Moths of North Carolina
Scientific Name:
Common Name:
Family (Alpha):
« »
View PDFNepticulidae Members: 19 NC Records

Stigmella quercipulchella (Chambers, 1882) - No Common Name


Taxonomy
Superfamily: Nepticuloidea Family: NepticulidaeP3 Number: 160041.00 MONA Number: 99.00
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.
Identification
Field Guide Descriptions: Online Photographs: MPG; BugGuideTechnical Description, Adults: Wilkinson and Scoble (1979)Technical Description, Immature Stages: Wilkinson and Scoble (1979); Braun (1917).                                                                                 
Adult Markings: The following description of adults is based on Wilkinson and Scoble (1979). The palps are whitish and the antenna is grayish brown with a gray luster. The eye-cap is shining white to silvery. The tuft on the front of the head is deep ocher, while the tuft on the vertex is brownish black. The collar is dull white. The thorax and abdomen are black with bronze reflections. The ground color of the forewing is grayish black with brilliant reflections that include violet, bronze, golden, red and green coloration. There is a single white postmedial fascia that shines silver. The fringe is gray with purple reflections. The hindwing is grayish brown with purple dusting, and the fringe is gray with purple reflections. The legs are dark gray, but become whitish with a white luster towards the tarsi. External characters that help to distinguish this species include the shining white eye-cap, the black tuft on the vertex, the brilliant reflections on the forewing, and a narrow, shining silver fascia. Positive identification is best achieved by using genitalia, DNA analyses, or raising adults from leaf mines.
Wingspan: 4.4-4.6 mm for males; 4.6-5.0 mm for females (Wilkinson and Scoble, 1979)
Adult Structural Features: The following description of the genitalia are base on Wilkinson and Scoble (1979). Males: The tegumen is bluntly rounded posteriorly and the saccus comprising two widely separated papillae. The uncus is papillate. The gnathos is roughly M-shaped, with lateral arms that are widely separated by a long horizontal bar. The aedeagus is long, and becomes weakly arcuate basally. The cornutus covers the vesica as a series of sharp spines and denticles. Females: The ductus bursae has an accessory sac in the form of a large, characteristic spiral. The anterior apophyses are arcuate and stout, while the posterior apophyses are narrow.
Immatures and Development: The larva is yellow and constructs a pale, greenish, linear mine that is initially very narrow. The mine progressively increases to a maximum width of approximately 3.5 mm. A dark, narrow frass line occurs in the middle of the mine, and it remains compact and narrow throughout the entire length of the mine (Eiseman, 2019). At the end of the larval stage, the larva cuts a slit in the leaf and spins an external cocoon that is ocherous to brown.
Larvae ID Requirements: Identifiable from good quality photos, especially where associated with known host plants.
Distribution in North Carolina
Distribution: Stigmella quercipulchella is widely distributed in eastern North America (Eiseman, 2019). It is found in southeastern Canada (Ontario; Quebec; New Brunswick; Nova Scotia) and the eastern US from Vermont, Massachusetts, and Connecticut, westward to Illinois and Ohio, and as far south as Kentucky and North Carolina. As of 2020, our only records are from the high mountains and the Coastal Plain.
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 are at least two generations and up to as many as four (Braun, 1917).
Habitats and Life History
Habitats: In North Carolina, local populations occur in a wide variety of mesic habitats that support oaks. Populations have been found at sites ranging from rich hardwood slopes in the mountains to riparian and wet hardwood forests in the Coastal Plain.
Larval Host Plants: Northern Red Oak (Quercus rubra) appears to be an important primary host, but S. quercipulchella will use other oaks, including Scarlet Oak (Q. coccinea), Bear Oak (Q. ilicifolia), Blackjack Oak (Q. marilandica), Water Oak (Q. nigra), and Pin Oak (Q. palustris). North Carolina specimens have been found on Scarlet Oak, Northern Red Oak, and Water Oak.
Observation Methods: The adults appear to only occasionally visit lights, so we recommend searching for active leaf mines on Quercus rubra or other oaks and rearing 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 currently do not have adequate information to assess the conservation status of this species in the state.

 Photo Gallery for Stigmella quercipulchella - No common name

Photos: 26

Recorded by: Jim Petranka and Becky Elkin on 2021-10-14
McDowell Co.
Comment:
Recorded by: Jim Petranka and Becky Elkin on 2021-09-24
Henderson Co.
Comment:
Recorded by: Jim Petranka and Becky Elkin on 2021-09-22
Buncombe Co.
Comment:
Recorded by: Jim Petranka and Becky Elkin on 2021-09-18
Madison Co.
Comment:
Recorded by: Jim Petranka and Becky Elkin on 2021-08-26
Yancey Co.
Comment: On Northern Red Oak; maximum width 3.1 mm.
Recorded by: Jim Petranka and Becky Elkin on 2021-08-26
Yancey Co.
Comment: A backlit image of an unoccupied mine on Northern Red Oak; maximum width 3.1 mm.
Recorded by: Jim Petranka and Becky Elkin on 2021-08-03
Alleghany Co.
Comment: On Northern Red Oak; maximum width 3 mm.
Recorded by: Jim Petranka, Becky Elkin and Bo Sullivan on 2021-08-02
Ashe Co.
Comment: Several mines on Northern Red Oak.
Recorded by: Jim Petranka and Becky Elkin on 2021-07-24
Jackson Co.
Comment: Several mines on Northern Red Oak.
Recorded by: Jim Petranka and Becky Elkin on 2021-07-24
Jackson Co.
Comment: On Northern Red Oak.
Recorded by: Jim Petranka and Becky Elkin on 2021-07-23
Graham Co.
Comment: On Northern Red Oak.
Recorded by: Jim Petranka and Becky Elkin on 2021-07-23
Graham Co.
Comment:
Recorded by: Jim Petranka and Becky Elkin on 2021-07-01
Buncombe Co.
Comment: Unoccupied mine was on Quercus rubra; maximum width = 3.0 mm.
Recorded by: Jim Petranka and Becky Elkin on 2021-06-27
Buncombe Co.
Comment: Unoccupied mine was on Quercus rubra; maximum width = 3.2 mm.
Recorded by: Jim Petranka and Becky Elkin on 2021-06-27
Buncombe Co.
Comment: Unoccupied mine was on Quercus rubra; maximum width = 3.0 mm.
Recorded by: Jim Petranka on 2021-06-21
Buncombe Co.
Comment: Unoccupied mine was on Quercus rubra; maximum width = 3.8 mm; exit slit on upper surface.
Recorded by: Jim Petranka on 2021-06-21
Buncombe Co.
Comment: A backlit image of an unoccupied mine on Quercus rubra; maximum width = 3.8 mm; exit slit on upper surface.
Recorded by: Jim Petranka and Becky Elkin on 2020-08-27
Buncombe Co.
Comment:
Recorded by: Jim Petranka on 2020-07-27
Madison Co.
Comment: Two unoccupied mines on Northern Red Oak; maximum mine width was 3.1 mm.
Recorded by: Jim Petranka and Becky Elkin on 2020-07-20
Jackson Co.
Comment: A leaf mine on Northern Red Oak; the maximum mine width was 3.5 mm.
Recorded by: Jim Petranka and Becky Elkin on 2019-10-14
Madison Co.
Comment: A leaf mine on Northern Red Oak.
Recorded by: Tracy S. Feldman on 2015-09-07
Scotland Co.
Comment: Unoccupied mines on Quercus nigra. Mines are linear, gradually widening, with central frass trails.
Recorded by: Tracy S. Feldman on 2015-09-07
Scotland Co.
Comment: Unoccupied mines on Quercus nigra. Mines are linear, gradually widening, with central frass trails.
Recorded by: Tracy S. Feldman on 2015-09-07
Scotland Co.
Comment: Unoccupied mines on Quercus coccinea. Mines are linear, gradually widening, with central frass trails.
Recorded by: Tracy S. Feldman on 2015-09-07
Scotland Co.
Comment: Unoccupied mines on Quercus coccinea. Mines are linear, gradually widening, with central frass trails.
Recorded by: Tracy S. Feldman on 2015-09-07
Scotland Co.
Comment: Unoccupied mines on Quercus coccinea. Mines are linear, gradually widening, with central frass trails.