New York Natural Heritage Program
Spiny Oakworm Moth
Anisota stigma (Fabricius, 1775)
Insects

Threats [-]
Known threats include habitat loss due to development and fire suppression, although the threat of development for the remaining habitat on Long Island may be low. The suppression of fires in barrens and other dry places would cause a loss of habitat for the species and therefore a drop in population size. This species requires open woodland or barrens with pitch pine and scrub oaks. Forest fires are needed, on average, every 5-10 years (Jordan et al. 2003) to maintain this type of habitat. Lack of fires will result in the succession of this community to a closed canopy forest of tall oaks and other hardwoods (Little 1979, Jordan et al. 2003). Conversely, a fire affecting an entire occurrence could eliminate all life stages that are present. On a local scale, severe defoliation of oaks by Gypsy Moth (Lymantria dispar) could be a threat. Treatment for the control of Gypsy Moth, such as spaying of Bt, would also need to be evaluated to determine its effect on this species.

Conservation Strategies and Management Practices [-]
The best management strategy for this species is the management of the natural community or habitat where this species occurs. Maintaining the Long Island pine barrens with their full suite of plant and animal species requires frequent (every few decades) disturbance to maintain open-canopy, shrub-dominated communities and to prevent succession to a closed-canopy hardwood forest (Jordan et al. 2003). Researchers have determined that "an active fire management program utilizing prescribed fire with appropriate mechanical treatments" is the preferred method (Jordan et al. 2003). Researchers have also determined that the size, type, intensity, and timing of fires (pyrodiversity) needs to be evaluated for each site to maximize benefits to the natural community and the species it supports (Jordan et al. 2003). The entire occupied habitat for a population should not be burned in a single year. For example, in places where prescribed burning is used, refugia (unburned areas) are needed for many species to ensure that any life stage can survive a fire.

Research Needs [-]
Additional inventory and monitoring is needed. The spiny oakworm moth can be sought at blacklight traps left in pine barrens and scrub habitats in July. In addition, the response of the species to management practices such as controlled burns and mechanical removal of vegetation should be evaluated.