Working with New Jersey Assemblywoman Nancy Pinkin, (D-18th District), The
Friends of the East Brunswick (NJ) Environmental Commission, which started
and coordinates National Moth Week, has launched an effort to name the Io
moth as the official New Jersey State Moth.
On March 26, Pinkin introduced the bill calling for the Io (*Automeris io*)
to be named New Jersey’s state moth. If approved, it would make New Jersey
the first state in the U.S. to name a state moth.
The effort also has the support of third graders from Lawrence Brook School
in East Brunswick, who are learning about moths as part of their science
curriculum and writing about them in their writing program.
The Io is a member of the Saturniidae family of silk moths. Its wingspan
can be up to 3.5 inches. Males are yellow with distinctive eyespots on the
wings; females are rusty brown. They are found throughout North America
and are very plentiful in New Jersey.
Dave Moskowitz and Liti Haramaty, who co-founded National Moth Week in
2012, said that having a state moth will call attention to the importance
and beauty of moths.
“The Io moth is one of the most beautiful moths in New Jersey and an
excellent spotlight on our incredibly rich, but very much under-appreciated
moth biodiversity. It also is the symbol of National Moth Week, a global
citizen science project that originated in New Jersey and is focused on the
appreciation and study of moths,” said Moskowitz, who is president of the
nonprofit Friends of the East Brunswick Environmental Commission.
“By naming a state moth, New Jersey would show the rest of the country that
it values the role moths play in the ecosystem and recognizes their beauty,
biodiversity and importance to the environment,” said Haramaty, secretary
of the Friends of EBEC.
National Moth Week is a project of the Friends of the East Brunswick
Environmental Commission, an all-volunteer organization. It grew out of
local “moth nights” in the township, and quickly went global. Events now
take place in all 50 states and more than 40 countries.
This year, National Moth Week will be observed July 18-26. Registration on
the National Moth Week website is free for individuals and organizations
who want to register their moth-watching or educational events.