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Cosmopterix pulchrimella ? - Cosmopterix

Cosmopterix pulchrimella ? - Cosmopterix
Chicago Botanic Garden, Cook County, Illinois, USA
May 18, 2016
Size: 5 mm long
Collected as an active leaf miner larva on Carex lacustris in February in an ephemeral pond over ice. Pupated in leaf and emerged May 18th.

Moved from ID Request.

A clear shot of the antennae also really helps with Cosmopterix

The host plant info helps a lot. Cosmopterix pulchrimella feeds on a dicot, and the coloration and pattern on the forewing are different from those of this moth, so it can't be that sp. The commonest sedge-feeding Cosmopterix in central Illinois is C. clemensella, but this moth doesn't look like that species, either, and there are other known sedge-feeding Cosmopterix spp., so this must be one of them. You might try having a look at the revision here.

(nota bene - I have zero expe
(nota bene - I have zero experience with the genus, so this is based entirely on the key)

Ten species within range have Poaceae or Cyperaceae as hosts or have unknown hosts. Of them, using the treatment's descriptions:

C. callichalca - (mines on Schizachyrium, Poaceae) - forewing should be grayish brown
C. clandestinella - (mines on Diachanthelium, Poaceae) - lacks the white median line on the head
C. clemensella - (mines on Carex) - yellow transverse fascia narrowed towards dorsum with a narrow and dorsally bent apical protrusion
C. damnosa - (unknown host) - apical protrusion of yellow fascia short to absent
C. fernaldella - (mines on Carex) - transverse fascia grayish rather than yellow
C. gemmiferella - (mines on Diachanthelium, Poaceae) - forewing is a shining golden brown
C. magophila - (unknown host) - apical protrusion of yellow fascia very small
C. montisella - (unknown host) - transverse fascia orange-brown rather than yellow
C. nitens - (mines on Phragmites, Poaceae) - transverse fascia has a middle blackish brown streak
C. scirpicola (mines on Scirpus, Cyperaceae) - transverse fascia "rather narrow orange-yellow"

Based on host family this should be one of C. clemensella, C. fernaldella, or C. scirpicola. The fascia details on the wing seem to match C. clemensella best, but given the above comment, I'm loath to be more confident, especially since some of the BugGuide images don't have the fascia details as in the key either...

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