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Insect enthusiasts to flock to Moth Mania
Photo courtesy of Metro Parks
As part of National Moth Week, Battelle Darby Creek Metro Park will host Moth Mania to celebrate the insect. This giant leopard moth was photographed by Cathleen Sharkey.
Insect enthusiasts will flock to Battelle Darby Creek Metro Park like a moth flutters to the light.
The park will host its first Moth Mania event at 9 p.m., July 28. The event is part of the first dedicated National Moth Week, which runs from July 23-29.
According to nationalmothweek.org, this is a global event to promote understanding and enjoyment of the moth. It also aims to raise awareness about biodiversity.
Katie Bennett, a naturalist at Darby Park, said one of the goals of National Moth Week is to promote moths through organized events. She said monitoring moth species could provide valuable information about the health of an ecosystem.
“Moths play an important role in the food chain for a variety of wildlife including spiders, birds and bats. Many bird species favor moth caterpillars for feeding their young,” said Bennett.
The naturalist also said moths pollinate a variety of plants. Like the butterfly, moths feed on the nectar of flowers.
“Moths are considered an indicator species because of their sensitivity to changes in our environment,” said Bennett.
Rich Paul has taken a special interest in the moth and volunteered to help plan the event. For several years, he has been assisting the resource managers at Darby Park by conducting monthly moth surveys. He has collected more than 400 species of moth.
“Moths present the opportunity for a variety of species to be discovered,” said Paul. “Experts believe there may be as many as 2,500 different species of moth in Ohio compared to only 120 species of butterflies.”
According to nationalmothweek.org, there are more than 10,000 moth species in North America.
Bennett said, “We can all appreciate the role moths play in benefiting plants, animals and their overall environmental benefits, but their beauty and intricate wing patterns are something to stop and appreciate as well.”
Bennett said some moths have excellent camouflage in order to blend in with its surroundings. Others have vibrant colors or patterns that serve as a warning to predators.
“Bright patterns, bold markings and a moth’s unique ability to camouflage itself for survival adds to the challenge and appreciation of moth viewing,” said Bennett.
Moth Mania will include a basic introduction to the moth and common species found at Battelle Darby Creek Metro Park. Lights and sheets will be set-up to attract the insect for a closer look. Participants are encouraged to bring a camera.
“Our Moth Mania program is a great opportunity to promote National Moth Week, introduce visitors to moths at the park and for Rich and our staff to share their knowledge about these amazing insects,” said Bennett.
National Moth Week started with a small group of moth enthusiasts in New Jersey. At night, they would gather to study and photograph the moth. Interest grew.
Bennett said if the weeklong insect celebration becomes an annual event, Darby Park would entertain a Moth Mania event next year.
For more information on Moth Mania, visit www.metroparks.net.
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