Derrima stellata (Pink Star Moth) Jim Vargo

Derrima stellata (Pink Star Moth)
Jim Vargo

Class
Insecta (Insects)
Family
Noctuidae (Owlet Moths)
State Protection
Not Listed
Federal Protection
Not Listed
State Conservation Status Rank
S1
Global Conservation Status Rank
G4

Summary

Did you know?

Pink star moths are known to have two broods each year, with a first brood in the spring (April/May) and another in summer (July/August) (Covell 1984).

State Ranking Justification

Pink star moth has been found at one location in New York on Long Island. Forbes (1954) and Covell (1984) consider this species rare in the northern part of its range.

Short-term Trends

The short-term trends are unknown.

Long-term Trends

The long term trends are unknown except that Covell (1984) stated that this species is rare in the northern portion of its range.

Conservation and Management

Threats

This species is attracted to artificial lighting. Artificial lighting can: increase predation risk, disrupt behaviors such as feeding, flight, and reproduction, and interfere with dispersal between habitat patches. In addition, many individuals die near the light source. It is not known if the impact of artificial lighting is severe, but the impact is likely greater for small, isolated populations (Schweitzer et al. 2011).

Potential threats include insecticide use. The use of insecticides and biocontrols can also eliminate or greatly impact many non-target species populations.

Conservation Strategies and Management Practices

Minimizing lighting to maintain dark sky conditions would also be beneficial. When lighting is necessary, it's best to use lights that emit red or yellow light because insects are generally not attracted to those colors. However, many sodium lights, which emit yellow light, are so bright that they do attract some insects. The best lighting appears to be low pressure sodium lights which have little effect on flying insects (Schweitzer et al. 2011).

Insecticide use should be avoided when possible if rare species are present. When insecticide use cannot be avoided, careful planning along with consistent rare species monitoring, can result in successful eradication of the target species without eliminating rare species. A biocontrol alternative is Bacillus thuringiensis (Btk) for some target species, such as gypsy moths. However, sensitivity to Btk varies among native species and this option should be fully researched for treatment timing and regimes and weighed with other options to have the least impact on native lepidopteran populations (Schweitzer et al. 2011).

Research Needs

Additional research is needed to determine the habitat requirements and larval foodplants.

Habitat

Habitat

The precise habitat requirements in New York are unknown. This species was captured between either maritime dunes and maritime heathland or a sea level fen and maritime heathland.

Associated Ecological Communities

  • Maritime dunes* (guide)
  • Maritime heathland* (guide)
  • Sea level fen* (guide)

Range

New York State Distribution

This species has been found in Suffolk County on Long Island.

Global Distribution

Pink star moths can be found from southern Maine south to Florida and west to Missouri and Texas (Covell 1984).

Best Places to See

  • Napeague State Park (Suffolk County)

Identification Comments

Identifying Characteristics

The pink star moth has a wingspan of 2.4 to 3 cm. Forewings are dull yellow with a pink border along the costa and outer margin, making this moth more easily identified than some other species. The postmedial line, orbicular spot, and reniform spots are white. The hingwings are more variable by location. In general, the hingwings are dull yellow with a pink outer border. However, in northern parts of its range, the hingwings are pale brown with a pink outer border (Covell 1984).

Best Life Stage for Proper Identification

Adult.

Diet

According to Covell (1984), the foodplant is unknown.

Best Time to See

Covell (1984) states that there are two broods each year: April to May and July to August. Specific information about the best times to find this species is not available for New York populations at this time.

  • Present
  • Active

The time of year you would expect to find Pink Star Moth present and active in New York.

Pink Star Moth Images

Taxonomy

Pink Star Moth
Derrima stellata Walker, [1858]

  • Kingdom Animalia
    • Phylum Mandibulata (Mandibulates)
      • Class Insecta (Insects)
        • Order Lepidoptera (Butterflies, Skippers, and Moths)
          • Family Noctuidae (Owlet Moths)

Additional Resources

References

Covell, Charles V. 1984. A field guide to the moths of eastern North America. Houghton Mifflin Company, Boston.

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

New York Natural Heritage Program. 2019. New York Natural Heritage Program Databases. Albany, NY.

Schweitzer, D.F., M.C. Minno, and D.L. Wagner. 2011. Rare, Declining, and Poorly Known Butterflies and Moths (Lepidoptera) of Forests and Woodlands in the Eastern United States. USFS Technology Transter Bulletin, FHTET-2009-02.

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

Links

About This Guide

Information for this guide was last updated on: June 28, 2012

Please cite this page as:
New York Natural Heritage Program. 2019. Online Conservation Guide for Derrima stellata. Available from: https://guides.nynhp.org/pink-star-moth/. Accessed March 18, 2019.

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