New York Natural Heritage Program
Plain Schizura
Schizura apicalis (Grote and Robinson, 1866)

Threats [-]
Known threats include habitat loss due to development and fire suppression in some habitats, 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 could cause a loss of habitat for the species and therefore a drop in population size. Conversely, a fire affecting an entire occurrence could eliminate all life stages that are present. It is assumed that fires would cause high mortality for this speices (Schweitzer et al. 2011).

This species is attracted to artificial lighting. Artificial lighting can: increase predation risk, disrupt behaviors such as feeding, flight, and reproduction, and interfere with dispersal between habitat patches. In addition, many individuals die near the light source. It is not known if the impact of artificial lighting is severe, but the impact is likely greater for small, isolated populations (Schweitzer et al. 2011).

Insecticide spraying, especially Dimilin, could be harmful.

Conservation Strategies and Management Practices [-]
The best management strategy for this species is the management of the natural community or habitat where it occurs. Historically, fire has played a role in maintaining maritime grasslands. 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. Schweitzer et al. (2011) suggests waiting five years before burning a unit again to give the lepidopteran population a chance to recolonize and increase local populations to withstand another fire. It may also be beneficial to know the locations of rare lepidopterans since there's a chance of losing localized populations if there are no individuals at the area set aside as refugia (Schweitzer et al. 2011).

Minimizing lighting to maintain dark sky conditions would be beneficial. When lighting is necessary, it's best to use lights that emit red or yellow light because insects are generally not attracted to those colors. However, many sodium lights, which emit yellow light, are so bright that they do attract some insects. The best lighting appears to be low pressure sodium lights which have little effect on flying insects (Schweitzer et al. 2011).

Insecticide use should be avoided when possible if rare species are present. When insecticide use cannot be avoided, careful planning along with consistent rare species monitoring, can result in successful eradication of the target species without eliminating rare species. Schweitzer et al. (2011) states that Bacillus thuringiensis (Btk) use to control gypsy moth larvae would most likely not harm plain Schizura because the larvae are not present until about one month after gypsy moth larvae.

Research Needs [-]
Additional research is needed to determine habitat needs and the preferred foodplant in the Northeast.