Overview

Distribution

occurs (regularly, as a native taxon) in multiple nations

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National Distribution

Canada

Origin: Native

Regularity: Regularly occurring

Currently: Present

Confidence: Confident

Type of Residency: Year-round

United States

Origin: Native

Regularity: Regularly occurring

Currently: Present

Confidence: Confident

Type of Residency: Year-round

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Global Range: (200,000-2,500,000 square km (about 80,000-1,000,000 square miles)) A very fragmented range, with two main portions and some outliers: discontinuoulsy from eastern Massachusetts to Albany, New York south to southern New Jersey and the North Carolina piedmont sand hills; also the Ozarks of Missouri and Arkansas to Oklahoma, Colorado and New Mexico. Outliers in southern Manitoba, the Grand Bend-Port Franks area of southern Ontario. Enormous gaps in the known range such as a huge one apparently including most of Pennsylvania, and all of Delaware, Maryland, Ohio, West Virginia, Kentucky, Michigan, Indiana, Illinois, Wisconsin and Minnesota. This species is fairly common in the Ozarks but known from rather few places in the rest of its range.

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Barrens dagger moth has a fragmented distribution that includes southern Ontario and Manitoba, New York, New Jersey, Massachusetts, North Carolina, Virginia, Georgia, Oklahoma, Missouri, Arkansas, and Colorado [1,9,10,11,14]. It may be extirpated from Ohio, Pennsylvania, Connecticut, mainland New York, and New Mexico [10,14,15,16]. It has been suggested that populations in the southwestern United States may be a separate species [10,14]. No maps of barrens dagger moth distribution were available as of 2008.
  • 1. Forbes, William T. M. 1954. Lepidoptera of New York and neighboring states. Noctuidae: Part III. Memoir No. 329. Ithaca, NY: Cornell University, New York State College of Agriculture. 433 p. [70970]
  • 15. Shuey, John A.; Metzler, Eric H.; Iftner, David C.; Calhoun, John V.; Peacock, John W.; Watkins, Reed A.; Hooper, Jeffrey D.; Babcock, William F. 1987. Status and habitats of potentially endangered Lepidoptera in Ohio. Journal of the Lepidopterists' Society. 41(1): 1-12. [70313]
  • 16. Wagner, David L.; Nelson, Michael W.; Schweitzer, Dale F. 2003. Shrubland Lepidoptera of southern New England and southeastern New York: ecology, conservation, and management. Forest Ecology and Management. 185(1-2): 95-112. [61257]
  • 9. Nelson, M. W. 2007. Species fact sheet: Barrens dagger moth (Acronicta albarufa), [Online]. In: Natural Heritage Endangered Species Program. Westborough, MA: Massachusetts Division of Fisheries and Wildlife (Producer). Available: http://www.mass.gov/dfwele/dfw/nhesp/species_info/nhfacts/acronicta_albarufa.pdf [2008, September 8]. [71013]
  • 10. New York Natural Heritage Program. 2008. New York Natural Heritage Program Conservation Guide: Barrens dagger moth (Acronicta albarufa), [Online]. In: Animal guides. New York Natural Heritage Program (Producer). Available: http://acris.nynhp.org/guide.php?id=8081 [2008, September 8]. [71014]
  • 11. Patterson, William A., III; Clarke, Gretel L.; Haggerty, Sarah A.; Sievert, Paul R.; Kelty, Matthew. 2005. Wildland fuel management options for the central plains of Martha's Vineyard: impacts on fuel loads, fire behavior, and rare plant and insect species, [Online]. Final Report RFR# DEM705. In: Managing fuels in Northeastern Barrens. In: Publications--Fuel treatments. Amherst, MA: University of Massachusetts, Department of Natural Resources Conservation (Producer). Available: http://www.umass.edu/nebarrensfuels/publications/pdfs/FINAL%20DCR%20report.pdf [2008, September 8]. [70314]
  • 14. Schweitzer, Dale F. 2007. Comprehensive report species - Acronicta albarufa, Barrens dagger moth, [Online]. In: NatureServe Explorer: an online encyclopedia of life [web application]. Version 7.0. Arlington, VA: NatureServe (Producer). Available: http://www.natureserve.org/explorer/servlet/NatureServe?loadTemplate= tabular_report.wmt&paging=home&save=all&sourceTemplate=reviewMiddle.wmt [2008, September 17]. [71015]

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Physical Description

Diagnostic Description

See Forbes (1954) and illustrations in Holland (1903), Rockburne and LaFontaine (1976), and Rings et al. (1992). Note conspicuously brown to slightly orange reniform contining a darker spot, prominent rounded orbicular containing a darker spot, rather dark mottled, blue-gray ground color of forewing, dark brownish hindwing of female, and almost white hindwing with dark veins on most males. A few males have the outer portion of the hindwing somewhat rust tinted and this is quite distinctive. Must be confirmed by an expert. Similar to but much darker than A. OVATA complex (except melanics). Larva not yet adequately characterized but is similar to the A. haesitata-increta group.

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Ecology

Habitat

Comments: Dry oak dominated habitats, including black oak or bur oak savannah and overgrown former savannah and pitch pine/scrub oak barrens, and especially ozark oak and oak-hickory woods. Exact habitat varies from place to place and even when known it is very hard to predict the occurrence of this species except perhaps in the Ozarks. One current New Jersey site is the approach zone at Atlantic City International Airport where habitat is oak sprout (mainly scrub oak) areas that are mowed every year or two in winter. Another is an extremely xeric scrubby black oak-post oak woodland with no apparent fire influences. Despite substantial recent efforts in New Jersey this has not been found in ordinary dry oak woods, powerline oak sprouts or in most more typical pine barrens natural habitats such as sprout areas after wildfires, dwarf pine plains etc. Recent collections in Massachusetts have been in very open, xeric scrub oak dominated pine barrens. Except in Missouri, absent from most to nearly all "potential" habitats.

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Cover Requirements

More info for the term: cover

As of 2008, no information was available on the cover requirements of any barrens dagger moth life stage.

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Preferred Habitat

More info for the terms: cover, dispersion, xeric

Barrens dagger moth habitat is often described as sandy, xeric, and open oak-dominated communities [9,10,11,14,16]. See Plant Communities for information on cover types occupied. Rare moths that occur in pitch pine-bear oak communities, including barrens dagger moth, were associated with early successional habitat patches in southeastern Massachusetts [3]. Barrens dagger moths have not been documented in most potential habitat, despite being relatively easy to detect (see Sampling) [14]. More detailed studies on barrens dagger moth habitat requirements are needed [10,11,14].

Landscape-scale characteristics may have greater influence on barren dagger moth habitat quality than patch- or plot-level characteristics [3]. Patches of remnant habitat occupied by barrens dagger moths are typically larger than 2,000 acres (1,000 ha) [10,14]. In models based on surveys of rare moths in a pitch pine-bear oak community in southeastern Massachusetts, barrens dagger moth was positively associated with landscapes with a high percentage of open-canopy oak scrub [3] and negatively associated (P=0.03) with mixed hardwood-conifer forest without pitch pine at the 1,120-acre (450 ha) scale. At a smaller scale (17 acres (7 ha)), barrens dagger moth was negatively associated (P=0.02) with the dispersion and interspersion of cover types [2]. Connectivity of habitat did not appear important in this study area, but connectivity was generally low [3].

  • 2. Grand, Joanna; Buonaccorsi, John; Cushman, Samuel A.; Griffin, Curtice R.; Neel, Maile C. 2004. A multiscale landscape approach to predicting bird and moth rarity hotspots in a threatened pitch pine--scrub oak community. Conservation Biology. 18(4): 1063-1077. [61269]
  • 3. Grand, Joanna; Mello, Mark J. 2004. A multi-scale analysis of species-environment relationships: rare moths in a pitch pine--scrub oak (Pinus rigida--Quercus ilicifolia) community. Biological Conservation. 119(4): 495-506. [61266]
  • 16. Wagner, David L.; Nelson, Michael W.; Schweitzer, Dale F. 2003. Shrubland Lepidoptera of southern New England and southeastern New York: ecology, conservation, and management. Forest Ecology and Management. 185(1-2): 95-112. [61257]
  • 9. Nelson, M. W. 2007. Species fact sheet: Barrens dagger moth (Acronicta albarufa), [Online]. In: Natural Heritage Endangered Species Program. Westborough, MA: Massachusetts Division of Fisheries and Wildlife (Producer). Available: http://www.mass.gov/dfwele/dfw/nhesp/species_info/nhfacts/acronicta_albarufa.pdf [2008, September 8]. [71013]
  • 10. New York Natural Heritage Program. 2008. New York Natural Heritage Program Conservation Guide: Barrens dagger moth (Acronicta albarufa), [Online]. In: Animal guides. New York Natural Heritage Program (Producer). Available: http://acris.nynhp.org/guide.php?id=8081 [2008, September 8]. [71014]
  • 11. Patterson, William A., III; Clarke, Gretel L.; Haggerty, Sarah A.; Sievert, Paul R.; Kelty, Matthew. 2005. Wildland fuel management options for the central plains of Martha's Vineyard: impacts on fuel loads, fire behavior, and rare plant and insect species, [Online]. Final Report RFR# DEM705. In: Managing fuels in Northeastern Barrens. In: Publications--Fuel treatments. Amherst, MA: University of Massachusetts, Department of Natural Resources Conservation (Producer). Available: http://www.umass.edu/nebarrensfuels/publications/pdfs/FINAL%20DCR%20report.pdf [2008, September 8]. [70314]
  • 14. Schweitzer, Dale F. 2007. Comprehensive report species - Acronicta albarufa, Barrens dagger moth, [Online]. In: NatureServe Explorer: an online encyclopedia of life [web application]. Version 7.0. Arlington, VA: NatureServe (Producer). Available: http://www.natureserve.org/explorer/servlet/NatureServe?loadTemplate= tabular_report.wmt&paging=home&save=all&sourceTemplate=reviewMiddle.wmt [2008, September 17]. [71015]

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Associated Plant Communities

Barrens dagger moths generally occur in oak (Quercus spp.) or pine (Pinus spp.) barren communities. They are associated with pitch pine-bear oak (P. rigida-Q. ilicifolia) forest and oak scrub communities in New England and southeastern New York [12,14,16]. On Martha's Vineyard, they may be associated with frost-bottom communities (Goldstein 1994, cited in [11]). They have been observed in black oak-post oak (Q. velutina-Q. stellata) woodland in New Jersey and occur in an area of the Atlantic City International Airport that has been mowed every 1 to 2 years since the 1940s [14,16]. Barrens dagger moths occupy oak savannahs and oak-hickory (Carya spp.) forests in the western and southern portions of their range [14]. Habitats currently or historically occupied by barrens dagger moths in Colorado and New Mexico have not been documented.
  • 12. Rivers, William H. 1997. Coming full circle: restoring sandplain grassland communities in the State Forest on Martha's Vineyard, Massachusetts. In: Vickery, Peter D.; Dunwiddie, Peter W., eds. Grasslands of northeastern North America: Ecology and conservation of native and agricultural landscapes. Lincoln, MA: Massachusetts Audubon Society: 79-84. [70151]
  • 16. Wagner, David L.; Nelson, Michael W.; Schweitzer, Dale F. 2003. Shrubland Lepidoptera of southern New England and southeastern New York: ecology, conservation, and management. Forest Ecology and Management. 185(1-2): 95-112. [61257]
  • 11. Patterson, William A., III; Clarke, Gretel L.; Haggerty, Sarah A.; Sievert, Paul R.; Kelty, Matthew. 2005. Wildland fuel management options for the central plains of Martha's Vineyard: impacts on fuel loads, fire behavior, and rare plant and insect species, [Online]. Final Report RFR# DEM705. In: Managing fuels in Northeastern Barrens. In: Publications--Fuel treatments. Amherst, MA: University of Massachusetts, Department of Natural Resources Conservation (Producer). Available: http://www.umass.edu/nebarrensfuels/publications/pdfs/FINAL%20DCR%20report.pdf [2008, September 8]. [70314]
  • 14. Schweitzer, Dale F. 2007. Comprehensive report species - Acronicta albarufa, Barrens dagger moth, [Online]. In: NatureServe Explorer: an online encyclopedia of life [web application]. Version 7.0. Arlington, VA: NatureServe (Producer). Available: http://www.natureserve.org/explorer/servlet/NatureServe?loadTemplate= tabular_report.wmt&paging=home&save=all&sourceTemplate=reviewMiddle.wmt [2008, September 17]. [71015]

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Migration

Non-Migrant: No. All populations of this species make significant seasonal migrations.

Locally Migrant: No. No populations of this species make local extended movements (generally less than 200 km) at particular times of the year (e.g., to breeding or wintering grounds, to hibernation sites).

Locally Migrant: No. No populations of this species make annual migrations of over 200 km.

non-migratory

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Trophic Strategy

Comments: The larvae feed on oaks, with scrub oak Bear Oak the usual foodplant in Massachusetts and probably New York, and almost certainly at one New Jersey site. Larvae have been collected on Post Oak (Quercus stellata Wangenh.) and Dwarf Chinkapin Oak (Q. prinoides Wild.) in New Jersey. Bur Oak (Q. macrocarpa Michx.) is the only oak in the Manitoba range. Larvae are easily reared on Black Oak (Q. velutina Lam.) in captivity and this is a likely foodplant in New Jersey and Ontario, Larvae on black oak require a few days longer than they do on post oak. Young larvae reject Blackjack Oak (Q. marilandica (Linnaeus) Muenchh.).

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Food Habits

More info for the terms: natural, tree

Bear oak, and possibly other oaks, are the host plants for barrens dagger moth larvae [3,9,11,14,16]. According to a fact sheet published by the New York Natural Heritage Program, larvae feed on bur oak (Q. macrocarpa), post oak, chestnut oak (Q. prinus), and probably black oak, and adults likely eat honeydew from sucking insects and tree sap [10]. According to the NatureServe review, larvae have been observed on post oak and dwarf chinkapin oak (Q. prinoides). Barrens dagger moths were successfully raised on black oak in captivity, but they rejected blackjack oak (Q. marilandica). Bur oak is the only oak within the Manitoba range of barrens dagger moth [14].
  • 3. Grand, Joanna; Mello, Mark J. 2004. A multi-scale analysis of species-environment relationships: rare moths in a pitch pine--scrub oak (Pinus rigida--Quercus ilicifolia) community. Biological Conservation. 119(4): 495-506. [61266]
  • 16. Wagner, David L.; Nelson, Michael W.; Schweitzer, Dale F. 2003. Shrubland Lepidoptera of southern New England and southeastern New York: ecology, conservation, and management. Forest Ecology and Management. 185(1-2): 95-112. [61257]
  • 9. Nelson, M. W. 2007. Species fact sheet: Barrens dagger moth (Acronicta albarufa), [Online]. In: Natural Heritage Endangered Species Program. Westborough, MA: Massachusetts Division of Fisheries and Wildlife (Producer). Available: http://www.mass.gov/dfwele/dfw/nhesp/species_info/nhfacts/acronicta_albarufa.pdf [2008, September 8]. [71013]
  • 10. New York Natural Heritage Program. 2008. New York Natural Heritage Program Conservation Guide: Barrens dagger moth (Acronicta albarufa), [Online]. In: Animal guides. New York Natural Heritage Program (Producer). Available: http://acris.nynhp.org/guide.php?id=8081 [2008, September 8]. [71014]
  • 11. Patterson, William A., III; Clarke, Gretel L.; Haggerty, Sarah A.; Sievert, Paul R.; Kelty, Matthew. 2005. Wildland fuel management options for the central plains of Martha's Vineyard: impacts on fuel loads, fire behavior, and rare plant and insect species, [Online]. Final Report RFR# DEM705. In: Managing fuels in Northeastern Barrens. In: Publications--Fuel treatments. Amherst, MA: University of Massachusetts, Department of Natural Resources Conservation (Producer). Available: http://www.umass.edu/nebarrensfuels/publications/pdfs/FINAL%20DCR%20report.pdf [2008, September 8]. [70314]
  • 14. Schweitzer, Dale F. 2007. Comprehensive report species - Acronicta albarufa, Barrens dagger moth, [Online]. In: NatureServe Explorer: an online encyclopedia of life [web application]. Version 7.0. Arlington, VA: NatureServe (Producer). Available: http://www.natureserve.org/explorer/servlet/NatureServe?loadTemplate= tabular_report.wmt&paging=home&save=all&sourceTemplate=reviewMiddle.wmt [2008, September 17]. [71015]

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Associations

Predators

No information was available on this topic as of 2008.

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Population Biology

Number of Occurrences

Note: For many non-migratory species, occurrences are roughly equivalent to populations.

Estimated Number of Occurrences: 21 to >300

Comments: With habitat so unlcear difficult to guess number of occurrences. Clearly almost all seemingly suitable habitats are unoccupied eastward. Seems to be rather common in Ozarks but very few current sites (<10) known elsewhere.

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Global Abundance

Unknown

Comments: Apparently most common species of genus at two of the three (as of 1995) known New Jersey EOs.

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General Ecology

See Schweitzer 1989 report for speculations regarding causes of decline. No idea of causes in southern New Jersey where there are still tens of thousands acres of seemingly suitable habitat subject to no identifiable threats or disturbances that would affect this species. Gypsy moth spraying probably had a role in its demise northeastward and decline in pine barrens and oak savannahs probably did also, and Compsilura might have. None of these apparently applies to southern New Jersey.

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Fire Regimes

More info for the terms: cover, fire regime, high-severity fire, low-severity fire, natural

FIRE REGIME: The fire-return intervals in barrens dagger moth habitat are affected by several factors, including edaphic conditions and anthropogenic influences [16]. A review suggests that presettlement fires in these communities generally occurred in summer [11]. Typical barrens dagger moth communities experience low-severity fire more frequently than high-severity fire (see the Fire Regime Table below). More detailed information on the FIRE REGIMES of these cover types is available in the FEIS reviews of bear oak and pitch pine.

APPENDIX: FIRE REGIME TABLE SPECIES: Acronicta albarufa The following table provides fire regime information that may be relevant to barrens dagger moth habitats. Habitats that may be occupied in the Southwest are not included.

Fire regime information on vegetation communities that may provide habitat for barrens dagger moth. For each community, fire regime characteristics are taken from the LANDFIRE Rapid Assessment Vegetation Models [7]. These vegetation models were developed by local experts using available literature, local data, and/or expert opinion as documented in the PDF file linked from the name of each Potential Natural Vegetation Group listed below. Cells are blank where information is not available in the Rapid Assessment Vegetation Model.
Northern Great Plains Great Lakes Northeast South-central US Southern Appalachians
Southeast        
Northern Great Plains
Vegetation Community (Potential Natural Vegetation Group) Fire severity* Fire regime characteristics
Percent of fires Mean interval
(years)
Minimum interval
(years)
Maximum interval
(years)
Northern Plains Grassland
Oak savanna Replacement 7% 44    
Mixed 17% 18    
Surface or low 76% 4    
Northern Plains Woodland
Oak woodland Replacement 2% 450    
Surface or low 98% 7.5
Great Lakes
Vegetation Community (Potential Natural Vegetation Group) Fire severity* Fire regime characteristics
Percent of fires Mean interval
(years)
Minimum interval
(years)
Maximum interval
(years)
Great Lakes Woodland
Great Lakes pine barrens Replacement 8% 41 10 80
Mixed 9% 36 10 80
Surface or low 83% 4 1 20
Northern oak savanna Replacement 4% 110 50 500
Mixed 9% 50 15 150
Surface or low 87% 5 1 20
Great Lakes Forested
Oak-hickory Replacement 13% 66 1  
Mixed 11% 77 5  
Surface or low 76% 11 2 25
Northeast
Vegetation Community (Potential Natural Vegetation Group) Fire severity* Fire regime characteristics
Percent of fires Mean interval
(years)
Minimum interval
(years)
Maximum interval
(years)
Northeast Woodland
Eastern woodland mosaic Replacement 2% 200 100 300
Mixed 9% 40 20 60
Surface or low 89% 4 1 7
Rocky outcrop pine (Northeast) Replacement 16% 128    
Mixed 32% 65    
Surface or low 52% 40    
Pine barrens Replacement 10% 78    
Mixed 25% 32    
Surface or low 65% 12    
Oak-pine (eastern dry-xeric) Replacement 4% 185    
Mixed 7% 110    
Surface or low 90% 8    
Northeast Forested
Appalachian oak forest (dry-mesic) Replacement 2% 625 500 >1,000
Mixed 6% 250 200 500
Surface or low 92% 15 7 26
South-central US
Vegetation Community (Potential Natural Vegetation Group) Fire severity* Fire regime characteristics
Percent of fires Mean interval
(years)
Minimum interval
(years)
Maximum interval
(years)
South-central US Grassland
Oak savanna Replacement 3% 100 5 110
Mixed 5% 60 5 250
Surface or low 93% 3 1 4
South-central US Woodland
Interior Highlands dry oak/bluestem woodland and glade Replacement 16% 25 10 100
Mixed 4% 100 10  
Surface or low 80% 5 2 7
Interior Highlands oak-hickory-pine Replacement 3% 150 100 300
Surface or low 97% 4 2 10
Pine bluestem Replacement 4% 100    
Surface or low 96% 4    
South-central US Forested
Interior Highlands dry-mesic forest and woodland Replacement 7% 250 50 300
Mixed 18% 90 20 150
Surface or low 75% 22 5 35
Southern Appalachians
Vegetation Community (Potential Natural Vegetation Group) Fire severity* Fire regime characteristics
Percent of fires Mean interval
(years)
Minimum interval
(years)
Maximum interval
(years)
Southern Appalachians Grassland
Eastern prairie-woodland mosaic Replacement 50% 10    
Mixed 1% 900    
Surface or low 50% 10    
Southern Appalachians Forested
Appalachian oak-hickory-pine Replacement 3% 180 30 500
Mixed 8% 65 15 150
Surface or low 89% 6 3 10
Oak (eastern dry-xeric) Replacement 6% 128 50 100
Mixed 16% 50 20 30
Surface or low 78% 10 1 10
Appalachian Virginia pine Replacement 20% 110 25 125
Mixed 15% 145    
Surface or low 64% 35 10 40
Appalachian oak forest (dry-mesic) Replacement 6% 220    
Mixed 15% 90    
Surface or low 79% 17    
Southeast
Vegetation Community (Potential Natural Vegetation Group) Fire severity* Fire regime characteristics
Percent of fires Mean interval
(years)
Minimum interval
(years)
Maximum interval
(years)
Southeast Woodland
Longleaf pine-Sandhills prairie Replacement 3% 130 25 500
Surface or low 97% 4 1 10
Southeast Forested
Coastal Plain pine-oak-hickory Replacement 4% 200    
Mixed 7% 100      
Surface or low 89% 8    
*Fire Severities
Replacement: Any fire that causes greater than 75% top removal of a vegetation-fuel type, resulting in general replacement of existing vegetation; may or may not cause a lethal effect on the plants.
Mixed: Any fire burning more than 5% of an area that does not qualify as a replacement, surface, or low-severity fire; includes mosaic and other fires that are intermediate in effects.
Surface or low: Any fire that causes less than 25% upper layer replacement and/or removal in a vegetation-fuel class but burns 5% or more of the area [4,6].
  • 16. Wagner, David L.; Nelson, Michael W.; Schweitzer, Dale F. 2003. Shrubland Lepidoptera of southern New England and southeastern New York: ecology, conservation, and management. Forest Ecology and Management. 185(1-2): 95-112. [61257]
  • 4. Hann, Wendel; Havlina, Doug; Shlisky, Ayn; [and others]. 2008. Interagency fire regime condition class guidebook. Version 1.3, [Online]. In: Interagency fire regime condition class website. U.S. Department of Agriculture, Forest Service; U.S. Department of the Interior; The Nature Conservancy; Systems for Environmental Management (Producer). 119 p. Available: http://frames.nbii.gov/frcc/documents/FRCC_Guidebook_2008.07.10.pdf [2008, September 03]. [70966]
  • 6. LANDFIRE Rapid Assessment. 2005. Reference condition modeling manual (Version 2.1), [Online]. In: LANDFIRE. Cooperative Agreement 04-CA-11132543-189. Boulder, CO: The Nature Conservancy; U.S. Department of Agriculture, Forest Service; U.S. Department of the Interior (Producers). 72 p. Available: http://www.landfire.gov/downloadfile.php?file=RA_Modeling_Manual_v2_1.pdf [2007, May 24]. [66741]
  • 7. LANDFIRE Rapid Assessment. 2007. Rapid assessment reference condition models, [Online]. In: LANDFIRE. U.S. Department of Agriculture, Forest Service, Rocky Mountain Research Station, Fire Sciences Lab; U.S. Geological Survey; The Nature Conservancy (Producers). Available: http://www.landfire.gov/models_EW.php [2008, April 18] [66533]
  • 11. Patterson, William A., III; Clarke, Gretel L.; Haggerty, Sarah A.; Sievert, Paul R.; Kelty, Matthew. 2005. Wildland fuel management options for the central plains of Martha's Vineyard: impacts on fuel loads, fire behavior, and rare plant and insect species, [Online]. Final Report RFR# DEM705. In: Managing fuels in Northeastern Barrens. In: Publications--Fuel treatments. Amherst, MA: University of Massachusetts, Department of Natural Resources Conservation (Producer). Available: http://www.umass.edu/nebarrensfuels/publications/pdfs/FINAL%20DCR%20report.pdf [2008, September 8]. [70314]

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Indirect Effects of Fire

More info for the terms: fire frequency, frequency, hardwood, prescribed fire, severity, succession

As of 2008, there was very little information on the indirect effects of fire on barrens dagger moth. See FEIS reviews for information on the effects of fire on larval hosts such as bear oak.

HABITAT RELATED FIRE EFFECTS: Research is needed on the effects of fire frequency, severity, timing, and continuity on barrens dagger moth habitat quality [10,14,16]. At least some communities occupied by barrens dagger moths, including pine barrens and scrub oak thickets, are maintained by fire [10,14,16]. Succession of pine barren-oak scrub to shade-tolerant hardwood species would result in a loss of barrens dagger moth habitat [16]. It is possible that burns with sprouting oaks provide quality barrens dagger moth habitat, but there are no data to support this [11,14]. Prescribed fire could be used in combination with thinning and mowing (See Habitat management) to maintain the mosaic habitat structure recommended for rare moths of the eastern United States [3,16].

  • 3. Grand, Joanna; Mello, Mark J. 2004. A multi-scale analysis of species-environment relationships: rare moths in a pitch pine--scrub oak (Pinus rigida--Quercus ilicifolia) community. Biological Conservation. 119(4): 495-506. [61266]
  • 16. Wagner, David L.; Nelson, Michael W.; Schweitzer, Dale F. 2003. Shrubland Lepidoptera of southern New England and southeastern New York: ecology, conservation, and management. Forest Ecology and Management. 185(1-2): 95-112. [61257]
  • 10. New York Natural Heritage Program. 2008. New York Natural Heritage Program Conservation Guide: Barrens dagger moth (Acronicta albarufa), [Online]. In: Animal guides. New York Natural Heritage Program (Producer). Available: http://acris.nynhp.org/guide.php?id=8081 [2008, September 8]. [71014]
  • 11. Patterson, William A., III; Clarke, Gretel L.; Haggerty, Sarah A.; Sievert, Paul R.; Kelty, Matthew. 2005. Wildland fuel management options for the central plains of Martha's Vineyard: impacts on fuel loads, fire behavior, and rare plant and insect species, [Online]. Final Report RFR# DEM705. In: Managing fuels in Northeastern Barrens. In: Publications--Fuel treatments. Amherst, MA: University of Massachusetts, Department of Natural Resources Conservation (Producer). Available: http://www.umass.edu/nebarrensfuels/publications/pdfs/FINAL%20DCR%20report.pdf [2008, September 8]. [70314]
  • 14. Schweitzer, Dale F. 2007. Comprehensive report species - Acronicta albarufa, Barrens dagger moth, [Online]. In: NatureServe Explorer: an online encyclopedia of life [web application]. Version 7.0. Arlington, VA: NatureServe (Producer). Available: http://www.natureserve.org/explorer/servlet/NatureServe?loadTemplate= tabular_report.wmt&paging=home&save=all&sourceTemplate=reviewMiddle.wmt [2008, September 17]. [71015]

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Direct Effects of Fire

More info for the terms: fire severity, phenology, severity

Barrens dagger moths may be susceptible to fire-caused mortality in every life stage. The vulnerability of pupae depends partly on whether they occur in the soil and at what depth. Larvae are likely vulnerable due to their slow movement and occurrence on above ground vegetation. The susceptibility of adults to fire-caused mortality would depend on their mobility, which had not been documented in the literature as of 2008. Microsite conditions [13] and fire severity would likely influence the extent of fire-caused mortality of all barrens dagger moth life stages. Given the lack of information on the vulnerability of each life stage, it is not surprising that there are conflicting recommendations regarding when to burn. A fact sheet on barrens dagger moths in New York suggests that prescribed burning not occur during reproductive or larval periods, from 1 June to 1 October [10]. In contrast, review of barrens dagger moth life history and effects of fire on a pitch pine-scrub oak community in southeastern Massachusetts led Williams and others [11] to suggest that naturally occurring summer fires are likely to have less impact than spring or fall fires. They also conclude that fire at any time of year would likely have negative immediate impacts on barrens dagger moth. Extensive, continuous fires would likely result in greater mortality and slower recolonization of burned areas than small or patchy fires. Because they typically produce only one brood a year (see Life History), barrens dagger moths may have limited potential to recolonize burned areas [11]. For a discussion of factors to consider when evaluating the impact of fire on invertebrates, such as motility and phenology, see the review by Lyons and others [8].
  • 8. Lyon, L. Jack; Telfer, Edmund S.; Schreiner, David Scott. 2000. Direct effects of fire and animal responses. In: Smith, Jane Kapler, ed. Wildland fire in ecosystems: Effects of fire on fauna. Gen. Tech. Rep. RMRS-GTR-42-vol. 1. Ogden, UT: U.S. Department of Agriculture, Forest Service, Rocky Mountain Research Station: 17-23. [44435]
  • 13. Robbins, Louise E.; Myers, Ronald L. 1992. Seasonal effects of prescribed burning in Florida: a review. Misc. Publ. No. 8. Tallahassee, FL: Tall Timbers Research, Inc. 96 p. [21094]
  • 10. New York Natural Heritage Program. 2008. New York Natural Heritage Program Conservation Guide: Barrens dagger moth (Acronicta albarufa), [Online]. In: Animal guides. New York Natural Heritage Program (Producer). Available: http://acris.nynhp.org/guide.php?id=8081 [2008, September 8]. [71014]
  • 11. Patterson, William A., III; Clarke, Gretel L.; Haggerty, Sarah A.; Sievert, Paul R.; Kelty, Matthew. 2005. Wildland fuel management options for the central plains of Martha's Vineyard: impacts on fuel loads, fire behavior, and rare plant and insect species, [Online]. Final Report RFR# DEM705. In: Managing fuels in Northeastern Barrens. In: Publications--Fuel treatments. Amherst, MA: University of Massachusetts, Department of Natural Resources Conservation (Producer). Available: http://www.umass.edu/nebarrensfuels/publications/pdfs/FINAL%20DCR%20report.pdf [2008, September 8]. [70314]

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Fire Regime Table

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Life History

Barrens dagger moths are nocturnal [10,14] and are typically just over an inch (3.0-3.5 cm) long [1]. The period in which adults emerge from cocoons extends over 2 months [10,11,14]. Adult barrens dagger moths are typically active from June to August [9,10] but have been documented from late May to September in New Jersey and Missouri [14]. Dagger moth species that occupy pine barrens can be found 1 to 2 miles (2-3 km) from suitable habitat, suggesting considerable dispersal potential [14]. Adults generally produce one brood [10,14]. However, in New Jersey and Missouri, eggs laid in mid-June may result in a partial second brood [14]. Eggs are laid in July or August [11] and typically take about 6 days to hatch [11,14]. Larvae are present for 4 to 5 weeks in late June to September or October [9,10,11,14]. If second-brood larvae occur, it may take 8 to 10 weeks for these individuals to begin pupation [14]. Pupae are present in fall, winter, and spring [9,10,11,14]. Barrens dagger moth may pupate in a flimsy cocoon in soil [11], although the precise location(s) of pupae is uncertain [14]. Pupae do not seem to overwinter more than once [14].
  • 1. Forbes, William T. M. 1954. Lepidoptera of New York and neighboring states. Noctuidae: Part III. Memoir No. 329. Ithaca, NY: Cornell University, New York State College of Agriculture. 433 p. [70970]
  • 9. Nelson, M. W. 2007. Species fact sheet: Barrens dagger moth (Acronicta albarufa), [Online]. In: Natural Heritage Endangered Species Program. Westborough, MA: Massachusetts Division of Fisheries and Wildlife (Producer). Available: http://www.mass.gov/dfwele/dfw/nhesp/species_info/nhfacts/acronicta_albarufa.pdf [2008, September 8]. [71013]
  • 10. New York Natural Heritage Program. 2008. New York Natural Heritage Program Conservation Guide: Barrens dagger moth (Acronicta albarufa), [Online]. In: Animal guides. New York Natural Heritage Program (Producer). Available: http://acris.nynhp.org/guide.php?id=8081 [2008, September 8]. [71014]
  • 11. Patterson, William A., III; Clarke, Gretel L.; Haggerty, Sarah A.; Sievert, Paul R.; Kelty, Matthew. 2005. Wildland fuel management options for the central plains of Martha's Vineyard: impacts on fuel loads, fire behavior, and rare plant and insect species, [Online]. Final Report RFR# DEM705. In: Managing fuels in Northeastern Barrens. In: Publications--Fuel treatments. Amherst, MA: University of Massachusetts, Department of Natural Resources Conservation (Producer). Available: http://www.umass.edu/nebarrensfuels/publications/pdfs/FINAL%20DCR%20report.pdf [2008, September 8]. [70314]
  • 14. Schweitzer, Dale F. 2007. Comprehensive report species - Acronicta albarufa, Barrens dagger moth, [Online]. In: NatureServe Explorer: an online encyclopedia of life [web application]. Version 7.0. Arlington, VA: NatureServe (Producer). Available: http://www.natureserve.org/explorer/servlet/NatureServe?loadTemplate= tabular_report.wmt&paging=home&save=all&sourceTemplate=reviewMiddle.wmt [2008, September 17]. [71015]

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Life History and Behavior

Cyclicity

Comments: Adults active in late May to early Sept.in New Jersey and Missouri, and usually July or early August northward, and most prevalent in this period in NJ. The following life history information is entirely from D. F. Schweitzer (unpublished). In NJ eclosion of overwintered pupae kept outdoors was observed to extend from at least early June to mid August for f two reared stocks in 1996. Two cohorts descended from these eclosed from July 7 to August 10 in 1997. In addition eggs laid in mid June will produce a partial second brood of adults in mid or late August. Egg stage is about six days so larvae follow soon after the first adults and should be present almost all summer from early or mid June to mid or late October in New Jersey and Missouri. Larval stage is about 4-5 weeks in summer, about twice that for latest larvae in autumn. Pupae hibernate as in all true ACRONICTINAE. Based on about 279 observations from five reared broods in New Jersey and a few from two Massachusetts broods, it appears that no pupae overwinter twice.

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Molecular Biology and Genetics

Molecular Biology

Statistics of barcoding coverage: Acronicta albarufa

Barcode of Life Data Systems (BOLDS) Stats
Public Records: 0
Specimens with Barcodes: 1
Species With Barcodes: 1
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Conservation

Conservation Status

National NatureServe Conservation Status

Canada

Rounded National Status Rank: NNR - Unranked

United States

Rounded National Status Rank: NNR - Unranked

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NatureServe Conservation Status

Rounded Global Status Rank: G3 - Vulnerable

Reasons: Rare or extirpated and now extremely fragmented range outside of Missouri, where it is apparently still widespread in the Ozarks (J.R. Heitzman). However, east of there the species is extremely spotty and localized with obvious evidence of past decline but seems rather stable now. It is absent from vast areas within its overall range and historic in several states such as Pennsylvania and Connecticut where there are specimens. New Jersey and Massachusetts, at three known occurrences each, are the apparent strongholds outside of the Ozarks. Ecology poorly understood and no clue as to cause of decline in most cases. Also unclear why it is absent from so many seemingly suitable places. No information from southwestern states and uncertain specimens from there are this species.

Other Considerations: Not simply being overlooked. Comes freely to blacklight and in some places to bait. Habitat only partially understood. Almost all seemingly suitable habitat is vacant eastward, especially in New Jersey.

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Global Short Term Trend: Relatively stable to decline of 30%

Comments: Best evidence is this species has been stable in the 1990s and since except presumably has been impacted by extreme damage from deer in combunation with fires (which alone might have been beneficial) in Ontario. Eastern occurrences seem to be mostly on preserves, in parks and on military lands.

Global Long Term Trend: Decline of 10-90%

Comments: Has declined eastward except in Ozark region. Due to inadequate older collections, historic range and magnitude of decline are a bit unclear. No information from western part of range--if that is this species. Seems to have decline in New England mostly in the early or mid 20th century, before about 1960. Survived into the early 1980s in the Albany, New York area.

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Threats

Degree of Threat: Very high - medium

Comments: Not now threatened at most known localities but there is potential for this to change as gypsy moth becomes a problem in the Ozarks and as EEG (encephalitis) scares continue to occur occasionally in Massachusetts, especially if as in 1990 massive spraying is not confined to high mosquito areas but also included xeric barrens. Gypsy moth spraying with BTK would almost certainly pose no threat and might be preferable to defoliation but more persistent biocides could be a serious threat. The habitats of this species would be among those most likely to be sprayed. Causes of decline from New Jersey south and west unclear; in New England, decline of pine barrens suspected. Gypsy moth defoliation may be a contributing factor, as probably was massive DDT spraying of New England forests in 1950's. Dimilin probably would eradicate an EO. Mainland Massachusetts population subject to massive mosquito spraying such as in August, 1990. In that case Malathion was used and A. ALBARUFA was little impacted. However, a more lethal (to caterpillars) biocide at that season could eradicate these populations. Massive deer damage which coincided with an aggressive prescribed burning regimen (by itself might have been beneficial) probably has eradicated the Pinery Park portion of the Grand Bend-Port Franks metapopulation (Schweitzer observations in 1993). Deer have or will become a long-term threat in other areas even if not a short term threat now.

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Management

Biological Research Needs: Chief need now is to better document habitats in various parts of range.

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Global Protection: Few to several (1-12) occurrences appropriately protected and managed

Comments: In Ozark region of Missouri, may or may not be protected in various State Parks depending on how they respond to gypsy moth invasion--especially the initial hysteria phase if there is such a reaction. For now at least quite secure at the two major occurrences in New Jersey. Some protection of Massachusetts sites, but mosquito spraying is still a potentially serious threat there during EEG scares.

Needs: Should be several in close proximity to allow for recolonization if local extirpations occur. Needs protection from spraying for gypsy moth with diflubenzuron (Dimilin) but probably little affected by Btk when applied in spring. May need protection from severe gypsy moth defoliation in some situations (e.g. at Manumuskin Preserve, NJ).

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Relevance to Humans and Ecosystems

Risks

Stewardship Overview: Some habitats for this moth require occasional fires, but probably not all of them, and at least in New Jersey and northward the optimal frequency would often be on the order of two to five per century. Unburned refugia should always be provided, but without knowing exactly where cocoons are placed in nature it is uncertain how severe mortality to pupae, which are nearly always present, would actually be in light ground fires. While both D. F. Schweitzer and Tim L. McCabe have anecdotally noticed some decline of Acronicta species for a season or two after Gypsy Moth outbreaks, it is not likely this species would be seriously affected since the adults peak long after defoliated oaks have produced new leaves-unless larvae cannot develop successfully on refoliated oaks. Dimilin residue from applications one to three months earlier would probably kill most or all larvae, but it is very unlikely BTK applications in May would have any impact and use of BTK should be strongly considered to protect high quality A. albarufa occurrences in eastern portions of its range (where it is rare) if severe defoliation appears imminent. It is quite possible that sprout regeneration of oaks after fires or cutting are optimal habitat, but data are lacking.

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Wikipedia

Acronicta albarufa

Barrens Dagger Moth (Acronicta albarufa) is a moth of the Noctuidae family. It has a fragmented distribution that includes southern Ontario and Manitoba, New York, New Jersey, Massachusetts, North Carolina, Virginia, Georgia, Oklahoma, Missouri, Arkansas, and Colorado. It may also be present in Ohio, Pennsylvania, Connecticut, mainland New York and New Mexico. It has been suggested that populations in the south-western United States may be a separate species.

The larvae feed on Bear oak, and possibly other oaks. Other recorded food plants include Quercus macrocarpa, Quercus prinoides, post oak, Quercus prinus, and probably black oak. Larvae have been reared on black oak in captivity.

Distribution and occurrence[edit]

Barrens dagger moth has a fragmented distribution that includes southern Ontario and Manitoba, New York, New Jersey, Massachusetts, North Carolina, Virginia, Georgia, Oklahoma, Missouri, Arkansas, and Colorado.[1][2][3][4] It may be extirpated from Ohio, Pennsylvania, Connecticut, mainland New York, and New Mexico.[3][5][6] It has been suggested that populations in the southwestern United States may be a separate species.[3] No maps of barrens dagger moth distribution were available as of 2008.

Barrens dagger moths generally occur in oak (Quercus spp.) or pine (Pinus spp.) barren communities. They are associated with pitch pine-bear oak (P. rigida-Q. ilicifolia) forest and oak scrub communities in New England and southeastern New York.[6] On Martha's Vineyard, they may be associated with frost-bottom communities (Goldstein 1994, cited in [4]). They have been observed in black oak-post oak (Q. velutina-Q. stellata) woodland in New Jersey and occur in an area of the Atlantic City International Airport that has been mowed every 1 to 2 years since the 1940s.[6] Barrens dagger moths occupy oak savannahs and oak-hickory (Carya spp.) forests in the western and southern portions of their range

Life history[edit]

Barrens dagger moths are nocturnal [3] and are typically just over an inch (3.0–3.5 cm) long.[1] The period in which adults emerge from cocoons extends over 2 months.[3][4] Adult barrens dagger moths are typically active from June to August [2][3] but have been documented from late May to September in New Jersey and Missouri . Dagger moth species that occupy pine barrens can be found 1 to 2 miles (2–3 km) from suitable habitat, suggesting considerable dispersal potential . Adults generally produce one brood.[3] However, in New Jersey and Missouri, eggs laid in mid-June may result in a partial second brood . Eggs are laid in July or August [4] and typically take about 6 days to hatch.[4] Larvae are present for 4 to 5 weeks in late June to September or October.[2][3][4] If second-brood larvae occur, it may take 8 to 10 weeks for these individuals to begin pupation . Pupae are present in fall, winter, and spring.[2][3][4] Barrens dagger moth may pupate in a flimsy cocoon in soil,[4] although the precise location(s) of pupae is uncertain . Pupae do not seem to overwinter more than once .

Preferred habitat[edit]

Barrens dagger moth habitat is often described as sandy, xeric, and open oak-dominated communities.[2][3][4][6] Rare moths that occur in pitch pine-bear oak communities, including barrens dagger moth, were associated with early successional habitat patches in southeastern Massachusetts.[7] Barrens dagger moths have not been documented in most potential habitat, despite being relatively easy to detect (see Sampling) . More detailed studies on barrens dagger moth habitat requirements are needed.[3][4]

Landscape-scale characteristics may have greater influence on barren dagger moth habitat quality than patch- or plot-level characteristics.[7] Patches of remnant habitat occupied by barrens dagger moths are typically larger than 2,000 acres (1,000 ha).[3] In models based on surveys of rare moths in a pitch pine-bear oak community in southeastern Massachusetts, barrens dagger moth was positively associated with landscapes with a high percentage of open-canopy oak scrub [7] and negatively associated (P=0.03) with mixed hardwood-conifer forest without pitch pine at the 1,120-acre (450 ha) scale. At a smaller scale (17 acres (7 ha)), barrens dagger moth was negatively associated (P=0.02) with the dispersion and interspersion of cover types.[8] Connectivity of habitat did not appear important in this study area, but connectivity was generally low.[7]

Food habits[edit]

Bear oak, and possibly other oaks, are the host plants for barrens dagger moth larvae.[2][4][6][7] According to a fact sheet published by the New York Natural Heritage Program, larvae feed on bur oak (Q. macrocarpa), post oak, chestnut oak (Q. prinus), and probably black oak, and adults likely eat honeydew from sucking insects and tree sap.[3] According to the NatureServe review, larvae have been observed on post oak and dwarf chinkapin oak (Q. prinoides). Barrens dagger moths were successfully raised on black oak in captivity, but they rejected blackjack oak (Q. marilandica). Bur oak is the only oak within the Manitoba range of barrens dagger moth .

Threats[edit]

Threats to the persistence of barrens dagger moths include habitat loss, fire suppression, extensive fires, high levels of white-tailed deer (Odocoileus virginianus) browsing, introduced species, insecticides, off-road vehicles, and light pollution.[2][3][6] Introduced species that may negatively impact barrens dagger moth are gypsy moths (Lymantria dispar) and parasitoids such as compsilura (Compsilura concinnata).[2][3] Spraying for mosquitoes (Culicidae) and gypsy moths could negatively impact barrens dagger moth. Since it is not as persistent as other insecticides, use of the insecticide Bacillus thuringiensis var. kurstaki in spring is recommended if severe defoliation by gypsy moths appears imminent. White-tailed deer damage may have contributed to the extirpation of the barrens dagger moth population at Pinery Park, Ontario .

References[edit]

 This article incorporates public domain material from the United States Department of Agriculture document "Acronicta albarufa".

  1. ^ a b Forbes, William T. M. (1954) Lepidoptera of New York and neighboring states. Noctuidae: Part III. Memoir No. 329. Ithaca, NY: Cornell University, New York State College of Agriculture
  2. ^ a b c d e f g h Nelson, M. W. (2007) Species fact sheet: Barrens dagger moth (Acronicta albarufa) In: Natural Heritage Endangered Species Program. Westborough, MA: Massachusetts Division of Fisheries and Wildlife
  3. ^ a b c d e f g h i j k l m n o New York Natural Heritage Program (2008). New York Natural Heritage Program Conservation Guide: Barrens dagger moth (Acronicta albarufa) In: Animal guides. New York Natural Heritage Program
  4. ^ a b c d e f g h i j k Patterson, William A., III; Clarke, Gretel L.; Haggerty, Sarah A.; Sievert, Paul R.; Kelty, Matthew (2005) Wildland fuel management options for the central plains of Martha's Vineyard: impacts on fuel loads, fire behavior, and rare plant and insect species. Final Report RFR# DEM705. In: Managing fuels in Northeastern Barrens. In: Publications – Fuel treatments. Amherst, MA: University of Massachusetts, Department of Natural Resources Conservation
  5. ^ Shuey, John A.; Metzler, Eric H.; Iftner, David C.; Calhoun, John V.; Peacock, John W.; Watkins, Reed A.; Hooper, Jeffrey D.; Babcock, William F. (1987). "Status and habitats of potentially endangered Lepidoptera in Ohio". Journal of the Lepidopterists' Society 41 (1): 1–12. 
  6. ^ a b c d e f Wagner, David L.; Nelson, Michael W.; Schweitzer, Dale F. (2003). "Shrubland Lepidoptera of southern New England and southeastern New York: ecology, conservation, and management". Forest Ecology and Management 185 (1–2): 95–112. doi:10.1016/S0378-1127(03)00249-4. 
  7. ^ a b c d e Grand, J; Mello, Mark J (2004). "A multi-scale analysis of species–environment relationships: rare moths in a pitch pine–scrub oak (Pinus rigida–Quercus ilicifolia) community". Biological Conservation 119 (4): 495. doi:10.1016/j.biocon.2004.01.012. 
  8. ^ Grand, Joanna; Buonaccorsi, John; Cushman, Samuel A.; Griffin, Curtice R.; Neel, Maile C. (2004). "A multiscale landscape approach to predicting bird and moth rarity hotspots in a threatened pitch pine – scrub oak community". Conservation Biology 18 (4): 1063. doi:10.1111/j.1523-1739.2004.00555.x. 
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Names and Taxonomy

Taxonomy

Comments: A very distinctive outlier of the A. ovata group. Specimens from Oklahoma and westward are paler (especially the male hindwing) but do not appear to be a different species. There has been some confusion with A. exempta, the type of which is not A. albarufa. There is little or no geographic variation from Arkansas north and east. The above is based largely on specimens at USNM examined by D. Schweitzer 3 March, 1999.

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Acronicta albarufa Grote is the scientific name of the barrens dagger
moth, a member of the Noctuidae family [1].
  • 1. Forbes, William T. M. 1954. Lepidoptera of New York and neighboring states. Noctuidae: Part III. Memoir No. 329. Ithaca, NY: Cornell University, New York State College of Agriculture. 433 p. [70970]

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Common Names

barrens dagger moth

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