Ken Philip

Ken PhilipWe are very deeply saddened to report that Ken Philip, one of our National Moth Week Science Advisory Board members has passed away. Ken, 82, was the founder of the Alaska Lepidoptera Survey. He had been a member of the Lepidopterists’ Society since 1956, and was currently serving as a Member-at-Large of the Executive Council. The Lepidoptera world has lost a valuable member.

Our deepest condolences to Ken’s family.

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Guest post – Lauren Zarate, Mexico

I LOVE insects and enjoy photographing them for display on Project Noah. National (and International) Moth Week is a wonderful way to create attention for the magnificance and variability of one of the largest and least seen groups of the insects. Their beauty, breathtaking adaptive coloration and camouflage make them fascinating subjects and can scarcely be surpassed by their importance in nature and as pollinators of many plant species.  At least half of my more than 1,600 spotting on Project Noah are of Moths from Mexico.  Remember to bring a magnifying glass to your National Moth Week experience and get a look at the tiniest moths up close! They are usually surprisingly colorful!

Automeris Moth Automeris zozine

Automeris Moth Automeris zozine

I am a Medical Entomologist and grew up on a ranch on Mt. Diablo near Clayton, California. After receiving my doctorate at UC Berkeley, I came to Mexico where I have lived and worked for more than 30 years. I live at 2,200 meters in San Cristobal de Las Casas, in the State of Chiapas which is a paradise for insects and especially moths! I keep an ultraviolet light facing the mountains and the valley wetlands and I see something new and different every night. My husband and children have insects around them all the time and are just as fascinated by the diversity and overwhelming ingenuity of the insects. Chiapas is one of the few places in the world with amber, a fossilized tree resin that in our case is around 30 million years old and is frequently found with insects.  It is unbelievable to hold an insect in amber that is 30 million years old, looks exactly like it’s decendents found today, yet existed before we humans could even call ourselves a species.

Bejeweled Silkmoth Copaxa lavendera

Bejeweled Silkmoth Copaxa lavendera

Without the insects, the Earth would cease to function and moths play  a vital role in the overall health and balance of our environment.  The more we see of them, the more we realize how fascinating our world is.

Buck Moth or Sheep Moth Hemileuca sp.

Buck Moth or Sheep Moth Hemileuca sp.

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Mid-summer Moth Madness – NMW 2013 in California, USA

Go Ahead, Bug Me creator, Becky Randall, sent this article about their Moth Week 2013 event in California, USA:

Last year for National Moth Week, the Insect Sciences Museum of California and Facebook page Go ahead, BUG me co-hosted a mothing event which they called Mid-summer Moth Madness.

Here is the poster they made to attract people to the event. They then made an Event page on Facebook and invited any friends they had in their area.

Go Ahead Bug Me Moth madness article 01On a beautiful mid-summer day, 16 people gathered at a private ranch in Clayton, California. Becky Randall, creator of page Go ahead, BUG me and Eddie Dunbar, founder of the Insect Sciences Museum had driven from San Jose and Oakland to co-host the event.  Also invited was Edgar Ortega and his group from The California Bug Club.

The group met early evening and had a wonderful dinner prepared by GABM founder Becky Randall. Everyone ate and chatted about their favorite topic… insects!

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As the sun went down everyone started to prepare for our evening. Down the hill there was a nice area where we could set up our lights and sheets with a table on each side for our insect paraphernalia.  Eddie Dunbar brought field guide books to try and identify some of the moths we found. Some people were collectors and brought little jars they could keep the moths in for further inspection.  Becky Randall brought her neice Jordan with her. Neither one of them had ever done anything like this before and they had the absolute best time!

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Everyone had a camera. It was funny because everytime somoene said “Look what I found”, the whole group would get up and rush over to take photograhs. The Moth’s were definately the Stars of the show for this event.  That’s when Becky Randall came up with the term ” Moth Paparazzi.”

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The group had lots of various moths fly in along with other insects. Most small moths but interesting none the less. The true ultra star of the night was a beautiful, large Polyphemus Moth that flew into camp around 1 am.  Robert Shields who is an insect enthusiast found it and made sure that everyone got a photo with it.

Go Ahead Bug Me Moth madness article 05As exciting all this was for the adults, there were kids there too and they had a blast. Having Eddie Dunbar from the Insect Sciences Museum there to teach them about mothing and how to be respectful to the moths and nature was awesome. He even brought small collection kits for the children. A great time was had by all for almost the entire night!  No one wanted to go to sleep!

Go Ahead Bug Me Moth madness article 06Many went home but some spent the night on the deck of the ranch as it was too late to drive. The next morning everyone got up and again visited and ate leftovers. The moth event was a total success and was so much fun!  All the information gathered would then be sent to the Sciences Museum of California to be logged into a huge database.  This group is again going for the Mid-summer Moth madness 2 this year!  Same place only we do think there will be more people because word spread and lots more people want to go!

Go Ahead Bug Me Moth madness article 07Becky and neice Jordan hitting their sleeping bags.

 

 

 

Article: Rebecca Langston aka: Becky Randall 3/6/2014

Go ahead, BUG me ~ http://www.facebook.com/goaheadbugme,

Insect Sciences Museum of California ~ www.bugpeople.org/‎, https://www.facebook.com/InsectMuseum?ref=stream HYPERLINK “https://www.facebook.com/InsectMuseum?ref=stream&hc_location=stream”& HYPERLINK “https://www.facebook.com/InsectMuseum?ref=stream&hc_location=stream”hc_location=stream

California Bug Club ~ https://www.facebook.com/californiabugclub

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NMW’s Newest Partner: LepiMAP

NMW is thrilled to announce our new partnership with LepiMap, the Atlas of African Lepidoptera.

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Megan Loftie-Eaton, LepiMAP Project Coordinator, gives us the following info on their project:

LepiMAP is an awesome Citizen Science project run jointly by the Lepidopterists Society of Africa (LepSoc) and the Animal Demography Unit, University of Cape Town. LepiMAP is the continuation of SABCA (the Southern African Butterfly Conservation Assessment), and it aims to determine the distribution and conservation priorities of butterflies and moths on the African continent. Yes, you read correctly, LepiMAP is an Africa-wide project! We want butterfly and moth records from all over Africa!

 LepiMAP represents an excellent opportunity to make your photography count for conservation. We are building up a huge database of photographs (along with the locality information) of butterflies and moths throughout Africa. LepiMAP is “phase 2″ — in phase 1 we built up a database of more than 300 000 records of butterfly distributions, so we have demonstrated that we can build distribution maps using this approach. Please help us build onto this database, and enable LepiMAP to produce the 21st century distribution maps for Africa’s Lepidoptera. Unless our knowledge of the ranges of species and how they are changing is based on solid evidence, conservation initiatives will only be based on anecdotes and the person with the loudest voice. So please do upload your photos of butterflies and moths to the LepiMAP database. The website at which you do the uploading is athttp://vmus.adu.org.za/ — Join the conservation conversation! LepiMAP is a great way to involve the public in Lepidoptera conservation. Spread the news! Get your family and friends involved and let’s get out there and start LepiMAPping!!

 

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Project Noah Hosts the Second Annual National Moth Week!

Following the immense success of Project Noah’s collaboration with National Moth Week during the event’s first year, Project Noah participated in the second annual National Moth Week, which occurred from July 20, 2013 to July 28, 2013. Project Noah surpassed its goal of 1000 moths spotted during National Moth Week by 347 moth spottings!

Participants were encouraged to submit their spottings of moths to the Moths of the World mission on Project Noah, where data from their spottings would be exported. Users who submitted their spottings to the mission during National Moth Week were awarded a limited-edition National Moth Week 2013 patch which congratulated users on their contribution to citizen science:

A special, limited-edition patch was awarded to users who contributed to the "Moths of the World" mission on Project Noah.

Thanks for sharing your moths! You’ve successfully submitted a moth spotting for International Moth Week 2013! We’re working hard to collect important data and show the world how awesome moths really are and we thank you for helping us out. Now, let’s get back out there and spot some more moths!

The rare yellow form of the Six-spot Burnet, Zygaena filipendulae f. flava, spotted by Project Noah member Thoreck.

The rare yellow form of the Six-spot Burnet, Zygaena filipendulae f. flava, spotted by Project Noah member Thoreck.

Being the creator of the Moths of the World mission on Project Noah, I was touched to hear words like those of my friend and fellow Project Noah member Maria de B: “I really did think of butterflies as being the beauties and moths as the plain cousins. It’s great to have learned so much about the beauty of moths!” It is estimated that there are hundreds of thousands of moths species worldwide, with even more unknown to science! Citizen science organizations and events like Project Noah and National Moth Week help shine a light on underappreciated creatures like moths and emphasize their importance in the ecosystem. My Moths of the World mission aimed to inspire people to look twice at what they think might be “just another fluttery, drab moth,” finding that all have intricate patterns which can be superficially overlooked.

A total of thirty-six countries participated in National Moth Week 2013, including a number of new countries—Bosnia and Herzegovina, Chile, China, Denmark, Georgia, Greece, Italy, Mozambique, New Zealand, and Turkey! Six more countries participated this year than last!

The gorgeous Luna Moth (Actias luna) spotted by Project Noah member LisaPowers.

The gorgeous Luna Moth (Actias luna) spotted by Project Noah member LisaPowers.

A total of 1347 moths were spotted during National Moth Week, 867 of which were identified, and 480 of which were unidentified. North America came out on top with 926 moths spotted during the week! Of those moths, 773 were spotted in National Moth Week’s home country of the United States of America! Although it was winter in the Southern Hemisphere, there was a wonderful participation rate, with 22 moths from the continent of Australia,  55 spottings from African countries below the Equator, and 6 spottings from South America! A full breakdown of the data is available here. The following two diagrams depict continent and country totals for National Moth Week 2013:

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If you did not participate in the second annual National Moth Week, have no fear! National Moth Week 2014 is just around the corner! It will be held from July 19 to July 27, 2014. International registration is available here, and registration for the United States of America is available here.

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New FAQ Page

We’ve added a mothing and NMW FAQ page to our site! Check it out under the Home tab just beneath the header.

Also – we’d absolutely love to hear YOUR suggestions for more FAQ. Ask us by emailing info@nationalmothweek.org, by commenting on this blog post, tweeting at us (@moth_week) or posting on our Facebook page!

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NMW Welcomes George Hamilton to Our Science Advisory Board

George HamiltonDr. George Hamilton, of Rutgers University’s Department of Entomology in the School of Environmental and Biological Sciences is NMW’s newest Science Advisory Board Member.

Dr. Hamilton holds a Ph.D. in Entomology and is currently chair of Rutgers’ Department of Entomology. He is the NJ integrated pest management coordinator and has done research on using hymenopteran parasitoids to control Euonymus scale as well as alternative methods to control Colorado potato beetle populations.

Dr. Hamilton currently works on management of the brown marmorated stink bug.

We are thrilled to have Dr. Hamilton’s support for NMW.

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Mothapalooza celebrates the fantastic diversity of Ohio’s moths

June 27th – 29th, 2014: Burr Oak State Park in Athens and Morgan counties

Everyone is familiar with colorful day-flying butterflies, but far fewer are tuned into the darker side of the Lepidopteran world: moths. Yet moth species outnumber butterflies by a factor of 22. Most moths fly under cover of darkness, and are harder to observe. Making a special effort to find moths pays off, as this is a group filled with extraordinary beauty, fantastic adaptations, and unbelievable behavior. Because of their often exceptional beauty, moths have become enormously popular subjects for photographers.

Sponsored by the Ohio Division of Wildlife, Mothapalooza is an event geared towards all levels of interest and ability, featuring guided outdoor experiences. Topnotch experts will man nocturnal light traps that are guaranteed to attract blizzards of moths of many species. There will also be daytime field trips to some of the most interesting habitats in eastern Ohio. Professionals will present programs, and conduct workshops. This is sure to be an interesting weekend full of exciting finds and unique experiences.

Mothapalooza will be based out of Burr Oak State Park Resort in Morgan County. Trips will range throughout the 2,500+ acre state park, and also the adjacent Wayne National Forest in Athens County. Lodging is available at Burr Oak Lodge, or in nearby Athens.

For more information: http://www.mothapalooza.org

Mary Ann Barnett: 513-519-9691; mothapalooza@gmail.com

Click here for the 2014 Mothapalooza poster

 

 

 

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Discovering Moths In The Southern NY Catskill Mountains – Eric C. Reuter

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West Branch of the Delaware River as seen from Deposit, NY

 

This lovely long-form blog is courtesy of Eric C. Reuter. All photography is (c) to him. You can also check out his excellent bird photography here

 It is a place that had never truly been explored for moths. If it had been, we surely would have heard about what lives in these woods. With its swamps and lakes, abundant ferns, mosses, fungi, aquatic plants, huge Hemlocks, and countless other host plants and varieties of trees and shrubs. This location can best be described as a temperate “rain forest”.  It gets more than its share of rain, and condensation (dew) overnight. Almost every morning the trees are dripping as if it had rained the night before. It rarely gets above 85 degrees in the middle of summer, and night temperatures in the mid 40’s are not unheard of in July on top of this mountain.

The area where I did my observations is sparsely populated, with mountains, dense woodland, rivers, lakes, streams, marshes, swamps and pastures. No large scale development, no industries, no shopping malls. The nearest town is over 5 miles distant, and has a population of less than 900 people. The nearest actual city of any size is almost 50 miles distant.

The last few years I have had a front row seat in a locale that has all of these diverse habitats right nearby my family cabin on a lake in those dense, dark woods. I was never prepared for what I would see when I turned the lights on, hung the sheets, and “baited” the trees.

Last year we did a registered, public National Moth Week event for the entire week, to allow anyone interested to pick a day suitable to them. We had a few visitors to this remote locale. It was a great week, with one night close to 150 species seen, and on another, we approached 200.

A couple of the gorgeous moths we got to see in 2013:

Green Patched Looper (Hologram Moth) - Diachrysia balluca

Green Patched Looper (Hologram Moth) – Diachrysia balluca

Beautiful Wood Nymph - Eudryas grata

Beautiful Wood Nymph – Eudryas grata

 

The woods here have been largely untouched for around 9,000 years, give or take, since after the last ice age ended and trees, shrubs and other plants found their way there and started to grow. There is no obvious evidence of a fire ever consuming it, as deep pits that were dug to the bedrock nearby show absolutely no indication of a burn ever occurring in the sediment layers. The ecosystem there has been evolving, growing, decaying and replenishing, and maintaining a balance unlike so many other places. I credit that fact as contributing to the abundance of moths we can see there, along with the incredible diversity of habitat and plant life to support so many different kinds of moths, and other wildlife. The entire area is abundant with life as it exists and grows, virtually uninterrupted or disturbed by man or natural disaster for thousands of years.

Between 2011 and 2013, we have counted over 1100 different species at this location. The sheets can be insane during June and July especially. We added a Mercury Vapor lamp in 2013 to the array of UV, CFL and incandescent lamps of previous years. Sugar bait was used liberally as well. This turned “extremely busy” finding and photographing moths, to “off the charts crazy”.

We found members of virtually every moth family, including some pretty uncommon species. It was a feast for the eyes, a workout for the cameras, and a real challenge to do the ID’s and to document everything. But what a problem for us to have!

For 2014, we (my fiancé and I) are hosting another public event there for the entire week, for National Moth Week. We expect to have an amazing turnout of moths, and hopefully a few more human visitors. This year we will be looking to advertise in the local paper, and around the surrounding villages to see if we can drum up further interest.

The village and township here rely on tourist dollars in summer, for boating and river rafting and kayaking, some of the best trout fishing in the country, camping, and also from local summer camps that have large numbers of attendees. In winter, it’s the hunters that come and provide some influx of money to the local economy. Overall, the area is still rather poor, and struggling, but it is one of the most beautiful places on Earth. One thing we are hoping to do is to introduce an element of “eco-tourism” with promotion of the area as a fantastic place to study moths, butterflies and diverse and some rare flora. We are hopeful the local businesses and Rotary and other organizations (such as the youth camps) may be receptive to the idea.

Our first step this coming year of 2014 is to promote the National Moth Week event as a way of showing the locals that there are treasures here they never considered, and perhaps a way to help add to the desirability of a place to explore for those who love nature and the study of moths and other wildlife and plants that are so abundant. Ultimately, we would love to work with local people to establish or promote the idea of butterfly gardens, moth friendly gardens, and to generate interest on a wider scale, and perhaps bring more people into the fun and excitement of mothing.

Here are a few more examples of what we saw in 2013:

Top left to bottom right: Virgin Tiger Moth (Grammia virgo), Leopard Moth (Zeuzera pyrina), Luna Moths (Actias luna), Pink-Patched Looper (Eosphoropteryx thyatyroides), Furguson’s Scallop Shell (Rheumaptera prunivorata), Northern Pine Sphinx (Lapara bombycoides), White-Dotted Prominent (Nadata gibbosa), Muzaria Euchlaena (Euchlaena muzaria), Pink-barred Lithacodia (Pseudeustrotia carneola) , Clymene Moth (Haploa clymene) , and Huckleberry Sphinx Moth (Paonias astylus)

Top left to bottom right: Virgin Tiger Moth (Grammia virgo), Leopard Moth (Zeuzera pyrina), Luna Moths (Actias luna), Pink-Patched Looper (Eosphoropteryx thyatyroides), Furguson’s Scallop Shell (Rheumaptera prunivorata), Northern Pine Sphinx (Lapara bombycoides), White-Dotted Prominent (Nadata gibbosa), Muzaria Euchlaena (Euchlaena muzaria), Pink-barred Lithacodia (Pseudeustrotia carneola) , Clymene Moth (Haploa clymene) , and Huckleberry Sphinx Moth (Paonias astylus)

These just scratch the surface of the amazing week (and year) we had. Mothing becomes more addictive every year, and we continue to learn more about them. During the spring, summer and fall, we observe and photograph and love the thrill of going to the sheets to see what new things are there. It is always exciting. In the cold winters of the Northeast, moths are scarce at best, and then only during warm spells, so we spend that time going over photographs and doing ID’s. We still have many too look through, and some older shots to reevaluate for identification.

One of the fascinating things about mothing in the Catskills, in an area that experiences distinct seasons with varying and changing hours of sunlight, temperatures and plant growth, is seeing and documenting the different species and when they appear. Their flight periods. Over the last few years, we have taken notes about when certain species first appear (and then disappear) from our sheets, and it has been remarkably predictable for most of them. We get an occasional late straggler or early arrival, but overwhelmingly, we can almost predict to the week when some species will show up. In the Southern Catskills, the “signature” moths of the seasons are many, but some stand out.

The warmer seasons are very short in these mountains, and as a result, the bulk of species we will see arrive during mid to late May, and diminish by early November. Of course, some species can be seen during warm spells before or after that time, but in very small numbers.

In the late spring and very early summer, we see the Giant Silk Moths. Luna moths, Cecropia, Polyphemus, and our most plentiful Sphinx, the Waved Sphinx moth. Also, the early flying Prominents and Daggers, Geometrids and Loopers arrive, along with many others. By early to mid June, the woods explode with thousands of moths coming to the sheets, and hundreds of species appear. This continues throughout late June and into July, when other species of Sphingidae start to arrive, such as the Blind-Eyed, Huckleberry, Small-Eyed, Northern Pine and others. The Clymene moths start to show up along with other Haploa species, and we are still at peak with a huge overlap of moths that have longer flight periods or multiple broods, and total numbers go off the charts.

By late July, virtually no giant Silk moths are around anymore, and some of the Borers and many more Crambids are appearing, as well as good numbers of Tolype species moths and the Maple Spanworm moths. And so it continues well into autumn, when the Hemlock Loopers and Sensitive Fern borers and Bronzed Cutworm moths herald the arrival of the cool weather. At the very end of the season, the False Hemlock Loopers arrive en masse, then the very late flying borers, with the last abundant moth of the year being the Bruce Spanworm moth. When they arrive, we know that the mothing season is coming to an end for the most part, which is always a bit sad for us.

Although we can predict many species that we will see, the great fun and excitement of mothing is finding those “new” or uncommon species that we may not have seen before.  We were surprised in 2013, when hundreds of Rosy Maple Moths showed up, where in past years we would see maybe a dozen. We also had upwards of 50 Luna Moths, where in previous years we would be fortunate to see just a few.

Great Tiger Moth Arctia caja, Straight-lined Argyria Argyria critica , Tufted Bird-Dropping Moth Cerma cerintha, Harris’s 3 Spot Harrisimemna trisignata.

Great Tiger Moth (Arctia caja), Straight-lined Argyria (Argyria critica) , Tufted Bird-Dropping Moth (Cerma cerintha), Harris’s 3 Spot (Harrisimemna trisignata).

 

Silver Spotted Ghost Moth - Sthenopis argenteomaculatus

Silver Spotted Ghost Moth – Sthenopis argenteomaculatus

Gold Spotted Ghost Moth - Sthenopis auratus

Gold Spotted Ghost Moth – Sthenopis auratus

Some typical moth turnouts on a couple of our secondary sheets during the summer:

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The incredible abundance and variety of moths at this locale has so inspired us, (and overwhelmed us), that we are considering authoring a book about it. Nothing so grand in scale like a field guide, but about our experiences. The thrill of mothing, and of these ancient woods and the secrets they hold, with many photographs of what we found.

I’m afraid that my fiancé Lisa Deubel and I are hooked for life on this incredible hobby, and in being able to perhaps contribute valuable data for research into these wonderful and incredible creatures of the night.

We are very anxiously looking forward to the warmer weather and hopefully many new surprises visiting our sheets and baited trees, and in particular to National Moth Week 2014.

Tulip Tree Silk Moth (Callosamia angulifera) One of very few records for NY State

Tulip Tree Silk Moth (Callosamia angulifera) One of very few records for NY State

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Tulip Tree Silk Moth (Callosamia angulifera) One of very few records for NY State

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New NMW Partner: NKIS

The Natural History Information System (www.nkis.info) is a citizen-science project that collects information on all kind of organisms worldwide. Registered users can submit data online to distribution, phenology, activity, biotopes, species interactions and many others, whereas anybody can analyze these data with the aid of standardized analysis tools (mainly maps and diagrams). Registered users also can write taxonomical descriptions and upload photos, which may be expanded to scientific articles reviewed by specialists. All information is published under a “creative commons-license” and is freely accessible.

The NKIS data pool currently contains more than 360,000 records of nearly 18,000 taxa, mainly on butterflies and moths and mainly from Europe. They provide more than 30,000 species pages in german and more than 2000 in english with thousands of photos. The organization also issues two scientific online-journals, the “Mitteilungen der Naturkundlichen Gesellschaft” (= Notes of the Natural History Society, mainly for faunistic and floristic articles) and “Taxonomy Online”, a journal for taxonomic articles, including descriptions of new species (see: http://www.nkis.info/taxon).

Data collected by NKIS

Data collected by NKIS

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