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ARS Home » Northeast Area » Beltsville, Maryland (BARC) » Beltsville Agricultural Research Center » Systematic Entomology Laboratory » Research » Publications at this Location » Publication #344947

Research Project: Systematics of Moths Significant to Biodiversity, Quarantine, and Control, with a Focus on Invasive Species

Location: Systematic Entomology Laboratory

Title: A new species of Niditinea (Tineidae: Tineinae) with a preference for bird nests and the known larval habitats of the species in the United States

item Metz, Mark
item DAVIS, DON - Smithsonian Institute
item DAVIS, MIGNON - Smithsonian Institute

Submitted to: Proceedings of the Entomological Society of Washington
Publication Type: Peer Reviewed Journal
Publication Acceptance Date: 9/13/2017
Publication Date: 3/16/2018
Publication URL:
Citation: Metz, M., Davis, D.R., Davis, M.M. 2018. A new species of Niditinea (Tineidae: Tineinae) with a preference for bird nests and the known larval habitats of the species in the United States. Proceedings of the Entomological Society of Washington. 120(1):153-166.

Interpretive Summary: Clothes moths are stored products and nuisance pests worldwide. They are commonly intercepted at U.S. ports of entry, but their identification is extremely difficult because of their small size and the need to dissect male and/or female genitalic structures. Species have been carried throughout the world as a result of human activity just like rats and cockroaches. In this work, we describe a previously unrecognized species that is mostly associated with bird nests. This is notable in that almost all of the specimens of the new species had been misidentified as the common, Cosmopolitan species associated with human activity. This new information will expand our understanding of the biology of the commonly occurring species, so identifiers can make more prudent decisions about trafficked goods. We provide a description of the new species, diagnostic features to allow their identification, and a summary of the known biologies of related species in the United States. This information will be useful to scientists and action agency identifiers.

Technical Abstract: We describe and illustrate Niditinea sabroskyi new species, a species mostly associated with bird nests. We provide diagnostic information to distinguish the new species from the other two species occurring in the United States, Niditinea fuscella (Linnaeus, 1758) and Niditinea orleansella (Chambers, 1873). The species in this genus are extremely difficult to identify, so there is a considerable amount of literature published about the biology of the common species, N. fuscella, but a large number of these have been confounded by misidentified specimens. We show that N. sabroskyi is predominantly a bird nest associate and that specimens identified as N. fuscella and previously associated with bird nests have actually been misidentified. We also summarize the larval habitat information from specimens with confirmed identifications.