Idia gopheri - (Smith, 1899)
Tortoise Commensal Noctuid Moth
Taxonomic Status: Accepted
Unique Identifier: ELEMENT_GLOBAL.2.115350
Element Code: IILEY40150
Informal Taxonomy: Animals, Invertebrates - Insects - Butterflies and Moths - Other Moths
 
Kingdom Phylum Class Order Family Genus
Animalia Mandibulata Insecta Lepidoptera Erebidae Idia
Genus Size: C - Small genus (6-20 species)
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Concept Reference
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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: Idia gopheri
Taxonomic Comments: Also known as Epizeuxis gopheri.
Conservation Status
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NatureServe Status

Global Status: G2G3
Global Status Last Reviewed: 22Sep1999
Global Status Last Changed: 22Sep1999
Rounded Global Status: G2 - Imperiled
Reasons: The gopher tortoise is currently ranked as uncommon to rare globallly (G3) and in Florida (S3) and a commensal cannot be ranked as less rare. This moth probably does not occur at some Florida sites for the gopher tortoise and it is possibly considerably rarer than its host.
Nation: United States
National Status: NNR

U.S. & Canada State/Province Status
United States Florida (S2S3)

Other Statuses

NatureServe Global Conservation Status Factors

Range Extent: 250-2,500,000 square km (about 100-1,000,000 square miles)
Range Extent Comments: Apparently known only from Florida from Lake Worth and Port Sewell north to Escambia and Liberty Counties but might also be found in southeast Alabama and southern Georgia. Like most commensal insects, apparently not as widespread as the gopher tortoise.

Number of Occurrences: 6 - 80
Number of Occurrences Comments: Probably less frequent than host, i.e. smaller gopher tortoise EOs might lack the moth.

Population Size: 2500 - 10,000 individuals
Population Size Comments: Probably more numerous than the gopher tortoise where found.

Overall Threat Impact Comments: Same as for gopher tortoise except also could be impacted by pesticides.

Short-term Trend Comments: Same as gopher tortoise most likely.

Intrinsic Vulnerability Comments: Probably a bit more fragile than the gopher tortoise.

Other NatureServe Conservation Status Information

Inventory Needs: Look for moths at bait and lights, apparently in spring northward and October to May southward (Kimball, 1965). Can also collect larvae from burrows, probably during much of year. Adults perhaps also occur most of year.

Protection Needs: Protect populations of gopher tortoise.

Distribution
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Global Range: (250-2,500,000 square km (about 100-1,000,000 square miles)) Apparently known only from Florida from Lake Worth and Port Sewell north to Escambia and Liberty Counties but might also be found in southeast Alabama and southern Georgia. Like most commensal insects, apparently not as widespread as the gopher tortoise.

U.S. States and Canadian Provinces

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 FL

Range Map
No map available.

Ecology & Life History
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Basic Description: A noctuid moth.
Non-Migrant: N
Locally Migrant: N
Long Distance Migrant: N
Terrestrial Habitat(s): Savanna, Woodland - Conifer, Woodland - Mixed
Habitat Comments: The habitat, as far as known, is the same as for the gopher tortoise, its host species.
Adult Food Habits: Unknown
Immature Food Habits: Coprophagous, Scavenger
Food Comments: Larvae live and feed in gopher tortoise burrows. Apparently this is an obligate commensal.
Economic Attributes Not yet assessed
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Management Summary Not yet assessed
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Population/Occurrence Delineation
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Use Class: Not applicable
Minimum Criteria for an Occurrence: A colony of gopher tortoises where this moth occurs. EOs and their SPECS should generally be the same as for the host tortoise, regardless of the fact the moth will probably out number the tortoises.
Separation Distance for Unsuitable Habitat: 1 km
Separation Distance for Suitable Habitat: 3 km
Separation Justification: These distance are those for the gopher tortoise and seem reasonable for the moth too, although the moth is obviously potentially more mobile. Adults are occasionally taken away from the tortoise colonies. Note that suitable habitat for the moth means where gopher tortoise colonies are and not any particular kind of vegetation.
Date: 25Sep2001
Author: Schweitzer, Dale F.
Population/Occurrence Viability
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Excellent Viability: Population associated with ARANK gopher turtle population.
Good Viability: Population associated with BRANK gopher turtle population.
Fair Viability: Population associated with CRANK gopher turtle population.
Poor Viability: Populations that fail to perisit or are associated with D or low CRANK gopher turtle sites.
Justification: While it is possible a population of this moth might be less secure than its host, this would not likely be apparent unless the place were well collected for moths and an experienced expert found the species unusually difficult to find. Even though the moths are likely to substantially outnumber gopher tortoises, a population of an obligate commensal cannot reasonably be ranked higher than its host.
Key for Ranking Species Element Occurrences Using the Generic Approach (2008).
Date: 15Feb2007
Author: Schweitzer, D.F.
U.S. Invasive Species Impact Rank (I-Rank) Not yet assessed
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Authors/Contributors
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NatureServe Conservation Status Factors Edition Date: 11Jul2011
NatureServe Conservation Status Factors Author: Almquist, D.T.
Element Ecology & Life History Edition Date: 18Aug1999
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
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  • 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.

  • Kimball, C. P. 1965. The Lepidoptera of Florida. Arthropods of Florida and Neighboring Land Areas, Vol. 1. Florida Department of Agriculture and Consumer Services. Gainesville, Florida. 363 pp. and 26 plates.

  • 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.

  • 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, D.F. 1989. A review of Category 2 Insecta in USFWS regions 3, 4, 5. Prepared for the United States Fish and Wildlife Service.

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