Species Profile

Edwards' Beach Moth

Scientific Name: Anarta edwardsii
Taxonomy Group: Arthropods
COSEWIC Range: British Columbia
COSEWIC Assessment Date and Status Change: May 2021
COSEWIC Status: Endangered
COSEWIC Status Criteria: B1ab(ii,iii,iv,v)+2ab(ii,iii,iv,v)
COSEWIC Reason for Designation: This handsome, grey moth lives in sparsely-vegetated coastal dunes and upper beaches at only six sites on Vancouver Island and adjacent Gulf Islands; two of these subpopulations may be extirpated. The moth’s habitats are at risk from increasing vegetation encroachment (by both native and non-native plant species), recreational activities, and loss of sand as a result of increasing frequency, severity and intensity of winter storms, compounded by sea level rise.
COSEWIC History of Status Designation: Designated Endangered in April 2009. Status re-examined and confirmed in May 2021.
SARA Status: Schedule 1, Endangered
Date of Listing (yyyy-mm-dd): 2011-02-04

Please note that this information is provided for general information purposes only. For the most up to date and accurate list of species listed under the Species at Risk Act, please see the Justice Laws Website.

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Quick Links: | Taxonomy | Description | Habitat | Biology | Threats | Protection | Recovery Initiatives | National Recovery Program | Documents

Taxonomy

Two subspecies of Edwards’ Beach Moth are recognized: subspecies edwardsii and subspecies deserticola. Since the species is represented in Canada only by subspecies edwardsii, the name Edwards’ Beach Moth is used here without specifying the subspecies.

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Description

Edwards’ Beach Moth is a robust medium-sized (3.2 - 3.8 cm wingspan) species. The forewings are plain grey-brown with a line of black dots along the outer edge; and the hindwings are white with a broad dull black band on the outer half. Canadian populations belong to the nominate subspecies, which occurs throughout most of the species’ range. Inland populations in southern California and Arizona have been described as a separate subspecies. (Updated 2017/05/25)

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Distribution and Population

Edwards’ Beach Moth occurs along coastal areas of southern Vancouver Island and the adjacent Gulf Islands of British Columbia south along the coast to southern California. It has a disjunct distribution and is apparently absent from most of coastal Washington and Oregon. It is presently known from only 2 locations in Canada. It was previously reported from two additional historic locations: Thetis Island (single specimens in 1966 and 1971) and Mill Bay on the Saanich Peninsula (one specimen in 1935). (Updated 2017/05/25)

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Habitat

This species has been captured in sparsely-vegetated sandy beach and beach dunes, including sandy beaches adjacent to saltmarshes. Substrates are generally medium-grained sand with vegetation cover ranging from 5–35%. Its larval host plant (or plants) in Canada is not known with confidence. Throughout its range, coastal populations tend to be concentrated in island complexes and inlets rather than on exposed, high-energy outer beaches. (Updated 2017/05/25)

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Biology

Adults in Canadian populations fly from mid-May through July, in a single brood. There are no observations of mating, egg-laying, larval development, or pupation in Canada. Its dispersal abilitiesare unknown. (Updated 2017/05/25)

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Threats

The limiting factors and threats to Edwards’ Beach Moth in Canada are: (1) habitat specialization confines its distribution to regionally rare and spatially isolated sandy coastal habitats; (2) loss of habitat is occurring as a result of sea level rise and increased frequency and intensity of storms that impact the sandy habitat; (3) exotic Scotch Broom and Fallow Deer have invaded its remaining sites in the Gulf Islands and both are causing a reduction in abundance of native vegetation. (Updated 2017/05/25)

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Protection

Federal Protection

The Edwards' Beach Moth is protected under the federal Species at Risk Act (SARA). More information about SARA, including how it protects individual species, is available in the Species at Risk Act: A Guide.

Provincial and Territorial Protection

To know if this species is protected by provincial or territorial laws, consult the provinces' and territories' websites.

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Recovery Initiatives

Status of Recovery Planning

Recovery Strategies :

Name Recovery Strategy for the Edwards' Beach Moth (Anarta edwardsii) in Canada
Status Final posting on SAR registry

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Documents

PLEASE NOTE: Not all COSEWIC reports are currently available on the SARA Public Registry. Most of the reports not yet available are status reports for species assessed by COSEWIC prior to May 2002. Other COSEWIC reports not yet available may include those species assessed as Extinct, Data Deficient or Not at Risk. In the meantime, they are available on request from the COSEWIC Secretariat.

19 record(s) found.

COSEWIC Status Reports

Response Statements

  • Response Statement - Edwards' Beach Moth (2009-11-25)

    In Canada, this species of noctuid moth has only been found in sparsely-vegetated sandy beach and dune habitats on the coast of Vancouver Island and two small adjacent Gulf Islands. Together, these constitute only two locations. The habitats are at risk from succession, invasive species, recreational activities and changing patterns of sand deposition resulting from increasing frequency and intensity of winter storms. It is currently known from James and Sydney Islands and Pacific Rim National Park. The chance of genetic exchange is minimal between Pacific Rim and other areas and low between the Gulf Islands. One population has not been detected in recent times, and the species could not be found at 38 other locations where there appeared to be suitable habitat.
  • Response Statement - Edwards' Beach Moth (2022-01-10)

    This handsome, grey moth lives in sparsely-vegetated coastal dunes and upper beaches at only six sites on Vancouver Island and adjacent Gulf Islands; two of these subpopulations may be extirpated. The moth’s habitats are at risk from increasing vegetation encroachment (by both native and non-native plant species), recreational activities, and loss of sand as a result of increasing frequency, severity and intensity of winter storms, compounded by sea level rise.

Recovery Strategies

  • Recovery Strategy for the Edwards' Beach Moth (Anarta edwardsii) in Canada (2017-12-20)

    The Minister of the Environment and Minister responsible for the Parks Canada Agency is the competent minister under SARA for the Edwards’ Beach Moth and has prepared the federal component of this recovery strategy (Part 1), as per section 37 of SARA. To the extent possible, it has been prepared in cooperation with the province of British Columbia (B.C.) as per section 39(1) of SARA. SARA section 44 allows the Minister to adopt all or part of an existing plan for the species if it meets the requirements under SARA for content (sub-sections 41(1) or (2)). The B.C. Ministry of Environment led the development of the attached recovery plan for the Edwards’ Beach Moth (Part 2) in cooperation with Environment Canada and the Parks Canada Agency.

Action Plans

  • Multi-species Action Plan for Gulf Islands National Park Reserve of Canada (2018-08-01)

    The Multi-species Action Plan for Gulf Islands National Park Reserve of Canada applies to lands and waters occurring within the boundaries of Gulf Islands National Park Reserve (GINPR). The plan meets the requirements for action plans set out in the Species at Risk Act (SARA (s.47)) for species requiring an action plan that regularly occur at this site. Measures described in this plan will also provide benefits to other species of conservation concern that regularly occur at GINPR.
  • Multi-species Action Plan for Pacific Rim National Park Reserve of Canada (2017-08-24)

    Backed by the Insular Mountain Range of Vancouver Island and facing the open Pacific Ocean, Pacific Rim National Park Reserve of Canada (Pacific Rim NPR) protects and presents the rich natural and cultural heritage of Canada's west coast. Pacific Rim NPR consists of three distinct units, the Long Beach Unit, Broken Group Islands Unit, and West Coast Trail Unit, each offering a range of unique visitor experiences. With significant areas (51,216 ha in total) of old growth, temperate rainforest, coastal dune systems, wetlands and foreshore, and marine habitats, the park demonstrates the interconnectedness between land, sea, and people. These natural wonders are interwoven with the Nuu-chah-nulth First Nations culture (past and present), and that of European explorers and settlers.

Critical Habitat Statements

Orders

COSEWIC Annual Reports

  • COSEWIC Annual Report - 2009 (2009-08-28)

    2009 Annual Report to the The Minister of the Environment and the Canadian Endangered Species Conservation Council (CESCC) from the Committee on the Status of Endangered Wildlife in Canada.
  • COSEWIC Annual Report 2020 to 2021 (2021-10-12)

    Over the past year COSEWIC assessed a total of 66 wildlife species, of which 4 were assigned a status of Not at Risk. Of these 66, COSEWIC re-examined the status of 41 wildlife species; of these, 80% were reassessed at the same or lower level of risk. To date and with the submission of this report, COSEWIC’s assessments now include 826 wildlife species in various risk categories including 369 Endangered, 196 Threatened, 239 Special Concern, and 22 Extirpated (i.e. no longer found in the wild in Canada). In addition, 19 wildlife species have been assessed as Extinct, 62 wildlife species have been designated as Data Deficient, and 202 have been assessed as Not at Risk.

Permits and Related Agreements

  • Explanation for issuing permit(#GI16-05), persuant to the provisions of section 74 of SARA (2016-11-01)

    Parks Canada will restore a portion of coastal sand ecosystem on Sidney Spit, Gulf Islands National Park Reserve, by removing target invasive plant species, augmenting the population of endangered contorted-pod evening-primrose, and enhancing current visitor facilities through installation of signage and fencing to protect nesting Common Nighthawk. The primary goal of this restoration project is to recover species at risk present at the site by improving habitat, removing identified threats and augmenting populations. The net effect of project activities on species at risk populations at the site is expected to be positive, but it is possible that a small number of individuals may be disturbed while conducting restoration work to improve the overall condition of their populations and habitat. For example, there is a risk of trampling a few contorted-pod evening-primrose (En) individuals (out of a population in the thousands), displacing a few contorted-pod evening-primrose seeds or a few larvae/pupae of Edwards' beach moth (En) (population considered locally abundant) or minor disturbance to one or two common nighthawk individuals (e.g. temporarily flushing from nest). Mitigations (described below) will be followed to minimize the risk of these minor disturbances. Conversely, if the restoration was not conducted, further loss or degradation of suitable habitat would likely continue.
  • Explanation for issuing permit(#GI16-05-02), persuant to the provisions of section 73 of SARA (2020-10-01)

    Parks Canada will restore a portion of coastal sand ecosystem on Sidney Spit, within Gulf Islands National Park Reserve, by removing target invasive plant species, augmenting the population of endangered contorted-pod evening-primrose, and enhancing current visitor facilities through installation of signage and fencing to protect nesting Common Nighthawk. The primary goal of this restoration project is to recover species at risk present at the site by improving habitat, removing identified threats and augmenting populations. The net effect of project activities on species at risk populations at the site is expected to be positive, but it is possible that a small number of individuals may be disturbed while conducting restoration work to improve the overall condition of their populations and habitat.
  • Explanation for issuing permit(#GINPR-2014-16419 ), persuant to the provisions of section 74 of SARA (2014-06-16)

    This research project located in coastal sand ecosystems on Sidney Island, Gulf Islands National Park Reserve aims to (1) confirm the presence of Edwards' Beach Moth on Sidney Island and address knowledge gaps about the species' biology and habitat requirements; and (2) conduct habitat management trials for Contorted-pod Evening-primrose.
  • Explanation for issuing permit(#PRN-2009-2874), persuant to the provisions of section 74 of SARA (2009-06-01)

    The structure of the dunes in Pacific Rim National Park Reserve is unnatural, caused by the stabilizing nature of dune grass and encroaching trees. Historically, Pacific coast dunes have been more open, dynamic, and shifting. Dune grass, and encroaching spruce trees will be removed and native flora will be re-introduced, including a priority species at risk, Pink Sand-verbena (Abronia Umbellata). The dunes also provide potential habitat for two rare moths and nigh time surveys for Sand Verbena Moth (Copablephaon fuscum) and Edward's Beach Moth (Anarta edwardsii) using light traps will be conducted.

Consultation Documents

  • Consultation on Amending the List of Species under the Species at Risk Act: Terrestrial Species January 2022 (2022-01-10)

    The Government of Canada is committed to preventing the disappearance of wildlife species at risk from our lands. As part of its strategy for realizing that commitment, on June 5, 2003, the Government of Canada proclaimed the Species at Risk Act (SARA). Attached to the Act is Schedule 1, the list of the species provided for under SARA, also called the List of Wildlife Species at Risk. Extirpated, Endangered and Threatened species on Schedule 1 benefit from the protection afforded by the prohibitions and from recovery planning requirements under SARA. Special Concern species benefit from its management planning requirements. Schedule 1 has grown from the original 233 to 640 wildlife species at risk. Please submit your comments by May 10, 2022, for terrestrial species undergoing normal consultations and by October 10, 2022, for terrestrial species undergoing extended consultations. For a description of the consultation paths these species will undergo, please visit the Species at Risk (SAR) Public Registry website at: The Minister of the Environment's Response to Species at Risk Assessments.
  • Consultation on Amending the List of Species under the Species at Risk Act: Terrestrial Species, December 2009 (2009-12-17)

    As part of its strategy for protecting wildlife species at risk, the Government of Canada proclaimed the Species at Risk Act (SARA) on June 5, 2003. Attached to the Act is Schedule 1, the list of the species that receive protection under SARA, also called the List of Wildlife Species at Risk. Please submit your comments by March 1, 2010 for species undergoing normal consultations and by March 1, 2011 for species undergoing extended consultations.

Recovery Document Posting Plans

  • Environment and Climate Change Canada's Three-Year Recovery Document Posting Plan (2016-07-06)

    Environment and Climate Change Canada’s Three-Year Recovery Document Posting Plan identifies the species for which recovery documents will be posted each fiscal year starting in 2014-2015. Posting this three year plan on the Species at Risk Public Registry is intended to provide transparency to partners, stakeholders, and the public about Environment and Climate Change Canada’s plan to develop and post these proposed recovery strategies and management plans. However, both the number of documents and the particular species that are posted in a given year may change slightly due to a variety of circumstances. Last update December 2, 2021
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