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Species Papaipema eryngii - Rattlesnake-master borer moth - Hodges#9494

Papaipema eryngii - male Rattlesnake-master Borer Moth - Papaipema eryngii Rattlesnake-master Borer Moth - Papaipema eryngii Rattlesnake-master Borer Moth - Papaipema eryngii Rattlesnake-master Borer Moth - Papaipema eryngii Rattlesnake-master Borer Moth - Papaipema eryngii Rattlesnake-master Borer Moth - Papaipema eryngii
Show images of: caterpillars · adults · both
Kingdom Animalia (Animals)
Phylum Arthropoda (Arthropods)
Subphylum Hexapoda (Hexapods)
Class Insecta (Insects)
Order Lepidoptera (Butterflies and Moths)
Superfamily Noctuoidea (Owlet Moths and kin)
Family Noctuidae (Owlet Moths)
Subfamily Noctuinae (Cutworm or Dart Moths)
Tribe Apameini
Genus Papaipema (Borer Moths)
Species eryngii (Rattlesnake-master borer moth - Hodges#9494)
Hodges Number
Other Common Names
Eryngium Root Borer - USFS, Illinois DNR
Synonyms and other taxonomic changes
Papaipema eryngii Bird, 1917
Phylogenetic sequence # 932469
Explanation of Names
named for its reliance on the rattlesnake-master, a prairie plant which is its only food source.
Lafontaine & Schmidt (2010) listed 47 species of the genus Papaipema in America north of Mexico. (1)
wingspan 35-48 mm (Bird 1917)
Image (MPG)
limited dist. in AR, IL, KY, NC, OK - Map - FWS (Counties)
Apparently restricted to mesic prairies and associated wetlands in the midwest - NatureServe
univoltine in Illinois, with adults on the wing for mid-September through early October - USFS
only known larvae host is rattlesnakemaster (Eryngium yuccafolium, Apiaceae) - Range - BONAP
a population of 100-1000 rattlesnake master plants needs to be present for P. eryngii to persist - USFS
Life Cycle
Adult borer moths lay their eggs in the vicinity of the plant in the fall where the eggs overwinter in the prairie duff. In the spring, larvae emerge from the eggs and feed on leaves of the rattlesnake-master until they are ready to burrow into the root of the plant. The moth stays in the burrow until late summer when it pupates and adults emerge again in mid-September. Rattlesnake-master borer moths depend on undisturbed prairie that contains their food source, and loss of prairie habitat to other land uses is likely causing populations to decline. - FWS
FWS Listing Status: Listing Warranted But Precluded - August 2013
Considered by Oklahoma to be a "Species of Greatest Conservation Need" (SGCN) (2)(3)
Listed as endangered in Illinois since 1991 - Illinois DNR
Print References
Bird, H., 1917. New species and histories in Papaipema SM. (Lepidoptera) No. 19. The Canadian Entomologist. 49(4): 125.
Hessel, S.A. 1954. A guide to collecting the plant-boring larvae of the genus Papaipema (Noctuidae). Lepid. News. 8: 57-63.
Panzer, R.J. 1998. Insect Conservation within the severely fragmented eastern tallgrass prairie landscape. Ph.D. thesis Graduate College of the University of Illinois at Urbana-Champaign.
Schweitzer, D.F. 1999. Papaipema moths with emphasis on prairie species. Element Management record, Current version date: 1999-12-01. In: Natureserve 2004. NatureServe Central Databases. Arlington, Virginia.