Brachionycha borealis
Boreal brachionyncha

Key Characteristics

The boreal brachionyncha is a medium-sized moth (2.0 in [5.0 cm] wingspan) with a small and retracted head and small and narrow eyes that are deeply buried in lashes. The forewings are fuscous or dark gray, grayish brown or dusky in color. The forewings also are heavily marked with black veins and the inner margin or bottom of the forewing and area along the outer margin are heavily shaded with black. There is a large, outer kidney-shaped or reniform spot on the forewing with a black bar containing a white streak below it.

Status and Rank

  • State Status: SC
  • State Rank: S1S2
  • Global Rank: G4


County NameNumber of OccurrencesYear Last Observed
Distribution map for Brachionycha borealis

Updated 5/15/2018. 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.


The boreal brachionyncha is associated with oak-pine barrens, savannas, dry hardwood forests, mesic conifer forests, dry conifer forests, and forest openings. The larval hosts for this species are oaks and lowbush blueberries (Vaccinium sp.). Little is known about this species' status, distribution, life history and ecology.

Specific Habitat Needs

Host plant needed in Dry-mesic northern forest, Dry northern forest, Oak-pine barrens, Pine barrens

Natural Community Types


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.


Little is known about the status, distribution, life history and ecology of this species. Due to lack of scientific knowledge about this species, the specific threats facing this species and management and conservation needs are largely unknown. At a minimum, the sites from which this species is known should be protected and maintained, particularly maintaining healthy populations of the host plants which include oaks and lowbush blueberries (Vaccinium sp.) at these sites.

Active Period

Flight from third week of April to fourth week of May

Survey Methods

The best way to survey for this species is by blacklighting, a technique where 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. This species is difficult to identify in the wild. It is strongly recommended that observations of this species be verified through actual specimen vouchers or verification by a species expert.

Page Citation

Michigan Natural Features Inventory. 2007. Rare Species Explorer (Web Application). Available online at [Accessed Sep 24, 2018]


Survey References

Technical References

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