Zale curema - (Smith, 1908)
Black-eyed Zale Moth
Taxonomic Status: Accepted
Unique Identifier: ELEMENT_GLOBAL.2.120947
Element Code: IILEY7P260
Informal Taxonomy: Animals, Invertebrates - Insects - Butterflies and Moths - Other Moths
 
Kingdom Phylum Class Order Family Genus
Animalia Mandibulata Insecta Lepidoptera Erebidae Zale
Genus Size: D - Medium to large genus (21+ 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: Zale curema
Taxonomic Comments: Taxonomy not in doubt but seldom correctly identified, for example Ohio illustrations and presumably records are errors for Z. helata. Forbes had it mostly right but used some misidentifed McDunnough records for North Carolina and Arkansas which were confusa. Maier et al. (2004) illustrate larva, but all other literature records are considered unreliable.
Conservation Status
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NatureServe Status

Global Status: G4
Global Status Last Reviewed: 28Jul2011
Global Status Last Changed: 28Jul2011
Rounded Global Status: G4 - Apparently Secure
Reasons: Limited and spotty known range but almost common in southeastern Massachusetts. Mostly sporadic and very local elsewhere. However quite possible it will prove widespread with pitch pine, possibly even some other hard pines, in southern Appalachians. Based on known range this could be globally uncommon (G3) but strong chance it is more common in the Appalachians and will end up ranked as apparently secure (G4).
Nation: United States
National Status: N4 (17Jun2010)
Nation: Canada
National Status: NNR

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 (S1S3), Connecticut (S1), Indiana (SNR), Maryland (S1?), Massachusetts (S4), New Hampshire (S2), New Jersey (SU), New York (SU), Pennsylvania (S1), Rhode Island (SNR), Virginia (S1S3)

Other Statuses

NatureServe Global Conservation Status Factors

Range Extent: 20,000-2,500,000 square km (about 8000-1,000,000 square miles)
Range Extent Comments: Apparently somewhat common in Cape Cod area of Massachusetts. Otherwise scattered major northern pitch pine areas: verified for Concord, New Hampshire, vicinity of Albany, New York, at least formerly eastern Connecticut (implying it should occur in Rhode Island); the Poconos and Chester County barrens of Pennsylvania; single records for Rockridge County, Virginia and ancient ones Tryon and Raleigh, North Carolina (specimens verified by D. Schweitzer in 1999 and 2000) suggest a possible wide range in the virtually unexplored southern Appalachians. Should occur on Long Island, New York. Also occurs extremely rarely along the western edges of the New Jersey Pine Barrens, but so rarely and at such long intervals as to raise the question of whether it is really established. Perhaps it merely gets temporarily established in this enormous expanse of seemingly perfect habitat but cannot withstand the hot climate. Numerous false records in the literature, even generally reliable works, such as misidentifcations based on Z. CONFUSA for North Carolina (in part) and Arkansas (Forbes, 1954) and for HELATA in Ohio (Rings et al., 1992) and Kentucky.

Number of Occurrences: 21 - 80
Number of Occurrences Comments: Hard to define EOs in Cape Cod region and situation in NJ is extremely unclear.

Overall Threat Impact Comments: Does not require pristine pine barrens, doing quite well in pitch pine or pine-oak forests.

Other NatureServe Conservation Status Information

Distribution
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Global Range: (20,000-2,500,000 square km (about 8000-1,000,000 square miles)) Apparently somewhat common in Cape Cod area of Massachusetts. Otherwise scattered major northern pitch pine areas: verified for Concord, New Hampshire, vicinity of Albany, New York, at least formerly eastern Connecticut (implying it should occur in Rhode Island); the Poconos and Chester County barrens of Pennsylvania; single records for Rockridge County, Virginia and ancient ones Tryon and Raleigh, North Carolina (specimens verified by D. Schweitzer in 1999 and 2000) suggest a possible wide range in the virtually unexplored southern Appalachians. Should occur on Long Island, New York. Also occurs extremely rarely along the western edges of the New Jersey Pine Barrens, but so rarely and at such long intervals as to raise the question of whether it is really established. Perhaps it merely gets temporarily established in this enormous expanse of seemingly perfect habitat but cannot withstand the hot climate. Numerous false records in the literature, even generally reliable works, such as misidentifcations based on Z. CONFUSA for North Carolina (in part) and Arkansas (Forbes, 1954) and for HELATA in Ohio (Rings et al., 1992) and 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.

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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, MD, NH, NJ, NY, PA, RI, VA

Range Map
No map available.


U.S. Distribution by County Help
State County Name (FIPS Code)
CT Hartford (09003)*, New Haven (09009)*, Windham (09015)*
NH Merrimack (33013)
NJ Cape May (34009)*
NY Albany (36001), Suffolk (36103), Ulster (36111)
PA Chester (42029), Lancaster (42071), Monroe (42089)
RI Kent (44003), Washington (44009)
VA Halifax (51083)
* Extirpated/possibly extirpated
U.S. Distribution by Watershed Help
Watershed Region Help Watershed Name (Watershed Code)
01 Merrimack (01070006)+, Lower Connecticut (01080205)+*, Narragansett (01090004)+, Pawcatuck-Wood (01090005)+, Quinebaug (01100001)+*, Quinnipiac (01100004)+*
02 Mohawk (02020004)+, Middle Hudson (02020006)+, Rondout (02020007)+, Southern Long Island (02030202)+, Lehigh (02040106)+, Cohansey-Maurice (02040206)+*, Great Egg Harbor (02040302)+*, Lower Susquehanna (02050306)+
03 Banister (03010105)+
+ Natural heritage record(s) exist for this watershed
* Extirpated/possibly extirpated
Ecology & Life History
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Diagnostic Characteristics: See Forbes (1954) especially for genitalia. No known modern illustrations. Illustrations in Rings et al. (1992) are misidentifed Z. HELATA of the usual southern form. Strongly consider dates, this species flies only in late spring. Rather uniform and non-contrasty dark violet brown with a contrastinly dark reniform. Less dark associated with the ordinary lines than in most HELATA which will usually be flying with CUREMA. Not very variable but may or may not have the white spot to outer rear of forewing. Larva is green with white stripes partially edged with red, similar to southern version of Z. HELATA.
Non-Migrant: N
Locally Migrant: N
Long Distance Migrant: N
Terrestrial Habitat(s): Forest - Conifer, Forest - Mixed, Woodland - Conifer, Woodland - Mixed
Habitat Comments: In Pennsylvania north and east apparently can turn up in any sort of extensive pitch pine woodland. Southward it is mostrly a mountain species but possibly still usually associated with pitch pine. The Raleigh, Nortch Carolina records are well out of the range of pitch pine. Habitat needs unclear in southern New Jersey.
Immature Food Habits: Herbivore
Food Comments: D. Schweitzer has reared larvae (from eggs laid in capitivity) on pitch-pond pine intergrades. Pitch pine is obviously the sole native foodplant northward. Collections at Raleigh, North Carolina and Manumuskin, New Jersey suggest shortleaf pine is a likely foodplant also. Other pines are perhaps used in the mountains.
Adult Phenology: Nocturnal
Phenology Comments: Adults are strictly univoltine in all parts of range and flight dates should be considered when examining difficult specimens. Dates for wild collected adults rangewide are all 30 April to mid June although a few adults no doubt start earlier in April in New Jersey and North Carolina. The egg stage lasts about 10 days and the larval stage slightly over a month. Pupae overwinter in the humus or litter.
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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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: 28Mar1999
NatureServe Conservation Status Factors Author: Schweitzer, D.F.
Element Ecology & Life History Edition Date: 25Apr2000
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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  • Allen, T.J., J.P. Brock, and J. Glassberg. 2005. Caterpillars in the field and garden. Oxford University Press, New York. 232 pp.

  • Brock, J. P., and K. Kaufman. 2003. Butterflies of North America. Kaufman Focus Field Guides, Houghton Mifflin Company, New York, NY 284 pp.

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

  • Forbes, W. T.M. 1954. The Lepidoptera of New York and neighboring states, part III, Noctuidae. Cornell University Agricultural Experiment Sation, Ithaca, NY.

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

  • 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.

  • Maier, C. T., C. R. Lemmon, J. M Fengler, D. F. Schweitzer, and R. C. Reardon. 2004. Caterpillars on the foliage of conifers in the northeastern United States. Morgantown, WV. USDA Forest Service. Forest Health Technology Enterprise Team Connecticut Agricultural Experiment Station. FHTET-2004-01. March 2004. 151 pp.

  • 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, D. 1997. Memorandum of 11 February to Jim Thorne and Barb Barton regarding MD status for serpentine barren moths. 2 pp.

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

  • Schweitzer, Dale. January 1997. Annotations to Special Invertebrate Animals of New Jersey, December 1996; sent to Rick Dutko of the NJ Natural Heritage Program.

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