Merolonche dolli
Doll's merolonche

Key Characteristics

A medium-sized moth with an average wingspan of 1.5 inches (3.7 cm). The forewings are white with black shades and markings, particularly around the base of the forewing and thorax, and along the outer margin. The lines on the forewings are heavily but irregularly defined with black. The hindwings are white with dark gray or brownish gray veins and small spot near the center of the hind wing. The larvae are spiny, black in color with an orange-red band along each side.

Status and Rank

  • State Status: SC
  • State Rank: S2S3
  • Global Rank: G3G4

Occurrences

County NameNumber of OccurrencesYear Last Observed
Arenac21968
Newaygo11965
Oceana11968
Otsego31994
Roscommon11969
Distribution map for Merolonche dolli

Updated 7/21/2017. Information is summarized from MNFI's database of rare species and community occurrences. Data may not reflect true distribution since much of the state has not been thoroughly surveyed.

Habitat

The Doll's merolonche is found in areas with acidic soil and typically found in pine barrens, oak-pine barrens, bogs and jack pine/scrub oak habitat in Michigan. The species also is associated with savanna, lowland, mesic and dry hardwood and coniferous forest, and fen habitats. Larvae of this species in Michigan apparently feed and develop on blueberry (Vaccinium sp.), while larvae in other parts of its range feed on cranberry. It is possible that the larvae also utilize other members of the Ericaceae family.

Specific Habitat Needs

Host plant needed in Northern fen, Bog, Poor conifer swamp, Rich conifer swamp, Mesic northern forest, Dry-mesic northern forest, Dry northern forest, Oak-pine barrens, Pine barrens

Natural Community Types

Methodology

For each species, lists of natural communities were derived from review of the nearly 6,500 element occurrences in the MNFI database, in addition to herbarium label data for some taxa. In most cases, at least one specimen record exists for each listed natural community. For certain taxa, especially poorly collected or extirpated species of prairie and savanna habitats, natural community lists were derived from inferences from collection sites and habitat preferences in immediately adjacent states (particularly Indiana and Illinois). Natural communities are not listed for those species documented only from altered or ruderal habitats in Michigan, especially for taxa that occur in a variety of habitats outside of the state.

Natural communities are not listed in order of frequency of occurrence, but are rather derived from the full set of natural communities, organized by Ecological Group. In many cases, the general habitat descriptions should provide greater clarity and direction to the surveyor. In future versions of the Rare Species Explorer, we hope to incorporate natural community fidelity ranks for each taxon.

Management

Little is known about the status, distribution, life history and ecology of this species. Threats to this species may include altered fire regimes, altered hydrologic regimes, incompatible natural resource management, industrial/residential/recreational development, lack of scientific knowledge, forestry practices, use of pesticides and herbicides and wetland modifications. This species may be vulnerable to gypsy moth spraying and to activities that disturb the site or larval host plant. Management recommendations for this species include conducting surveys and research to determine this species' status and distribution, investigate its life history and ecology and assess conservation threats. Sites at which this species has been documented should be protected. The habitat at known sites should be maintained, especially maintaining adequate populations of the species' hostplants, blueberries and potentially other members of the Ericaceae family.

Active Period

Flight from third week of April to third week of May

Survey Methods

Doll's merolonche has one generation per year and overwinters as a pupa. Larvae are present from late May through July and possibly into August. In Michigan, adults fly from mid-April to mid-May. The best way to survey for this species is by blacklighting at night during the adult flight period, a technique whereby a sheet is stretched across two trees or poles and an ultraviolet light is used to attract moths to the sheet. Moths can be collected directly from the sheet. Insects come to light usually in largest numbers on still, dark, cloudy nights when both temperature and humidity are high. Reports of this species should be documented with a voucher specimen and verification by a species expert.

Page Citation

Michigan Natural Features Inventory. 2007. Rare Species Explorer (Web Application). Available online at http://mnfi.anr.msu.edu/explorer [Accessed Nov 21, 2017]

References

Survey References

Technical References

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