Thursday, July 28, 2016

National Moth Week

The last week of July has been designated as National Moth Week.  According to the National Moth Week website, one of the purposes of the special week is to provide education about the moth.  If you think of moths just as pantry pests or closet villains, read on! 

On the  National Conservancy site, we found  that
Moths are among the most diverse and successful organisms on earth. In fact, scientists estimate there are more than 150,000 moth species worldwide! Move over butterflies, moths come in bright colors and dazzling patterns. Species can take a myriad of shapes and can be as small as a pinhead to as large as an adult’s hand. 

The National Wildlife Federation's website informs us that "In the U.S., more than 11,000 species of moths can be found, compared to about 750 species of North American butterflies."

On Entomology Today we read that:
National Moth Week (NMW) shines a much-needed spotlight on moths and their ecological importance, as well as their incredible biodiversity. While moths often have taken a back seat to their Lepidoptera kin, the butterflies, there is growing interest in their role as pollinators and as a food source for other animals. Scientists also look for the impact of climate change on their numbers and distribution. With possibly as many as 500,000 species, moths can provide an endless opportunity for exploration.
 Studying moths can be as easy as turning on a porch light and waiting for them to come, or shining a light on a white sheet in a backyard or park. Special blacklights or mercury vapor lights are often used to attract the widest suite of species and ambitious moth-ers also coat tree trunks with a sticky, sweet mixture of fruit and stale beer that is very attractive to many species of moths. However, mothing isn’t only for those with poor sleeping habitats or the inclination to be outside at ridiculous hours of the night. Searching for caterpillars and day-flying moths is a good activity for daytime and a perfect opportunity to explore other aspects of moth ecology.
Luna Moth at Hagerman NWR

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