Plants and Animals

Schinia lucens Leadplant moth

Key Characteristics

Small, 1.0-1.1 inch (2.5-2.8 cm) wingspan. The dorsal surface of the forewings is a mottled dark and light purple with a whitish cast and dark streaks at the outer margin; the dorsal surface of the hindwing is yellowish with dark brown blotches. The ventral surfaces are a mosaic of white, purple, and yellowish brown, with a few scattered black spots. The caterpillar has a buff head and 7 pairs of lateral stripes.

Status and Rank

US Status: No Status/Not Listed
State Status: E - Endangered (legally protected)
Global Rank: G4 - Apparently secure
State Rank: S1 - Critically imperiled


CountyNumber of OccurrencesYear Last Observed
St. Joseph 1 1999

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.


Restricted to populations of leadplant, the larval food plant. Leadplant is found typically in sand prairies and silt-loam prairies, but also on roadside and railroad right-of-way remnants of prairie habitat.

Specific Habitat Needs

Host plant needed in: Dry sand prairieDry-mesic prairieOak barrensOak openings.

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

Management for this species should take into special consideration the habitat for the leadplant. Sites for the leadplant are usually extremely degraded and many are threatened with mechanical disturbances and pesticides. Protection of both the habitat and the moths themselves at the only known location for this species is critical to its survival in Michigan. The habitats should be managed to enhance the leadplant and moth populations and protect the site from physical and chemical disturbances. Prescribed burns, if necessary should be done in subunits and the respons of the moth to fire should be determined. Protection from collectors should be strictly enforced.

Active Period

Flight from fourth week of June to fourth week of July

Survey Methods

In Michigan, the adults at the one known site have been documented in late June to early July. During the day, camouflaged adults rest on flowers of the leadplant. Adults can be observed by visually inspecting leadplant flower heads or 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.


Survey Period: From fourth week of June to fourth week of July

Time of Day: Night

Visual, aerial net

Survey Period: From fourth week of June to fourth week of July

Time of Day: Daytime


Survey References

  • 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

  • Covell, Charles. A Field Guide to the Moths of Eastern North America. Peterson Field Guide Series, Houghton Mifflin Company, Boston, MA. 496 pp.
  • Evers, D.C. 1994. Endangered and Threatened Wildlife of Michigan. The University of Michigan Press, Ann Arbor. 412pp.
  • 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

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