Out of the Darkness – Moth Paintings by Deborah Davis

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National Moth Week Flickr Group – Your contribution is needed, and valued

Systema NaturaeCitizen Science is not a new concept, although it was not until the late 20th Century that the concept really became popular and hugely successful. As early as the mid 1700’s Carl Linnaeus (who laid the foundations for the modern biological naming scheme of binomial nomenclature) would send his students and friends out to distant parts of the world to collect plant specimens from which he was able to complete the 10th edition of his Systema Naturae, considered the starting point of zoological nomenclature.

Getting involved is easier than you think with the recently re-launched National Moth Week Flickr group! (/www.flickr.com/groups/2155416@N22)

flicker banner

In addition to being a popular photo-sharing community, Flickr is widely used by researchers as a source of photo-vouchered biodiversity occurrence data, in the form of records associated with photos. These records are being used in many areas, including biogeography, ecology, invasive species biology, and climate change. This information is also being applied in studies related to food security, control of disease vectors, and marine productivity.

How to get involved

Take pictures of live moths (adults, pupae, caterpillars, and even eggs), light setups, moth-e’rs and event images taken at any time of year.  With iphones and ipads taking high quality images there is no longer any need for specialist cameras and lenses to take good quality photos of moths.

Opening a Flickr account is easy — just choose a user name and start uploading your moth images. Once your images are uploaded to your photostream, join and add your images to a few appropriate “Groups” like National Moth Week for like-minded people to see. The National Moth Week Group has revised its guidelines and you can now post images of live moths (adults, pupae, caterpillars, and eggs), light setups, moth-ers and event images taken at any time of year.

So, please add your images to the National Moth Week Flickr Group. Not only does this showcase your image, but it will allow our partner organizations to “harvest” your image and make the data set that you have created available to a wide range of users. And, after all, isn’t that one of the main points of citizen science?

Adding biodiversity data to you images

Adding names and other data to your image isn’t essential, but it will help researchers find and sort a wide range of images.

Using the common name and/or scientific name (if you know it) for a moth as your image title can help people search Flickr for similar images for comparison and ID purposes. For moths from North America (the continental United States and Canada) using the Hodges number will also help. Adding additional information in the “Description” field such as weather conditions, habitat or specimen behavior will also help researchers.

Tag your image – adding as many relevant tags as you can, will help others find your image.

Royal mothFor this image I would use these tags and putting quotes round any phrases:

Lepidoptera , Moth , Saturniidae , “Punta Gorda” , Toledo , Belize , “Saturniid Moth” , “Rothschildialebeau” , Saturniid , Rothschildia , lebeau , “Royal moth” , “Giant silk moth” , “National Moth Week” , “National Moth Week 2015” (or the year it was taken) , NMW , “NMW 2015” (or the year it was taken)

Geotagging is vitally important for researchers, so please consider taking a few seconds to geotag your image. Once your image is uploaded go to the map and drag your image to a nearby location — whilst some feel comfortable with revealing the precise location where the picture was taken, others prefer to use a more general local landmark.

Machine Tags are another important set of tags that can be added to your image. However, unlike ordinary tags, these can be used by National Moth Week partners such as “Encyclopedia of Life” to “harvest” your image for their records and online database. This is the machine tag I would use for the above image: 

“taxonomy:binomial= Rothschildia lebeau ” 

Please note that there is a space between the genus and species name and that the whole tag is enclosed by quotes. If you would like one of the Group Admins to do this for you just message us via Flickr mail!

Set your images License. For National Moth Week partners to be able to use your image the image must have the following attributes:

  1. The image is public.
  1. The image is licensed with one of the following licenses:

      – Creative Commons Attribution (CC-BY)

      – Creative Commons Non-Commercial (CC-BY-NC

      – Creative Commons Share-Alike (CC-BY-SA)

      – Creative Commons Non-Commercial Share Alike (CC-BY-NC-SA)

Please do not post any images with “All Rights Reserved” or “NoDeriv (=) creative commons” licenses, by request of our partners. (I usually use the Creative Commons Non-Commercial-Share Alike (CC-BY-NC-SA) to give partner organizations maximum access to images and data, whilst still retaining copyright).

Please make sure images are tagged, geotagged and ID’d to the best of your ability and, if you would like help with identification, please use “help with ID” (or similar) in the title. If you would like one of the Group Admins to do this for you just message us via Flickr mail, or start a discussion on the National Moth Week Group.

Below is an image taken from a paper written by Vijay Barve (a member of the NMW Science Advisory Board) entitled “Discovering and developing primary biodiversity data from social networking sites: A novel approach” (1) and illustrates just one of the uses of the data submitted on Flickr using the tag “Danausplexippus” The Monarch Butterfly, and how valuable appropriately tagged citizen science records can be.

map vijay barve_editedMap of geo-tagged records of Monarch Butterfly (Danaus plexippus) obtained via automated queries on Flickr and GBIF.   Reproduced by kind permission of Vijay Barve.

Written by: Ian Morton, NMW Flickr admin.

(1) Barve, V. 2014. Discovering and developing primary biodiversity data from social networking sites: A novel approach. Ecol. Inform. 24: 194–199.

Questions? click here to contact the National Moth Week team.



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The First North American Microlepidopterists’ Meeting

The image below is a flyer with information regarding the First North American Microlepidopterists’ meeting, which is being held at the Denver Museum of Nature & Science in Denver, Colorado on July 5, 2016. Please click on the image below for a PDF of the flyer for distribution or further reading.
Micro lepidopterists' Meeting 2016 Announcement

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French NMW Partner Shares Love of Hawk Moths With World

Écrit en Français en bas

Jean Haxaire, a senior professor of Earth and Life Sciences at Bordeaux University and Agen (high school)  in France, loves hawk moths so much that he has created a new website dedicated to the Sphingidae moth family accessible in both his native French and in English.

National Moth Week welcomes Haxaire’s site as one of our newest partners , which include small and large organizations around the world that focus on moths and biodiversity, and support the objectives of NMW.

“I have loved Hawk Moths since I was 7 years old,” Haxaire said. “I started seriously to work with Sphingidae at the age of 20, after University, when I did my first entomological missions in South America.”


D. elpenor

In addition to teaching biology at the university and high school level, Haxaire is a Scientific Attaché to the National Museum of Natural History of Paris, associate researcher at the Montreal Insectarium in Quebec and co-chairman of the BOLD (Barcoding of Life Diversity) project, “Sphingidae of the World,” at the University of Guelph in Canada.

Haxaire has published about 100 scientific articles, mostly on Sphingidae.

“I have discovered about 80 new species of Sphingidae in 40 entomological trips,” he said. “My collection is about 65,000 specimens of Sphingidae – 93 percent of the world’s fauna, 1,300 species and subspecies, more or less.”

H. fusiformis

His travels have taken throughout South and Central America, the Caribbean, Southeast Asia and to Arizona and Florida in the U.S.

Haxaire said his website will deal mostly with French Sphingidae, but also with that family in general . It provides information on collecting and raising Sphingidae and other information. Most of the photos are his own, he said.

Haxaire said the site is not meant to be a “scientific publication.”

“It is to help all people who want to understand or identify French Sphingidae.”


H. nicaea

Ce site présente les 24 espèces de Sphingidae connus en France continentale. Il illustre autant que possible les premiers états (chenilles et chrysalides) de chaque espèce, si possible à partir de clichés personnels. Dans la mesure du possible, nous avons présenté l’adulte vivant dans son milieu, dans la position où le promeneur averti ou non risque de le rencontrer. Mais il nous a semblé utile de figurer aussi un couple de chaque espèce étalé (donc en collection) car c’est ainsi que l’on distingue au mieux les motifs des ailes postérieures souvent nécessaires à la détermination.
Le premier auteur du site (JH) travaille sur les Sphingidae du monde depuis 1979. Il a prospecté dans un grand nombre de pays à la recherche d’espèces nouvelles. Il y a bien longtemps qu’il ne capture plus de Sphingidae français, mais il continue de les élever et de les photographier. Notre faune n’est pas d’une grande richesse, mais elle comprend quelques splendeurs, qui n’ont rien à envier aux espèces tropicales et néotropicales. L’internaute qui rencontre son premier Sphinx de la Vigne ou Sphinx du

D. porcellus, male

Laurier rose comprendra ce que nous voulons dire.
Il n’y a pas de difficulté majeure à déterminer un Sphinx de France. Signalons toutefois que sans dissection, il est pratiquement impossible de séparer Sphinx maurorum de Sphinx pinastri. C’est la raison pour laquelle nous figurerons les pièces génitales de ces deux espèces. A ce propos, il est même possible de les distinguer juste en ouvrant les valves du mâle, et donc sans le sacrifier. Enfin, il n’est pas forcément aisé de séparer les espèces du genre Hyles (à l’exception de livornica et vespertilio) si l’on n’a pas conservé un exemplaire ou au minimum un bon cliché.
Nous avons voulu ce site attractif et illustré. Il sera évolutif. Les cartes de répartition des espèces attendent vos remarques et vos nouvelles citations. Dans le futur, nous comptons rendre ces cartes nettement plus précises avec un quadrillage de la France permettant de localiser la commune. Nous commençons par le département, tout en sachant que c’est très imparfait. C’est un début.
Une page présente les « Sphingologues » actuels et du passé. Elle permettra à nombre d’entre-vous de mettre un visage sur un nom souvent familier.
La rubrique « collecter » explique à ceux qui ne le savent pas encore comment trouver des œufs, des chenilles, attirer les adultes aux lampes, récolter les espèces diurnes aux fleurs.
Nous avons consacré une page aux techniques de la macrophotographie, page sans prétention. Il existe des sites totalement dédiés à cet art, nettement plus professionnels.
Une page présente les ouvrages incontournables à l’amateur averti ou débutant l’étude des Sphingidae.
Enfin, il y aura sous peu une rubrique « Newsletter » disponible sur abonnement (évidement gratuite, mais il faudra s’inscrire). Nous souhaitons communiquer aux personnes intéressées les nouveautés, publiées où non, circulant dans la Sphingosphère. Nous appellerons cette page « quoi de neuf sur la planète Sphinx ? ». Elle sera mensuelle.

Les auteurs du site, Jean Haxaire & Déborah Dessaux.

To register for NATIONAL MOTH WEEK 2016 – click here

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Ian Morton of Belize Joins NMW Team

Ian Morton 640x680The National Moth Week team is delighted to welcome its newest member, Ian Morton of Belize, an avid supporter of citizen science and NMW participant, who created the moths-of-belize.com website.
As a team member, Ian is serving as an administrator of NMW’s Flickr page, which recently has tripled its membership and number of photos on it.
Ian lives in the Toledo District of southern Belize, where he built and runs a small jungle guesthouse, and a large bug board. Being in the midst of an abundant source of nature and wildlife, his general love of nature soon expanded into a passion for bugs, butterflies, and moths.
He said he supports citizen science not only for its merits in terms of data collection but, perhaps more importantly, for its ability to create a new generation of nature lovers who, in turn, spread the word to their friends.
Ian has participated in various citizen science projects over the years, including recording bat data and keeping records on howler monkey activity in the area. He held his first Belize National Moth Week event in 2013.
With over 1,000 photographic records, his Flickr page risked being overwhelmed with moths and, frustrated by the lack of a central data source for the small country (as well as his wife sagely noting that the Flickr page was really intended to promote the business), he set about creating the moths-of-belize.com website. The website now has over 1,700 records of moths at the guesthouse, and he continues to add to the site on a regular basis.
Ian is NMW’s second international team member. Artist Belen Mena of Ecuador has designed NMW’s unique visual identity seen in its logo, certificates of participation, and on shirts and other products.
NMW team members are volunteers who contribute their skills to the international citizen science project.

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Moth Paintings – Guest blog by Deborah Davis



Deborah Davis 02 Deborah Davis 01



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National Moth Week 2016


Happy New Year to all moth’ers!

National Moth Week 2016 will be held during the last full week of July, 23 – 31.

Registration is open online – click here to register your Private or Public mothing event.  (It may take a few days for your event to show on the map).

Let us know if you need additional information or have any questions. Contact us – click here.



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Kenai National Wildlife Refuge

Spooky Seasons event at Kenai National Wildlife Refuge is an annual kid’s hands-on program that invites families to spend some time exploring the things that some people find scary: bats, owls, nocturnal animals and learn more about them so their fears are lessened.  Through theme tables participants might become a bat and flap their “wings” the way bats do, or whisper into a sound tube to hear how echolocation works.  This year we included a moth table where children and their families looked at live moths through magnifiers, and colored the moth pictures for National Moth Week.  It was very popular and a perfect compliment to the nearby bat table where moths represented a bat food source during a bat food beanbag toss.  We had over 300 people attend the 4 hour event!!

Here are some of the moths that the kids colored (click on the picture to see it):








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2015 MOTH PARTY at Prairie Haven

Here are some of the hikers – Ethan, Laen, Marcie, Joe, Liz

NMW participant Marcie O’Connor wrote about her event, or Moth Party, on her blog Prairie Haven.  The party included hiking, food and of course moths…  There was no moth cake this year, but Anne promised to make one for next year’s Moth Party.

To read more about Prairie Haven’s Moth Party – click here.

One the moths who came to the party – Tiger Moth, Grammia virgo


National Moth Week 2016 will be held July 23-31. Click here to register and event.


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Did you submit NMW 2015 data?

Did you submit NMW 2015 data? Please let us know which partner(s) you sent your observations to.

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Learn about why and how to submit moth observation – click here.


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