Publication Date


Advisor(s) - Committee Chair

Albert Meier (Director), Ouida Meier, Keith Philips

Degree Program

Department of Biology

Degree Type

Master of Science


1. Exyra ridingsii is a host specific moth that spends its entire immature life cycle in the fire dependent Sarracenia flava pitcher plant. Sarracenia flava requires acidic, moist soil that undergoes frequent burns. 2. Habitat selection and the effects of fire as well as other habitat characteristics were examined for E. ridingsii during this study. 3. For this study, five sites in the Croatan National Forest were surveyed four times each year for two years. Only one site had no disturbances since 2009; the remaining four sites were evenly split with two having had burns occur in them and two having burns occur nearby in 2012. At each site seven to twenty quadrats were selected randomly for sampling. 4. In each quadrat, trumpets were counted and measured for height. Also recorded was whether the trumpets were healthy or affected by herbivory, and the fraction affected was calculated (herbivory per clump). 5. Highest median herbivory per clump values were found at the burned sites. Millis 2 had 100% herbivory for the late summer 2013 sampling date, and Millis 1 had a herbivory per clump value of 0.86; 86% of clumps at this site exhibited herbivory. All other values were above 50% with the exception of Catfish Lake Road which was 0.32. Herbivory per clump was not found to be statistically correlated to site and therefore burn status. 6. Burn status, soil saturation, and woody understory growth all seem to play a role in the habitat selection of E. ridingsii but there is much research still to be done.


Biology | Ecology and Evolutionary Biology