New York Natural Heritage Program
Coastal Heathland Cutworm
Abagrotis nefascia benjamini Franclemont
Insects

Habitat [-]
The coastal heathland cutworm occurs in dry, sandy, open coastal plain habitats. These habitats include sandplain grasslands, coastal heathlands, and dunes (except the first dunes inland from the beach). In New York State, the moth has been found in several habitats including partially burned grasslands and shrublands, maritime dunes, maritime grasslands, maritime heathlands, and a coastal oak-heath forest.

Associated Ecological Communities [-]
  • Coastal oak-heath forest
    A low diversity, large patch to matrix, hardwood forest that typically occurs on dry, well-drained, sandy soils of glacial outwash plains or moraines of the Atlantic Coastal Plain. The forest is usually codominated by two or more species of scarlet oak, white oak, and black oak.
  • Maritime dunes
    A community dominated by grasses and low shrubs that occurs on active and stabilized dunes along the Atlantic coast. The composition and structure of the vegetation is variable depending on stability of the dunes, amounts of sand deposition and erosion, and distance from the ocean.
  • Maritime grassland*
    A grassland community that occurs on rolling outwash plains of the glaciated portion of the Atlantic coastal plain, near the ocean and within the influence of offshore winds and salt spray.

    * probable association but not confirmed
  • Maritime heathland
    A dwarf shrubland community that occurs on rolling outwash plains and moraine of the glaciated portion of the Atlantic coastal plain, near the ocean and within the influence of onshore winds and salt spray.
  • Sea level fen*
    A wetland that occurs at the upper edge of salt marshes but is fed primarily by acidic groundwater seeping out along the upland edge. This fresh water sometimes mixes with salt or brackish water during unusually high tides. There is a high abundance of sedges that decompose slowly and create a deep substrate of peat. This peat is underlain by deep sand or gravel. These fens usually have a high diversity of herbs but may also have scattered trees and shrubs.

    * probable association but not confirmed