Monday, July 22, 2013

National Moth Week

 July 20-28, 2013 is National Moth Week. Doesn't sound too exciting, does it? I wasn't particularly keen on it until I heard a few more of the details.

Turns out this is a huge citizen scientist effort, and there are activities in every state and many countries during the week. Some are geared at collecting moths, while others are fun hikes that might include seeing moths.

From the National Moth Week website:

"Why moths?

  • Moths are among the most diverse and successful organisms on earth.
  • Scientists estimate there are 150,000 to more than 500,000 moth species.
  • Their colors and patterns are either dazzling or so cryptic that they define camouflage. Shapes and sizes span the gamut from as small as a pinhead to as large as an adult’s hand.
  • Most moths are nocturnal, and need to be sought at night to be seen – others fly like butterflies during the day.
  • Finding moths can be as simple as leaving a porch light on and checking it after dark. Serious moth aficionados use special lights and baits to attract them.
   National Moth Week provides a much-needed spotlight on moths and their ecological importance as well as their incredible biodiversity.  National Moth Week offers everyone, everywhere a unique opportunity to become a Citizen Scientist and contribute scientific data about moths. Numerous organizations around the world have partnered with National Moth Week and are supporting the event. Through partnerships with major online biological data depositories, National Moth Week participants can help map moth distribution and provide needed information on other life history aspects around the globe."

I had a chance to see some really cool moths during the recent Arachnid BioBlitz (post coming soon, some info in the Ely Times). The photos above and below are two that were attracted to a black light and landed on the white sheet next to it.

Then I decided to put up a sheet on the clothesline, attach my black light to it, and see what showed up in my backyard. Within an hour of sunset I saw nine different moths! Now I just submit my photos and I'll find out what they are. For the meantime, here's a glimpse of the moths and my own creative names for them (if you know what any of these are, please leave a note in the comments; I will be trying to figure these out a little more and sure could use some help!):
My technique: shine a black light at a white sheet
Snowy moth (very hairy near mouth)
Nasty clothes eating moth (this is the moth I squish in my house)
Golden-winged moth
Golden-winged moth with eye shine
Black banded moth
Delicate brown moth
Marbled cheesecake moth
Six-spotted moth
Skinny moths and back-striped moth
Here's your challenge: spot a moth (or two or ten) this week and take a close look at it and give it your own name.

1 comment:

G. Robison said...

Those skinny ones on the bottom photo remind me of my accursed pantry moths aka Indian meal moths. Grrrrrr, hate them!

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