162 species of moths


Canadian tiger swallowtail, Papilio canadensis, feeding at an invasive honeysuckle shrub on the Ives Lake Road. This common, showy butterfly was previously considered a subspecies of the eastern tiger swallowtail. (photo by Kerry Woods)

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

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