Dargida rubripennis - (Grote and Robinson, 1870)
The Pink Streak
Other English Common Names: the pink streak
Synonym(s): Faronta rubripennis (Grote and Robinson, 1870)
Taxonomic Status: Accepted
Unique Identifier: ELEMENT_GLOBAL.2.116851
Element Code: IILEYJE050
Informal Taxonomy: Animals, Invertebrates - Insects - Butterflies and Moths - Other Moths
Kingdom Phylum Class Order Family Genus
Animalia Mandibulata Insecta Lepidoptera Noctuidae Dargida
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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: Faronta rubripennis
Taxonomic Comments: The genus Faronta was synonymized with Dargida Walker by Rodríguez and Angulo (2005) resulting in six new combinations.
Conservation Status

NatureServe Status

Global Status: G3G4
Global Status Last Reviewed: 23Sep2003
Global Status Last Changed: 12Aug1997
Rounded Global Status: G3 - Vulnerable
Reasons: Large overall range with huge disontinuities. Quite rare in much of range, but much less so and probably increasing in southern New Jersey. In some areas apparently restricted to rare or specialized habitats such as high quality prairies (Ohio) or dunes (apparently Indiana and possibly in North Carolina). Very poorly understood and seldom numerous. Too rare for G5 despite range and obviously not a G1 or G2. Considering the extensive range an ultimate rank of G4 seems likely, but for now G3 remains a distinct possibility.
Nation: United States
National Status: NNR
Nation: Canada
National Status: N1 (17Aug2017)

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 Arkansas (S1), Connecticut (S1S2), Indiana (S1), Massachusetts (S1S2), Michigan (SNR), New Jersey (S3), New York (SU), North Carolina (S2S3), Ohio (SNR), Rhode Island (SNR), Virginia (S2)

Other Statuses

NatureServe Global Conservation Status Factors

Range Extent: >2,500,000 square km (greater than 1,000,000 square miles)
Range Extent Comments: Roughly Connecticut to Wisconsin to Florida and Arizona. Spotty and not in many states in general range. Probably mainly coastal plain and in prairies.

Number of Occurrences: 81 to >300
Number of Occurrences Comments: Possible, but unlikely C. Fairly frequent in southern New Jersey and there ntly not associated with any rare or pritine natural habitat. A local but very widespread species.

Population Size Comments: Very seldom found in numbers by usual techniques, but can often be found more easily by looking for larvae or ovipositing females at night.

Number of Occurrences with Good Viability/Integrity: Some to many (13-125)

Overall Threat Impact: Low
Overall Threat Impact Comments: Not threatened in New Jersey or Indiana Dunes region much less clear elsewhere. Excessive dormant season fires in prairie preserves are not a threat to this species.

Short-term Trend: Relatively Stable (<=10% change)
Short-term Trend Comments: Almost certainly increasing in New Jersey, e.g. first records for true pine barrens region were in 1988. Also frequent recent records in extreme southern New Jersey. No clear evidence for any major change in status elsewhere. Obviously has declined greatly in prairies due to their loss.

Environmental Specificity Comments: Varies, mainly old fields roadsides and other disturbed native grass areas in NJ but more pristine dune or prairie habitats in some other states.

Other NatureServe Conservation Status Information

Inventory Needs: Locate EOs especially in prairie regions and in parts of the range (most of it?) where this species is genuinely rare)..

Global Range: (>2,500,000 square km (greater than 1,000,000 square miles)) Roughly Connecticut to Wisconsin to Florida and Arizona. Spotty and not in many states in general range. Probably mainly coastal plain and in prairies.

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.

U.S. & Canada State/Province Distribution
United States AR, CT, IN, MA, MI, NC, NJ, NY, OH, RI, VA

Range Map
No map available.

U.S. Distribution by County Help
State County Name (FIPS Code)
CT Middlesex (09007), New London (09011)
IN La Porte (18091), Lake (18089), Newton (18111), Porter (18127), Starke (18149)
MA Barnstable (25001), Dukes (25007)
NC Carteret (37031), Dare (37055)
NJ Atlantic (34001), Burlington (34005)*, Cape May (34009)*, Cumberland (34011)*, Gloucester (34015)*, Mercer (34021)*, Ocean (34029), Salem (34033)*
NY Albany (36001), Suffolk (36103)
* Extirpated/possibly extirpated
U.S. Distribution by Watershed Help
Watershed Region Help Watershed Name (Watershed Code)
01 Lower Connecticut (01080205)+, Cape Cod (01090002)+, Thames (01100003)+
02 Middle Hudson (02020006)+, Southern Long Island (02030202)+, Middle Delaware-Musconetcong (02040105)+*, Crosswicks-Neshaminy (02040201)+*, Lower Delaware (02040202)+*, Delaware Bay (02040204)+*, Cohansey-Maurice (02040206)+*, Mullica-Toms (02040301)+, Great Egg Harbor (02040302)+
03 Albemarle (03010205)+, White Oak River (03020301)+
04 Little Calumet-Galien (04040001)+
07 Kankakee (07120001)+, Chicago (07120003)+
+ Natural heritage record(s) exist for this watershed
* Extirpated/possibly extirpated
Ecology & Life History
Basic Description: A noctuid moth
General Description: See the figure in Covell (1984). A medium size straw colored noctuid with prominent pink streaks on the forewing and often a contrastingly dark olive thorax. Larva is usually brown, but sometimes green, striped lengthwise much as in LEUCANIA spp., several of which are illustrated by Godfrey (1972).
Diagnostic Characteristics: The combination of the pink and size is absolutely diagnostic for adults. Larvae require some experience with Noctuidae. See Godfrey (1972) for a description and illustration of several LEUCANIA with superfically similar larvae. Holland (1903, p. 202 Fig. 113) illustrates what is now FARONTA DIFFUSA, a pest of wheat and other grains that also uses native grasses. Compared to F. DIFFUSA, mature F. RUBRIPENNIS are of course noticeably larger. They also come in both green and (more commonly) brown forms. In NJ, F. DIFFUSA is occurs less commonly on P. VIRGATUM with F. RUBRIPENNIS, although it occurs at the same time of year more commonly on other grasses. In NJ the larva most likely to be found with F. RUBRIPENNIS is DICHAGYRIS ACCLIVIS. That species has some preference for wetter habitats but the foodplant and phneology are the same. It is not tapered anteriorly like FARONTA and related genera, but instead has a proportionally large head and also has a broad dark dorsal band. These observations are entirely from Schweitzer in NJ. Larvae should be reared out or photographed and preserved in alcohol for positive identification.
Ecology Comments: This species spends almost 11 months of the year as a pupa several cm underground. therefore it will usually not be vulnerable to fires except duirng the brief adult and larval periods in late summer. It is not unlikely, but so far undocumented, that some pupae may remain in diapuse an extra year or more and do not emerge until the second year or later.
Non-Migrant: N
Locally Migrant: N
Long Distance Migrant: N
Mobility and Migration Comments: No doubt can disperse some distance but not migratory.
Terrestrial Habitat(s): Grassland/herbaceous, Old field, Sand/dune, Savanna, Shrubland/chaparral
Habitat Comments: In most of range apparently found mainly in more or less natural sandy grassy situations such as prairies and dunes. In New Jersey the species is a bit more weedy, being found mostly or entirely in xeric pseudoprairies such as airports, powerlines, roadsides and much less often old fields. All such habitats are dominated by native grass species or at least a mixture of native grasses and introduced ERAGRSOSTIS CURVULA. Often PANICUM VIRGATUM is the most common grass at New Jersey sites. Eric Metzler has suggested (to Schweitzer) that this species may be associated with SORGHASTRUM NUTANS in Ohio, a grass which does occur in one known New Jersey habitat but does have the right phenology. Despite the unnatural habitats there, in New Jersey this sometimes occurs with rarer grass feeding Lepidoptera especially HESPERIA ATTALUS SLOSSONAE. New Jersey populations might have originally been on dunes or the species might have followed wildfires in the Pine Barrens. However, the first records in the Pine Barrens were not until 1988, suggesting it is an adventive there. Outside of New Jersey habitats are apparently also usually dry and sandy and include prairies and dunes.
Adult Food Habits: Unknown
Immature Food Habits: Granivore, Herbivore
Food Comments: Adults may or may not feed. They do not come to sugar baits and have not been seen on flowers. Larvae feed on grasses, having been reared in the lab on crabgrass by Godfrey (1972). Schweitzer has seen over 80 ovipositions and larvae in NJ all on PANICUM VIRGATUM. Several larvae reared to adults. Eggs are laid in groups inside flowering stems. Larvae apparently feed internally for the first instar. The last instar feeds mainly on the developing seeds. It is believed intermediate instar larvae eat foliage as well as flowers and seeds.
Adult Phenology: Nocturnal
Immature Phenology: Nocturnal
Phenology Comments: Females oviposit soon after dark. Last two instar larvae at least are also nocturnal and leave the feeding areas by day. In NJ adults occur mostly in the first half of August, with a few as early as mid July. Larvae are mature in September and probably none remain by 1 October. There is definitely only one brood and the rest of the year is spent as pupae several cm underground. The phenology seems to be similar elsewhere north of NC. In coastal NC adults fly in September. Kimball (1965) gives records for August, September and October for Florida, but does not give exact dates. So the entire phenology is shifted about a month later in those areas. Godfrey's brood from northern Arizona was reared in August and September indicating an August adult season there also. Probably in that area emergence is to some extent tied to the summer rains, but in NJ the phenology is virtually identical from year to year. The species is almost certain single brooded throughout its range.
Economic Attributes Not yet assessed
Management Summary
Stewardship Overview: Maintain habitat. Typical prescribed burns at unnatural seasons (fall, winter, early spring) probably best if fire is used. Fire is not necessary in much of range (New Jersey, North Carolina, Indiana) but might be in some prairie situations. Larvae enter soil to pupate by about mid to late September (New Jersey and north) and go well under ground. With more naturally timed (summer) fires mortality, either by direct heat or more likely from loss of food supply, could be quite high to immatures during and for perhaps six weeks after adult flight period, i.e. late July through most of September (New Jersey, Indiana). Any fire or cutting that prevents normal flowering and seed set of the switch grass would force females to leave the site to look for oviposition sites which they probably eould never find in highly fragmented prairie regions. Thus a population could be wiped out even if there were no direct mortality. Any larvae present in late summer fires or cuts would probably perish. As far as known based on about 55 eclosions (Schweitzer) all pupae emerge after one winter, there is no hold-over so the population must reproduce every summer.
Biological Research Needs: Learn foodplant in various parts of the range. EO ranking is nearly impossible above the CRANK where this is not known.
Population/Occurrence Delineation
Group Name: Sand Prairie, Savanna, And Barrens Openings Moths

Use Class: Not applicable
Minimum Criteria for an Occurrence: A sandy (or for a few species occasionally rocky) natural or unnatural grassy habitat where the species occurs, or has occurred, with potential for persistence or regular recurrence. Minimally a specimen or possibly a photograph in association with suitable habitat. Documentation standards vary by species and for a few a photograph could suffice but a specimen is always preferred. High quality occurrences will generally either be >100 hectares or multiple grassy patches within a large overall barrens or savanna community or along an extensive right of way over suitable sandy soils.
Mapping Guidance: When suitable habitats are scattered through a large pine barren, oak savanna, or southern pineland, in general all should be considered a single metapopulation occurrence even if the original barren or savanna has been fragmented (e.g. the Albany, New York Pine Bush). Note that grasses or other foodplants are almost never absent between the main habitat patches and in fact are often common along roads etc. and some of these species can even persist on sandy lawns in these contexts. Furthermore suitable habitat will usually expand for a while after fires. Such clusters of habitats obviously functioned as single occurrences originally and probably still do to some extent. All of these moths do show up at lights or on bait in marginal or even unsuitable areas within these larger xeric communities. Plus metapopulations are a much more useful operational conservation unit than the demes within them, especially in systems subject to periodic fires.
Separation Distance for Unsuitable Habitat: 2 km
Separation Distance for Suitable Habitat: 10 km
Separation Justification: Most or all of these moths are probably good colonizers with frequent individual captures several kilometers (occasionally several dozen to [Abagrotis nefascia]>100 kilometers) from any apparently suitable habitat. Furthermore in most cases all habitats checked within a few kilometers of each other either all lack or all have a given species. Partial patch occupancy seems to be rare and Schweitzer knows of no cases. These moths clearly do occupy closely proximate habitat patches if they occur in an area. Of course quantifying this is difficult but 2 kilometers is a very conservative assumption and ten kilometers of more or less suitable habitat is also a very conservative estimate considering the tendency of these and most moths to fully occupy habitats (at least over several seasons even if not all the time). Also a given individual could easily cover ten kilometers in a night and most populations probably usually consist of hundreds to tens of thousands of adult per generation. Still some arbitrary limit is needed.
Inferred Minimum Extent of Habitat Use (when actual extent is unknown): 1 km
Inferred Minimum Extent Justification: While most occurrences are much smaller or consist of a cluster of smaller occurrences it is safe to infer at least this distance if the habitat actually is that large. Individuals can easily move a kilometer in under half an hour and as with most Lepidoptera suitable contiguous habitat is normally fully occupied at least some of the time. So inferred extent is all proximate habitat up to one kilometer from the collection site and if habitat is more extensive a very little effort will almost certainly show a larger occurrence. If three or more collections sites a kilometer apart have been verified within an extensive community all habitat patches should also be assumed occupied.
Date: 31Jan2002
Author: Schweitzer, Dale F.
Notes: This Specs Group was conceived largely for certain eastern and central North American apameine and noctuine Noctuidae and a few Arctiidae characteristic of sand prairies westward and xeric, usually sandy, pine savannas or grassy openings in pine barrens eastward. Since they are apparently or definitely grass or herb feeders they probably do not fit well in the pine barrens moth group where most were originally placed.
Population/Occurrence Viability
U.S. Invasive Species Impact Rank (I-Rank) Not yet assessed
NatureServe Conservation Status Factors Edition Date: 23Sep2003
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): D. SCHWEITZER

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

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