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COSEWIC Assessment and Status Report on the Aweme Borer in Canada

COSEWIC Status Report
on the
Aweme Borer
Papaipema aweme
in Canada

Species Information

Name and Classification

Common name:

Aweme Borer Papaipema aweme

French name:

Perce-tige d'Aweme, Jean-François Landry 2004


Lepidoptera (Moths and Butterflies)




Noctuidae (Owlet or Cutworm Moths)




Apameini (Borers)




aweme (Lyman 1908)

There are no named subspecies (Quinter, in Hodges et al. 1983).



Originally described as Gortyna aweme Lyman

Moths of North America (MONA) Catalogue No.:


Bibliographic Citation

Lyman, H.H. 1908. Recent work among the borers. Can. Ent., 40(8):249-255.

Type Specimen

Holotype female, CAN., MB, Aweme. Deposited in Lyman Entomological Museum, McGill University, Macdonald campus, Montréal.

The genus Papaipema Smith is one of the largest noctuid genera endemic to North America, with at least forty-six described species and five undescribed species known (Goldstein and Quinter 2003). Twenty-six described species occur in Canada (CBIF 2003).Although found throughout most of temperate North America, the genus achieves its greatest diversity in eastern North America (Goldstein and Quinter 2003).

Papaipema aweme appears to have no close relatives (i.e., is not part of a species complex or in a group of sibling species). There is no evidence to suggest it is anything but a “good” species (J.D. Lafontaine, pers. comm.).

Morphological Description

The Aweme Borer is a medium-size (33-37 mm wingspan), robust, noctuoid moth (Figure 1). The forewing colour is described in the original description as “gris-incarnate” (greyish flesh-color) (Lyman 1908). The base of the forewings is light brown, with a slightly darker transverse shade near the base and a more pronounced but somewhat diffuse one arcing across the median area. Both the narrow post-median and subterminal lines are darker than the ground colour; the former curves toward the wing base as it nears the costa and the latter is incomplete. The fringes and adjacent terminal areas of the forewings are darker brown. The orbicular spot and claviform spots are similar in size and shape, or the orbicular may be reduced to a small dark ring and the claviform may be almost obsolete. These spots are darker brown than the ground and stand out, as does the larger hourglass-shaped reniform spot. The hind wings are yellow-white, much paler than, and contrasting with, the forewings and are unmarked or marked with a faint median line and discal mark. The body and in particular the head and thorax, are darker brown (Lyman 1908; Hampson 1910). The adult moth is a rather small, very pale, plain light brown species compared to others in the genus (Schweitzer 1999). Based on published photographs, adults of both sexes are superficially alike. (Rockburne and Lafontaine, 1976; CBIF, 2003).

Figure 1: Adult Male Aweme Borer

Figure 1: Adult male Aweme Borer.

Colour illustrations of the adult are available in Rockburne and Lafontaine 1976 (Fig. 414) and on the web at the Agriculture and Agri-food Canada Moths of Canada website (

The early stages (egg, larva and pupa) are unknown. In general Papaipema larvae are dark with dorsal and sub-dorsal white lines; they usually become translucent with the markings becoming very faint or obsolete as they mature (Hessel 1954).

A key to the species of Papaipema, including P. aweme, is available inForbes (1954, p. 191). However, many species of Papaipema are difficult to identify, even with a key, and there are a number of undescribed species not included in the key. The identity of specimens or suspected specimens of Aweme Borer should be confirmed by recognized experts in noctuid moths and in particular in the genus Papaipema. Identification of Papaipema species cannot be guaranteed from a photo of a live specimen, and a voucher specimen should be required for positive identification (Schweitzer 1999).

Genetic Description

There are no genetic data available for the species. Although some gene flow could conceivably occur or have occurred between populations along the Great Lakes shoreline, it is unlikely that any gene flow could occur between populations along the Great Lakes and those approximately 1200 km distant in southwestern Manitoba.

Designatable Units

None. There are too few data to evaluate.