National Moth Week celebrates the beauty, life cycles, and habitats of moths. “Moth-ers” of all ages and abilities are encouraged to learn about, observe, and document moths in their backyards, parks, and neighborhoods. Held worldwide every July, National Moth Week offers everyone, everywhere a unique opportunity to become a citizen scientist and contribute information about moths. You can help map moth species distribution. Just find a moth, snap a photo, and add it to the Vermont Moth Blitz project on iNaturalist!
How many species can we find during moth week?
Finding moths can be as simple as leaving a porch light on and checking it after dark. Serious moth aficionados use special lights and baits to attract them. Check out this short introduction on how to start mothing. It’s easy and fun!
Thanks to the tireless efforts of both professional and amateur Lepidopterists, since the 1995 landmark publication Moths and Butterflies of Vermont: A Faunal Checklist, over 400 new moth species have been found in Vermont. Preliminary results show us that there are now 1,903 species of moths known from Vermont. And, there are likely more awaiting our discovery.
Since 2013, professional biologists and naturalists have contributed moth observations to the Vermont Atlas of Life on iNaturalist. Many of us turn on special lights in our backyards on summer nights to find hundreds of moths and other insects gathering on our sheets, hunt fields and forest for day-flying moths, and place rotten fruit bait out to attract other moths. Many of these moths can be identified from good photographs (although some are impossible without examination under a microscope). With today’s amazing digital photography technology, coupled with the newer Peterson’s Field Guide to Northeastern Moths and web sites like iNaturalist, BugGuide, Moth Photographers Group, or Moths of Eastern North America Facebook Group, moth watching (aka mothing) has become increasingly popular.
Moth watchers have added more than 100 new species to the Vermont faunal list via iNaturalist and have documented over 1,450 species across the state. What’s even more amazing is that together we’ve recorded over 60,000 moth observations, which help us understand their phenology, habitat use and range in Vermont like never before.
Discover and share which moths are flying in your neighborhood during National Moth Week!