Plants and Animals

Hypocoena basistriga Basistriga owlet moth

Key Characteristics

A small moth with a 2.5 to 2.7 cm wingspan. Dark red-brown or yellowish-brown with a black basal streak. The forewing is dark tan and slightly lighter gray on the costa and darker gray-brown near the posterior and outer margins. The head and thorax are gray-tan and the male antenna is bead-like. The combination of a small size, robust build, red-brown color and contrasting white cubital vein will help to identify this species.

Status and Rank

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


CountyNumber of OccurrencesYear Last Observed
Alger 1 2011
Cheboygan 1 2000
Delta 1 2011
Mackinac 1 1998

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.


This moth has a large distribution within Canada (Newfoundland and Labrador west to British Columbia and Yukon) but its status is relatively unknown in the United Sates. It is found in northern Michigan but surveys are needed to confirm its status in the state. In other parts of its range it occurs in bogs and fens. Its larval host plant(s) is unknown, however related species are root borers. It is speculated to bore in monocots.

Natural Community Types

  • Unknown

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

Lack of scientific knowledge about its life history is an obvious threat. Until more is known about the ecology of this moth, specific management recommendations cannot be provided at this time. Surveys and monitoring to assess the status and extent of this species’ distribution in Michigan are needed. Research to obtain additional information on the species’ life history and ecology is necessary to assess the status of this moth in Michigan. It is likely that habitat destruction and the use of herbicides and pesticides negatively impact this species.

Active Period

Flight from first week of August to fourth week of September

Survey Methods

The adults are nocturnal and come to light. There is a single brood that flies in mid to late summer known from other parts of its range (E.H. Strickland Entomological Collection 2020). It has been suggested that its late flight period combined with low numbers in UV traps may be why it has not been documented in more locations. 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. Insects are most likely to come to light on still, dark, cloudy nights when both temperature and humidity are high. Reports of this species should 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 September

Time of Day: Night
Humidity: Humid
Cloud Cover: Overcast
Air Temperature: Above 60 degrees
Wind: No Wind
Survey Method Comment: Here we present ideal conditions, however surveys can be conducted during 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