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COSEWIC Assessment and Status Report on the Aweme Borer in Canada

Population Sizes and Trends

Search Effort

Extensive collecting of moths has taken place at both historical Canadian sites where Aweme Borers have been found (Table 2). Norman Criddle, who collected the Manitoba specimens, resided and collected in the area for over 30 years (Roughley 2004). Gary Anweiler collected a variety of habitats in the eastern section of Spruce Woods Provincial Park, including the Spirit Dunes and aspen-oak prairie, over a four consecutive night period in late August 2004, using UV traps and mercury vapor light to search specifically for Aweme BorersFootnote 4.

The Grand Bend–The Pinery Provincial Park area has been collected for moths extensively since about 1990, in particular by Ken Stead, a resident of Port Franks, just south of The Pinery Provincial Park (Table 2). Although over 1,500 species of moths have been collected there, no Aweme Borers have ever been found (K. Stead, pers. comm. November 2004). Less intensive moth collecting has also taken place in The Pinery Provincial Park in past years by “many others”, including Gordon Vogg, Robert Curry, and William Lamond (Steve Marshall, review comment).

J. Morton (M. Oldham, pers. comm. based on correspondence between M. Oldham and J. Morton) has collected moths on Manitoulin and nearby islands since the early 1970s and has been trapping extensively for 20 years. He has collected repeatedly at 419 sites on the island, some of them trapped every three weeks throughout the year from spring to late fall. His work yielded approximately 1500 species of Lepidoptera in the Manitoulin area. His database contains over 60 000 records, including information on over 25 000 specimens, making Manitoulin one of the better known areas in Canada with respect to the Lepidoptera that occur there. Despite this extensive collecting effort, including trapping at the right time of year in about six remnant bur-oak prairies, he did not collect P. aweme until in August 19, 2005 he caught a single specimen on his property, which has bur-oak prairie.

In the USA, significant trapping efforts to locate Aweme Borers have been carried out since 1987 at and near the Beaver Island Michigan site, including a search specifically for Aweme Borers in late August 1998 (Table 2). Although over 750 species of moths were collected, no Aweme Borers were found (Profant 1991). Aweme Borers are still being searched for periodically in potential habitat in northern Michigan (M. Nielsen, personal communication 2004).


Table 2: Summary of Search Efforts at Aweme Borer Collection Sites
SitePeriodMethod(s)ResultsInvestigator or SourceNote
Aweme - Spruce Woods, MBResident late 1800s-1930sVariety, including bait and light3 specimens of P. awemeN. Criddle 
Aweme - Spruce Woods, MB26/29-08-2004Ultra-violet & mercury vapor lightsNo P. awemeG. AnweilerP. aweme targeted
Grand Bend – The Pinery P.P. ONAugust 1993
(1 week)
Ultra-violet light trapNo P. awemeD. Schweitzer 
Grand Bend – The Pinery P.P. ON1996(?) - 1998Light traps526 species of noctuids, no P. awemeHardwick and Stead 1998 
Grand Bend – The Pinery P.P. ONResident 1990(?)-2004Various, including light traps1560 species of moths, no P. awemeKen Stead 
Manitoulin SiteResident
1985 - present
UV trap(s)1 awemeJ.K. Morton 
Beaver Island, MI?light1 P. awemeMoore 1930 
Beaver Island, MI1987-1988Light traps757 species of moths, no P. awemeProfant 1991 
Beaver Island, MI17-19/08/1998Ultra-violet light trapsNo P. awemePenskar et al. 1999P. aweme targeted

Papaipema species are notoriously difficult to collect except in close proximity to their host plant(s). Not knowing the host plant of the Aweme Borer greatly hinders efforts to locate it or to determine the size of populations (Schweitzer 1999).


The Aweme borer is known from a total of seven specimens taken at five widely dispersed sites over a period of one hundred years. Three of the specimens were taken at Aweme, Manitoba during a single three-night period in 1905.

According to the summary report for Aweme Borer on NatureServe (NatureServe 2004) the Aweme Borers can reasonably be assumed to be extirpated at four of the five collection localities, including two of the three Canadian sites. However, much apparently intact native habitat remains in the CFB Shilo – Spruce Woods Provincial Park area, and more extensive and intensive search efforts than have taken place so far are needed before concluding the moth no longer exists (G. Anweiler, personal observations, 2004).

Fluctuations and Trends

There are no data on population fluctuations or trends.

Rescue Effect

There are no known extant populations of Aweme Borer, other than at the one site on Manitoulin Island. However, should this moth still occur at the Beaver Island, Michigan site or elsewhere along the Great Lakes shoreline, although highly unlikely, it could conceivably re-populate the Grand Bend – The Pinery site if the host plant and suitable habitat are present. The possibility of individuals from Ontario or the United States sites re-colonizing the Manitoba site, or vice versa, are probably nil.

There are no obvious reasons why individuals from any adjacent Great Lakes populations in the United States would not be adapted to survive in southern Ontario.


Footnote 4

This search was not intense enough to cover all habitats and possible variation in hatch times, but an exhaustive search would require a great deal of effort and was beyond the scope of the contract.

Return to footnote 4 referrer