Photedes inops - (Grote, 1881)
Spartina Borer Moth
Synonym(s): Spartiniphaga inops (Grote, 1881)
Taxonomic Status: Accepted
Unique Identifier: ELEMENT_GLOBAL.2.120307
Element Code: IILEYBQ020
Informal Taxonomy: Animals, Invertebrates - Insects - Butterflies and Moths - Other Moths
 
Kingdom Phylum Class Order Family Genus
Animalia Mandibulata Insecta Lepidoptera Noctuidae Photedes
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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: Spartiniphaga inops
Taxonomic Comments: Transferred from Spartiniphaga to Photedes by Lafontaine and Schmidt (2010).

While Atlantic coast and prairie populations are apparently very disjunct, there has been no suggestion they merit taxonomic separation.
Conservation Status
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NatureServe Status

Global Status: G3G4
Global Status Last Reviewed: 26Dec2006
Global Status Last Changed: 26Dec2006
Rounded Global Status: G3 - Vulnerable
Reasons: Taken in 1987 in Massachusetts and Rhode Island. Potential habitat drastically reduced and fragmented in prairie region and the impact of this may be compounded in many preserves by frequent dormant season burning which should kill some to all overwintering first instars in the affected area. Inadequate data to really assess status. May be difficult to collect. However, this does still turn up in some prairie remnants and the foodplant is rather common. It is certainly not imminently imperiled and may prove to be secure. However, at this time there is no evidence suggesting that 100 or more viable populations exist but with at least a few scattered occurrences on the New England coast and populations in a substantial porportion of wet prairies from at least Ohio to Wisconsin this species does not appear to be imperiled now. Threats seem greatest westward due to habitat loss, fragmentation and maybe excessive fire.
Nation: United States
National Status: NNR
Nation: Canada
National Status: NU (25Oct2017)

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 (S2), Indiana (S2S3), Maine (SH), Massachusetts (S2S3), Michigan (S2S3), New York (SU), Ohio (S1), Rhode Island (SU), Wisconsin (SU)
Canada Alberta (S3), New Brunswick (SU), Nova Scotia (SU)

Other Statuses

NatureServe Global Conservation Status Factors

Range Extent: >2,500,000 square km (greater than 1,000,000 square miles)
Range Extent Comments: Historic range at least was immediate coast from Prince Edward Island and Nova Scotia to eastern Connecticut; extreme northern Ohio (Lake Erie plain) west to Alberta and Iowa. No records in Quebec, Ontario, inland New York, inland New England, or Pennsylvania. Probably two disjunct ranges.

Number of Occurrences: 81 to >300
Number of Occurrences Comments: Probably originally in most salt marshes from Prince Edward island to Connecticut; original status in Ohio and west unknown.

Population Size: 2500 to >1,000,000 individuals
Population Size Comments: Presumably a few strong colonies could contain 1000+ each.

Number of Occurrences with Good Viability/Integrity: Unknown

Overall Threat Impact: High
Overall Threat Impact Comments: Some evidence of decline in New England, if so, probably due to mosquito spraying. Westward main threat are habitat loss and inapproriate fires. Phragmites invasion is also a threat at least along Atlantic coast.

Short-term Trend: Unknown
Short-term Trend Comments: No information. Now an uncommon and reduced species, but it is not clear if it has stabilized where it remains.

Long-term Trend: Decline of 50-90%
Long-term Trend Comments: Uncertain if this has declined greatly in east coast salt marshes but there have been extrmely few collections since 1950. Obviously any species of prairie wetlands has lost the vast majority of its habitat there since 1800. furthermore this species is apparently absent from many prairies with its foodplant, in some cases probably having been wiped out in past fires.

Other NatureServe Conservation Status Information

Inventory Needs: Search for adults by flashlight and with balcklights late Aug. to mid-September (earlier in north) in SPARTINA PECTINATA stands.

Protection Needs: Should be several in close proximity to allow for recolonization if local extirpations occur. Follow quidelines for Papaipema regarding fire.

Distribution
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Global Range: (>2,500,000 square km (greater than 1,000,000 square miles)) Historic range at least was immediate coast from Prince Edward Island and Nova Scotia to eastern Connecticut; extreme northern Ohio (Lake Erie plain) west to Alberta and Iowa. No records in Quebec, Ontario, inland New York, inland New England, or Pennsylvania. Probably two disjunct ranges.

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 CT, IN, MA, ME, MI, NY, OH, RI, WI
Canada AB, NB, NS

Range Map
No map available.


U.S. Distribution by County Help
State County Name (FIPS Code)
CT Middlesex (09007), New Haven (09009)
IN La Porte (18091), Lake (18089), Porter (18127)
MA Bristol (25005), Dukes (25007), Nantucket (25019), Norfolk (25021)*, Plymouth (25023)
MI Barry (26015), Berrien (26021)*, Cass (26027)*, Newaygo (26123)*
OH Marion (39101), Wyandot (39175)
RI Washington (44009)
* Extirpated/possibly extirpated
U.S. Distribution by Watershed Help
Watershed Region Help Watershed Name (Watershed Code)
01 Lower Connecticut (01080205)+, Charles (01090001)+, Cape Cod (01090002)+, Pawcatuck-Wood (01090005)+, Quinnipiac (01100004)+
02 Long Island Sound (02030203)+
04 Little Calumet-Galien (04040001)+, St. Joseph (04050001)+*, Lower Grand (04050006)+*, Thornapple (04050007)+, Sandusky (04100011)+
07 Chicago (07120003)+
+ Natural heritage record(s) exist for this watershed
* Extirpated/possibly extirpated
Ecology & Life History
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Basic Description: Moth.
General Description: A rather small tan moth with whitish hindwings, the normal lines and spots on the forewing present.
Diagnostic Characteristics: Likely to be confused only with S. carterae and their ranges probably do not overlap. However that species does have an uncommon form (in New Jersey only) that resembles S. inops closely. Genitalia are distinctive (Schweitzer, 1983). Other good illustrations include Metzler et al. (2005), Rings et al. (1992), Ferge and Balogh (2000).
Non-Migrant: N
Locally Migrant: N
Long Distance Migrant: N
Estuarine Habitat(s): Herbaceous wetland
Palustrine Habitat(s): HERBACEOUS WETLAND
Terrestrial Habitat(s): Grassland/herbaceous
Habitat Comments: Habitat is tidal marshes, other types of wetlands, and moist prairie with a lot of the larval foodplant.
Adult Food Habits: Unknown
Immature Food Habits: Herbivore
Food Comments: Larva is a borer in SPARTINA PECTINATA apparently exclusively.
Adult Phenology: Crepuscular, Nocturnal
Immature Phenology: Hibernates/aestivates
Phenology Comments: Adults occur in late August or September, latest southward. They fly mostly about one to two hours after dusk and can then be found among the foodplants.. Eggs probably hatch in late fall and first instars overwinter, as with the related S. CARTERAE. There is probably a short aestivation at least southward before pupation.
Economic Attributes Not yet assessed
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Management Summary
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Stewardship Overview: Eggs are laid in early autumn on the foodplant (Spartina pectinata), probably most often among old leaf sheaths near the stem, but possibly nearer the base. Therefore a fall fire could easily eradicate this species. However it is less clear how severe mortality would be at other seasons, especially spring when conditions might be wet and larvae in succulent new growth, or in winter when their whereabouts is unknown. It is thought that larvae spend the summer as borers in the stems, but details do not seem to be available. Position of pupae is undocumented. Moths rest among the grasses. Therefore as far as known, refugia are needed with all fires at any season. There is no known reason why recolonization would not be expected to begin the first autumn post-fire, and if that is correct any reasonable rotation suitable for other fire sensitive Lepidoptera such as Papaipema moths, Regal Fritillary etc. should suffice for this species. See Panzer (1998) and discussion and the various references in Metzler et al. (2005). Something like three or more burn units with one burned every other year should work very well. As far as known mowing in late spring or early summer would probably wipe out an occurrence but effects of mowing at other seasons might be less.

Biological Research Needs: Need to determine if other species of SPARTINA are used as foodplants.
Population/Occurrence Delineation
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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.

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 most 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.


Separation Distance for Unsuitable Habitat: 2 km
Separation Distance for Suitable Habitat: 5 km
Date: 05Feb2007
Author: Schweitzer, D.F.
Population/Occurrence Viability
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Group Name: Prairie Papaipema and related borers

Excellent Viability: No current occurrences are thought to approach the best, or probably even typical, all time occurrences, so any A-SPECS would be moot.
Good Viability: This rank is also arguably moot since there really are no especially good occurrences left by original standards. However there probably are a few that are better than merely potentially persistent. B probably could be applied in a few places where large well managed populations are likely to persist at about their current level and to maintain whatever genetic diversity they have left under current and expected conditions. If the region is fire prone a B-ranked occurrence must be likely to persist through a wild fire that burns up to 95% of the surface area. Management should approach optimal and not be merely acceptable. Such populations should be well distributed over multiple (at least four) burn units with a highly compatible fire regimen (or managed without fire) featuring rotational partial burning over a large tract such that available (=unburned) actual habitat is at least 500 hectares most years, although the foodplant might be sparse in some portions. Generally there should be some evidence suggesting that at least a few hundred adults eclose in most years, that is average density is at least one per hectare, and around 200 in poor years, and that larvae are widely distributed within the habitat. Generally ten last instar larval borings per hectare would suggest adult density exceeds one per hectare. B should generally not be applied where a given patch typically has only three seasons between burns unless it is actually documented that numbers consistently recover to pre-burn levels within that time, and B should not be considered with two year rotations. While these B-SPECS probably would not approach even typical historic occurrences, such a population would nevertheless stand out as a particularly good occurrence today. For these species occurrences in other habitats like glades, fens, meadows are usually small and, especially if managed with fire, would not likely merit a B-rank, and definitely not an A since they do not remotely approach best all time occurrences.
Fair Viability: Most occurrences appear to merit this rank, that is they have some possibility for persistence but other comparable habitats are often unoccupied meaning persistence is far from assured. These are generally occurrences occupying less than 100 hectares of available habitat in a given year (sometimes within a larger prairie remnant) and managed by rotational burning, or isolated colonies in smaller habitats like glades, wet meadows, or fens. If the habitat is maintained by fire, generally there should be at least two burn units producing adults in any given non-burn year and two or more non-fire years for each unit per cycle to qualify as a straight C (rather than CD). Exceptionally C could also apply where complete burns or two year rotations are used if the habitat is wet enough or the fires for some reason are patchy enough that the occurrence has been able to persist under such a regimen, but generally CD would be more appropriate given the likelihood the occurrence will eventually fail to survive or recover from one of these burns. Population size for C-ranked occurrences would typically be a few dozen to a few hundred adults in most years, but if there is reason to believe the occurrence has been persisting at such low levels this rank could apply to smaller populations, even some that occasionally produce as less than 20 adults in very bad years. Few occurrences of these speciesd in habitats other than prairies would rank higher than C, especially if they are small patches and subject to any fire regimen.
Poor Viability: These occurrences are unlikely to persist due to small habitat (e.g. <5 hectares), low numbers (e.g. often less than 20 adults per year), vulnerability to wildfire or other catastrophic event, or that are subject to complete burning over a one or two year period (but see C-RANKSPEC).
Justification: Use these SPECs for general guidance and consider combination ranks given unknowns like population size. In their core ranges these species occurred widely in mesic to wet portions of vast prairies using common to co-dominant plants, either as metapopulations or more continuously, but unevenly, distributed such that occurrences would have been hard to define and probably variable from year to year. However local declines and temporary extirpations were probably common. Nomadic bison herds periodically ate the foodplants along with any eggs or larvae present. Egg mortality during fall, winter, or spring fires is usually 80-100% (Panzer, 1998, Decker, 1934, since late instar larvae and pupae are usually near or below ground they would have some protection from both grazers and fire in mid to late summer. On the original landscapes recolonization probably occurred very rapidly just as occurs now on burned units (Panzer, 1998) but extirpation of an entire occurrence now would probably be permanent. No occurrences now approach size and extent of metapopulations present before European invasion, that is best all-time conditions, so use of A-rank now is unjustified. Modern occurrences are mostly in small scraps of prairie or other small habitats.

Papaipema can be managed with conservative rotational burning (e.g. Panzer, 1998), although past complete burns probably account for many absences (e.g. Bird, 1917,1934, Hessel, 1954). Habitat burned since the previous fall is unoccupied, so a 100 hectare remnant with 25% burned each year has 75 hectares of habitat in a given year. Panzer's data suggest that with unburned refugia present good recovery can occur by the third, or even second, summer, but recovery time probably sometimes takes longer due to low nocturnal temperatures when the adults are active, hot, dry weather when larvae hatch in spring (Decker, 1934), or low adult numbers (for any reason) in adjacent unburned units. Therefore a somewhat longer recovery time than 2-3 years is appropriate for a B-SPEC. B-ranked occurrences should have some margin for annually variable distribution among burn units leading to higher than expected mortality in some prescribed burns. Larger areas provide such buffer. A regimen of four or more burn units each burned at five year or longer intervals on a rotational schedule with 500 hectares of unburned habitat each year should virtually assure persistence in the absence of other disturbances. Large habitats provide some buffer against common mortality agents like grazing, rodents, and parasites that can have very spatially uneven impacts and can even eradicate small populations (Hessel, 1954, D.F. Schweitzer) and could mitigate wildfire impacts. If 95% of a 500 hectare habitat burned, the 25 ha unburned area would be larger than some occupied Papaipema habitats, so there would be a good chance for recovery. However recolonization probably could not occur as fast as in Panzer's studies. If density is usually more than one adult per hectare and stays above half that, even genetic diversity might persist. Assume that five last instar larvae (much easier to estimate) per hectare meets this criterion, although the implied assumption that more than 20% of last instar larvae survive to adulthood is unproven.

Small colonies of Papaipema often die out and many small habitats and some larger remnants are unoccupied by some expected species, but Panzer et al. (1995) report populations persisting on 100 hectares or less. Dale Schweitzer has seen P. impecuniosa and P. baptisiae persist at less than ten pupae in <100 square meters for several years, so populations that only occasionally drop to 20 or fewer adults could merit a C-rank. Mortality factors tend to be similar among species, so in borderline situations, especially between C and D, consider presence or absence of other species with comparable or lesser resource bases as indicative of potential for persistence

Key for Ranking Species Element Occurrences Using the Generic Approach (2008).
Date: 31Jan2007
Author: Schweitzer, Dale 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: 30Nov2002
NatureServe Conservation Status Factors Author: Schweitzer, D.F.
Management Information Edition Author: Schweitzer, Dale F.
Element Ecology & Life History Edition Date: 12Mar2007
Element Ecology & Life History Author(s): SCHWEITZER, D.F.

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References
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  • 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.

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

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

  • 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.

  • Natural Resources Commission. 2014. Roster of Indiana Animals, Insects, and Plants That Are Extirpated, Endangered, Threatened or Rare. Information Bulletin #2 (Sixth Amendment. 20pp.

  • Panzer, R.J., 1998. Insect Conservation within the severely fragmented eastern tallgrass prairie landscape. Ph.D. thesis Graduate College of the University of Illinois at Urbana-Champaign, 1998.

  • Rings, R. W., E. H. Metzler, F. J. Arnold, and D. H. Harris. 1992. The Owlet Moths of Ohio (Order Lepidoptera, family Noctuidae). Ohio Biol. Surv. Bull. New Series, Vol. 9, no. 2, vi. + 219 pp., 16 color plates.

  • Schweitzer, Dale F. 1983. A new species of Spartiniphaga (Noctuidae) from the New Jersey Pine Barrens. Journal of the Lepidopterists' Society 37(4):301-305.

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

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