Habitats of North Carolina
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Marshes, Mires, and Shoreline Habitats
General Sedge, Grass, and Rush Mires
Habitat Overview Open, shallow, wetlands dominated by graminoids -- often called beaver meadows in the past -- were once major features of stream and river valleys, forming hummocks and larger wet meadows as beaver ponds gradually filled in with sediments. With the near extinction of beavers across North America at the beginning of the 20th Century, these habitats became greatly reduced and fragmented. Many of their distinctive species -- most prominently, Mitchell's Satyr -- were left as rare relicts, scattered across their once vast geographic range.

The plants in this habitat grow in wet, mucky soils and experience frequent, shallow flooding. Some species, such as Carex stricta, form hummocks that rise up to a foot above the surface of the waters. Most grow in full sun but are capable of surviving in narrow galleries along streams as shrub and tree cover develop due to succession. Some are even capable of persisting for at least a while under full shade. In some areas along the lower Roanoke and other brownwater river floodplains, extensive meadows of Carex occur under a closed hardwood canopy.

The Lepidoptera belonging to this habitat all occur in association with wetland graminoids, with many known to have larvae that are obligate feeders on Carex or the other species of graminoids. The Orthoptera probably feed more generally on both sedges and wetland grasses. The one predatory member of this habitat, Libellula flavida, is associated with sedgy bogs, seeps, and beaver sedge meadows. Adults perch in open, sunny areas; larvae have also been found with the same, shallow, graminoid- and sphagnum-choked waters.

Unlike bogs, fens, hillside seepage bogs, and sandhill seeps, all of which have significant amounts of sphagnum and thick deposits of peat, this habitat is more marsh-like in character, lacking these deposits. The openness characteristic of this habitat is maintained by frequent flooding and -- at least historically -- beaver activity, rather than occasional fire or the build up of peat too deep to allow tree growth.

Related NHP Natural Communities
Defining Species
Taxa Global RankState RankImperilment Score
MOTHS
Amolita fessa - Feeble Grass Moth G5S51.00
Amolita obliqua - Oblique Grass Moth G5S4S51.00
Bactra furfurana GNRSU1.49
Bactra verutana - Javelin Moth GNRSU1.49
Cosmopterix clemensella - Clemens' Cosmopterix Moth GNRSU1.49
Deltote bellicula - Bog Lithacodia Moth G5S41.00
Lemmeria digitalis - Fingered Lemmeria Moth G4S1S33.33
Macrochilo hypocritalis - Twin-dotted Macrochilo Moth G4S41.00
Macrochilo Undescribed Species
Meropleon diversicolor - Multicolored Sedgeminer Moth G5S3S41.08
BUTTERFLIES
Ancyloxypha numitor - Least Skipper G5S51.00
Euphyes dion - Dion Skipper G4S41.00
Lethe appalachia - Appalachian Brown G4S41.00
Neonympha mitchellii - Mitchell's Satyr E - G2S1
GRAMINOIDS
Carex alata - Broadwing Sedge G5S31.49
Carex albolutescens - Greenish-white Sedge G5S41.00
Carex allegheniensis - Allegheny Sedge GNRS31.49
Carex atlantica - Prickly Bog Sedge G5S31.49
Carex aureolensis - Goldenfruit Sedge GNRS22.84
Carex bromoides - Brome-like Sedge G5S22.84
Carex canescens var. disjuncta - Silvery Sedge G5T5S2
Carex crinita - Fringed Sedge G5S51.00
Carex festucacea - Fescue Sedge G5S31.49
Carex intumescens - Bladder Sedge G5S51.00
Carex joorii - Cypress-swamp Sedge G4G5S31.62
Carex laevivaginata - Smooth-sheath Sedge G5S41.00
Carex longii - Long's Sedge G5S51.00
Carex lupuliformis - False Hop Sedge G4S16.33
Carex lupulina - Hop Sedge G5S51.00
Carex lurida - Sallow Sedge G5S51.00
Carex mitchelliana - Mitchell's Sedge G4S23.33
Carex normalis - Greater Straw Sedge G5S31.49
Carex prasina - Drooping Sedge G4S31.75
Carex reniformis - Kidney Sedge G4S16.33
Carex scoparia - Pointed Broom Sedge G5S41.00
Carex stipata var. maxima - Stalk-grain Sedge G5T5S3
Carex stipata var. stipata - Awl-fruit Sedge G5T5S4
Carex stricta - Tussock Sedge G5S31.49
Carex styloflexa - Bent Sedge G4G5S41.00
Cladium mariscoides - Twig-rush G5S31.49
Coleataenia stipitata - Stalked Panicgrass G4G5S41.00
Dichanthelium lucidum - Bog Witchgrass G4G5S4S51.00
Dulichium arundinaceum - Three-way Sedge G5S51.00
Eleocharis quadrangulata - Squarestem Spikerush G4S23.33
Glyceria striata - Fowl Mannagrass G5S51.00
Juncus canadensis - Canadian Rush G5S31.49
Juncus coriaceus - Leathery Rush G5S51.00
Juncus effusus - Soft Rush G5S51.00
Juncus pylaei - Common Rush G5S31.49
Leersia oryzoides - Rice Cutgrass G5S51.00
Rhynchospora decurrens - Swamp-forest Beaksedge G3G4S1S24.98
Schoenoplectiella purshiana - Weakstalk Bulrush G4G5S41.00
Schoenoplectus tabernaemontani - Softstem Bulrush G5S41.00
ORTHOPTERANS
Leptysma marginicollis - Cattail Toothpick Grasshopper G5S51.00
Metaleptea brevicornis - Clipped-Wing Grasshopper G5S51.00
Paroxya atlantica - Atlantic Grasshopper; Atlantic Locust GUS3S41.38
Paroxya clavuligera - Olive-green Swamp Grasshopper G5S3S41.08
ODONATES
Libellula flavida - Yellow-sided Skimmer G5S4S51.00
Sum: 86.1
Average of 53: 1.62

Phagic and Competitory Symbioses: (Sedge species/Amolita fessa-Amolita obliqua-Cosmopterix clemensella-Deltote bellicula-Euphyes dion-Meropleon diversicolor); (Carex species/Lethe appalachia-Neonympha mitchellii)

Candidates for Inclusion
Habitat Sub-sets
Distribution Map
Distribution
Survey Coverage Map
Survey Coverage
Survey Priorities
Average Imperilment of Habitat Members
Habitat Conservation Status
High Quality Habitat Occurrence Table
High Quality Habitat Occurrences
Protected Habitat Occurrences
Threats and Trends
Status Summary
Stewardship Recommendations
References
Updated on 2019-11-14 20:00:43

Photo Gallery for General Sedge, Grass, and Rush Mires

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Photo by: Steve Hall
Comment: Beaver Pond Graminoid Mire, McCain Tract