Scientific Name: Schinia avemensis
Taxonomy Group: Arthropods
COSEWIC Range: Alberta, Saskatchewan, Manitoba
COSEWIC Assessment Date and Status Change: November 2016
COSEWIC Status: Endangered
COSEWIC Status Criteria: B2ab(ii,iii)
COSEWIC Reason for Designation: This moth is a habitat specialist that needs active dunes or blow-outs with populations of Prairie Sunflower, its sole larval host plant. Large-scale decline in its habitat through dune stabilization has resulted in a more fragmented landscape and a corresponding reduction in the moth. Population viability of this moth at a number of small sandhills is uncertain.
COSEWIC History of Status Designation: Designated Endangered in April 2006. Status re-examined and confirmed in November 2016.
SARA Status: Schedule 1, Endangered
Date of Listing (yyyy-mm-dd): 2007-12-13
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.
Specimens from Manitoba differ significantly in appearance from those in Alberta. Specimens from Alberta are intermediate between those from Manitoba and Colorado, where they are much darker. There are currently no named subspecies; a more thorough examination of differences at the subspecies level is required.
The Gold-edged Gem is a small (16-20 mm wingspan), day-flying, noctuid (cutworm or owlet) moth in the subfamily Heliothinae (Flower Moths). These moths have greenish-brown and maroon, or mostly maroon, forewings crossed by two partial, ochre yellow bands. There is also a prominent yellow band along most of the distal edge of the forewing, hence the common name. There are no named subspecies. The early stages (egg, larvae, and pupae) are unknown. (Updated: 2018/01/19)
Distribution and Population
In Canada, Gold-edged Gems are known from 35 occurrences in 14 sand hills in southern Manitoba, southwestern Saskatchewan, and adjacent Alberta within the Prairie Ecozone. Elsewhere, they are known only from three sites in Colorado. The number of sites occupied by the Gold-edged Gem in Canada appears to be relatively stable, but likely has declined from historical levels due to habitat loss. There are too few data available on which to base useful population estimates. (Updated: 2018/01/19)
In Canada, Gold-edged Gems always occur within active sand dunes and blowouts, in close association with the presumed larval host plant, Prairie Sunflower. Most of the 35 known occurrences are in small dunes or blowouts less than 1 ha in size, with the remaining portions of the dunes now stabilized by vegetation. Over the last 100 years, the active dune habitat on which they depend has significantly declined. (Updated: 2018/01/19)
Adult Gold-edged Gems are active during the day. They can be found resting on, or flying among, the presumed larval host plants or resting on and nectaring at nearby blossoms. They are single-brooded, with adults of the Canadian population observed from July 10 to August 23. The presumed larval host is the native Prairie Sunflower; it and Rush Skeletonplant are the primary nectar sources used by adult moths. (Updated: 2018/01/19)
The primary limiting factor is availability of active sand dunes or blowouts that support colonies of the presumed larval host plant. The major threat to the long-term survival of the species appears to be the loss of habitat resulting from the stabilization of active sand dunes by both native and introduced vegetation. This natural process is largely driven by regional climate trends, but has accelerated over the last 150 years, in part due to reduced wildfire, extirpation of Bison, and other factors. (Updated: 2018/01/19)
The Gold-edged Gem 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
Status of Recovery Planning
Recovery Strategies :
Name Recovery Strategy for the Gold-edged Gem (Schinia avemensis) in Canada
Status Final posting on SAR registry
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.
13 record(s) found.
- COSEWIC Status Reports (1 record(s) found.)
- Response Statements (2 record(s) found.)
- Recovery Strategies (1 record(s) found.)
- Orders (2 record(s) found.)
- COSEWIC Annual Reports (2 record(s) found.)
- Permits and Related Agreements (2 record(s) found.)
- Consultation Documents (2 record(s) found.)
- Critical Habitat Descriptions in the Canada Gazette (1 record(s) found.)
COSEWIC Status Reports
Response Statement - Gold-edged Gem (2018-01-18)This moth is a habitat specialist that needs active dunes or blow-outs with populations of Prairie Sunflower, its sole larval host plant. Large-scale decline in its habitat through dune stabilization has resulted in a more fragmented landscape and a corresponding reduction in the moth. Population viability of this moth at a number of small sandhills is uncertain.
Response Statements - Gold-edged Gem (2006-11-29)This moth is a habitat specialist that needs active dunes or blow-outs with populations of its sole larval host plant. It is known from only two small populations in Canada and two in the United States. Large-scale decline in active dune habitat over the past 100 years has likely resulted in a corresponding reduction in the moth. Only very small, scattered, isolated patches of suitable habitat, totaling approximately 6 km², remain. They are threatened by habitat loss in the form of stabilization of active dunes by both native and introduced vegetation and by overgrazing of its larval host plant, which severely impacts small, isolated populations of the moth. The closest population of the moth in the United States is about 1200 km to the south in Colorado, so immigration of individuals into the Canadian population is not possible.
COSEWIC Annual Reports
COSEWIC Annual Report - 2006 (2006-08-30)2006 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 2016 to 2017 (2017-10-24)Over the past year COSEWIC re-examined the status of 40 wildlife species; of these, the majority (78 %) were reassessed at the same or lower level of risk. Of a total of 73 species assessed 11 were assigned the status of Not at Risk (8 re-assessments and 3 new assessments). To date and with the submission of this report, COSEWIC’s assessments now include 735 wildlife species in various risk categories including 321 Endangered, 172 Threatened, 219 Special Concern and 23 Extirpated (i.e. - no longer found in the wild in Canada). In addition 16 species have been assessed as Extinct, 58 have been designated as Data Deficient and 186 were assessed and assigned Not at Risk status.