A Summary of the 2002 Lepidoptera sampling at The Ossipee, Carroll Co., NH Pine Barrens

Title: A Summary of the 2002 Lepidoptera sampling at The Ossipee, Carroll Co., NH Pine Barrens

Author: Dale Schweitzer, PhD


Abstract: Previous collecting efforts by myself (then working with TNC) and Lars Crabo (an avocational Lepidopterist) and on at least one night by Thomas Rawinski (then TNC) from about 1984 to 1988 had identified numerous regional or at least state level rare moths and one skipper at Ossipee Pine Barrens a large boreal variant pitch pine-scrub oak barren in Carroll County, New Hampshire. This collecting in the 1980s was the original basis for nearly all "rare" Lepidoptera records for these barrens. Also in the late 1980s I assigned global and state ranks for selected species and these, with additional input by me, were most of the significant input in listing some of them as State Threatened or Endangered. I am unsure now whether such listing actually confers any protection or not. I probably overlooked some species worthy of being ranked as state-rare (S1, S2, S3). For example with 20:20 hindsight I probably should have ranked all species of Datana as historic or state rare in all states north and east of New Jersey at that time (see discussion).

The "element list" supplied to me contains errors and omissions which I address here. My understanding is that the list was derived in early 2002 from the NH Natural Heritage Database. I have corrected these omissions at least once for TNC and/or Heritage in the 1990s. I note a complete lack of April records from Lars Crabo who collected on a single night sometime between 1985 and 1988, probably near 15 April 1987. This presumably means these records are still inexplicably not in the Heritage Program database, although I provided them at the time. The most important omission was a massive number of the regionally very rare Lycia rachelae which came to a Mercury Vapor light-over 50 as I recall, probably most specimens ever collected in eastern North America. Given the miniscule sampling effort involved, the species must have been enormously abundant that spring. Unfortunately I do not have any duplicate specimens and I am not going through my 15+ year old files and notes yet again. Therefore unless TNC or Heritage has these records from my original submission or a later one Lycia rachelae will now have to be accepted on my say so. Or TN or heritage could contact Dr. Lars Crabo, M.D. directly. he lives near Seattle. Details as best as I can now recall them are about 50 at MV light, mid April 1985 to 1988. I am pretty sure the exact site (not really important) was the same as mine from March 1987, May and July 1985. The records were definitely supplied at the time and at least once since. I am certain Dr. Crabo did collect these and I did see some of them. Lars Crabo also collected Lithophane lepida the same night (probably at bait) and therefore probably L. thaxteri and X. thoracica, although I cannot now vouch for the last two. The late Dr. David Winter and myself attempted unsuccessfully to rear L. lepida from eggs provided by Dr. Crabo. L. lepida and L. rachelae are not dubious records in any way. I do not have an Ossipee specimen of Lithophane thaxteri. It is possible I deposited one elsewhere. At this point one would probably have to check my original 1980s documents supplied to Heritage. This species surely occurs there but at this time I do not know the source of the rcord except I can guess Lars Carbo collected it. Otherwise, the "element list" provided seems correct, except that Apharetra purpurea was sunk to A. dentata in the mid 1990s, as all Heritage Programs that tracked that name were notified in a 1996 memo and subsequently in data exchanges with NatureServe. They are the same taxon.

Subsequent sampling by New Hampshire Natural Heritage, The Nature Conservancy (TNC) and possibly others reverified some of these 1990s records but added no new rarities in the 1990s. I also looked for but did not find the buckmoth, Hemileuca maia, in the 1980s and verified that there was insufficient lupine to support either Karner Blue or Erynnis persius persius and apparently no Ceanothus. During the spring and summer of 2002 additional efforts were made to relocate some of the rare species and to look for others by Jonathan Kart and others for The Nature Conservancy.