Acorn Moth (Blastobasis sp.)

When it comes to miniature (~5mm long, in this case, or 15mm across the open wings) mottled gray and white moths, identification can be tricky. I would have to get very invasive indeed to really, positively identify this little moth — bugguide mentions that “the only sure way to identify this and most other Blastobasidae is by microscopic examination of the genitalia or by DNA barcoding and even those methods may not result in a species identification since there are many undescribed species in North America”.

With that said, I’m guessing Blastobasis glandulella for this one, because I tend to assume everything I find is common (because otherwise why would I have found it), the geographic range is right, and iNaturalist’s identification algorithm also thinks it’s B. glandulella. Edit: someone else on iNaturalist also thinks this is B. glandulella. Go me!

The somewhat bizarre Latin name comes from the Greek words blasto, meaning “germ or sprout”, and basis meaning “foundation”, and the Latin words gland, meaning “acorn or nut”, with the suffix ella for “small”.

This is another one of those frustrating species where the Wikipedia article is four very short paragraphs, one of which is “The larvae feed inside acorns and chestnuts.” This delightful, tiny little alien…and we get “Eh. It’s a moth.”

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