New York Natural Heritage Program
Barrens Dagger Moth
Acronicta albarufa Grote, 1874

Threats [-]
The decline of this species in the northeast suggests unknown threats and the causes of decline regionally are also unknown. Known threats include development and fire suppression, although the threat of development for the remaining habitat on Long Island may be low. Fire could also pose a threat to isolated populations if an extensive fire burned a large area of habitat at one time. On a local scale, severe defoliation of oaks by Gypsy Moth (Lymantria dispar) outbreaks could cause large scale starvation of Barrens Dagger Moth larvae. Efforts to suppress Gypsy Moths, such as the use of Bt (Bacillus thuringiensis - a bacterial biological control used on Gypsy Moth caterpillars), are likely beneficial to this species. The timing of spraying should negate harm to this species, as the residue would be gone prior to the appearance of the first eggs or larvae. It is possible that introduced parasitoids such as Compsilura have impacted this species and a few others in the genus, such as Acronicta subachrea, that have largely disappeared in the Northeast. However, several very similar species remain widespread and common.

Conservation Strategies and Management Practices [-]
Burning is needed to maintain the habitat for this species, but it should be done in patches and in no case should the entire occurrence be burned during any season. Burning should be minimized between 1 June and 1 October.

Research Needs [-]
Better information on the impacts of gypsy moth outbreaks and introduced parasitoids on this species is needed. A clearer understanding of essential habitat parameters is essential. Research to determine if more frequent fires improves habitat quality is also needed.