Species Profile

Gold-edged Gem

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.

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

Taxonomy

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.

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Description

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)

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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)

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Habitat

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)

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Biology

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)

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Threats

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)

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Protection

Federal Protection

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

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 Gold-edged Gem (Schinia avemensis) 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.

13 record(s) found.

COSEWIC Status Reports

  • COSEWIC assessment and status report on the Gold-edged Gem Schinia avemensis in Canada (2017-10-24)

    The Gold-edged Gem is a small (has a 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 undescribed.

Response Statements

  • 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.

Recovery Strategies

  • Recovery Strategy for the Gold-edged Gem (Schinia avemensis) in Canada (2014-03-13)

    The Gold-edged Gem is a small inconspicuous day-flying flower moth endemic to North America. Globally, the species is considered rare and has a restricted distribution; only twelve element occurrences are known to exist in Canada and the United States. The nine occurrences known to exist within Canada are small and fragmented with a limited range; the species was listed as Endangered under the Species at Risk Act in 2007.

Orders

  • Order Acknowledging Receipt of the Assessments Done Pursuant to Subsection 23(1) of the Act (2007) (2007-05-16)

    This Order acknowledges receipt by the Governor in Council of the assessments of the status of 40 species done pursuant to paragraph 15(1)(a) and in accordance with 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 Schedule 1 to the Species at Risk Act (volume 141, number 26, December 13, 2007) (2007-12-26)

    Her Excellency the Governor General in Council, on the recommendation of the Minister of the Environment, pursuant to section 27 of the Species at Risk Act, hereby makes the annexed Order Amending Schedules 1 to 3 to the Species at Risk Act.

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.

Permits and Related Agreements

  • Explanation for issuing permit(#SARA-PNR-2008-0097), persuant to the provisions of section 73 of SARA (2008-08-05)

    The purpose of this study is to confirm the presence of this moth on the Suffield National Wildlife Area. The gold-edged gem is a diurnal species. Suitable habitat will be approached during daylight hours on foot and searched for host plants. Host plants will then be approached and searched for moths. In most instances, we expect to be able to observe and photograph gold-edged gem while perched on their host plant. A standard butterfly net will be used when circumstances preclude identification without capture. No individual moths will be killed or otherwise collected. We estimate to capture a maximum of 5 moths for identification. All moths will be released within minutes of capture.
  • Explanation for issuing permit(#SARA-PNR-2010-0152), persuant to the provisions of section 73 of SARA (2010-07-15)

    The purpose of this study is to determine the distribution, abundance, and habitat associations of the Dusky Dune Moth. Non lethal nighttime light trapping will be undertaken at locations where the species has been observed and on suitable habitat not previously surveyed. This information is necessary to aid in the recovery of the species, including identification of critical habitat. One to four traps, depending upon the size of the sand dunes, will be operated from dusk until dawn for one to three nights. Traps will be checked each morning shortly after dawn. After identification, target and non-target moths will be released in nearby shaded dense vegetation cover. A voucher specimen may be collected from each site. An attempt will be made to identify the host plant species. A clipping of the potential host plant species may be collected for positive identification. There is a small possibility of incidental capture of the diurnal Gold Edged Gem and nocturnal White Flower Moth due to similar habitat preferences. This is an amendment to the permit to add two new locations in Saskatchewan and a new assistant.

Consultation Documents

  • Consultation on Amending the List of Species under the Species at Risk Act Terrestrial Species: December 2006 (2006-12-28)

    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. Please submit your comments by March 16, 2007 for species undergoing normal consultations and by March 14, 2008 for species undergoing extended consultations.
  • Consultation on Amending the List of Species under the Species at Risk Act: Terrestrial Species January 2018 (2018-01-26)

    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 555 wildlife species at risk. In 2017, final listing decisions were made for 44 terrestrial species and 15 aquatic species. Of these 59 species, 35 were new additions, sixteen were reclassifications, three had a change made to how they are defined, two were removed from Schedule 1, one was referred back to COSEWIC for further evaluation and two were the object of ‘do not list’ decisions. In 2017, on the recommendation of the Minister of the Environment, the Governor in Council approved listing proposals for 45 wildlife species. It is proposed that 21 species be added to Schedule 1, 11 be reclassified, 12 would have a change made to how they are defined, and one would be referred back to COSEWIC for further evaluation. The listing proposals were published in Canada Gazette, part I for a 30-day public comment period and final listing decisions for all 45 species are expected by August of 2018. Please submit your comments by May 22, 2018, for terrestrial species undergoing normal consultations and by October 22, 2018, for terrestrial species undergoing extended consultations. For a description of the consultation paths these species will undergo, please visit the Species at Risk Public Registry (SAR) website.

Critical Habitat Descriptions in the Canada Gazette

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