jim Petranka on 2021-09-16
Madison Co.
Comment: Unoccupied mines were on Carya tomemtosa.
Recorded by: Jim Petranka on 2021-09-16
Madison Co.
Comment: Unoccupied mines were on Carya tomemtosa.
Recorded by: Jim Petranka and Becky Elkin on 2021-09-12
Madison Co.
Comment: Unoccupied mine was on Pignut Hickory.
Recorded by: Jim Petranka and Becky Elkin on 2021-09-12
Madison Co.
Comment: Unoccupied mine was on Pignut Hickory.
Recorded by: Jim Petranka and Becky Elkin on 2021-07-22
Clay Co.
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Recorded by: Jim Petranka and Becky Elkin on 2021-07-22
Clay Co.
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Recorded by: Jim Petranka and Becky Elkin on 2021-07-22
Clay Co.
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Recorded by: Ken Kneidel on 2020-09-06
Mecklenburg Co.
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Recorded by: Ken Kneidel on 2020-09-06
Mecklenburg Co.
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Recorded by: Tracy S. Feldman on 2019-05-29
Wake Co.
Comment: Unoccupied mines on Carya species--linear with central frass trail
Recorded by: Tracy S. Feldman on 2019-05-08
Scotland Co.
Comment: Unoccupied mines on Carya species (probably C. tomentosa)--linear with central frass trails.
Recorded by: Tracy S. Feldman on 2017-06-07
Durham Co.
Comment: Unoccupied mines on Carya species--linear with central frass trail
Recorded by: Tracy S. Feldman on 2017-06-07
Durham Co.
Comment: Unoccupied mines on Carya species--linear with central frass trail
Recorded by: Tracy S. Feldman on 2015-06-02
Scotland Co.
Comment: In an old sandhills habitat unburned for decades. Unoccupied mines on Carya pallida - linear with central frass trail.
Recorded by: Tracy S. Feldman on 2015-06-02
Scotland Co.
Comment: in an old sandhills habitat unburned for decades. Unoccupied mines on Carya pallida - linear with central frass trail.
Recorded by: Tracy S. Feldman on 2015-06-02
Scotland Co.
Comment: In an old sandhills habitat unburned for decades. Unoccupied mines on Carya pallida - linear with central frass trail.