Plants and Animals

Copablepharon michiganensis Michigan dune dart

Key Characteristics

Michigan dune dart (Copablepharon michiganensis) is a medium-sized rusty yellow moth (FW length 1.7-2.0 cm). This moth’s abdomen can vary in color from a pale yellow to rusty yellow with black scaling that forms faint horizontal bands. Hair on the thorax is longer than on the abdomen, with white hairs that flare out onto the forewing and hindwing. The hindwing is generally paler than forewing and both wings have a white fringe along the outer margins.

Status and Rank

US Status: No Status/Not Listed
State Status: SC - Special Concern (rare or uncertain; not legally protected)
Global Rank: G1G2 - Rank is uncertain, ranging from critically imperiled to imperiled
State Rank: SNR - Not ranked


CountyNumber of OccurrencesYear Last Observed
Berrien 1 1964
Mason 1 2015
Oceana 1 1991

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.


Host plant(s) unknown. The habitat of the Michigan dune dart is represented by two confirmed occurrences in coastal dunes along the Lake Michigan shoreline in Oceana County. This species seems to be restricted to open, active sand areas.

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 open sand dune environment will promote the long-term viability of populations of the Michigan dune dart. Restoration activities that mitigate the effects of vegetation stabilization, recreation use, and invasive plants, may be necessary to ensure that populations remain in occupied sites. Potential management activities include removing invasive plants to restore open dune habitat or managing recreational activities (e.g., extensive foot traffic) to minimize erosion and devegetation. Sources of artificial lighting in occupied habitats can attract moths away from natural habitats. It is believed that the species can perpetuate itself given enough habitat and food-plant availability and taking steps to maintain natural sand dune environments is necessary to maintain the long-term viability of populations at each dune system.

Active Period

Active from third week of July 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 using a collection jar. Insects come to light usually in largest numbers on still, dark, cloudy nights when both temperature and humidity are high. Reports of adults of this species must be documented with a voucher specimen or a good photograph and verification by a species expert.


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

Time of Day: Night
Survey Method Comment: Survey period is uncertain due to limited observations of this species.


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

  • Lafontaine, J.D. 2004. Noctuoidea. Noctuidae (part). Noctuinae (Part-Agrotini). InR. W. Hodges [ed.], The moths of America North of Mexico, including Greenland. Fascicle 27.1. The Wedge Entomological Research Foundation, Washington, DC.
  • 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.