Macaria marmorata - (Ferguson, 1972)
Jack Pine Looper
Synonym(s): Macaria banksianae (Ferguson, 1974) ;Semiothisa banksianae Ferguson, 1974
Taxonomic Status: Accepted
Unique Identifier: ELEMENT_GLOBAL.2.111666
Element Code: IILEU0D240
Informal Taxonomy: Animals, Invertebrates - Insects - Butterflies and Moths - Other Moths
 
Kingdom Phylum Class Order Family Genus
Animalia Mandibulata Insecta Lepidoptera Geometridae Macaria
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: Semiothisa banksianae
Taxonomic Comments: Originally described as Semiothisa marmorata Ferguson, 1972, which proved to be junior secondary homonym of Macaria marmorata (Warren, 1897), a South African species. Semiothisa banksianae Ferguson 1974 was published as a replacement name for marmorata Ferguson. Scoble et al. (1999) reassigned marmorata Warren to the genus Chiasmia, allowing marmorata Ferguson to be reinstated (Ferguson 2008). Pohl et al. (2016/2018) include M. marmorata in M. signaria.
Conservation Status
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NatureServe Status

Global Status: G5
Global Status Last Reviewed: 27May2011
Global Status Last Changed: 27May2011
Rounded Global Status: G5 - Secure
Nation: United States
National Status: NNR
Nation: Canada
National Status: NNR

U.S. & Canada State/Province Status
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United States Idaho (SNR), New York (S1)
Canada Ontario (S1?)

Other Statuses

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Distribution
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U.S. States and Canadian Provinces

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U.S. & Canada State/Province Distribution
United States ID, NY
Canada ON

Range Map
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U.S. Distribution by County Help
State County Name (FIPS Code)
NY Clinton (36019)
* Extirpated/possibly extirpated
U.S. Distribution by Watershed Help
Watershed Region Help Watershed Name (Watershed Code)
04 Chateaugay-English (04150308)+, Lake Champlain (04150408)+
+ Natural heritage record(s) exist for this watershed
* Extirpated/possibly extirpated
Ecology & Life History Not yet assessed
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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: Pine Barrens Moths

Use Class: Not applicable
Minimum Criteria for an Occurrence: A location with a substantial (generally no less than 100 hectares) pine-shrubby oak-heath barrens or other xeric open pine woodland, where the species is documented as present (or historically present) with potential for continued presence and/or regular recurrence. Minimum documentation required varies somewhat among the species but requires a specimen or diagnostic photograph. Not all collections will represent occurrences as individuals of most of these species do turn up rarely 2-20 kilometers out of habitat. These Specs should also be used for these moths where they occur in oak savannas or other forms of oak woodland scrub. Occurrences ranked higher than C should generally be greater than 1000 hectares if only one patch or at least two patches of 400 hectares each.
Mapping Guidance: In most cases outside of southern New Jersey, available habitat associated with a collection of several these species is small (under 2000 hectares) and the appropriate community (or communities) so well defined and well mapped that EO boundaries for these Lepidoptera should be drawn to coincide with recognized community boundaries or at least to fit within them if the community is too broadly defined to be so used. Even in New Jersey vegetation maps can often be used to define EOs. Consult the habitat and food comments fields for species-specific information on what constitutes suitable habitat when mapping occurrences. In general closed canopy oak-pitch pine-heath forest should not be regarded as suitable habitat for these moths. Where species in this Specs Group occur on smaller ridgetop outcrops map the discrete habitats even though an EO may consist of several proximate patches, most likely all on that ridge.

Almost all species in this Specs Group feed on one or more of the dominant plants (pines, scrub oaks, blueberries) which are normally all abundant throughout pine barrens communities or at least on associated grasses which are patchily widespread. In the northern New York and northern New England barrens scrub oak can become spotty and in some previously severely disturbed parts of the Albany, New York barrens the blueberries and other heaths have not recovered. When mapping occurrences or in considering inferred extent, a given moth species should not be assumed to occupy habitat where its foodplant is scarce or absent or for most species where there is canopy closure of much more than 50%. Such areas are unsuitable habitat just as are closed canopy oak-pine-heath (mainly black huckleberry) forests that surround many pine barrens.

Separation Distance for Unsuitable Habitat: 5 km
Separation Distance for Suitable Habitat: 20 km
Alternate Separation Procedure: If the pine barren community is, or recently (within last 100 years) was, large and more or less contiguous it should be regarded as a single occurrence for any of these species that occur. This is generally the case even if there has been habitat fragmentation and some fragments are now separated by up to the suitable habitat distance. A single pine barrens community occurrence rarely or never supports more than one occurrence for moths in this Specs Group. Most of these moths have poor or no potential to persist in isolated scraps of habitat

Where these moths occur on ridgetop situations all habitats on one ridge system separated by somewhat stunted oak-heath woods, these should be regarded as one occurrence subject to suitable habitat separation distance even though the oak woods may not really be habitat. In most cases the foodplants will occur at least in small patches between the major outcrops which are the main habitats and it will usually be more reasonable to apply the 10 kilometer distance than the 5 kilometer unsuitable habitat figure. However between ridges separation distance should be applied at ground or tree top level and is not merely the minimum distance between the ridge crests. Between ridge separation distance should usually be based on unsuitable habitat.

In the New Jersey Pine Barrens for purely practical reasons separation distances less than those recommended may be used in order to define discrete EOs--however arbitrary. Some subjective discretion in defining suitable vs. unsuitable habitat may be warranted (especially in the Appalachians south of Pennsylvania) if it appears that the barrens affinity of a particular species in the region is not as strong as it typically is in and north and east of Pennsylvania and New Jersey. Compromise distances may sometimes be suitable in marginal habitats.

Separation Justification: These are moths of extensive habitats, likely to be absent in small habitat scraps. Their larvae feed on dominant or at least common plants of one or more layers in the community. Individuals of several of these species including CATOCALA HERODIAS, PSECTRAGLAEA CARNOSA, and DRASTERIA GRAPHICA ATLANTICA have been captured in New Jersey and/or southeastern Massachusetts, but at frequencies of well under one per trap-year, at locations 10-20 kilometers from any substantial habitat patches, and virtually all of them turn up more than a kilometer or two out of habitat, indicating very good dispersal potential. Similarly the generally rare HEMARIS GRACILIS (a pine barrens moth in much of its range) turns up in right of ways supporting low heath vegetation more than 10 kilometers from any other known habitats. CHAETAGLAEA TREMULA commonly establishes minor populations in powerline corridors in New Jersey well south of its core habitats there, presumably by colonization from massive natural barrens areas. Based on samples from in and near Myles Standish State Forest, Massachusetts, in and near the Long Island Dwarf Pine Plains of New York and in New Jersey, in general within a given barrens complex pine barrens moths normally fully occupy all suitable habitat patches, even when habitats are somewhat patchy, or even sharply defined and a few kilometers apart such as near Atlantic City Airport. However note that some species are less tolerant of canopy closure than others so definitions of suitable habitat may differ slightly. No instances are known where highly suitable habitat within 2-5 kilometers of major population centers is consistently unoccupied for any of these species, although data are limited. Based on extensive efforts in 1996-1997 by Dale Schweitzer, the Willow Grove Lake Preserve and vicinity in New Jersey has about 400 hectares of pitch pine-scrub oak-heath woodland but lacks over 90% of potential pine barrens specialist moths including most of those considered common in New Jersey. This preserve is less than 100 kilometers from the main part of the extensive Pine Barrens region, and there are small intervening patches. This suggests that even with a massive (>200,000 hectares) source area distances of a few tens of kilometers can be very effective isolation, although marginal habitat size at Willow Grove Lake is a confounding factor. One or two kilometers would clearly be too short as separation distance for most or all of these species but 10-20 kilometers across non-barrens habitats such as forests, swamps, farms or suburbia seems impracticably large. Therefore 5 kilometers (measured from the edges, not centers) is chosen keeping in mind that for most of the species few or no known occurrences are likely to be less than 2 kilometers across in all dimensions and some are well over 10,000 hectares. In practice outside of New Jersey EOs for most of these species are far apart and except at Shapleigh-Waterboro barrens in Maine there is seldom doubt as to whether occurrences are separate EOs or not. Separation across suitable (but unchecked) habitat needs to be considered mostly in southern New Jersey. While it is completely arbitrary and probably unrealistic to do so, it seems prudent for practical reasons to consider observations more than 20 kilometers apart as separate occurrences pending further sampling which will probably show them to be one EO. If these distances seem large consider that occurrences are long term populations of usually at least thousands of moths capable of flying generally from 2 to 20 km per hour. The suitable habitat distance will probably rarely apply outside of New Jersey.
Inferred Minimum Extent of Habitat Use (when actual extent is unknown): 2 km
Inferred Minimum Extent Justification: Outside of New Jersey few pine barrens exceed 5,000 hectares in size and most are under 1000 hectares which seems to be near the minimum size on which many of these moths are likely to still occur (Schweitzer, personal observations; Givnish et al., 1988; Schweitzer and Rawinski, 1987; Cryan, ca. 1985; Schweitzer, 1996 ). Such occurrences are usually isolated by tens of kilometers or more from one another making boundaries and inferred extent (the entire habitat) isobvious. In larger pine barrens the 2 kilometer radius is unjustifiably small but here suggested as practical. No examples are known where species in this group have been shown or even suspected to occupy much less than all available habitat and most have at least one known occurrence of at least 5000-10000 hectares. Some of these species while of very limited distribution elsewhere are fairly common in the core of the New Jersey Pine Barrens and are almost continuously distributed over tens of thousands of hectares and/or have linear distributions of ten kilometers or more within large habitats. While it is generally unreasonable to assume species in this group occupy much less than all available habitat contiguous to an observation point, some practical upper limit is needed especially in New Jersey. Therefore it is recommended that IE not be extended more than 2 kilometers radius in extensive contiguous suitable habitat, pending further sampling which is nearly certain to show a larger extent. A circle of radius 2 km would define a habitat comparable to some of the smaller occurrences known for most of these species. A circle of one kilometer radius would define a habitat of only 400 hectares and most of these species are likely to be absent from such small remnants (although some, it is unpredictable which, will likely occur) and so it makes no sense to define an Inferred extent smaller than known small occurrences. At least outside of southern New Jersey, in no case should Inferred Extent around individual collection points ever be used to justify recognition of more than one occurrence for these moths in large pine barrens areas.
Date: 17Apr2001
Author: Schweitzer, Dale F.
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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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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  • Duncan, R. W. 2006. Conifer defoliators of British Columbia. Natural Resources Canada, Canadian Forest Service, Pacific Forestry Centre, Victoria, British Columbia. 359 pp.

  • Ferguson, D.C. 2008. Moths of America North of Mexico. Fascicle 17.2. Geometroidea, Geometridae, Ennominae (part: Abaxini, Cassymini, Macariini). The Wedge Entomological Research Foundation. 430 pp.

  • Hawver, C. A. 1993. Stand structure in a jack pine chronosequence: role of fire in the preservation of biodiversity. M.A. Research Report. State University of New York at Plattsburgh. Plattsburgh, NY. 63 pp.

  • 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.

  • Maier, C. T., C. R. Lemmon, J. M. Fengler, D. F. Schweitzer and R. C. Reardon. 2003. Caterpillars on the foliage of conifers in the northeastern United States. USDA, Forest Service, Connecticut Agricultural Experiment Station, Forest Health and Technology Enterprise Team. FHTET-02-06, Washington, DC. 151 pp.

  • McCabe, Timothy L. 2004. Insect biodiversity of a jack pine barrens. A report prepared for the Biodiversity Research Institute, New York State Museum, Albany, NY.

  • McCabe, Timothy. 2009. Email regarding taxonomic name changes of Semiothisa banksianae to Macaria marmorata.

  • Scoble, M. J. (ed.), M. S. Parsons, M. R. Honey, L. M. Pitkin, and B. R. Pitkin. 1999. Geometrid moths of the world: a catalogue. Volumes 1 and 2: 1016 pp. + index 129 pp. CSIRO Publishing, Collingwood, Victoria, Australia.

  • Stanton, Edward J. 1996. Report on 1995 lepidoptera inventory in Clinton County, New York jack pine pavement barrens. State University of New York College of Environmental Science and Forestry, Syracuse, NY.

  • Weldy, Troy W. and David Werier. 2009. New York Flora Atlas. [S.M. Landry and K.N. Campbell (original application development), Florida Center for Community Design and Research. University of South Florida]. New York Flora Association, Albany, NY. Available on the web at (http://www.newyork.plantatlas.usf.edu/).

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