Plants and Animals

Eacles imperialis pini Pine imperial moth

Key Characteristics

The Pine imperial moth is a large moth with an average wingspan of 3.1-6.8 inches (8 - 17.4 cm). This moth is easily recognized by its large size and yellow wings which are variably spotted and shaded with pinkish, orangish or purplish brown. The Pine imperial moth is a conifer-feeding subspecies of the imperial moth. The pine imperial moth is smaller, with more pink spots on the forewings (i.e., upper wings) and a strong postmedial line (i.e., line about one third of the way in from the outer margin of the wing) on the underside of the hindwing (i.e., lower wing).

Status and Rank

US Status:
State Status: SC - Special Concern (rare or uncertain; not legally protected)
Global Rank: G5T3T4
State Rank: S2S3 - Rank is uncertain, ranging from imperiled to vulnerable

Occurrences

CountyNumber of OccurrencesYear Last Observed

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 Pine imperial moth is associated with lowland, mesic and dry coniferous forests. The larvae feed on the needles of red and jack pine trees (Stehr 1997).

Specific Habitat Needs

Host plant needed in: Dry northern forestDry-mesic northern forestOak-pine barrensPine barrens.

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 Recommendations

Little is known about this species, thus making it difficult to provide specific management recommendations. Threats to this species include or may include lack of scientific knowledge, forestry practices, and use of pesticides and herbicides. Surveys are needed to determine this species' status, abundance and distribution in the state. Research to obtain more information on this species' life history and ecology and assess threats to this species also is warranted. The sites at which this species has been documented should be protected and maintained. Adequate and suitable habitat at these sites need to be maintained including sufficient densities of the species' host plants.

Active Period

Flight from third week of June to fourth week of August

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. Reports of this species should be documented with a voucher specimen or a good photograph and verification by a species expert.

Blacklighting

Survey Period: From third week of June to fourth week of August

Time of Day: Evening
Humidity: Humid
Cloud Cover: Overcast
Air Temperature: Warm
Wind: No Wind
Survey Method Comment: Ideal survey conditions but surveys can be conducted under other conditions as well.

Time of Day: Night
Humidity: Humid
Cloud Cover: Overcast
Air Temperature: Warm
Wind: No Wind
Survey Method Comment: Ideal survey conditions but surveys can be conducted under other conditions as well.

References

Survey References

  • Covell, Charles. A Field Guide to the Moths of Eastern North America. Peterson Field Guide Series, Houghton Mifflin Company, Boston, MA. 496 pp.
  • Martin, J.E.H. 1977. The Insects and Arachnids of Canada (Part 1): Collecting, preparing, and preserving insects, mites, and spiders. Publication 1643. Biosystematics Research Institute, Ottawa.

Technical References

  • Chapman, K.A., M.A. White, M.R. Huffman, and D. Faber-Langendoen. 1995. Ecology and stewardship guidelines for oak-barrens landscapes in the upper Midwest. Pp. 1-29 in F. Stearns and K. Holland, eds. Proc.of the Midwest Oak Savanna Conference, 1993. U.S. EPA, Internet Pubs. Available: www.epa.gov/glnpo/oak/oak93/chapman.html.
  • Cohen, J.G. 2000. Natural community abstract for oak-pine barrens. Michigan Natural Features Inventory, Lansing, MI. 6 pp.
  • Cohen, J.G. 2002. Natural community abstract for dry northern forest. Michigan Natural Features Inventory, Lansing, MI. 14 pp.
  • Comer, P.J. 1996. Natural community abstract for pine barrens. Michigan Natural Features Inventory, Lansing, MI. 3 pp.
  • Covell, Charles. A Field Guide to the Moths of Eastern North America. Peterson Field Guide Series, Houghton Mifflin Company, Boston, MA. 496 pp.
  • Forbes, W.T.M. 1954. Lepidoptera of New York and Neighboring States, Noctuidae, Part III. Cornell University Agricultural Experiment Station, NY. 433 pp.
  • King, R. 2000. Effects of single burn events on degraded oak savanna. Ecological Restoration 18 (4 Winter):228-233.
  • Michigan Natural Features Inventory. 1995. Forest stewardship training materials for oak-pine barrens ecosystem. Unpublished manuscript. Michigan Natural Features Inventory, Lansing, MI.
  • Stehr, F. W. 1997. Michigan Lepidoptera Survey Sites and Seasonal Occurrence of Michigan's Listed Species Annual Report 1997. 30 pp.+ MI Lepidoptera Survey Data Collection Form