Navigation Links
Biologist discovers pink-winged moth in Chiricahua Mountains
Date:6/12/2009

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 Chiricahuas. 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 Chiricahuas, 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 technology :

1. TauTaTis Discovers Potent Inhibitor of Parkinsons Disease Gene Activity
2. deCODE Discovers First Genetic Variant Conferring Increased Risk of Essential Tremor
3. deCODE Discovers Common Genetic Variations Contributing to Low Bone Mineral Density and Risk of Osteoporosis
4. deCODE Discovers Fourth Major Set of Common Genetic Variants Linked to Risk of Estrogen Receptor-Positive Breast Cancer
5. deCODE Discovers Gene Variants that May Help to Distribute the Work of Evolution between Men and Women
6. Medical Breakthrough ... Doctor Discovers Penetrating Carrier That Eradicates Fungus
Post Your Comments:
*Name:
*Comment:
*Email:
Related Image:
Biologist discovers pink-winged moth in Chiricahua Mountains
(Date:3/28/2017)... , March 28, 2017 /PRNewswire/ -RepliCel Life Sciences Inc. ... pleased to report compelling safety and clinical data from its ... type 1 collagen-expressing, hair follicle-derived fibroblasts (RCT-01) as a treatment ... ... establishing a complete safety profile at 6 months and showed ...
(Date:3/28/2017)... ... March 28, 2017 , ... Executive search ... with Avomeen Analytical Services. Harvill is a distinguished life sciences expert with a ... is a leader in a wide range of services related to laboratory testing ...
(Date:3/27/2017)... ... March 27, 2017 , ... IsoPlexis Corporation (IsoPlexis), a ... disease and more through a single-cell precision engineering platform, today announced it has ... in the laboratory of Dr. James Heath at the California Institute of ...
(Date:3/27/2017)... (PRWEB) , ... March 27, 2017 , ... ... cancer (mCRC) generally produce small, heterogeneous samples with limited tumor content in a ... remain to be resolved, such as the need for reliable detection of low ...
Breaking Biology Technology:
(Date:3/23/2017)... The report "Gesture Recognition and Touchless Sensing Market by Technology (Touch-based and ... 2022", published by MarketsandMarkets, the market is expected to be worth USD 18.98 ... Continue Reading ... ...      ...
(Date:3/20/2017)... HANOVER, Germany , March 20, 2017 At ... Hamburg -based biometrics manufacturer DERMALOG. The Chancellor came to the ... Japan is this year,s CeBIT partner country. At the largest ... important biometrics in use: fingerprint, face and iris recognition as well as ... ...
(Date:3/9/2017)... MOUNTAIN VIEW, Calif. , March 9, 2017 ... and 23andMe , the leading personal genetics company, ... Zipongo can now provide customers with personalized nutrition plans ... and biometrics, but also genetic markers impacting how their ... Zipongo,s personalized food decision support platform uses biometrics such ...
Breaking Biology News(10 mins):