July 7-9, 2017

MPLZA105_David Horn Moth Identification

2017 Breakout Sessions - Saturday 4:00 - 5:00 PM

1. HEY! You're not a Moth! - Dr. Dave McShaffrey

If you've ever been mothing you know that there are many different critters who are attracted to the lights, including midges, beetles, mantidflies and more. Dave will teach us all about these other creatures who visit our "moth" sheets including a bit about their lives away from the bright lights..

2. How to find Caterpillars, Even if you're not a Bird - Sam Jaffe

Sam will treat us to a very visual presentation showing many of the “super secret” tricks he uses to find caterpillars - using many case studies such as the double-toothed prominent, red-spotted purple, hatchling sphinx caterpillars, swallowtails, and bark-mimics. He’ll have real-life examples on hand to demonstrate with, and will reserve time at the end for an open Q-and-A / discussion on all things related to hunting for caterpillars.

3. Options for Setting up your Own Mothing Station - Pat Rydquist

From baiting trees and using simple to elaborate black light set ups, Pat Rydquist, Naturalist with Summit Metro Parks, will answer "what you need' questions on how to attract moths.

4. Mothing Research at White Sands National Monument - Eric Metzler

In 2006 White Sands National Monument invited Eric to conduct a 10-year study of moths at the Monument with the purposes to compile an inventory of moths, and describe new species in habitats within and immediately adjacent to the white gypsum dunes in the Monument. The White Sands National Monument protects 110 square miles, about 40%, of the world’s largest snow-white gypsum dune field. Prior to this study 20 species of common moths were recorded from the Monument. Eric collected more than 600 named species of Lepidoptera from the Monument plus about 40 undescribed species of moths. As of 19 February 2017, 13 of the new species, in five families, received official names in the literature. Manuscripts are in preparation for 6 more of the new species.

The rate of endemism for moths in the dunes is about 6%. Only a few other places on earth, such as the Galapagos Islands, can claim such a high rate of endemism. This situation leads the National Park Service to call White Sands National Monument "the Galapagos of North America".

Not surprisingly many of the undescribed species of moths in the snow white dunes are white or very pale in color. Eric will show examples of species of moths where the normal form is dark-colored and the specimens from inside the dunes are very pale in comparison. In this situation we can observe a snapshot of evolution in time, just as Darwin observed in the Galapagos Islands almost 200 years ago. The high rate of evolution in a geologic formation that is only 8,000 years old defies evolutionary thinking. The forces driving this high rate of evolution are unknown. Eric will offer some of my own ideas on what may be taking place in the dunes.

2017 Breakout Sessions