India Biodiversity Portal introduces a podcast series for NMW 2017


India Biodiversity Portal (IBP) has been a NMW partner since 2014.  Over the years India, with the help of IBP, had the the second most number of mothing events per country. For 2017 IBP is producing a series of podcasts about moths and mothing.  The first episode was published on June 20, 2017 and more episodes will air in the coming weeks.

In our first episode of the audio podcast series, we are talking to Nagesh, a maths professor with a special love for nature and wildlife. The appearance of Fibonacci numbers in Nature has always fascinated him. He has been a regular contributor to the National Moth Week and has been uploading observations on the India Biodiversity Portal through the Wildlife Conservation Group (WCG) account where he volunteers.

The strangely beautiful forms, shapes and patterns in moths specially interested him. His goal is to document all the Moths in and around the Bannerghatta National Park near Bangalore, and, make the data available for the scientific community.

Click here to listen to the posdcast

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Art, Science, and Moths? – guest post by Wendy DesChene and Jeff Schmuki

Below is a guest post by Wendy DesChene and Jeff Schmuki, who hosted their event titled the Moth Project, during National Moth Week in 2016. Below, they describe their project and event, which consisted of projecting photos of moths and kaleidoscopic designs to attract moths!

Working under the guise of PlantBot Genetics, artists Wendy DesChene and Jeff Schmuki collaborate with various partners to empower audiences through art and citizen science, promoting environmental literacy and backyard naturalism. This past National Moth Week, they partnered with Entomica, an insectarium based in Sault Ste. Marie, Ontario Canada to host a one-night Moth Project right on the banks of the St. Mary’s River. This public event attracted hordes of newly hatched caddis flies, 30 participants, and a small collection of moths, some of which were easily identifiable.

Moth Tent with ArtLab

During the Moth Project, kaleidoscopic videos of moths and their wing patterns are projected onto reflective tents and even buildings to attract both moths and curious people. Often an accompanying 18′ solar powered trailer or “ArtLab” acts as the stage for these public engagements providing hands-on activities and information on a broad range of environmental topics. Longer programs feature field guides identifying the moths and useful information on how we can support their numbers whether it be planting pollinator friendly plants or refraining from spraying pesticides on a windy day. Audiences are often surprised how easy it is to survey moths in their backyard using various UV emitting lights, a white sheet, and field guide.

Tent#3 Both art and science have the potential to alter perception, foster dialogue, and inspire social change. Each Moth Project is directly linked to the community with moth surveys allowing any participant to become co-investigator and author of localized data. Moths play a vital role in telling us more about the health of our environment. They are widespread, found in diverse habitats, and monitoring their numbers and ranges can give insight into the effects of farming practices, pesticides, air pollution and climate change. Immediate outcomes of these programs allow communities to learn and identify a few local moths which connect people to their own yard and builds a stronger connection between them and nature.


Events such as National Moth Week not only provides an opportunity to share the incredible diversity of moths but the decline of the pollinator populations and the need to preserve the environment while short-circuiting doomsday predictions. Wendy and Jeff gently share simple steps that any individual can take to nurture local pollinators — an activity that empowers the community long after the event and artists and collaborators have moved on.

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NMW new partner – The Hellenic Biodiversity Center

The ‘Hellenic Biodiversity Center’ is a collectivity and started from 8 friends. The main goal is for people to observe and record the huge biodiversity Greece has. 

Our goals is:

  • To preserve wildlife and biodiversity
  • To observe and record the biodiversity of Greece
  • Rehabilitation of wildlife
  • Spread information about ecological sensitivity of wildlife and environment in Greece

Also on 2012 we had a big project (6 month project) focusing on butterflies. We recorded, with photos, during these 6 months almost 100 butterflies on mt. Pelion (in central Greece).

Every year we ask our members and people of Greece to add their photos to project Noah’s website on “Moths of the world” with the tag (e.g. For NMW 2017), but we also ask them if they can put it also in “Biodiversity of Greece (Hellas)

GreeceBiodiversity1 GreeceBiodiversity2 GreeceBiodiversity3

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T-shirts and much more

Items with the National Moth Week logo are available from RedBubble.  Click on the link below to see clothing options, mugs and travel mugs and other products.  Your purchase helps support National Moth Week, and we thank you for it!

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Moth Breakfast – guest post by Marnie Crowell

The world needs more moth watchers. Every one of you who watches moths might try this during Moth Week: put on a Meet a Moth for Breakfast at your sheet or even porch light from 5 AM to 9 AM.  Invite your friends—a book discussion group, sports team, scout or 4H group, school class, neighborhood, whatever group you might encourage to drop in. It’s  BYOB— bring your own beverage. Donuts will be supplied and moths beautiful and strange will be there.”   

The donuts might be paid for by your local bank, land trust, grocery store, police department, etc. They get good publicity and so do moths. Everyone wins.  MarnieCrowellMothBreakfast

Marnie Crowell is a nature writer. She participates in NMW in Maine, USA.


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The Hamper Trap—Guest Post by Dr. Carl Barrentine

Carl Barrentine, one of our NMW team members, has kindly shared with us an excellent portable strategy for live-trapping moths. 

Hamper Trap 1

Candidly, the notion for the ‘hamper trap’ was actually crystallized when Katsumi Ishizuka shared images of his ‘bait trap’ for collecting underwing moths (Catocala).

I’d employed the standard ‘bed sheet’ technique for years, but was  frustrated that the ‘sheet’ technique was somewhat unsatisfactory  because moths were generally only drawn to just one side of the illuminated sheet.  This problem is solved, of course, by merely raising (or suspending) the light above the top of the sheet.  But my pole, the one I lugged around for my mercury vapor light, was too short to resolve the problem.

A couple of years ago I thought about the notion of purchasing a ‘mosquito tent’ (popular here in North Dakota), and placing the mercury vapor light inside, at the center of the tent.  In principle, moths might then be drawn from all compass directions to the light (from 360 degrees rather than 180 degrees, as with the sheet), and alight on the outside surface of the mosquito netting of the tent itself.

But, after weighing the pros and cons, of the ‘mosquito tent’ idea, I decided that it was really too cumbersome for easy portability and set-up.  I needed something smaller.  And that’s when Ishizuka’s ‘bait trap’ catalyzed the notion of the ‘light-baited’ ‘hamper trap’.

Last year I fiddled with a couple iterations of the design, using two different types of inexpensive collapsible ‘laundry hampers’ that were available at the local Walmart (see photos).   What I like about the ‘hamper trap’ is that the whole shebang (1) fits easily in the trunk of my car, (2) takes just minutes for just one person to set up, and (3) it can be employed on overnight trapping excursions (just like my mercury vapor-powered ‘bucket trap).

Check out a video of the hamper trap below:

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Mothography 101, Guest post by Warren Krupsaw


Luna moth

Luna moth

Warren Krupsaw shares his technique and tips on how to photograph moths. Click on the link below to read more.

We all have our cross to bear; mine weighed 23 pounds. Camera on tripod, 4 other lenses, plus all the other stuff a well-prepared nature photographer (landscape & detail) should have on hand. And now, after more than four decades of serious photography, I wanted to ADD to it with the acquisition of a Canon G-9 as a back-up camera? I must be crazy (or so my wife thought).

That was three years ago. Now I’m using a G-11 for ALL my photography and find that it will accomplish approximately 90% of what my weightier, full-fledged system would do without making a bad back worse.

Fooling around with my new point & shoot (I prefer to think of it as “compose & shoot”), I held the camera in one hand and attempted to photograph the finger-tip of my other hand. Lo and Behold, it worked! The finger-tip was in focus so now it occurred to me it could be used to show scale as well as a setting for the proper subject.  Click here to read more.


Mothography 101

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Mothing and caterpillar hunting – Guest post by Isobelle Fox

Isobelle FoxI came to moths by the same route the moths themselves do – by way of caterpillars. I have been fascinated by them for years, and they are still the primary domain of my interest in Lepidoptera.

I moved to Massachusetts from Texas in 2014, and I was amazed at the diversity of insects to be found in the woods and meadows here. My weekends have since been filled with long walks during which I have happily and somewhat obsessively photographed thousands of moths, butterflies, and caterpillars among other things.

A gallery of many of these photos can be found here:

In 2015, I began raising and releasing both butterflies and moths, and it was during this time that I discovered the Caterpillar Lab ( During a visit to one of the Lab’s public outreach events, I overheard a conversation about “mothing,” and I had a bit of a eureka moment.
Why, after all of the years of photographing moths on various porches and on the walls of convenience stores and other obscure late night locations, had it never occurred to me to actively try to draw them to my own backyard?
It seemed so obvious!
I began my own mothing adventure in the early spring of 2016, with a modest set up: a single blacklight bulb and a bit of curtain cloth draped over a small greenhouse enclosure. I was immediately delighted with the results and spent many, many nights experimenting with different lights. As the nights grew warmer, I observed ever increasing diversity in the population of moths and other insects that would visit my light, and I became more and more interested. I eventually purchased a brighter, larger blacklight and moved my mothing station to the side of a storage shed. With a brighter light and a flatter, larger surface area, my success rate vastly increased. My mothing sessions usually lasted from sundown until around 12 or 1am.
During this time, I also began to make my first attempts at identifying the moths that I was photographing each evening. I gradually found several websites and a few facebook groups devoted to the moths of Massachusetts.
It was, in fact, through these groups that I became aware of National Moth Week and enthusiastically signed up to have my already nightly backyard mothing sessions included in the event for 2016.
For the mothing seaons of 2016, I have managed to tentatively identify 241 moths, though I still have many photographs that are in need of research – something I am enjoying during these long, grey Winter months.
During National Moth Week, I recorded 86 species. Among my favorites were Suzuki’s Promalactis Moth, a beautiful, brightly colored micromoth, and the Large Maple Spanworm, which was easily the biggest moth I saw all year.

1047-1 – Promalactis suzukiella – Suzuki's Promalactis Moth1047.1 – Promalactis suzukiella – Suzuki's Promalactis Moth 7-31-16

Promalactis suzukiella – Suzuki’s Promalactis Moth

6982 - Large Maple Spanworm - Prochoerodes lineola 7-27-16

Large Maple Spanworm – Prochoerodes lineola

I Foxgypsy invasion 7-4-16

I Foxgypsy invasion







I am definitely still an amateur in the often confusing field of moth identification. I do my best and attempt to verify my findings using various rescources in the form of books, websites, and social media groups, but even with the help of those who are vastly more knowledgable, I have no doubt that many of my identifications are erroneous. There are also plenty of moths which simply manage to defy even my best efforts. This is, however,
part of the draw of mothing for me: there is always something new to see and something new to learn!



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Mothing in Indiana, USA – Guest post by Debbie Goedde

Debbie Goedde is an Adv. Master Naturalist in Evansville, Indiana. She participated in National Moth Week in the past three years. In 2016 she ran a few mothing events:  on July 23 a private event at a for large garden organization at their display gardens. On July 25  at 2 different private events at local homes. On July 27 invitation only event held at a public botanical garden. A planned event on July 29  was canceled due to weather and on July 30 a public mothing event at the wetlands.

To see some of the moths Debbie photographed during the events at a local home on July 25, 2016 – click here.   Debbie shared with us a list of the moths that were identified in the various events.

These are a few unidentified moths – any help to ID is greatly appreciated

On 7-23-16 these moths were photographed at gardens near a busy expressway:

grateful midget moth     celery leaftier moth     chickweed geometer moth

the white-speck moth    Lucerne moth                snowy urola moth

the wedgling moth         Clemens grass tubeworm moth

On 7-25-16 we blacklighted for about an hour at home. Here is a list of identified moths:

catalpa sphinx moth       reticulated fruitworm moth      splendid palpita moth

double-banded grass-veneer moth                                     the wedgling moth

orange-headed epicallima moth                                          basswood leafroller moth

small bird-dropping moth                                                    dead-wood borer moth

white-lined snout moth                                                        drab prominent moth

On 7-27-16 we blacklighted at a large botanical garden:

clemens’ grass tubeworm moth    catalpa sphinx moth

drab prominent moth                     abbott’s sphinx moth

red-banded leafroller moth           common idia moth

grapeleaf skeletonizer moth          the Hebrew moth

American idia moth                        yellow-striped armyworm moth

the Lucerne moth                            waterlily leafcutter moth

grateful midget moth                     small mossy glyph moth

elegant grass-veneer moth           sober renia moth

large lace-border moth                 black-bordered lemon moth

snowy urola moth                          faint-spotted palthis

obtuse yellow moth                        a sparganothid moth

On 7-30-16 we blacklighted at Howell Wetlands:

Ailanthes webworm moth   Isabella tiger moth      Yellow-striped armyworm

Faint-spotted palthis            Delicate cycnia             Lost owlet mot

Black-banded owlet              Bluegrass webworm

Grateful midget                     Waved sphinx moth    Large mossy glyph

Maple looper                         Harnessed tiger moth

Clemens’ grass tubeworm moth                                 Elegant grass-veneer

Yellow-collared armyworm                                        

Either sycamore tussock or banded tussock

Green cloverworm                                                         Celery leaftier

Oblique-banded leafroller                                           Waterlily leafcutter moth

Grateful midget                    Black-bordered lemon

Dimorphic macalla              Large paectus                 Sharp stigma looper

Cherry casebearer

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Registration Now Open for National Moth Week 2017, July 22-30, Celebrating Beautiful Tiger Moths

NMW LOGOOnline registration is now open for the sixth annual National Moth Week, a worldwide citizen science project for people of all ages and abilities to be observed this year July 22 through 30.

This year, National Moth Week will celebrate tiger moths, members of the Arctiinae subfamily of the Erebidae family of Lepidoptera. Tiger moths are found throughout the world and can have striking colors and wing patterns.

Started in New Jersey in 2012, National Moth Week (NMW) invites people of all ages and abilities to learn about and observe moths  by holding or attending “moth nights” or educational programs in backyards, parks, nature centers, museums and anywhere a light can be turned on in the dark to watch nighttime nature come to life.

Last year, more than 450 events were registered on the National Moth Week site in all 50 states and 42 countries around the world. Since NMW began, mothing events have been held in a total of 74 countries on every inhabited continent and major island nations.

Moth-ers can submit their photos and data to NMW’s partner organizations, as well as the NMW Flickr group, which now has nearly 70,000 photos of moths from around the world.

Anyone can register a public or private event or find one to attend in their area by checking for public events. Registration is free to individuals, groups and organizations.


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