Plants and Animals

Papaipema astuta Astute stoneroot borer moth

Key Characteristics

This small- to medium-sized moth has a wingspan of 3.0 to 3.6 cm. The interior of the forewing is mostly yellowish, with distinctly darker, almost brown sections on the outer portion of the forewings. Spots around the reniform are yellow, as opposed to white in other species of Papaipema, and the two inner spots are angulate in shape. The orbicular and claviform spots can vary from yellow to white. A dark colored and straight postmedial line runs across the forewing. The hindwings are generally a pale cream color which darken towards the outer edge of the wing.

Status and Rank

US Status: No Status/Not Listed
State Status: SC - Special Concern (rare or uncertain; not legally protected)
Global Rank: G2G4
State Rank: SNR - Not ranked

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

Generally found in rich deciduous forested habitats, this species occupies much of eastern North America north of the Appalachian Mountains. It is primarily found in habitats that support abundant populations of its host plant, stoneroot (Collinsonia canadensis) (Schweitzer at al. 2011), where it bores into the rootstock and lower stems of the plant. In Michigan, stoneroot is most prevalent in mesic southern forest and dry-mesic southern forest. Although stoneroot can be found in drier conditions, these plants are generally too small or in too few numbers to support this moth species.

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.

Management Recommendations

Maintaining the natural habitat of the Astute stoneroot borer moth will promote the long-term viability of populations of this species. Management activities that minimize the impact on populations of stoneroot in mesic forests are necessary. Avoid disturbing stoneroot populations in the ground layer. This may include removing invasive plant species and/or avoiding construction of trails and paths through patches of stoneroot. Deer are a primary concern due to excessive browsing during the late spring and throughout summer. Repeated browsing can kill host plants or reduce them to ankle-high sprigs with very few leaves (Schweitzer at al. 2011). Sites where the stoneroot borer moth is found to be extant should be protected and managed appropriately including maintaining healthy, viable populations of the host plants. Surveys to find additional populations and determine the status, abundance and distribution of this species in the state are needed.

Active Period

Flight from fourth week of August to first week of October

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 (Hessel 1954). 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. Blacklighting for this species should occur in mesic hardwood forests where the host plant is abundant (usually 100+ stoneroot plants).

Blacklighting

Survey Period: From fourth week of August to first week of October

Time of Day: Night
Humidity: Humid
Cloud Cover: Overcast
Wind: No Wind

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.
  • Hessel, S.A. 1954. A guide to collecting the plant boring larvae of the genus Papaipema (Noctuidae). Lepidopteran News 8:57-63.
  • 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.
  • Schweitzer, D. F., M.C. Minno, and D.L. Wagner. 2011. Rare, Declining, and Poorly Known Butterflies and Moths (Lepidoptera) of Forests and Woodlands in the Eastern United States. U.S. Forest Service, Forest Health Technology Enterprise Team, FHTET-2011-01. USDA Forest Service, Morgantown, West Virginia. 517pp.

Technical References

  • Cuthrell, D.L. 1999. Special Animal Abstract for Papaipema beeriana (Blazing star borer). Michigan Natural Features Inventory, Lansing, MI. 3pp.
  • Lafontaine, J.D., and B.C. Schmidt. 2010. Annotated check list of the Noctuoidea (Insecta, Lepidoptera) of North America north of Mexico. ZooKeys 40: 1-239.
  • NatureServe. 2019. NatureServe Explorer: An online encyclopedia of life [web application]. Version 7.1. NatureServe, Arlington, Virginia. Available http://www.natureserve.org/explorer.
  • Schweitzer, D. F., M.C. Minno, and D.L. Wagner. 2011. Rare, Declining, and Poorly Known Butterflies and Moths (Lepidoptera) of Forests and Woodlands in the Eastern United States. U.S. Forest Service, Forest Health Technology Enterprise Team, FHTET-2011-01. USDA Forest Service, Morgantown, West Virginia. 517pp.