Plants and Animals

Papaipema aweme Aweme borer

Key Characteristics

The Aweme borer moth has an average wingspan of 1.4 inches (3.5 cm). The forewings (i.e., upper wings) are light wood brown with contrasting dark brown ordinary spots and a sinuous dark postmedial line (i.e., third line usually about one-third of the way in from the outer margin of the forewing). The median or middle area of the forewing and the outer margins of the forewings are darker. The hind wings (i.e., lower wings) are light brown or yellowish.

Status and Rank

US Status: No Status/Not Listed
State Status: SC - Special Concern (rare or uncertain; not legally protected)
Global Rank: G3G4 - Rank is uncertain, ranging from vulnerable to apparently secure
State Rank: S1 - Critically imperiled


CountyNumber of OccurrencesYear Last Observed
Charlevoix 1 1925
Luce 1 2016

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.


Very little is known about this species. Globally, this species is known from only 6 specimens from 4 widely scattered locations in the northern U.S. and Canada. The suspected habitat for this species is Great Lakes wetlands. In other parts of the species' range, it has been associated with oak barrens and savannas. The specimen in Michigan was collected from a complex of dunes, interdunal wetlands and cobble beach. The inland or surrounding habitat was a mix of hardwoods, coniferous swamp and cultivated fields. The host plant for the larvae of this species is unknown at this time. The larva likely bores into the shoot or roots of its host.

Specific Habitat Needs

Host plant needed in: Interdunal wetlandLimestone cobble shoreOpen dunes.

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

The Aweme borer moth has only been collected once in Michigan several decades ago. It is uncertain whether this species still exists in the state or if it is extirpated. Globally, this species has been collected from only four locations scattered throughout the northern U.S. and Canada. This species may be globally extinct. Of the four sites from which this species has been collected globally, the site in Michigan holds the greatest potential. Surveys are needed to determine whether this species is still present in Michigan, and if so, its abundance and distribution. If the species is still present, research is needed to obtain information on its life history, ecology and conservation threats. Residential or recreational development may have threatened this species by causing habitat loss and/or degradation. Invasive plants and animals and habitat alterations due to high deer densities/browsing also may have threatened this species and its habitat. The site at which this species has been documented should be protected. Adequate and suitable habitat at this site needs to be maintained including sufficient densities of the species' host plant(s) (once it is determined).

Active Period

Flight from first week of August to fourth week of August

Survey Methods

The adult specimen collected in Michigan was collected in mid-August, and another specimen from upstate New York was collected in early August. 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 must be documented with a voucher specimen and verification by a species expert.


Survey Period: From first week of August 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.


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

  • Forbes, W.T.M. 1954. Lepidoptera of New York and Neighboring States, Noctuidae, Part III. Cornell University Agricultural Experiment Station, NY. 433 pp.
  • 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