Datana ranaeceps - (Guérin-Méneville, 1844)
Post-burn Datana Moth
Taxonomic Status: Accepted
Unique Identifier: ELEMENT_GLOBAL.2.113885
Element Code: IILEY02100
Informal Taxonomy: Animals, Invertebrates - Insects - Butterflies and Moths - Notodontid Moths
 
Kingdom Phylum Class Order Family Genus
Animalia Mandibulata Insecta Lepidoptera Notodontidae Datana
Genus Size: C - Small genus (6-20 species)
Check this box to expand all report sections:
Concept Reference
Help
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: Datana ranaeceps
Taxonomic Comments: Careful rearings should be conducted to verfiy that this is in fact a single species. In particular the few seen from the Appalachians (at least central Pennsylvania and Virginia) look a little different and occupy a very different habitat. Note that dark red forms are always this species in southern New Jersey but should be dissected in eastern North Carolina where most appear to be D. major. Coastal plain populations at least from North of Florida show little geographic variation and both forms usually occur.
Conservation Status
Help

NatureServe Status

Global Status: G3G4
Global Status Last Reviewed: 14Feb2007
Global Status Last Changed: 07Sep2000
Rounded Global Status: G3 - Vulnerable
Reasons: Certainly not imperiled in New Jersey and probably not in North Carolina either, but its range may be smaller and more disjunct than is sometimes thought. This species may be globally uncommon by virtue of a limited spotty range. It is not numerically rare in New Jersey.
Nation: United States
National Status: NNR

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 New Jersey (S3S4), New York (S1S3), North Carolina (S2S3), Pennsylvania (S1)

Other Statuses

NatureServe Global Conservation Status Factors

Range Extent: 20,000-2,500,000 square km (about 8000-1,000,000 square miles)
Range Extent Comments: This is primarily a species of coastal plain pinelands of Long Island, New York and southern New Jersey and southeastern Virginia to Florida, but Forbes (1948) also reports Arkansas and Delaware Water Gap, Pennsylvania. The USDA Plant Profile for the foodplant shows it absent on most of the Gulf Coast but present widely in Arkansas and more spottily in neighboring states. There is very little habitat in Maryland or Delaware and so far this moth is not confirmed for Georgia. Unless there is an unrecognized species involved, D. ranaeceps also occurs in the mountains since recent single specimens from Montgomery County, Virginia (DFS) and Fort Indiantown Gap, Pennsylvania (Betsy Ray, PNDI, det. DFS) could be no other known species.

Overall Threat Impact: High
Overall Threat Impact Comments: No immmediate threats, but successful suppression of wildfires could threaten it if this were to happen. This is becoming a threat in New Jersey.

Other NatureServe Conservation Status Information

Distribution
Help
Global Range: (20,000-2,500,000 square km (about 8000-1,000,000 square miles)) This is primarily a species of coastal plain pinelands of Long Island, New York and southern New Jersey and southeastern Virginia to Florida, but Forbes (1948) also reports Arkansas and Delaware Water Gap, Pennsylvania. The USDA Plant Profile for the foodplant shows it absent on most of the Gulf Coast but present widely in Arkansas and more spottily in neighboring states. There is very little habitat in Maryland or Delaware and so far this moth is not confirmed for Georgia. Unless there is an unrecognized species involved, D. ranaeceps also occurs in the mountains since recent single specimens from Montgomery County, Virginia (DFS) and Fort Indiantown Gap, Pennsylvania (Betsy Ray, PNDI, det. DFS) could be no other known species.

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.
Color legend for Distribution Map

U.S. & Canada State/Province Distribution
United States NC, NJ, NY, PA

Range Map
No map available.


U.S. Distribution by County Help
State County Name (FIPS Code)
NC Bladen (37017), Brunswick (37019), Columbus (37047), Cumberland (37051), New Hanover (37129), Onslow (37133)
NJ Atlantic (34001), Burlington (34005), Camden (34007), Monmouth (34025)*, Ocean (34029)
NY Nassau (36059)
PA Delaware (42045)*, Lebanon (42075), Monroe (42089)*, Philadelphia (42101)*
* Extirpated/possibly extirpated
U.S. Distribution by Watershed Help
Watershed Region Help Watershed Name (Watershed Code)
02 Southern Long Island (02030202)+, Middle Delaware-Mongaup-Brodhead (02040104)+*, Crosswicks-Neshaminy (02040201)+, Lower Delaware (02040202)+, Schuylkill (02040203)+*, Mullica-Toms (02040301)+, Great Egg Harbor (02040302)+*, Lower Susquehanna-Swatara (02050305)+
03 White Oak River (03020301)+, Upper Cape Fear (03030004)+, Lower Cape Fear (03030005)+, Black (03030006)+, Waccamaw (03040206)+, Coastal Carolina (03040208)+
+ Natural heritage record(s) exist for this watershed
* Extirpated/possibly extirpated
Ecology & Life History
Help
General Description: A heavily frosted grayish or dark reddish Datana with yellow striped larvae on heaths.
Diagnostic Characteristics: The reddish form is unique to D. ranaeceps in New Jersey. Since this form is also common in Datana major (Grote and Robinson) southward, such specimens from south of New Jersey must be verified by genitalia (Forbes 1948). Forbes also provides an excellent key to larvae. The last instar (only) can be recognized by the combination of normal continuous yellow stripes, red head, and red posterior end, and of course the foodplant. Most are brighter than the one illustrated by Wagner (2005) which is probably close to pupation. This moth is similar enough to other species of Datana that some records in the literature may not be trustworthy. Specimens are sometimes misidentified even in modern collections. Larvae of D. major are very similar and probably not reliably separated in other instars, but last instars are unique in having the lines fragmented. D. drexelii H. Edwards occasionally also uses L. mariana and D. ministra (Drury) probably does too. Both of these species lack the red head and "tail".


Ecology Comments: In New Jersey this species was observed to produce a massive outbreak starting the first summer after and peaking two years ofter the July 1983 Atsion fire. D. MAJOR was also involved but less abundantly. Between them they defoliated virtually all LYONIA and LEUCOTHOE and even some blueberry and damage was again noticeable in 1986.
Non-Migrant: N
Locally Migrant: N
Long Distance Migrant: N
Terrestrial Habitat(s): Forest - Hardwood, Forest - Mixed, Shrubland/chaparral, Woodland - Conifer
Habitat Comments: In the coastal plain of Long Island, New Jersey, and North Carolina, the normal habitat is open mesic or less often xeric pinelands especially for the first few years after wildfires. In New Jersey a population occurs on regularly winter-mowed low shrubland in an airport approach zone. The habitat is unclear in the mountains but the Virginia specimen was collected in a hardwood-hemlock mix in a ravine. The Pennsylvania specimen was collected in a frequently burned shrubland-grassland-woodland mix. At least in New Jersey this species does not occur in closed canopy forests even where the foodplants are common. and this is probably true in other coastal areas. It is not unusual to find larvae on mowed roadside sprouts in the New Jersey Pine Barrens.
Adult Food Habits: Nonfeeding
Immature Food Habits: Herbivore
Food Comments: The normal larval foodplant in New Jersey is LYONIA MARIANA and that shrub is a foodplant on Long Island, New York. At least some larvae will use LEUCOTHOE RACEMOSA, blueberries, and probably LYONIA LIGUSTRINA when displaced, but probably only as last instars. Most will not accept the LEUCOTHOE. Records of "Andromeda" refer to LYONIA. In New Jersey the larvae are found mostly on sprouts following fires or mowing, but can be found on more mature LYONIA in very sterile, open, sunny habitats. The foodplants for populations in the mountains are unknown.
Adult Phenology: Nocturnal
Phenology Comments: In New Jersey adults occur from mid May into August, mainly from one protracted emergence. However, a few pupae eclose in early August without overwintering. Larvae are usually noticed in New Jersey from late June to mid August. The larval stage lasts only about a month and eggs hatch in ten days or less.
Economic Attributes Not yet assessed
Help
Management Summary
Help
Stewardship Overview: At least in New Jersey this is primarily a species of recently burned pitch pine lowlands, and larvae can be abundant after wildfires. Since the larvae usually are found in very open habitats and most often on sprouts, D. ranaeceps apparently requires recurrent fires or mowing to persist in its coastal plain habitats, and generally prescribed burning would be the preferred management for habitats other than right of ways. Prescribed burning at any season should be beneficial where the pine canopy is sparse but probably irrelevant in shaded woods if the understory is burned without canopy thinning. At least in New Jersey and North Carolina this species often occurs with rarer species with similar management needs. Decreasing wildfire frequency has substantially reduced the habitat in New Jersey since the 1960s and since light winter prescribed burns there do not affect the increasingly dense canopy, this and most other specialized barrens species probably do not benefit. Since pupae are underground and some overwinter twice this species should not be seriously impacted in the long term by mortality even from summer fires, which obviously would kill eggs, larvae, and adults, unless these occurred very frequently. Forestry practices that result in closed canopy pine stands or destruction of understory would severely impact this species, although it could be present initially in young plantings where there is native understory. Timber harvest should be beneficial in places with dense pine canopy. Gypsy Moth outbreaks are not likely to be a factor in coastal plain habitats of D. ranaeceps since these are usually do not have many oaks or other highly susceptible trees, but few larvae would be exposed to typical BTK applications aimed at that pest which would be made well before eggs are laid. Use of Dimilin would cause very high mortality of larvae for the rest of the season.

Biological Research Needs: Resolve taxonomy and actual distribution.
Population/Occurrence Delineation
Help
Group Name: Notodontidae

Use Class: Not applicable
Minimum Criteria for an Occurrence: A location where the species occurs, or has recently occurred, where there is potential for persistence or continued recurrence. Minimally a place where an adult or larva has be been verified associated with suitable habitat and foodplant. Verification standards vary by species and location but sight records should not be the basis for new EOs. A few species, most notably DATANA, are much easier to identify from specimens or photos of last instar larvae (see Forbes, 1948) than from adults. Wagner et al. (1997) and Wagner (2005) are also useful for larvae. Many species can be identified from either stage and except for some DATANA the larvae do not have to be last instars. Genitalia dissection will sometimes be necessary with single adult specimens or even small series and obviously for such species photographs are not acceptable.
Mapping Guidance: When possible base boundaries on vegetation structure, foodplant distribution in area or other known habitat features. See habitat and food comments fields for species-specific information on what constitutes habitat when mapping occurrences. Note in particular care must be taken for the few that specialize on tree or shrubs that are localized within large forests.
Separation Distance for Unsuitable Habitat: 2 km
Separation Distance for Suitable Habitat: 20 km
Alternate Separation Procedure: When multiple habitat patches occur in a large community complex such as a barrens or savanna or in a landscape feature like a ridgeline or canyon, regard all as one metapopulation.
Separation Justification: There are no real data but experience generally suggests habitats are either fully occupied or vacant at least over periods of a few years and usually in every generation. Occurrences are usually hundreds of hectares to dozens of square kilometers. Occurrences even of globally rare species can be more than 10 kilometers in at least one dimension--at least in New Jersey. All of this argues for large separation distances within suitable habitat.
Adult males are powerful fliers but heavily laden females probably are not. Very few species feed as adults and so they probably do not live long. Individual movements are probably modest, a few kilometers or less. Long distance strays are virtually unknown. This suggests a short distance across unsuitable habitat.
Clearly some species recognize and respond to habitat features, for example all known occurrences of HETEROCAMPA VARIA in New Jersey are clearly mostly in the 500 to 10,000+ hectare range but strays of males out of habitat are rare and of females unknown even with potential foodplants (oaks) ubiquitous. DATANA RANAECEPS also rarely is found out of habitat there even though its foodplant is much more widespread and this moth seems absent from virtually all (dozens to few hundred hectare) habitat patches more than about 10 kilometers from the true pine barrens region in New Jersey. H. VARIA appears to be absent from the Willow Grove Lake Preserve in New Jersey even though there is a large population in nearby similar xeric oak woodland which would have been no more than about 10-20 kilometers separated originally, although more now. One does not usually find the forest species in residential areas more than a kilometers from woods. Females at least apparently do not cross unsuitable habitat often. Many species are very heavily egg laden and deposit eggs in rather large masses rather quickly after mating and so probably do not disperse them widely. Some CLOSTERA and DATANA are extreme examples but females of HETEROCAMPA sometimes and SCHIZURA probably always also lay eggs in masses, although often in more, smaller masses. This also supports short distances over unsuitable habitats.
Do not use the 2 kilometer distance with substantial (>100 hectare) occupied habitat patches separated by areas of marginal habitat.

Inferred Minimum Extent of Habitat Use (when actual extent is unknown): 2 km
Inferred Minimum Extent Justification: Most Notodontidae are widespread woodland or forest moths and typically they are not localized within such places unless the foodplant is. For species where there is some understanding of what actually is suitable habitat, few if any, observations suggest consistent partial occupancy but as noted some do require certain vegetation features (often sparsely wooded to open scrub of some sort) in addition to foodplant. Notodontids seem to reliably occupy all available habitat where they are present at all, although they may of course be temporarily absent from patches within larger habitats (especially DATANA). This radius is certainly unrealistically low for most species in large expanses of habitat but some limit is needed. If the habitat does not appear to be a large scale forest or woodland type, do not use this radius. For example some DATANA and a few others do sometimes occur in small habitats, but in such cases these should be obvious based on the foodplant.
Date: 14Sep2001
Author: Schweitzer, Dale F.
Population/Occurrence Viability
Help
U.S. Invasive Species Impact Rank (I-Rank) Not yet assessed
Help
Authors/Contributors
Help
NatureServe Conservation Status Factors Edition Date: 23Dec1998
NatureServe Conservation Status Factors Author: Schweitzer, D.F.
Management Information Edition Date: 21Mar2007
Management Information Edition Author: Schweitzer, D.F.
Element Ecology & Life History Edition Date: 21Mar2007
Element Ecology & Life History Author(s): SCHWEITZER, D.F.

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

References
Help
  • Forbes, W. T. M. 1954. Lepidoptera of New York and Neighboring States, Noctuidae, Part III. Memoir 329. Cornell Agricultural Experiment Station. Ithaca, NY.

  • Forbes, W.T.M. 1948. Lepidoptera of New York and Neighbor- ing States. Part II: Geometridae, Sphingidae, Notodontidae, Lymantriidae. Memoir 274. Cornell U. Agric. Experiment Station. 263 PP.

  • 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.

  • NatureServe. 2010. NatureServe Explorer: An online encyclopedia of life [web application]. Version 7.1. NatureServe, Arlington, Virginia. Available http://www.natureserve.org/explorer. (Data last updated August 2010)

  • New York State Department of Environmental Conservation. 2005. Comprehensive Wildlife Conservation Strategy Planning Database. New York State Department of Environmental Conservation. Albany, NY.

  • North American Moth Photographers Group at the Mississippi Entomological Museum. No date. Mississippi State University, Mississippi. http://mothphotographersgroup.msstate.edu/MainMenu.shtml

  • Opler, Paul A., Kelly Lotts, and Thomas Naberhaus, coordinators. 2010. Butterflies and Moths of North America. Bozeman, MT: Big Sky Institute. (accessed May 2010).

  • Schweitzer, D. F., M. C. Minno, and D. L. Wagner. 2011. Rare, declining, and poorly known butterflies and moths (Lepidoptera) of forests and woodlands in the eastern United States. USFS Forest Health Technology Enterprise Team, Technology Transfer Bulletin FHTET-2011-01. 517 pp.

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

  • Wagner, D. L., D. F. Schweitzer, J. B. Sullivan, and R. C. Reardon. 2008. Owlet Caterpillars of Eastern North America (Lepidoptera: Noctudiae)

  • Wagner, D.L. 2005. Caterpillars of eastern North America. Princeton University Press. Princeton, New Jersey. 512 pp.

  • Wagner, D.L., V. Giles, R.C. Reardon, and M.L. McManus. 1997. Caterpillars of eastern forests. USDA, Forest Service, Forest Health Technology Enterprise Team, FHTET-96-34, Washington, DC. 113 pp.

Use Guidelines & Citation

Use Guidelines and Citation

The Small Print: Trademark, Copyright, Citation Guidelines, Restrictions on Use, and Information Disclaimer.

Note: All species and ecological community data presented in NatureServe Explorer at http://explorer.natureserve.org were updated to be current with NatureServe's central databases as of March 2019.
Note: This report was printed on

Trademark Notice: "NatureServe", NatureServe Explorer, The NatureServe logo, and all other names of NatureServe programs referenced herein are trademarks of NatureServe. Any other product or company names mentioned herein are the trademarks of their respective owners.

Copyright Notice: Copyright © 2019 NatureServe, 2511 Richmond (Jefferson Davis) Highway, Suite 930, Arlington, VA 22202, U.S.A. All Rights Reserved. Each document delivered from this server or web site may contain other proprietary notices and copyright information relating to that document. The following citation should be used in any published materials which reference the web site.

Citation for data on website including State Distribution, Watershed, and Reptile Range maps:
NatureServe. 2019. NatureServe Explorer: An online encyclopedia of life [web application]. Version 7.1. NatureServe, Arlington, Virginia. Available http://explorer.natureserve.org. (Accessed:

Citation for Bird Range Maps of North America:
Ridgely, R.S., T.F. Allnutt, T. Brooks, D.K. McNicol, D.W. Mehlman, B.E. Young, and J.R. Zook. 2003. Digital Distribution Maps of the Birds of the Western Hemisphere, version 1.0. NatureServe, Arlington, Virginia, USA.

Acknowledgement Statement for Bird Range Maps of North America:
"Data provided by NatureServe in collaboration with Robert Ridgely, James Zook, The Nature Conservancy - Migratory Bird Program, Conservation International - CABS, World Wildlife Fund - US, and Environment Canada - WILDSPACE."

Citation for Mammal Range Maps of North America:
Patterson, B.D., G. Ceballos, W. Sechrest, M.F. Tognelli, T. Brooks, L. Luna, P. Ortega, I. Salazar, and B.E. Young. 2003. Digital Distribution Maps of the Mammals of the Western Hemisphere, version 1.0. NatureServe, Arlington, Virginia, USA.

Acknowledgement Statement for Mammal Range Maps of North America:
"Data provided by NatureServe in collaboration with Bruce Patterson, Wes Sechrest, Marcelo Tognelli, Gerardo Ceballos, The Nature Conservancy-Migratory Bird Program, Conservation International-CABS, World Wildlife Fund-US, and Environment Canada-WILDSPACE."

Citation for Amphibian Range Maps of the Western Hemisphere:
IUCN, Conservation International, and NatureServe. 2004. Global Amphibian Assessment. IUCN, Conservation International, and NatureServe, Washington, DC and Arlington, Virginia, USA.

Acknowledgement Statement for Amphibian Range Maps of the Western Hemisphere:
"Data developed as part of the Global Amphibian Assessment and provided by IUCN-World Conservation Union, Conservation International and NatureServe."

NOTE: Full metadata for the Bird Range Maps of North America is available at:
http://www.natureserve.org/library/birdDistributionmapsmetadatav1.pdf.

Full metadata for the Mammal Range Maps of North America is available at:
http://www.natureserve.org/library/mammalsDistributionmetadatav1.pdf.

Restrictions on Use: Permission to use, copy and distribute documents delivered from this server is hereby granted under the following conditions:
  1. The above copyright notice must appear in all copies;
  2. Any use of the documents available from this server must be for informational purposes only and in no instance for commercial purposes;
  3. Some data may be downloaded to files and altered in format for analytical purposes, however the data should still be referenced using the citation above;
  4. No graphics available from this server can be used, copied or distributed separate from the accompanying text. Any rights not expressly granted herein are reserved by NatureServe. Nothing contained herein shall be construed as conferring by implication, estoppel, or otherwise any license or right under any trademark of NatureServe. No trademark owned by NatureServe may be used in advertising or promotion pertaining to the distribution of documents delivered from this server without specific advance permission from NatureServe. Except as expressly provided above, nothing contained herein shall be construed as conferring any license or right under any NatureServe copyright.
Information Warranty Disclaimer: All documents and related graphics provided by this server and any other documents which are referenced by or linked to this server are provided "as is" without warranty as to the currentness, completeness, or accuracy of any specific data. NatureServe hereby disclaims all warranties and conditions with regard to any documents provided by this server or any other documents which are referenced by or linked to this server, including but not limited to all implied warranties and conditions of merchantibility, fitness for a particular purpose, and non-infringement. NatureServe makes no representations about the suitability of the information delivered from this server or any other documents that are referenced to or linked to this server. In no event shall NatureServe be liable for any special, indirect, incidental, consequential damages, or for damages of any kind arising out of or in connection with the use or performance of information contained in any documents provided by this server or in any other documents which are referenced by or linked to this server, under any theory of liability used. NatureServe may update or make changes to the documents provided by this server at any time without notice; however, NatureServe makes no commitment to update the information contained herein. Since the data in the central databases are continually being updated, it is advisable to refresh data retrieved at least once a year after its receipt. The data provided is for planning, assessment, and informational purposes. Site specific projects or activities should be reviewed for potential environmental impacts with appropriate regulatory agencies. If ground-disturbing activities are proposed on a site, the appropriate state natural heritage program(s) or conservation data center can be contacted for a site-specific review of the project area (see Visit Local Programs).

Feedback Request: NatureServe encourages users to let us know of any errors or significant omissions that you find in the data through (see Contact Us). Your comments will be very valuable in improving the overall quality of our databases for the benefit of all users.