Latin names for species are often very descriptive. For this species "Litho" means stone and "phane" means to resemble. The second part of the name breaks down into "viridi" meaning green and "pallens" meaning pale. Thus, the name translates to "resembles pale green stone."
This species is very rare in New York State. It is restricted to Long Island, where a single occurrence is documented at the dwarf pine barrens.
The status and trend for this species is unknown for New York State. Only one individual has been documented on one occasion in the dwarf pine barrens of Long Island. There have been a few additional undocumented sightings of this species at other locations on Long Island.
The long-term trend for this species is unknown. The 2005 collection from the dwarf pine barrens of Long Island remains the only documented occurrence in New York State.
The threats to this species on Long Island are uncertain. It has been documented in the dwarf pine barrens of Long Island where fire is necessary to maintain the habitat type. However, the Pale Green Pinion Moth occurs in other wooded habitats on Long Island, and it is thus not a barrens specialist (McGuinness 2006). Elimination and fragmentation of habitat by commercial and residential development are the most significant threats to this species.
Areas where this species has been found need to be evaluated to avoid additional encroachment or fragmentation by development.
Additional inventory is needed on Long Island. The moth flies in late October to early November and in the early spring before the red maple trees flower. Baiting is the best inventory technique (McGuinness 2006). It is alleged that the habitat is coastal plain woodlands including pine barrens, cedar swamps, hardwood swamps, and mesic woods. It is often found near stands of Ilex opaca (American holly) or Ilex glabra (inkberry) (D. Schweitzer, personal communication).
In New York State, the Pale Green Pinion Moth is found only on Long Island with the only documented occurrence for this species in the dwarf pine barrens. This species, however, is more of a generalist occupying many different habitats in the coastal plain including cedar swamps, hardwood swamps, shrub swamps, woodlands, and forests (Wagner 2005).
This species has only been reported from Long Island.
This species occurs within 20 miles of coast in Massachusetts and Rhode Island and on Long Island, New York, then widely from southern New Jersey through much of Georgia and west to east Texas. It is unclear how far inland this species occurs, but it seems to occur regularly in northern Georgia and the Raleigh, North Carolina, area but not into the Appalachian region. It is probably fairly general on the coastal plain and south of Virginia also on the piedmont.
This a very distinctive species. The narrow forewings are light greenish gray with dark green, double, wavy lines. The orbicular spot has fine black outlines. The reniform spot is also outlined with a black line. It is broad and slightly angular. The hind wing is grayish brown.
The adult moths are active in the fall.
The time of year you would expect to find Pale Green Pinion Moth present, reproducing, larvae present and active, and pupae or prepupae present in New York.
Pale Green Pinion Moth
Lithophane viridipallens Grote, 1877
This is a very distinctive species in the Querquera-Baileyi group.
Forbes, William T. M. 1954. Lepidoptera of New York and neighboring states part III. Cornell University Experiment Station Memoir 329.
Jordan, M. J., W. A. Patterson III, A. G. Windisch. 2003. Conceptual ecological models for the Long Island pitch pine barrens: implications for managing rare plant communities. Forest Ecology and Management 185, 151-168.
Little, S. 1979. Fire and plant succession in the New Jersey pine barrens. pp. 297-313 in Forman, R.T.T. (ed.) Pine Barrens: Ecosystem and Landscape. Academic Press, Inc. Orlando, FL.
McGuinness, Hugh. 2006. Overview of the 2005 Dwarf Pine Plains data.
New York Natural Heritage Program. 2019. New York Natural Heritage Program Databases. Albany, NY.
North American Moth Photographers Group at the Mississippi Entomological Museum. No date. Mississippi State University, Mississippi. http://mothphotographersgroup.msstate.edu/MainMenu.shtml
Opler, Paul A., Kelly Lotts, and Thomas Naberhaus, coordinators. 2010. Butterflies and Moths of North America. Bozeman, MT: Big Sky Institute. <http://www.butterfliesandmoths.org/> (accessed May 2010).
Schweitzer, Dale F. Terrestrial Invertebrate Zoologist, NatureServe. 1761 Main St. Port Norris, NJ 08349. 856-785-2470.
Wagner, D.L. 2005. Caterpillars of eastern North America. Princeton University Press. Princeton, New Jersey. 512 pp.
This guide was authored by: Lauren Lyons-Swift
Information for this guide was last updated on: December 17, 2011
Please cite this page as:
New York Natural Heritage Program. 2019. Online Conservation Guide for Lithophane viridipallens. Available from: https://guides.nynhp.org/pale-green-pinion-moth/. Accessed November 14, 2019.