New York Natural Heritage Program
Marsh Fern Moth
Fagitana littera (Guenée, 1852)
Insects

Habitat [-]
Fagitana littera is primarily a species of unforested wetlands such as coastal bogs, shrub swamps, and marshes. In New Jersey, this species also occurs along wet powerlines, and from New Jersey southward the species is characteristic of wet open pinelands. In northern Ohio, all four known occurrences are in bogs (Rings et al. 1992), but in Wisconsin the species is characteristic of open to shrubby wetlands in general (Ferge and Balogh 2000). From Latham's (1953) account, the main habitat near Orient, Long Island, was marshland, although he found the larva in a cranberry bog near Riverhead. The recent Columbia County collection was in a rather diverse calcareous wetland complex. It is also reported as a wetland species in Quebec (Handfield 1999). Acid bogs and calcareous fens might be the most likely places to find this species in New York, based on New Jersey and New England habitats, but it could occupy other types of unforested wetlands.

Associated Ecological Communities [-]
  • Deep emergent marsh*
    A marsh community flooded by waters that are not subject to violent wave action. Water depths can range from 6 in to 6.6 ft (15 cm to 2 m). Water levels may fluctuate seasonally, but the substrate is rarely dry, and there is usually standing water in the fall.

    * probable association but not confirmed
  • Dwarf shrub bog*
    A wetland usually fed by rainwater or mineral-poor groundwater and dominated by short, evergreen shrubs and peat mosses. The surface of the peatland is usually hummocky, with shrubs more common on the hummocks and peat moss throughout. The water in the bog is usually nutrient-poor and acidic.

    * probable association but not confirmed
  • Medium fen*
    A wetland fed by water from springs and seeps. These waters are slightly acidic (pH values generally range from 4.5 to 6.5) and contain some dissolved minerals. Plant remains in these fens do not decompose rapidly and thus the plants in these fens usually grow on older, undecomposed plant parts of woody material, grasses, and mosses.

    * probable association but not confirmed
  • Rich graminoid fen*
    A wetland of mostly grasses usually fed by water from highly calcareous springs or seepage. These waters have high concentrations of minerals and high pH values, generally from 6.0 to 7.8. Plant remains do not decompose rapidly and these grasses usually grow on older, undecomposed plant parts.

    * probable association but not confirmed
  • Sedge meadow*
    A wet meadow community that has organic soils (muck or fibrous peat). Soils are permanently saturated and seasonally flooded. The dominant herbs must be members of the sedge family, typically of the genus Carex.

    * probable association but not confirmed
  • Shallow emergent marsh*
    A marsh meadow community that occurs on soils that are permanently saturated and seasonally flooded. This marsh is better drained than a deep emergent marsh; water depths may range from 6 in to 3.3 ft (15 cm to 1 m) during flood stages, but the water level usually drops by mid to late summer and the soil is exposed during an average year.

    * probable association but not confirmed
  • Shrub swamp*
    An inland wetland dominated by tall shrubs that occurs along the shore of a lake or river, in a wet depression or valley not associated with lakes, or as a transition zone between a marsh, fen, or bog and a swamp or upland community. Shrub swamps are very common and quite variable.

    * probable association but not confirmed