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For information on Wisconsin's rare vertebrate animals, contact:
Rich Staffen
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Pink Sallow (Psectraglaea carnosa)


There is no overview information available for that species.

State status

Status and Natural Heritage Inventory documented occurrences in Wisconsin

The table below provides information about the protected status - both state and federal - and the rank (S and G Ranks) for Pink Sallow (Psectraglaea carnosa). See the Working List Key for more information about abbreviations. Counties shaded blue have documented occurrences for this species in the Wisconsin Natural Heritage Inventory database. The map is provided as a general reference of where occurrences of this species meet NHI data standards and is not meant as a comprehensive map of all observations.

Note: Species recently added to the NHI Working List may temporarily have blank occurrence maps.

Psectraglaea carnosa is not tracked by the Wisconsin Natural Heritage Inventory Program at this time (this species is not on the NHI Working List).
Summary Information
State Statusnone
Federal Status in Wisconsinnone
State RankSU
Global RankG3
Tracked by NHIW

Species guidance

Note: a species guidance document is not available at this time. Information below was originally presented as part of the Online Field Guide to Rare Lepidoptera: Bogs and Barrens.

Identification: An above-average sized Noctuid with uniformly colored bright pink forewings and subtle grayish-pink hindwings. Male antennae pectinate. Reniform and claviform spots are very faintly outlined and visible only in fresh specimens. In older worn individuals, the pink appears faded or even reduced to a dull olive gray. Should be unmistakable. No other eastern North American moth is similar in color. Length of forewing: 18-20 mm. Larvae are reddish brown with no obvious pattern.

Similar Species: Epiglaea apiata is a somewhat smaller moth commonly occurring at the same time in barrens habitats. It has maroon forewings that when faded may appear similar to a faded P. carnosa, except that a distinct submarginal line is present.

Habitat: Usually in unburned sandy pine or oak barrens. Occasional captures in dry oak forest may indicate these can be low quality habitats or more likely are stray individuals. An important habitat feature probably is a high density of low oaks, cherries (Prunus spp.), or blueberry (Vaccinium spp.) which larvae can easily locate and climb. This species is apparently absent from many suitable looking habitats, including nearly all barrens of less than 2000 acres.

Nectar Source: Adults apparently do not feed much.

Host Plant: The feeding habitats of the larvae in nature are unclear. Larvae will eat a variety of low growing Ericaceae, Rosaceae and small oaks. They eat young leaves, flowers and fruits and the young larvae show a strong preference for flowers of blueberry (Vaccinium spp.) and species in the Rose family (Rosaceae) such as Aronia. Studies have shown that later instars are intolerant of mature foliage and therefore feed on newer shoots or the fruits of blueberry or Rosaceae species.

State Distribution: Bayfield, Douglas, and Marinette counties.

Global Distribution: Scattered populations from Maine and Quebec west through Ontario and into Michigan. Declining in most of New England and extirpated in several states. Originally occurred from southern Maine west and very spottily through southern Canada to Michigan and Wisconsin and south in the eastern part of range to New Jersey. Status unclear in Quebec and Ontario. No records for Vermont.

Rationale for Species Listing and Threats: In managed midwest barrens a burn regime of two burns per decade may pose a threat to this species, especially if fires occur in fall, winter or spring. However, complete fire suppression is probably a long term threat due to woody species and forest encroachment.

Phenology: Adults fly in late September as ericads are turning red. The moth's coloration matches this background well. In northern Michigan and Wisconsin they may appear as early as mid September.

Life and Natural History: Eggs are laid loosely in the sand or litter. Larvae hatch out as the hostplants leaf out in spring. They mature in early summer, aestivate undergound as prepupae, and pupate in the fall. The flight season is uncharacteristically brief for a 'glaea' moth and seldom lasts even a full month.

Survey Guidelines: Moths are attracted to blacklight if weather conditions permit moth activity. In general, a temperature in the low 50's F or higher at dusk is necessary for successful sampling. Cloudy, humid conditions (even a light drizzle) with little or no moonlight are most desirable. New county records should be documented with voucher specimens.

Inventory, Monitoring and Research Needs: A significant number of potential sites remain to be surveyed.

Additional Information: Locating populations of this and other very late season species in the far reaches of northern Wisconsin is beset with problems, the greatest of which is having sufficiently warm night conditions in late September for moth flight. Because of the weather and few field researchers, its apparent rarity in northern Wisconsin may possibly be an artifact of poor sampling. Years of dedicated searching and a generous helping of luck will be needed to find more localities.

Management Guidelines: Dale Schweitzer of NatureServe gives the following recommendations: Burn in patches if the community is maintained by fire and consider not introducing fire if the community is not fire dependent. For planning, assume all eggs or larvae will be killed in fires from fall to late spring (mid Sept. to perhaps as late as early July in MI-WI) but that direct mortality will be zero in summer fires. Assume burned habitats will be vacant or nearly so for at least the following two years and that full occupancy will take at least five fire-free years. Large areas (~1,000 acres) should remain unburned for 10-20 years, and at least 65% of total habitat for smaller sites, unless this would cause rapid shading by trees. Populations should persist as long as habitat remains unless a complete burn occurs.



Pink Sallow

Photo © Les Ferge.

Last revised: Thursday, October 08, 2020