Moths in the genus Acleris are commonly referred to as ‘tortrix leafrollers’ and they are included in the family Tortricidae. These small moths are seldom more than a centimeter in length, and so they are easily overlooked.
I think that I may have photographed as many as 7-11 different species of Acleris in northeastern North Dakota and northwestern Minnesota, but I’ve actually only been able to identify perhaps half of these to the species-level using photographs alone. That is because some (and perhaps many) Acleris species are notoriously variable (e.g., Acleris hasiana and Acleris variana), and so to correctly determine the species of any individual Acleris one must often either dissect the specimen, to examine the morphology of genitalia, or employ DNA bar-coding techniques. I hope to spend more time photographing and collecting Acleris during the 2014 season.
Take a careful look at the 19 different images of Acleris shown above, and then try and match each one of these with images of Acleris species found on pages 84-89 of the Peterson Field Guide to Moths of Northeastern North America. How many different species of Acleris can you find among these 19 specimens?
Click on the link below to go to the Moth Photographers Guide to see more images of Acleris species.