Papaipema sp. 5
Rare Cane Borer Moth
Taxonomic Status: Provisionally accepted
Unique Identifier: ELEMENT_GLOBAL.2.116023
Element Code: IILEYC0X50
Informal Taxonomy: Animals, Invertebrates - Insects - Butterflies and Moths - Papaipema Moths
Kingdom Phylum Class Order Family Genus
Animalia Mandibulata Insecta Lepidoptera Noctuidae Papaipema
Genus Size: D - Medium to large genus (21+ species)
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Concept Reference
Concept Reference: Schweitzer, Dale F. Terrestrial Invertebrate Zoologist, NatureServe. 1761 Main St. Port Norris, NJ 08349. 856-785-2470.
Concept Reference Code: PNDSCH01EHUS
Name Used in Concept Reference: Papaipema sp. 5
Taxonomic Comments: Although known only from four specimens (as of 1999) the adult is so distinctive that in the opinion of both Schweitzer and Quinter (the top expert on this genus) there is no doubt that this is a distinct species. Quinter expects to name it soon.
Conservation Status

NatureServe Status

Global Status: G1G2
Global Status Last Reviewed: 26Sep2004
Global Status Last Changed: 11Aug1999
Rounded Global Status: G1 - Critically Imperiled
Reasons: Known, despite substantial effort by Eric Quinter, from only four specimens from three places, making it apparently nearly the rarest extant moth in eastern North America. While there probably are a few more populations, this has a very limited range, has threats and needs habitat protection.
Nation: United States
National Status: N1N2 (12Aug1999)

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 Kentucky (S1S2), Mississippi (SNR)

Other Statuses

NatureServe Global Conservation Status Factors

Range Extent: <100-250 square km (less than about 40-100 square miles)
Range Extent Comments: Mississippi River and lower Pearl and Black Rivers in Mississippi, southern Missouri and western Kentucky.

Number of Occurrences: 1 - 5
Number of Occurrences Comments: No sure number of EOs, but known only from three places, and certainly much rarer than the other two cane borers in this genus. Both EOs near Mississippi River in MS and KY.

Population Size Comments: No information, apparently very rare.

Overall Threat Impact Comments: Threats include loss of habitat, possibly flooding, and potentially at least any fires, but especially any from November through May. Habitat fragmentation of major cane areas also a threat, especially if local extinction rate is high.

Intrinsic Vulnerability Comments: Potentially small and widely fluctuating populations, but not known.

Other NatureServe Conservation Status Information

Inventory Needs: Larvae can be found by an expert like Quinter. Adults probably can be found using blacklights in autumn--apparently November. The MS specimen was taken at some kind of light. Effort should continue all night.

Protection Needs: Protect known sites from destruction of canes, insecticides, and fire.

Global Range: (<100-250 square km (less than about 40-100 square miles)) Mississippi River and lower Pearl and Black Rivers in Mississippi, southern Missouri and western Kentucky.

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
Endemism: endemic to a single nation

U.S. & Canada State/Province Distribution
United States KY, MS

Range Map
No map available.

U.S. Distribution by County Help
State County Name (FIPS Code)
KY Ballard (21007), Calloway (21035), Carlisle (21039), Graves (21083), Hickman (21105), Marshall (21157), McCracken (21145)
* Extirpated/possibly extirpated
U.S. Distribution by Watershed Help
Watershed Region Help Watershed Name (Watershed Code)
05 Lower Ohio (05140206)+
06 Kentucky Lake (06040005)+, Lower Tennessee (06040006)+
08 Lower Mississippi-Memphis (08010100)+, Bayou De Chien-Mayfield (08010201)+
+ Natural heritage record(s) exist for this watershed
* Extirpated/possibly extirpated
Ecology & Life History
Basic Description: A moth
Non-Migrant: N
Locally Migrant: N
Long Distance Migrant: N
Palustrine Habitat(s): FORESTED WETLAND, Riparian
Habitat Comments: Apparently more or less restricted to riparian cane bakes which are usually in a more or less wooded setting.
Food Comments: Known to be a borer in cane (Quinter)..
Phenology Comments: Adult apparently in October into November.
Economic Attributes Not yet assessed
Management Summary
Biological Research Needs: Need more information on both EOs and biology.
Population/Occurrence Delineation
Group Name: Papaipema and Related Borers

Use Class: Not applicable
Minimum Criteria for an Occurrence: A location supporting a breeding population. Minimally a specimen (exceptionally for some species a photograph or larval burrows in the foodplant) in association with plausible habitat including the foodplant. In mmost cases a photograph of an individual sitting near a collecting light will not be identifiable to species, especially from and JPEGS due to color distortion, although use of natural light does help. A genuine expert must approve all identifications based on less than an actual specimen and some specimens are difficult and require expert identification. Generally identification of Papaipema feeding damage (burrows, frass, borings) to genus is rather easy but in many cases these cannot be identified to species because more than one species could occur in that plant species. In a few cases location an symptoms on the plant (Hessel, 1954) will distinguish among possible species, e.g. P. nebris and P. maritima in the same sunflowers. Sometimes larval specimens can be identified to species. Collections of an adult not associated with habitats containing the foodplant are not EOs.

Mapping Guidance: The essential resource is the larval foodplant so in general EOs consist of foodplant patches and to some extent intervening connecting space, for example one would probably map an entire small bog, and not just the pitcher plant patches, as the EO for northern populations of P. APPASIONATA. Within the overall occurrence it may be advisable to map major foodplant patches carefully so that managers will know their exact locations. See habitat and food comments fields for species-specific information on what constitutes habitat when mapping occurrences.
Separation Barriers: None are really known and it is suspected there are none in practice, although nocturnal lighting could become a barrier in extreme cases. Some species at least do occur in fairly brightly lit residential areas.
Separation Distance for Unsuitable Habitat: 2 km
Separation Distance for Suitable Habitat: 5 km
Alternate Separation Procedure: In general when multiple colonies occur in a distinct natural community occurrence, such as a prairie remnant or wetland complex, they should usually regarded as one metapopulation occurrence and so the suitable habitat distance should be used within the general habitat type(s) (forest, marsh, prairie) occupied by the species in that general area even if the foodplants are patchy. Do not do this across major vegetational changes such as prairie to forest unless both types actually sometimes support the foodplant and its borers. Also if the foodplants are highly patchy and the overall habitat not clearcut-consider compromise distances in marginal habitat but not less than twice the unsuitable distance. For widespread forest understory species, even occasionally the rarer ones like P. duplicata, large occurrences still exist and the Specs for "Forest, Woodland and Scrub Noctuidae" are justified.
Separation Justification: Females of Papaipema, and at least some related genera (e.g. Bellura spp., and Spartiniphaga carterae) are occasionally collected two or more kilometers from any potential larval habitat, but for the most part these are sedentary moths that are usually found within 10 meters of foodplant patches. Females apparently are more dispersive than males and tend to do so after laying some eggs at the natal site. So two kilometers while arbitrary seems adequate. Suitable habitat distance is shorter than for most Noctuidae because habitats and populations of these borers tend to be small, and situations do occur where patches a few km from known colonies remain unoccupied for no obvious reason. Sometimes, but not often, some foodplant is unsuitable due to edaphic or other conditions.

P. pterisii, P. sp. 1, P. frigida, P. furcata, P. inquaesita, and S. carterae can have large occurrences where they are ubiquitous over several hundred hectares. In most cases suitable foodplant patches are occupied at least in some years but in any given year some may not support mature larvae. Foodplant patches are often unoccupied or nearly so by immatures for the first season after a fall, winter or spring burn since by far most are killed. However, the same patch may be very good habitat a year later and until the next burn if there are unburned refugia adjacent (see e.g. Panzer, 1998). Similarly for some species such as P. sulphurata and P. stenocelis some, many, or all habitats may be suitable only in certain years depending on water levels and most or all patches are part of the metapopulation EO regardless of occupancy in a given season. In general then extensive suitable habitat will probably be occupied at least over several years if not every year, but it does seem prudent to consider collections more than five kilometers apart as separate occurrences pending more information especially given that patch sizes and therefore deme size can be quite small.

Inferred Minimum Extent of Habitat Use (when actual extent is unknown): 1 km
Inferred Minimum Extent Justification: Use this radius only with virtually contiguous habitats with the foodplants widespread. Some known occurrences for P. pterisii, P. sp. 1, and S. carterae are several square kilometers. In by far most cases the inferred extent is the entire contiguous habitat which will usually be a few hundred hectares or less and if the habitat is under 400 hectares assume full occupancy (at least over time if not every year). Note also for riparian habitats this distance is not really a radius but more of a linear distance.
Date: 12Sep2001
Author: Schweitzer, Dale F.
Population/Occurrence Viability
U.S. Invasive Species Impact Rank (I-Rank) Not yet assessed
NatureServe Conservation Status Factors Edition Date: 11Aug1999
NatureServe Conservation Status Factors Author: Schweitzer, D.F.
Element Ecology & Life History Edition Date: 26Sep2004
Element Ecology & Life History Author(s): Schweitzer, Dale F.

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

  • Schweitzer, D.F. 1999. Papaipema moths with emphasis on prairie species. Element Management record, Current version date: 1999-12-01. IN Natureserve 2004. NatureServe Central Databases. Arlington, Virginia. U.S.A.

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