New York Natural Heritage Program
Chain Fern Borer Moth
Papaipema stenocelis (Dyar, 1907)

Habitat [-]
The chain fern borer moth occurs in wetlands such as acid bogs, fens, swamps, edges of ponds, wet thickets, and swales (Weldy and Werier 2010) that contain persistent, abundant or numerous, patches of Virginia chain fern (Woodwardia virginica), the larval foodplant (Hessel 1954; Covell 1984; Wagner et al. 2008). In general, species in the genus Papaipema tend to not occupy many apparently suitable habitats, for unknown reasons. Some, many, or all habitats for the Chain Fern Borer Moth may be suitable only in certain years, depending on water levels. Also, in any given area, some habitat patches may be occupied in some seasons, and others in other seasons (NatureServe 2010). In New York State, the moth was documented to occupy a swale containing a nearly pure, dense stand of Woodwardia virginica.

Associated Ecological Communities [-]
  • Coastal plain poor fen*
    A wetland on the coastal plain fed by somewhat mineral-rich groundwater and slow decomposition rates of plant materials in the wetland (and thus develops peat). Plants are generally growing in peat composed primarily of Sphagnum mosses with some grass-like and woody components.

    * probable association but not confirmed
  • Inland Atlantic white cedar swamp*
    A swamp that occurs on organic soils (usually peat) in poorly drained depressions and along pond edges in southeastern New York and northern New Jersey. The characteristic tree is Atlantic white cedar. In mixed stands the codominants are typically red maple, black gum, and eastern hemlock.

    * probable association but not confirmed
  • Inland poor fen*
    A wetland fed by acidic water from springs and seeps. Plant remains in these fens do not decompose rapidly and thus the plants in these fens usually grow on older, undecomposed plant parts of mostly sphagnum mosses.

    * probable association but not confirmed