Pyreferra ceromatica - (Grote, 1874)
Annointed Sallow Moth
Taxonomic Status: Accepted
Unique Identifier: ELEMENT_GLOBAL.2.114743
Element Code: IILEYFF030
Informal Taxonomy: Animals, Invertebrates - Insects - Butterflies and Moths - Other Moths
 
Kingdom Phylum Class Order Family Genus
Animalia Mandibulata Insecta Lepidoptera Noctuidae Pyreferra
Genus Size: B - Very small genus (2-5 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: Pyreferra ceromatica
Taxonomic Comments: Exceptionally distinctive small genus of four currently recognized species. Schweitzer considers it possible that there might be two additional ones. Pre-1930 literature places it in other genera such as Scopelosoma.
Conservation Status
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NatureServe Status

Global Status: GU
Global Status Last Reviewed: 18May2005
Global Status Last Changed: 06Jan1999
Rounded Global Status: GU - Unrankable
Reasons: Inadequate data from current range, but apparently extirpated from most of its range, including all of the known pre-1940 range. Cause of preciptious decline totally uinknown, and did not affect any related species.
Nation: United States
National Status: NU (03Jun1993)
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 Alabama (SU), Connecticut (SX), Florida (S1S2), Indiana (SX), Louisiana (SU), Maine (SX), Massachusetts (SX), Michigan (SH), New Hampshire (SX), New Jersey (SX), New York (SX), North Carolina (S1S2), Pennsylvania (SX), South Carolina (SNR)
Canada Manitoba (SNR), Ontario (SX), Quebec (SH)

Other Statuses

IUCN Red List Category: NE - Not evaluated

NatureServe Global Conservation Status Factors

Range Extent: 250-2,500,000 square km (about 100-1,000,000 square miles)
Range Extent Comments: Perhaps only in the coastal plain of North and South Carolina and Louisiana or it might occur widely in between. From about 1880 to 1940 collected in numerous places from the Montreal and Boston vicinities across southern Ontario and southern Michigan to northwestern Indiana and south to northern New Jersey and Pittsburgh, Pennsylvania, that is between about 40 and 45 degrees North. Several were collected in March 1942 in Dale County, Alabama, and one in 1962 in Escambia County, the western tip of the Florida panhandle. Since then only 1969 and 1977 near McClellanville, South Carolina and 1991-2000 about 24 in Jones and Craven Counties, North Carolina and since about 1982 about a dozen at Abita Springs, Louisiana. There are no intervening records, but also virtually no historic collecting in most of the South. It cannot be known if northern occurrences were disjunct from the southern coastal plain ones or whether (seems more likely) the species was once widespread and common south of about 43 degrees North. It should be noted that several active collectors in northern Georgia and adjacent Alabama are not (as of 2004) taking this species. Therefore all that is certain is that the species used to range widely in the North and no longer occurs above about 35 degrees North and since 1940 seems to be confined to the outer coastal plain. It has presumably always occupied the areas where it is now found.

Area of Occupancy: Unknown 4-km2 grid cells
Area of Occupancy Comments:  

Number of Occurrences: Unknown
Number of Occurrences Comments: No good data. A few scattered known occurrences from 1977 to 1990s in extreme coastal Carolinas and southern Lousiana. Obviously overlooked, but has also declined making guesses about number of occurrences risky. Less than 10 documented since 1940.

Population Size: Unknown

Overall Threat Impact: Unknown
Overall Threat Impact Comments: Unknown. Vulnerability of present populations is unknown. Dormant season fires would kill virtually all adults in area, but more naturally timed (late spring, summer) fires would cause little or no mortality to underground aestivating larvae. Gypsy moth spraying is or soon will be a threat in NC, and eventually will be everywhere. It is not known whether larvae would be sensitive to Btk however. Most species assayed in related genera are not, but some are extremely sensitive.

Short-term Trend: Unknown
Short-term Trend Comments: No evidence of decline since the 1970s.

Long-term Trend: Decline of >70%
Long-term Trend Comments: Extirpated from its entire documented pre-1940 range, that is from Quebec to Indiana and New Jersey to western Pennsylvania. The full extent of its original range south of Pennsylvania cannot now be known, so the full extent of the decline is also unknowable. It the moderns and old ranges were in fact contiguous as seems likely then this species is probably gone from about 99.9% of its range.

Intrinsic Vulnerability Comments: Massive decline indicates this was extremely vulnerable to something. Perhaps it is less vulnerable at remaining occurrences.

Environmental Specificity: Unknown
Environmental Specificity Comments: Obviously 100 years ago much less specialized than now.

Other NatureServe Conservation Status Information

Inventory Needs: Needs more inventory in current range. Could be found as larvae fairly easily just before leaves of foodplant harden off in late spring. Adults can be taken at light or bait in late fall, winter, early spring.

Distribution
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Global Range: (250-2,500,000 square km (about 100-1,000,000 square miles)) Perhaps only in the coastal plain of North and South Carolina and Louisiana or it might occur widely in between. From about 1880 to 1940 collected in numerous places from the Montreal and Boston vicinities across southern Ontario and southern Michigan to northwestern Indiana and south to northern New Jersey and Pittsburgh, Pennsylvania, that is between about 40 and 45 degrees North. Several were collected in March 1942 in Dale County, Alabama, and one in 1962 in Escambia County, the western tip of the Florida panhandle. Since then only 1969 and 1977 near McClellanville, South Carolina and 1991-2000 about 24 in Jones and Craven Counties, North Carolina and since about 1982 about a dozen at Abita Springs, Louisiana. There are no intervening records, but also virtually no historic collecting in most of the South. It cannot be known if northern occurrences were disjunct from the southern coastal plain ones or whether (seems more likely) the species was once widespread and common south of about 43 degrees North. It should be noted that several active collectors in northern Georgia and adjacent Alabama are not (as of 2004) taking this species. Therefore all that is certain is that the species used to range widely in the North and no longer occurs above about 35 degrees North and since 1940 seems to be confined to the outer coastal plain. It has presumably always occupied the areas where it is now found.

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 AL, CTextirpated, FL, INextirpated, LA, MAextirpated, MEextirpated, MI, NC, NHextirpated, NJextirpated, NYextirpated, PAextirpated, SC
Canada MB, ONextirpated, QC

Range Map
No map available.


U.S. Distribution by County Help
State County Name (FIPS Code)
NC Craven (37049)
* Extirpated/possibly extirpated
U.S. Distribution by Watershed Help
Watershed Region Help Watershed Name (Watershed Code)
03 Lower Neuse (03020204)+
+ Natural heritage record(s) exist for this watershed
* Extirpated/possibly extirpated
Ecology & Life History
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Basic Description: Moth.
General Description: Forewings and thorax bright slightly irridescent purplish red when fresh, but fading by late spring, with slightly darker markings consisting of the usual nocutid lines and spots. Antemedian and median lines are fairly straight and simple, postmedian line is scalloped on the veins and on fresh specimens there are more or less conspicuous dark dots or short bars on most of the forewing veins at the tip of each such scallop. Short vein bars also are present, but not always conspicuous, in the terminal area. There is a round orbicular spot and normal reniform spot. Both spots may be filled with somewhat darker color. The hindwing is a lighter red brown, in contrast to the usual dull grey or off white of most Noctuidae.
Diagnostic Characteristics: This is an exceptionally distinctive moth. The color of both wings and the forewing pattern should allow easy identification by anyone at all familiar with Noctuidae. PYREFERRA PETTITI is substantially smaller and heavily dusted with orange on a yellow base, but similarly marked. Both other named PYREFERRA are even more yellowish with much more contrasty lines, with a simple (unscalloped) postmedian. All possible unnamed species are very similar to northern named ones (above). Inexperienced collectors sometimes mistake P. CEROMATICA for a EUPSILIA, since it is colored so unlike other PYREFERRA. All of those species of EUPSILIA that are reddish have a more complex reniform consisting of a round to elliptical spot with small posterior and anterior satellite spots. The reniform of these EUPSILIA is not the color of the rest of the forewing, nor is it darker, being white, orange, red or yellow. EUPSILIA are rather rare on the coastal plain in North Carolina, not known from the coastal plain of South Carolina, and so far not known anywhere in Louisiana or Florida. Holland (1903: plate XXVI, fig. 34) and Rockburne and Lafontaine (1976) adequately illustrate P. CEROMATICA, although neither shows a really fresh specimen.
Reproduction Comments: This species, like all Xylenini worldwide, has one annual generation throughout its range.
Non-Migrant: N
Locally Migrant: N
Long Distance Migrant: N
Mobility and Migration Comments: Adults of related species often appear in numbers in late fall in places where foodplant is rare or absent, e.g. islands off New England and especially southern new Jersey. In such cases they remain at least until March. So this species may also have been dispersive or even migratory.
Palustrine Habitat(s): FORESTED WETLAND
Terrestrial Habitat(s): Forest - Hardwood, Forest - Mixed, Woodland - Mixed
Habitat Comments: Was ordinary forest northward, ecotones between mesic woodland and bottomlands in North Carolina. With the foodplant.
Adult Food Habits: Nectarivore
Immature Food Habits: Herbivore
Food Comments: Larvae of extinct northern populations ate mostly, probably virtually entirely, witch hazel as do two common close relatives (P. HESPERIDAGO, and most populations of P. CITROMBRA). Larvae eat young foliage. Southern extant populations are associated with witch hazel as well, but some might use FOTHERGILLA. Related species reject sweetgum so this one probably does not use it either. Adults of this genus often visit sap flows of maples and birches in late winter and early spring northward, and almost certainly depend heavily on red maple flowers for late spring nourishment in all areas of the range. Oviposition probably begins when red maples flower.
Adult Phenology: Crepuscular, Nocturnal
Phenology Comments: Larvae would probably mostly be finished feeding by mid or late April in northern Florida, in May in North Carolina. Northern larvae fed from about late April into early or mid June (larvae feed for about four to six weeks starting just after budbreak of host). Larvae remain on the foodplant day and night but probably feed more often at night. Prepupal larvae aestivate in the soil within a cocoon and pupate in early autumn, usually in the same cocoon. Adults mostly in October and March to early May northward, December to February in Louisiana, and November to mid April in the Carolinas.
Economic Attributes Not yet assessed
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Management Summary
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Biological Research Needs: Habitat and foodplant of southern populations not known. Especially need to learn foodplant: Ostrya, Hamamelis (former foodplant in north), Carpinus and Fothergilla are plausible.
Population/Occurrence Delineation
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Group Name: Forest, Woodland and Scrub Noctuidae

Use Class: Not applicable
Minimum Criteria for an Occurrence: An occurrence where the species occurs or has occurred with potential for persistence or regular recurrence. Minimally a collection (generally must be an adult) associated with suitable habitat. Photodocumentation except from spread specimens is strongly discouraged but sometimes will suffice High quality occurrences will occupy at least hundreds of hectares and in some areas EOs often cover tens of thousands of hectares. Where forests are fragmented the metapopulation concept probably applies, similarly if the foodplant is very unevenly distributed within a large forest.
Mapping Guidance: General habitat boundaries will sometime suffice for mapping, especially for conifer feeders. When plausible combine populations in proximate fragments as one metapopulation. See habitat and food comments fields and/or ask local experts for species-specific habitat information. Be particularly careful with pine feeding ZALE species which may be species-specific. Note that many of conifer feeders such as FERALIA, PANTHEA and pine feeding ZALE do not wander far from their hostplants. In general then is the densitiy of pines (or other appropriate conifers) drops below about five per hectare in mixed forests such parts are probably best not mapped as habitat for these moths except over short distancs between more suitable patches.
Separation Distance for Unsuitable Habitat: 4 km
Separation Distance for Suitable Habitat: 20 km
Alternate Separation Procedure: If the habitat is occurring patchily within an extensive overall wooded landscape consider all patches within half the suitable habitat separation distance of at least one other as one metapopulation occurrence. However apply the unsuitable habitat distance across cleared lands.
Separation Justification: Published data are virtually non-existent but there are extensive anecdotal observations or experiences of collectors. First habitats are almost always either vacant or essentially fully occupied. Several authors report migratory average sized noctuids as moving 10 m per second or faster and even half that would be 18 km per hour, surely a conservative distance within suitable habitats--but roughly an hour's flight distance seems like a reasonable cap. The unsuitable habitat distance is more arbitrary but reflects the general perception that moths tend to stay in habitat but on the other hand few Noctuidae should need even half an hour to cross such a small distance. Also Schweitzer has marked and released over 700 EUPSILIA and a few dozen LITHOPHANE in early spring when their life expectancy was still another four to ten weeks and after 26 hours recapture rates fell to less than 0.2%. Sargent and colleagues rarely recaptured CATOCALA moths released from their light traps. While CATOCALA are in other Specs Groups most are forest noctuids. Also Schweitzer has often noted that if all individuals of Xylenini or ZALE are collected from a bait trail each evening, the numbers still tend increase for at least five nights if the weather holds--it is well known bait trails improve with use. Such observations imply very open population structure and wide ranging moths. Moths assigned to this Specs Group are moderately to very strong fliers and with few exceptions (mainly PSAPHIDINAE and FERALIA) they feed and probably normally live between a week and a month as adults. Xylenini live more like two to seven months but the long lived ones are inactive much of that time. Species in this Specs Group feed on common to dominant forest trees or understory shrubs or common understory herbs and apparently are not much more localized within their habitats than their foodplants are. They commonly turn up in marginal habitats but uncommonly to never more than a few dozen to a hundred or so meters from woodland or scrub of some kind. That is these moths are normally widespread to landscape level species within extensive habitats even though they do not often wander far from woods. Some are very generalized in terms of habitat and few require much beyond adequate foodplants and probably tree cover. They can confidently be expected to occupy whatever habitat is available (Schweitzer >30 Xylenini and >50 other of species, especially ZALE and ACRONICTA, e.g. using multiple trap sites in their habitat). Occurrences occupying much more than 1000 hectares vary from frequent to normal and for most species some in New Jersey appear to far exceed 10,000 hectares. It is not clear what would be the minimum size patch capable of sustaining an occurrence, but probably a few tens or hundreds of hectares for many. These are normally species of large habitats and do move around and colonize or persist in somewhat fragmented patches. Both distances are arbitrary. In general two kilometers across more or less treeless terrain or residential or urban areas with some trees but not the foodplants or other essential features should provide substantial separation. The suitable habitat distance is far more problematic and assumed to be too low. Still some arbitrary cap is needed in extensively wooded places like parts of New England, southern new Jersey and Appalachia. Suitable habitat generally includes marginal habitats, but for species that feed solely on pines or other confiers do not treat as suitable habitat areas (forested or otherwise) where the foodplant occurs at less than three mature trees per hectare.
Inferred Minimum Extent of Habitat Use (when actual extent is unknown): 2 km
Inferred Minimum Extent Justification: Inferred extent, for example based on one specimens in a light trap, is all suitable habitat within two kilometers of the collection point. If the habitat is more extensive than that there is almost no chance the resulting 1000 hectare circle will close to contain the entire occurrence. However when data are minimal conservative assumptions are warranted.
Date: 04Dec2001
Author: Schweitzer, Dale F.
Notes: Care has been taken not to include species that would likely violate any of the distances given, especially inferred extent. Herminiine, smaller "deltoids" and some other small weak fliers are not included in this group. This group is mostly for noctuids that are either polyphagous or feed on a dominant, codominant, or at least frequent foodplant. It may not be appropriate for species feeding on grasses, forbs, shrubs or even tree that tend to occur as localized, well separated patches within a forest, although if such patches are fairly frequent they should work (see Alternate Separation Procudure).
Population/Occurrence Viability
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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: 18May2005
NatureServe Conservation Status Factors Author: Schweitzer, D.F.
Element Ecology & Life History Edition Date: 02Nov2004
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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  • Deyrup, M., and R. Franz. 1994. Rare and Endangered Biota of Florida, Volume IV: Invertebrates. University Press of Florida, Gainesville. 798 pp.

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

  • 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.

  • Holland, W.J. 1968. The moth book. Dover Publications, NY, 479 pp. An unabridged version first published in 1903 by Doubleday, Page, and Co.

  • 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.

  • Opler, Paul A., Harry Pavulaan, and Ray E. Stanford (coordinators). 1995. Butterflies of North America. Jamestown, ND: Northern Prairie Wildlife Research Center Home Page. http://www.npwrc.usgs.gov/resource/distr/lepid/bflyusa/bflyusa.htm (Version 12DEC2003).

  • Rockburne, E. W., and J. D. LaFontaine. 1976. The cutworm moths of Ontario and Quebec. Research Branch, Canada Department of Agriculture. Publication 1593. 164 pp.

  • 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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