Plants and Animals

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

US Status:
State Status: SC - Special Concern (rare or uncertain; not legally protected)
Global Rank: G4 - Apparently secure
State Rank: S1S2 - Rank is uncertain, ranging from critically imperiled to imperiled

Occurrences

CountyNumber of OccurrencesYear Last Observed
Crawford11989
Otsego21994
Roscommon11989

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 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 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 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.

Blacklighting

Survey Period: From third week of April to fourth week of May

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.
  • Cohen, J.G. 2002. Natural community abstract for dry-mesic northern forest. Michigan Natural Features Inventory, Lansing, MI. 12 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