Also 26 butterflies and 18 fruit-flies. This is the tally from the first year of Dr. Thomas Werner’s surveys of order Lepidoptera (the moths and butterflies) and Family Drosophilidae (fruit-flies) in the order Diptera. Seven of the butterly species, 160 of the moths, and all of the fruit-flies are new records for the Huron Mountains, making for a substantial addition to our overall biodiversity inventory. We’ve known all along that the moths were woefully under-documented for the area; this project, along with ongoing studies of leaf-mining insects (many of which are ‘micro-moths’) by Ron Priest, is going a long ways to correcting that. However, Werner, of Michigan Technological University believes there may be at least as many additional moth species to find. Even documentation of previously observed species — or failure to do so — will help us to understand changes in the insect fauna.
Among the obscure (in the sense of being tiny — they’re certainly not rare) fruit-flies, high points for Werner included trapping of an unusual fungus-feeding species Mycodrosophila claytonae, a species previously unrecorded in the U.P., and discovery that an invasive species of concern (Drosophila suzukii) is already well-established in the area. Werner is working on a field-guide to fruit-flies of the Upper Peninsula, so you can look forward to being able to observe and identify these tiny creas