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Gelechiidae, herbivory - Aristotelia roseosuffusella

Gelechiidae, herbivory - Aristotelia roseosuffusella
Weaver Dunes, Wabasha County, Minnesota, USA
June 19, 2013
Larvae living and feeding on Round-headed Bush Clover, Lespedeza capitata
I was hoping for Aristotelia lespedezae which I've never seen.
Collected June 16, 2013. Batch rearing.

Several of the adults were sent to T. Harrison who says: "For the time being, this is the name that I am giving to all moths that look like this one. I have dissected many specimens from a wide geographic range, showing considerable variation in forewing coloration, and the tails have all looked exactly the same to me. If there are multiple spp., it undoubtedly will require molecular work to sort them out."

Images of this individual: tag all
Gelechiidae, herbivory - Aristotelia roseosuffusella Gelechiidae, herbivoryX - Aristotelia roseosuffusella Gelechiidae, larva - Aristotelia roseosuffusella Gelechiidae, larva - Aristotelia roseosuffusella Gelechiidae, larvaX - Aristotelia roseosuffusella Gelechiidae - Aristotelia roseosuffusella Gelechiidae - Aristotelia roseosuffusella Gelechiidae, spent pupa - Aristotelia roseosuffusella Encyrtidae, dorsal - male Encyrtidae, ventral - male

Mode of feeding
Did you see anything that looked like leaf-mining? Some older literature says this species is a leafminer in Trifolium pratense, but all I see here is folding/tying/skeletonizing.

I did not see any leaf mining.
However, I did not pull apart and look at every leaf.

My $0.02
My experience is that A. roseosuffusella larvae on Lespedeza, Desmodium, and Dalea always have been tiers/skeletonizers, and the same goes for A. lespedezae on Lespedeza and A. psoraleae on Orbexilum onobrychis. So, unless the literature reports refer to a situation in which the larvae are true leaf miners in early instars and then switch to tying/skeletonizing in later instars, then the most likely conclusion is that skeletonizing was mistaken for mining, as the two sometimes can present somewhat similar appearances (and for that matter, has everyone always made a distinction between the two?). An alternative explanation is that there was a clover miner (e.g., Parectopa occulta) in the rearing lot along with A. roseosuffusella, and only the latter reared out to adult, such that the leaf mine was mistakenly attributed to that species. But in that situation, it is hard to imagine that the investigator would have failed to notice that skeletonizing damage was present, in addition to the leaf mines.

Thanks for that information
I checked my notes, and the only reference I had found to this species being a leafminer was Chambers (1878)*. Chambers listed this species as a red clover feeder, and he gave no details other than "Larva mines the leaves." Given that you have never found this species mining leaves, and that there seem to be no other records of any Aristotelia species mining leaves, it seems likely that Chambers was in error here.

* Chambers, V. T. 1878. Art. IV. Tineina and their food-plants. Bulletin of the United States Geological and Geographical Survey of the Territories 4(1):107-124.

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