So let us look at a group of moths that are prairie plant host specific.
Each species of papaipema moth tends to be specific to a different host or group of host plants.
There are many, but to name a few there is ...
Papaipema beeriana / Blazing star borer
Papaipema eryngii / rattlesnakemaster,Eryngium yuccafolium borer
Papaipema cerussata / Ironweed borer
Papaipema nebris / Common stalk borer ,small grains grasses and corn
Considered a pest but with little economic significance.
In the literature available it says that for many of these moths habitat seems to be nearly as important as host plant. That is because these prairie plants that provide food for the larval stage are habitat specific. Undisturbed prairie is hard to come by these days. But the moths can be introduced to restored or reconstructed prairie and do quite well.
Will these moths frequent our prairie plants in the garden? A few liatris or rattlesnake master may not a habitat make. But if(as stated in some sources) as few as 100 plants can make a difference, then a few wildlife gardeners and maybe an enlightened park district in the neighborhood planting in prairie style, should do something. It seems to work with butterflies.
There is more to wildlife gardening than growing plants. One must learn to leave protected places for different stages of insect life. The more we know about the life cycle of each member of a habitat community the more useful our garden becomes to the wildlife we cherish. This actually turns out to be less work, as the one thing we can do most often is disturb less.
MSU edu Papaipema beeriana pdf
Forest Service US Blazing star moth pdf
Forest Service US Eryngium root borer pdf
Illinois wildflowers ironweed
The caterpillars of various moths feed on Vernonia spp. (Ironweeds),
particularly the pith of their stems and their roots. These species include Carmenta bassiformis (Eupatorium Borer Moth),
Papaipema cerussata (Ironweed Borer Moth), Papaipema limpida (another Ironweed Borer Moth), Perigea xanthioides (Red Groundling),
Polygrammodes flavidalis (Pyralid Moth sp.), and Polygrammodes langdonalis (Pyralid Moth sp.).