Species Profile

Sand-verbena Moth

Scientific Name: Copablepharon fuscum
Other/Previous Names: Sand Verbena Moth
Taxonomy Group: Arthropods
COSEWIC Range: British Columbia
COSEWIC Assessment Date and Status Change: November 2013
COSEWIC Status: Endangered
COSEWIC Status Criteria: B2ab(iii)
COSEWIC Reason for Designation: This moth and its host plant are habitat specialists dependent on coastal sand ecosystems, a rare and declining habitat along the West Coast of British Columbia. The species occurs at five small and isolated sites within a habitat that is highly threatened by erosion from increased winter storms and sea level rise, dune stabilization by invading vegetation, industrial and recreational development, recreational use, and the potential aerial application of pesticide to control the Gypsy Moth. The host plant and therefore the moth are facing continuing declines due to on-going erosion and degradation of coastal dunes.
COSEWIC History of Status Designation: Designated Endangered in November 2003. Status re-examined and confirmed in November 2013.
SARA Status: Schedule 1, Endangered
Date of Listing (yyyy-mm-dd): 2005-07-14

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.

Go to advanced search

Quick Links: | Photo | Description | Distribution and Population | Habitat | Biology | Threats | Protection | Recovery Initiatives | Recovery Team | National Recovery Program | Documents

Image of Sand-verbena Moth

Sand-verbena Moth Photo 1
Sand-verbena Moth Photo 2
Sand-verbena Moth Photo 3

Top

Description

The Sand-verbena Moth is an average-sized nocturnal moth. It ranges in colour from dark to golden brown and has a wingspan of 3.5 to 4.0 cm. The forewings are 17 to 19 mm in length; they are slightly darker than the thorax and have distinctive black and light yellow lines. They are white near the thorax with a brown-grey border towards the bottom. The hindwings are a dark greyish brown, becoming very pale grey or white near the body. Wing pigmentation can present slight variations from one individual to the next and from one region to the next. Males and females are similar in colour, size, and wing patterning. Young caterpillars are green with pale stripes and turn brown as they age. Adults emerge from a dark-brown pupa that measures approximately 2 cm in length and is protected by a flaky layer of fine sand. No other species in British Columbia resembles the Sand-verbena Moth. Consequently, the adult can be reliably identified through observation of such characteristics as forewing patterning.

Top

Sand-verbena Moth Photo 4

Top

Distribution and Population

The Sand-verbena Moth can be found from the sandy coasts of southwestern British Columbia in the north, and southward to Puget Sound in Washington State in the United States. This moth has been observed in three Canadian sites, all of which are located in southwestern British Columbia. Two populations were discovered on the northern edge of the Strait of Georgia in the Comox region. The third population is in the southern part of the Georgia Strait near Sidney. Based on the distribution of the host plant (Yellow Sand Verbena), it has been determined that other populations could be present along this same stretch of the Strait of Georgia. However, no Sand-verbena Moths have been captured or observed in the few sites that have been sampled so far. The number of individuals that make up the three Canadian populations is not known. Changes in the distribution and abundance of their host plant (Yellow Sand Verbena) could provide valuable information on population trends for this species. Globally, population numbers for this nocturnal moth species are extremely low. Each of the eight sites where the Sand-verbena Moth has been observed appears to be home to a distinct population.

Top

Habitat

The Sand-verbena Moth prefers sandy, arid environments or dunes. This nocturnal moth depends very heavily on its host plant, the Yellow Sand Verbena. Consequently, both species have similar habitat requirements. This plant can be found in dunes, and other open and sandy coastal environments. Although this plant is occasionally found in areas dominated by grasses, Yellow Sand Verbena only flowers and grows vigorously in environments where it is the dominant species. This flowering plant is sensitive to competition from other plants, including mosses. Although many aspects of the Sand-verbena Moth's habitat requirements are not known, the moth is known to prefer large, dense, flowering colonies of its host plant, which provide it with sufficient resources. This moth has never been observed in a coastal site without a Yellow Sand Verbena colony and has never been captured more than 25 m away from a Yellow Sand Verbena plant. In the three Canadian sites with Sand-verbena Moth colonies, the coverage of Yellow Sand Verbena is estimated to be 450 m², 620 m² and 680 m².

Top

Biology

These nocturnal moths fly at dusk and in the early evening from mid-May to early July. Adults appear to live 5 to 14 days. They feed on the nectar of the Yellow Sand Verbena, which they drink with their long proboscis. Very little is known about the reproduction of the Sand-verbena Moth. However, the mating period is known to peak in mid-June, after which the females lay their eggs, alone or in clusters, on the leaves and flowers of the Yellow Sand Verbena. Eggs hatch approximately two weeks after laying and young caterpillars immediately begin to feed on the leaves of the plant. They continue to feed at night through July and August. The caterpillars winter in a dormant state nestled in the sand beneath the host plants. The following spring, from late April to late May, they metamorphose into pupae. Adult moths emerge from the pupae approximately 10 days later. The Sand-verbena Moth is dependent on the Yellow Sand Verbena throughout every stage of its life. Not only is this flowering plant its sole source of food; the moth also depends on it for reproduction. Such highly dependent relationships are not uncommon among nocturnal moths. However, the extremely specialized habitat requirements shown by both of these species increase the moth's vulnerability.

Top

Threats

The main threat to the Sand-Verbena Moth is the reduction in abundance and quality of its host plant due to the degradation of open, sandy habitats (such as coastal dunes) caused by the invasion of vegetation, a natural phenomenon that is occurring at a faster rate due to the introduction of invasive exotic species. In addition, the use of dunes for recreational purposes poses a secondary threat, which could become more significant at the local level. Other factors that threaten the Sand-verbena Moth include a natural pesticide used to control various moth and butterfly pests. Unfortunately, this product also affects non-targeted species, including the Sand-verbena Moth. Finally, climate change poses a potential threat as rising sea levels and global warming could lead to the disappearance of the Sand-verbena Moth's habitat.

Top

Protection

Federal Protection

The Sand-verbena 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.

Top

Recovery Initiatives

Status of Recovery Planning

Recovery Strategies :

Name Recovery Strategy for the Sand-verbena Moth (Copablepharon fuscum) in Canada
Status Final posting on SAR registry

Top

Recovery Team

BC Invertebrates Recovery Team

  • Jennifer Heron - Chair/Contact - Government of BC
    Phone: 604-222-6759  Fax: 604-660-1849  Send Email

Top

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.

16 record(s) found.

COSEWIC Status Reports

  • COSEWIC assessment and status report on the sand-verbena moth Copablepharon fuscum in Canada (2003-11-01)

    The Sand-verbena Moth (Copablepharon fuscum) is a noctuid moth. It was described in 1996 from specimens collected near Sidney, B.C. and Whidbey Island, Washington. Although the species was recently described, its specific habitat requirements and apparently poor dispersal abilities indicate that it was not recently introduced to Canada. Adults are dark to golden brown with distinctive black and pale yellow forewing lines. There are no superficially similar moth species in British Columbia, and the Sand-verbena Moth is the only species of Copablepharon found west of the Cascade Mountains. Most species in the genus are found in arid, sandy or dune environments.
  • COSEWIC status appraisal summary on the Sand-verbena Moth Copablepharon fuscum in Canada (2014-10-15)

    This moth and its host plant are habitat specialists dependent on coastal sand ecosystems, a rare and declining habitat along the West Coast of British Columbia. The species occurs at five small and isolated sites within a habitat that is highly threatened by erosion from increased winter storms and sea level rise, dune stabilization by invading vegetation, industrial and recreational development, recreational use, and the potential aerial application of pesticide to control the Gypsy Moth. The host plant and therefore the moth are facing continuing declines due to on-going erosion and degradation of coastal dunes.

Response Statements

  • Response Statement - Sand-verbena Moth (2004-10-22)

    The global population of this moth is very small and occurs in a very restricted range. The Canadian population, occurring at only three small sites, is even smaller and more restricted. The moth and its hostplant are habitat specialists dependent on coastal dunes, a rare habitat along the West Coast. This habitat has undergone extensive losses to stabilization of open dunes (including the introduction of invasive plant species), development, and recreational use. The hostplant and therefore the moth are facing the threat of continuing declines due to the loss and degradation of coastal dunes.
  • Response Statement - Sand-verbena Moth (2015-01-13)

    This moth and its host plant are habitat specialists dependent on coastal sand ecosystems, a rare and declining habitat along the West Coast of British Columbia. The species occurs at five small and isolated sites within a habitat that is highly threatened by erosion from increased winter storms and sea level rise, dune stabilization by invading vegetation, industrial and recreational development, recreational use, and the potential aerial application of pesticide to control the Gypsy Moth. The host plant and therefore the moth are facing continuing declines due to on-going erosion and degradation of coastal dunes.

Recovery Strategies

  • Recovery Strategy for the Sand-verbena Moth (Copablepharon fuscum) in Canada (2012-10-23)

    The Minister of the Environment is the competent minister for the recovery of the Sand-verbena Moth and has prepared a recovery strategy, as per section 37 of SARA. Section 44 of SARA 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)). Environment Canada has adopted the British Columbia recovery strategy and prepared a federal addition to meet the requirements of SARA.

Action Plans

  • 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

  • Order Acknowledging Receipt of the Assessments Done Pursuant to Subsection 23(1) of the Act (2004-10-19)

    The Order acknowledges receipt by the Governor in Council of the assessments of the status of wildlife species done pursuant to subsection 23(1) of the Species at Risk Act (SARA) by the Committee on the Status of Endangered Wildlife in Canada (COSEWIC). The purpose of SARA is to prevent wildlife species from being extirpated or becoming extinct, to provide for the recovery of wildlife species that are extirpated, endangered or threatened as a result of human activity and to manage species of special concern to prevent them from becoming endangered or threatened.
  • Order Amending Schedules 1 to 3 to the Species at Risk Act (volume 139, number 15, 2005) (2005-07-27)

    The Minister of the Environment is recommending, pursuant to section 27 of the Species at Risk Act (SARA), that 43 species be added to Schedule 1, the List of Wildlife Species at Risk. This recommendation is based on scientific assessments by the Committee on the Status of Endangered Wildlife in Canada (COSEWIC) and on consultations with governments, Aboriginal peoples, wildlife management boards, stakeholders and the Canadian public.

COSEWIC Annual Reports

  • COSEWIC Annual Report - 2004 (2004-09-16)

    2004 Annual Report to the Canadian Endangered Species Conservation Council (CESCC) from the Committee on the Status of Endangered Wildlife in Canada.
  • COSEWIC Annual Report - 2013-2014 (2014-10-15)

    Under Canada’s Species at Risk Act (SARA), the foremost function of COSEWIC is to "assess the status of each wildlife species considered by COSEWIC to be at risk and, as part of the assessment, identify existing and potential threats to the species". COSEWIC held two Wildlife Species Assessment Meetings in this reporting year (October, 2013 to September, 2014) from November 24 to November 29, 2013 and from April 27 to May 2, 2014. During the current reporting period, COSEWIC assessed the status or reviewed the classification of 56 wildlife species. The wildlife species assessment results for the 2012-2013 reporting period include the following: Extinct: 0 Extirpated: 0 Endangered: 23 Threatened: 12 Special Concern: 20 Data Deficient: 0 Not at Risk: 1 Total: 56 Of the 56 wildlife species examined, COSEWIC reviewed the classification of 40 that had been previously assessed. The review of classification for 25 of those wildlife species resulted in a confirmation of the same status as the previous assessment.

Permits and Related Agreements

  • Explanation for issuing permit(#35), persuant to the provisions of section 73 of SARA (2007-01-18)

    The activity involves construction of 200 m of a rock revetment along a naturally eroding shoreline. In order to install the revetment, approximately 32 m2 of yellow sand-verbena will impacted. Yellow sand-verbena is a dune-adapted plant and the obligate host of the sand-verbena moth (Copablepharon fuscum). The moth larvae over-winter in the soil among the roots of the plant, so activities affecting the plant will likely result in impacts to the moth as well. Yellow-sand verbena is present in the terrestrial shoreline habitat. The revetment will displace approximately 32 m2 of yellow-sand verbena habitat. The affected habitat will be recovered and transplanted during construction.
  • 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 2015 (2015-01-13)

    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 of prohibitions and recovery planning requirements under SARA. Special Concern species benefit from its management planning requirements. Schedule 1 has grown from the original 233 to 521 wildlife species at risk. Please submit your comments byApril 15, 2015, for terrestrial species undergoing normal consultationsand byOctober 15, 2015, for terrestrial species undergoing extended consultations.For a description of the consultation paths these species will undergo, please see:Species at Risk Public Registry website
  • Consultation on Amending the List of Species under the Species at Risk Act: November 2004 (2004-11-23)

    The Government of Canada proclaimed the Species at Risk Act (SARA) on June 5, 2003 as part of its strategy for the protection of wildlife species at risk. Attached to the act is Schedule 1, the list of the species that receive protection under SARA, hereinafter referred to as the 'SARA list'. Canadians are invited to comment on whether all or some of the species included in this document should be added to the SARA list.

Exceptions

  • Public Registry Notice for s.83 Exceptions - 19 Wing Comox (2015-03-06)

    Activity: Canadian military training and operations. Military training and operations of NATO and non-NATO allies. Non-defence related training and operations related to national security conducted by DND (Department of National Defence) and/or other government organizations. Operations directed to ensure that training areas are sustainable for activities related to national defence/security. Range training development to meet operational requirements.
Date modified: