Moths of North Carolina
Scientific Name:
Common Name:
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View PDFGracillariidae Members: 5 NC Records

Cameraria ulmella (Chambers, 1871) - No Common Name

Superfamily: Gracillarioidea Family: GracillariidaeSubfamily: LithocolletinaeP3 Number: 330388.00 MONA Number: 839.00
Comments: Cameraria is a genus of leaf-mining micromoths. Many species are stenophagous and specialize on a small number of closely related host species. There are currently more than 50 described species in North America.
Field Guide Descriptions: Online Photographs: MPG; BugGuideTechnical Description, Adults: Braun, 1908.                                                                                 
Adult Markings: The following is based on descriptions in Braun (1908). The face and palpi are silvery white, while the tufts are white with intermixed golden scales. The antennae are silvery white, and the apical two-thirds are ringed with brown. The forewing is bright golden to orangish. A white streak extends along the dorsal margin from the base of the wing to the cilia, where it is deflexed and passes on to the dusted portion of the apex near the posterior margin. The dusted portion is dark brown to blackish on a white ground. There are three small silvery streaks along the costa. The first and second are near the middle of the costal margin, and the second one is the largest. The third streak is small and near the apex. The size of the third costal streak and the extent of the apical dusting varies among individuals, and the costal streaks are often faintly dark margined behind. The second streak is more likely to have a well-developed dark margin than the other two (often missing on these). The legs are whitish, and the forelegs often have pale golden to blackish spots on the tarsi. This species closely resembles C. conglomeratella and is most easily differentiated by the antennae. In C. ulmella, the basal third is pure white, while the remainder of the antenna is annulated with brown. In C. conglomeratella, the annulations are present for the whole length of the antenna, although sometimes they are indistinct toward the base. C. quercivorella is also similar to C. ulmella, but in C. quercivorella the dorso-basal white streak extends only a short distance beyond the middle of the wing.
Wingspan: 6.5-7 mm (Braun, 1908).
Adult ID Requirements: Identifiable from good quality photos of unworn specimens.
Immatures and Development: The larvae form irregular blotch mines on the upper side of leaves. Larvae of the summer brood pupate under a flat silken cocoon. Larvae in the second brood change from the usual green color to a pale yellow color, and pass the winter in silk-lined chambers.
Larvae ID Requirements: Identifiable from good quality photos, especially where associated with known host plants.
Distribution in North Carolina
Distribution: Cameraria ulmella is broadly distributed in eastern North America from the Great Lakes region eastward to Maine, and south and southwestward to Georgia, South Carolina, Oklahoma, and Texas. As of 2020, we have only documented North Carolina populations in the Piedmont and 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: Populations are bivoltine, with a summer and autumn brood.
Habitats and Life History
Habitats: Populations are generally found in wet to mesic forests that support either American Elm or Slippery Elm, or in mesic to drier habitats that support Winged Elm. These include bottomland forests, stream edges, rich woods with circumneutral soils, and field edges and thickets.
Larval Host Plants: The larvae mine the leaves of elms, including Winged Elm (U. alata), American Elm (Ulmus americana), and Slippery Elm (U. rubra). This species was recently reported to use oaks (Eiseman, 2019), which suggests the possible occurrence of a cryptic species that uses oaks.
Observation Methods: The adults are attracted to lights. Little effort has been put forth searching for leaf mines and rearing adults. This may prove to be an effective way to document additional populations within the state.
See also Habitat Account for General Wet-Hydric Floodplains
Status in North Carolina
Natural Heritage Program Status:
Natural Heritage Program Ranks: GNR SU
State Protection:

 Photo Gallery for Cameraria ulmella - No common name

Photos: 5

Recorded by: Mark Shields on 2020-03-28
Onslow Co.
Recorded by: Mark Shields on 2019-09-14
Onslow Co.
Recorded by: Mark Shields on 2019-07-30
Onslow Co.
Recorded by: Kyle Kittelberger on 2017-09-20
Wake Co.
Recorded by: T. DeSantis on 2015-05-08
Durham Co.