ragwort stem borer moth

(Papaipema insulidens)

ragwort stem borer moth
Photo by Alfredo Colon
  Hodges #

9488

 
 
Conservation Status
  IUCN Red List

LC - Least Concern

     
  NatureServe

N4 - Apparently Secure

SNR - Unranked

     
  Minnesota

not listed

     
           
 
Description
 
 

Ragwort stem borer moth is a mid-sized owlet moth. There are two unconnected populations in North America. The eastern population extends from Maine to Minnesota south to North Carolina and Nebraska and includes adjacent Canadian provinces. The western population is in British Columbia, Washington, Oregon, and Idaho. The species is common within its range, uncommon in Minnesota where it is at the northwest extent of the range of the eastern population. It is found in the late summer and fall mostly in wetlands and alongside rivers and streams, but also in forests, open areas, and disturbed sites.

Adults are 11 16 (18 mm) long and have a wingspan of 1¼ to 17 16 (32 to 37 mm). The forewing is to ¾ (16 to 20 mm) long, broadly triangular, and slightly hooked at the tip. Dark areas transition smoothly (grade) into adjacent light areas. The dark areas reddish-orange, the light areas are yellow or cream-colored. The ground color is mostly reddish-orange. The basal area, the wing tip, the basal half of the inner margin, and a narrow patch on the leading (costal) margin are pale. The subterminal area is purplish-gray. The antemedial (AM) line is indistinct. The median line is reddish-brown to dark brown and undulating. The postmedial (PM) line is dark brown, smooth, and broadly curved. The terminal line is dark reddish-brown and thin. The fringe is dark purplish-gray. There is a circular spot in the median area (orbicular spot), a circular spot between the orbicular spot and the inner margin (claviform spot), and a kidney-shaped spot at the end of the discal cell (reniform spot). The orbicular spot is white with a thin, dark reddish-brown outline and a dark spot in the center. The claviform spot is large and white but broken into three small spots with dark brown outlines. The reniform spot is white with a thin, dark reddish-brown outline, a yellow to reddish-brown crescent in the center, and dark reddish-brown veins. The hindwings are light yellowish-gray tinged with reddish and gray.

The antennae are slender and thread-like on the female, bead-like on the male.

 
     
 

Size

 
 

Total Length: 11 16 (18 mm)

Wingspan: 1¼ to 17 16 (32 to 37 mm)

 
     
 

Similar Species

 
     
     
 
Habitat
 
 

Wetlands, riparian areas, forests, open areas

 
     
 
Biology
 
 

Season

 
 

Late summer and fall

 
     
 

Behavior

 
 

Adults are active at night and will come to lights, but they do not wander far from wetlands.

Caterpillars bore into the roots, underground stems (rhizomes), and aerial stems of host plants and are rarely seen.

 
     
 

Life Cycle

 
 

The eggs are laid in the fall and hatch in the spring. The larvae pupate in the summer and emerge as adults in late summer.

 
     
 

Larva Hosts

 
 

Various plants in the Apiaceae (carrot) family, including spotted water hemlock, purplestem angelica, and hemlock water-parsnip.

 
     
 

Adult Food

 
 

 

 
     
 
Distribution
 
 

Distribution Map

 

Sources

21, 24, 29, 30, 71, 75.

 
  12/9/2019      
         
 

Occurrence

 
 

Common

This species is much less common than its host plants.

 
         
 
Taxonomy
 
 

Order

Lepidoptera (butterflies and moths)  
 

Suborder

Glossata  
 

Infraorder

Neolepidoptera  
  Parvorder Heteroneura  
  No Rank Ditrysia  
  No Rank Obtectomera  
 

Superfamily

Noctuoidea (noctuid moths)  
 

Family

Noctuidae (owlet moths)  
 

Subfamily

Amphipyrinae/Hadeninae/Noctuinae  
 

Tribe

Apameini  
 

Genus

Papaipema  
       
 

There have been three major revisions of the family Noctuidae since 2006, each placing the genus Papaipema in a different subfamily, Amphipyrinae, Hadeninae, and Noctuinae. All three subfamilies are used for this genus by various authors.

This species was classified as Hydroecia insulidens when it was first described in 1902. The name was changed in 1908 to Gortyna birdi and in 1920 to Papaipema pertincta. In 2015 Papaipema pertincta was given the status of synonym of Papaipema insulidens. Another synonym is Papaipema birdi.

 
       
 

Synonyms

 
 

Gortyna birdi

Papaipema birdi

Papaipema pertincta

 
       
 

Common Names

 
 

ragwort stem borer moth

umbellifer borer moth

 
     
  The common name refers to this species being found on tansy ragwort in the Northwest.  
       

 

 

 

 

 

 

Glossary

Antemedial (AM) line

A thin line separating the basal area and the median area of the forewing of Lepidoptera.

 

Costal margin

The leading edge of the forewing of insects.

 

Orbicular spot

A circular spot or outline in the outer median area on the forewing of many moths.

 

Postmedial (PM) line

A thin line separating the median area and the postmedial area of the forewing of Lepidoptera.

 

Reniform spot

A kidney-shaped spot or outline in the outer median area on the forewing of many moths.

 

Rhizome

A horizontal, usually underground stem. It serves as a reproductive structure, producing roots below and shoots above at the nodes.

 

 

 

 

 

       
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Alfredo Colon
       
  ragwort stem borer moth    
       
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Alfredo Colon
Summer 2018

Location: Woodbury, Minnesota

ragwort stem borer moth


     
     
 
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Created: 12/9/2019

Last Updated:

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