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Parornix ex Amelanchier - Parornix

Parornix ex Amelanchier - Parornix
Plainfield, Hampshire County, Massachusetts, USA
July 21, 2012
Size: 3.8 mm
Reared from a leaf mine in shadbush.

Moved from Parornix dubitella.

I feel unsettled about this one--it seems to key to quadripunctella using Dietz, and I'm not seeing the "dark fuscous or blackish spot on the extreme base of dorsal margin" described for dubitella.

Moved from ID Request.
Moved tentatively... I see that Dietz recorded the host as an unidentified shrub, with the note, "larva at first makes a nepticula-like tract, later forms a cocoon under the turned over edge of the leaf, the form of the latter is ovate." This moth came from an underside tentiform mine, the larva exiting to feed under a leaf edge fold as is typical of Parornix spp.

I had the same complaint when I read it. A linear tract (often later obliterated by the mature mine) at the beginning, and an ovate coccon in a marginal fold at the end of larval life, probably are common to multiple Parornix spp. Oddly, however, Dietz neglected to mention the important part, i.e., the form of the mine of dubitella during the main part of larval life. Therefore, especially without a specified host plant, his description really doesn't shed any light on how to differentiate the larva of dubitella from that of any other Parornix. As to your larva's feeding in a marginal fold after leaving the mine, some larvae of P. geminatella (the species that I rear on Amelanchier in IL) do this, whereas others, upon leaving the mine, merely make the fold and spin, with no feeding within the fold. So it doesn't appear that this behavior, or lack thereof, is specifically diagnostic. Given that, all we have to go on is information about the adult, and based on that, I believe dubitella to be the best match for your moth (with the inevitable caveat, "at least among the spp. that have been described to date").

P. dubitella
From what I can piece together from the information in Dietz (1907) and Forbes (1923), the most likely candidate is Parornix dubitella.

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