Plants and Animals

Sideridis congermana German cousin moth

Key Characteristics

This species is a deep orange to red color throughout the thorax and forewings. Hair on the thorax is long and sometimes appears lighter than rest of body. A bright silvery white reniform spot occurs on the forewings. In addition, the species is characterized by claviform spots that are similar in size or smaller than the reniform spots and can appear more faded. Brown to black lines run the length of each forewing, with a distinct yellow patch on the forewing tornus. Black lines along the forewings extend into patterned orange and black fringe along the outer margin of forewing. Hindwings are dull grey in color and tend to be darker near the outer margins of the wing.

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
Cheboygan 1 1934
Midland 1 1961
Schoolcraft 1 1993

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.


The German cousin moth is a boreal and montane species from eastern North America, with occurrences north to Nova Scotia, west to Nebraska, and south to North Carolina. Southern populations are found only in high elevations of the Appalachian Mountains. The host plant for this species is unknown. Limited occurrences in Michigan suggest associations with oak-pine barrens, however, most occurrences date back to 1993 and earlier.

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

Very little is understood about the biology and life-history of the German cousin moth. More surveys are needed in order to identify specific management recommendations to support this species. Management activities that protect the habitats of this species are necessary for the long-term viability of populations. A major threat to this species is the use of insecticides to combat a wide variety of forest pests. However, management of invasive plant species will likely help support host plant populations. Natural disturbance regimes in forest ecosystems likely benefited this species and its habitat historically.

Active Period

Flight from fourth week of May 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. Insects come to light usually in largest numbers on still, dark, cloudy nights when both temperature and humidity are high (Hessel 1954, Stanton et al. 2003). This species is thought to be extremely rare and can be difficult to identify in the wild. It is strongly recommended that observations of this species be verified through actual specimen vouchers or by a species expert.

Occurrences are rare and specific habitat requirements are currently unknown. Previous occurrences suggest an association with oak-pine barrens and boreal forests. Surveys should prioritize these community types.


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

Time of Day: Night
Humidity: Humid
Cloud Cover: Overcast
Wind: No Wind


Survey References

  • Covell, C. A Field Guide to the Moths of Eastern North America. Peterson Field Guide Series, Houghton Mifflin Company, Boston, MA. 496 pp.
  • Hessel, S.A. 1954. A guide to collecting the plant boring larvae of the genus Papaipema (Noctuidae). Lepidopteran News 8:57-63.
  • Stanton, R.C., D.J. Horn, F.F. Purrington, J.W. Peacock, and E.H. Metzler. 2003. Monitoring selected arthropods. Characteristics of mixed-oak forest ecosystems in southern Ohio prior to the reintroduction of fire. General Technical Report NE-299. USDA Forest Service, Newtown Square, Pennsylvania, USA, pp. 123-138.

Technical References

  • 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.
  • McAlpine, D. F., and I.M. Smith (Eds.). 2010. Assessment of species diversity in the Atlantic maritime ecozone. NRC Research Press.
  • NatureServe. 2019. NatureServe Explorer: An online encyclopedia of life [web application]. Version 7.1. NatureServe, Arlington, Virginia. Available
  • Sideridis congermana Morrison, 1874 in GBIF Secretariat (2019). GBIF Backbone Taxonomy. Checklist dataset accessed via on 2020-03-03.