Navigation Links
Biologist discovers pink-winged moth in Chiracahua Mountains
Date:6/9/2009

University of Arizona biologist Bruce Walsh has identified a new species of moth in southern Arizona. Normally, this is not a big deal. The region is one of the most biologically rich areas in the country and collectors have been finding hundreds of new species for decades. This one, however, is different.

Walsh is a professor of ecology and evolutionary biology and a member of the UA's BIO5 Institute. He is best known in the science community as an authority on plant and animal breeding, having written one of the leading textbooks on the subject.

His work also spans several departments and programs, including statistics, applied math, insect science and genetics. He also teaching biostatistics in the UA Zuckerman College of Public Health and has worked with trial attorneys on interpreting DNA evidence. Collecting moths is a hobby.

His new discovery is Lithophane leeae. Walsh found it in the Chiracahua mountains east of Tucson, and reported it in the journal Zoo Keys.

Lithophane moths are members of the noctuid family, which often are dull colored. Walsh's moth, in contrast, is bright pink. He also named it after his wife, Lee, who has an affinity for the color.

Walsh discovered L. leeae while collecting one evening at Onion Saddle, at about 7,700 feet in the Chiracahuas. Collecting involves illuminating a sheet with mercury vapor lamps. Moths are attracted by the lights and will land on the sheet.

"This large moth flew in and we didn't think much of it because there is a silk moth very much like it, a Doris silk moth that feeds on pines that has dark wings with pink on the hind wings. It's fairly common there."

On closer inspection, though, the moth, a female, appeared to be an entirely different species from an entirely different family. Walsh said it currently is the only known individual.

Scientists are generally reluctant to identify a new species based on one individual, but L. leeae appears so distinct from others that Walsh said it is highly unlikely that it is an aberration of an existing species. A DNA barcode later confirmed it as a distinct species.

Walsh said he is confident there are bound to be more. "If this thing is flying at the top of the Chiracahuas, it's probably pretty common," he said.

Finding it is another matter because moths like Lithophane tend to over-winter at higher elevations, hibernating when there is snow on the ground and flying off at the first signs of spring. Walsh said bats are the primary predators of moths, and so if the insects can make it through the winter, when bats hibernate, they will likely do well as the weather gets warmer.

As to why L. leeae hasn't been found before, Walsh theorized that his specimen simply emerged late from hibernation when it was caught. Another theory is that it could be a stray from another mountain range in the region. He said there are a number of species that fly early in the summer and are rare in collections and not often seen in most years.

"We can now add L. leeae to this group of large, but quite elusive, species," he said.


'/>"/>

Contact: Johnny Cruz
cruzj@email.arizona.edu
520-621-1879
University of Arizona
Source:Eurekalert  

Related biology news :

1. Biologists devise unifying framework to explain evolutionary puzzles
2. Biologists consider unifying framework to explain evolutionary puzzles
3. CCNY, CSHL biologists find birdsong of isolates reverts to norm over several generations
4. FANTOM findings boost for biologists
5. Penn biologists discover how silent mutations influence protein production
6. UIC biologists use DNA to study migration of threatened whale sharks
7. Penn biologists demonstrate that size matters... in snail shells
8. Two innovative University of Texas at Austin biologists become HHMI Early Career Scientists
9. Wildlife biologist named Roger Tory Peterson Medal recipient, speaker
10. Plant biologists discover gene that switches on essence of male
11. Cleaning up oil spills can kill more fish than spills themselves, say Queens biologists
Post Your Comments:
*Name:
*Comment:
*Email:
Related Image:
Biologist discovers pink-winged moth in Chiracahua Mountains
(Date:12/15/2016)... and BADEN-BADEN, Germany , December 15, ... global financial services provider, today announced an agreement with NuData ... biometrics, to join forces. The partnership will enable clients to ... in compliance with local data protection regulation. ... In order to provide ...
(Date:12/15/2016)... AUBURN HILLS, Mich. , Dec. 15, 2016 /PRNewswire/ ... simply unlocking car doors or starting the engine. Continental ... 2017 in Las Vegas . Through ... PASE (Passive Start and Entry) and biometric elements, the ... the field of vehicle personalization and authentication. ...
(Date:12/8/2016)... 8, 2016  Singulex, Inc., the leader in Next ... into a license and supply agreement with Thermo Fisher ... provides Singulex access to Thermo Scientific BRAHMS PCT (Procalcitonin), ... is used to diagnose systemic bacterial infection and sepsis ... to aid in assessing the risk of critically ill ...
Breaking Biology News(10 mins):
(Date:1/19/2017)... Jan. 18, 2017 The global biotechnology ... 92.9 billion by 2025, according to a new ... has been adaptive of the function of outsourcing ... 2002. Among the services outsourced, clinical trial management ... Johnson & Johnson was the first pharmaceutical company ...
(Date:1/19/2017)... N.Y. , Jan. 18, 2017 Acupath ... services, announces the formation of an Executive Committee that ... and beyond. John Cucci , a ... promoted from Director of Business Development to Chief ... 2015, Mr. Cucci served in senior sales leadership roles ...
(Date:1/18/2017)... (PRWEB) , ... January 18, 2017 , ... ... provide essential device-to-computer interconnect using USB or PCI Express, announced the ZEM5310 USB ... V E FPGA into a compact business-card sized form factor suitable for prototyping, ...
(Date:1/18/2017)... , Jan. 18, 2017   Boston Biomedical , ... designed to target cancer stemness pathways, will feature data ... napabucasin, at the 2017 ASCO Gastrointestinal Cancers Symposium, held ... . Napabucasin is an orally-administered investigational ... STAT3. i Cancer stem cells (CSCs) possess the ...
Breaking Biology Technology: