Sympistis dentata - (Grote, 1875)
Blueberry Sallow Moth
Other English Common Names: Toothed Apharetra Moth, blueberry sallow moth
Synonym(s): Apharetra dentata (Grote, 1875) ;Apharetra purpurea (Grote, 1875)
Taxonomic Status: Accepted
Related ITIS Name(s): Apharetra dentata Grote (TSN 188878) ;Apharetra purpurea Mcdunnough (TSN 188879)
Unique Identifier: ELEMENT_GLOBAL.2.119294
Element Code: IILEYGR010
Informal Taxonomy: Animals, Invertebrates - Insects - Butterflies and Moths - Other Moths
Kingdom Phylum Class Order Family Genus
Animalia Mandibulata Insecta Lepidoptera Noctuidae Sympistis
Genus Size: D - Medium to large genus (21+ species)
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Concept Reference
Concept Reference: Hodges, R.W. et al., eds. 1983. Check List of the Lepidoptera of America North of Mexico. E.W. Classey Limited and The Wedge Entomological Research Foundation, London. 284 pp.
Concept Reference Code: B83HOD01HQUS
Name Used in Concept Reference: Apharetra dentata
Taxonomic Comments: Generic synonymy of Apharetra with Sympistis and new combinations by Troubridge (2008).

Poole (1989) sunk A. purpurea to this name and both Schweitzer and Tim McCabe (pers. comm.) agree with this. Still there is a slight chance that two species are involved, but not enough to require a Q in the global rank. Also there is some geographical variation and southern New Jersey and Long Island, New York populations are distinct enough that subspecies status could probably be justified, but has not been proposed. D.Schweitzer
Conservation Status

NatureServe Status

Global Status: G5
Global Status Last Reviewed: 14Feb2017
Global Status Last Changed: 14Feb2017
Ranking Methodology Used: Ranked by inspection
Rounded Global Status: G5 - Secure
Nation: United States
National Status: NNR
Nation: Canada
National Status: N5 (14Feb2017)

U.S. & Canada State/Province Status
Due to latency between updates made in state, provincial or other NatureServe Network databases and when they appear on NatureServe Explorer, for state or provincial information you may wish to contact the data steward in your jurisdiction to obtain the most current data. Please refer to our Distribution Data Sources to find contact information for your jurisdiction.
United States Connecticut (S1), Maine (S3), Massachusetts (S3S4), Michigan (SNR), New Hampshire (S2), New Jersey (S2S3), New York (S2S4), Pennsylvania (S2), Rhode Island (S1S2), Wisconsin (SNR)
Canada Alberta (S4), British Columbia (S3S5), Labrador (SNR), Manitoba (SU), New Brunswick (S4S5), Newfoundland Island (SNR), Northwest Territories (SU), Nova Scotia (S4S5), Ontario (S4?), Quebec (SNR), Saskatchewan (SU), Yukon Territory (SU)

Other Statuses

NatureServe Global Conservation Status Factors

Other NatureServe Conservation Status Information

U.S. States and Canadian Provinces

Due to latency between updates made in state, provincial or other NatureServe Network databases and when they appear on NatureServe Explorer, for state or provincial information you may wish to contact the data steward in your jurisdiction to obtain the most current data. Please refer to our Distribution Data Sources to find contact information for your jurisdiction.

Map unavailable!:
Distribution data for U.S. states and Canadian provinces is known to be incomplete or has not been reviewed for this taxon.
Endemism: occurs (regularly, as a native taxon) in multiple nations

U.S. & Canada State/Province Distribution
United States CT, MA, ME, MI, NH, NJ, NY, PA, RI, WI
Canada AB, BC, LB, MB, NB, NF, NS, NT, ON, QC, SK, YT

Range Map
No map available.

U.S. Distribution by County Help
State County Name (FIPS Code)
MA Barnstable (25001), Berkshire (25003), Bristol (25005), Dukes (25007), Franklin (25011), Plymouth (25023), Worcester (25027)
NH Carroll (33003), Hillsborough (33011), Merrimack (33013)
NJ Atlantic (34001), Burlington (34005), Camden (34007), Ocean (34029)
NY Albany (36001), Clinton (36019), Franklin (36033), Orange (36071), Suffolk (36103), Ulster (36111)
PA Carbon (42025), Cumberland (42041), Lackawanna (42069), Lycoming (42081), Monroe (42089), Tioga (42117)
RI Washington (44009)
* Extirpated/possibly extirpated
U.S. Distribution by Watershed Help
Watershed Region Help Watershed Name (Watershed Code)
01 Saco (01060002)+, Nashua (01070004)+, Merrimack (01070006)+, Middle Connecticut (01080201)+, Chicopee (01080204)+, Cape Cod (01090002)+, Pawcatuck-Wood (01090005)+, Housatonic (01100005)+
02 Middle Hudson (02020006)+, Rondout (02020007)+, Hudson-Wappinger (02020008)+, Southern Long Island (02030202)+, Lehigh (02040106)+, Lower Delaware (02040202)+*, Mullica-Toms (02040301)+, Upper Susquehanna-Lackawanna (02050107)+, Pine (02050205)+, Lower West Branch Susquehanna (02050206)+, Lower Susquehanna-Swatara (02050305)+
04 St. Regis (04150306)+, Chateaugay-English (04150308)+
+ Natural heritage record(s) exist for this watershed
* Extirpated/possibly extirpated
Ecology & Life History
Non-Migrant: N
Locally Migrant: N
Long Distance Migrant: N
Economic Attributes Not yet assessed
Management Summary Not yet assessed
Population/Occurrence Delineation
Group Name: Heathland Lepidoptera

Use Class: Not applicable
Minimum Criteria for an Occurrence: A location where the species occurs or recently has occurred where there is potential for continued occurrence or regular recurrence. Minimally a collection or for some species a diagnostic photograph in association with appropriate habitat and foodplant. Habitats usually do not include closed canopy forest even if the foodplant extends into such places. Generally, the Specs for Pine Barrens moths should be used when dealing with habitats greater than 200 hectares or if the heatlhands are imbedded within acid woodlands or barrens.
Mapping Guidance: See food and habitat comments field for species-specific habitat information when mapping these species. While relatively small patches of more closed canopy jack or pitch pine within an occurrence can be mapped as part of it do not extend occurrences boundaries beyond the prime habitat into these marginal types.
Separation Distance for Unsuitable Habitat: 2 km
Separation Distance for Suitable Habitat: 10 km
Alternate Separation Procedure: Size of occurrences and intervening landscape may be appropriate considerations in assigning separation distances--at least with moths. With small discrete habitats Specs for bo Lepidoptera can be used instead. Almost certainly when occurrences are confined to a few hectares the unsuitable habitat distance is appropriate. However if one or both occurrences occupies more than 100 hectares and the larval foodplant occurs patchily in the intervening terrain the suitable habitat distance may be more appropriate. In such case females from the primary habitats will probably oviposit in these intervening patches sufficiently to justify connecting the occurrences. This is especially true if the intervening terrain is a right-of-way with the larval foodplant. In general though do not use the suitable habitat distance if the foodplant is really absent for more than half the suitable habitat distance, and ignore scattered small, weak understory plants in determining this.
Separation Justification: Virtually all of these species occasionally turn up out of habitat and all occupy a range of habitat sizes. Although most of them can occur widely over large dry or mesic jack or pitch pine barrens, sometimes hundreds or thousands of hectares, they can also persist in bogs of only a few hectares. Small barrens remnants and ridgetop habitats may lack these species even though they will occur in even smaller bogs--this might reflect past fires.
Thus the separation distances are variable as explained in Alternate Separation Procedure. All distances are arbitrary. The suitable habitat distance will usually be moot because in habitats other than pine barrens most occurrences are much smaller than 10 kilometers across, in fact many are not close to a square kilometer. However in the few places where habitats really are large most of these moths can be expected to fully occupy them such situations would be qualify for the Pine Barrens Moths Specs. Given that these moths do stray out of habitat, but not commonly, the one kilometer distance is chosen as likely to confer substantial separation of smaller occurrences, but probably not complete lack of gene flow. Obviously the larger two sources are the more likely individuals are to move between them.
Among factors considered in the distances was flight speed which for most or all species is about .5 to 10 meters per second or about 1.8 to 36 km per hour. Aside from many Geometridae most probably exceed 10 km per hour. Even the slowest of these species should have no difficulty crossing these distances in life span and in most cases in a night.

Inferred Minimum Extent of Habitat Use (when actual extent is unknown): 2 km
Inferred Minimum Extent Justification: In most cases habitats are small and inferred extent is simply the entire habitat up to 400 hectares. However in areas such as Nova Scotia, Massachusetts, Michigan and New Jersey heathland habitats (often actually pine barrens) can be thousands of hectares (more in New Jersey) so 2 kilometers seems a very conservative figure within large habitats.
Date: 09Nov2001
Author: Schweitzer, Dale F.
Notes: Species that rarely occur in habitats other than pine barrens are not included in this Specs Group even if their larvae feed on heaths.
Population/Occurrence Viability
U.S. Invasive Species Impact Rank (I-Rank) Not yet assessed
Element Ecology & Life History Edition Date: 26Apr2000

Zoological data developed by NatureServe and its network of natural heritage programs (see Local Programs) and other contributors and cooperators (see Sources).

  • Allen, T.J., J.P. Brock, and J. Glassberg. 2005. Caterpillars in the field and garden. Oxford University Press, New York. 232 pp.

  • Brock, J. P., and K. Kaufman. 2003. Butterflies of North America. Kaufman Focus Field Guides, Houghton Mifflin Company, New York, NY 284 pp.

  • Ferge, L. A., and G. J. Balogh. 2000. Checklist of Wisconsin Moths (Superfamilies Drepanoidea, Geometroidea, Mimmallonoidea, Bombycoidea, Sphingoidea, and Noctuiodea). Contributions in Biology and Geology of the Milwaukee Public Museum No. 93. Milwaukee, Wisconsin. 55 pp. and one color plate.

  • Ferguson, Douglas C., 1955. The Lepidoptera of Nova Scotia Part 1 (Macrolepidoptera). Bulletin no. 2 of the Nova Scotia Museum of Science, Halifax, NS, Canada., 375 pp., black and white plates.

  • Forbes, William T. M. 1954. Lepidoptera of New York and neighboring states part III. Cornell University Experiment Station Memoir 329.

  • General Status 2015, Environment Canada. 2014. Manitoba moth species list and ranks as recommended by expert.

  • Handfield, Louis, 1999. Le Guide des Papillons du Quebec, Scientific Version. Broquet Inc, Boucherville, Quebec, Canada, 155pp + plates.

  • Hodges, R.W. et al., eds. 1983. Check List of the Lepidoptera of America North of Mexico. E.W. Classey Limited and The Wedge Entomological Research Foundation, London. 284 pp.

  • 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.

  • McCabe, T. L. 1991. Atlas of Adirondack caterpillars. New York State Museum Bulletin 470, 112 pages.

  • McCabe, Timothy L. 1990. Report to the Natural Heritage Program: Results of the 1990 field survey for lepidoptera (especially noctuidae). New York Natural Heritage Program, New York State Department of Environmental Conservation. Latham, NY. 38 pp. plus supplements.

  • Poole, R. W. 1989. Lepidopterorum Catalogus (new series) Fascicle 118: Noctuidae. E.J. Brill, Leiden, The Netherlands. 1314 pp in 3 volumes.

  • Rockburne, E. W., and J. D. LaFontaine. 1976. The cutworm moths of Ontario and Quebec. Research Branch, Canada Department of Agriculture. Publication 1593. 164 pp.

  • Schneider, Kathryn J., Carol Reschke and Steve M. Young. 1991. Inventory of the rare plants, animals and ecological communities of the Albany Pine Bush Preserve. A report to the Albany Pine Bush Commission. New York Natural Heritage Program, New York State Department of Environmental Conservation. Latham, NY. 67 pp. plus maps.

  • Schweitzer, Dale F. 1992. Memo to participants in the July 1992 pine barrens workshop of July 14, 1992 regarding lepidoptera and other insects of dwarf pine barrens.

  • Schweitzer, Dale F. 1998. Rare, potentially rare, and historic macrolepidoptera for Long Island, New York: A suggested inventory list.

  • Schweitzer, Dale. 1997-02-07. E-mail sent to Richard Dutko, NJNHP regarding GRANK changes and the NJ vs. Central databases.

  • Schweitzer, Dale. January 1997. Annotations to Special Invertebrate Animals of New Jersey, December 1996; sent to Rick Dutko of the NJ Natural Heritage Program.

  • Troubridge, J. T. 2008. A generic realignment of the Oncocnemidini sensu Hodges (1983) (Lepidoptera: Noctuidae: Oncocnemidinae), with descriptions of a new genus and 50 new species. Zootaxa 1903:1-95.

  • Wildlife Management Information System (WMIS). 2006+. Geo-referenced wildlife datasets (1900 to present) from all projects conducted by Environment and Natural Resources, Government of the Northwest Territories, Canada.  Available at

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Citation for Bird Range Maps of North America:
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