This Monday’s moth is a spectacular species from the mountains of Arizona – Chiricahua multidentata, a Geometrid. The only known location for this species is at the very top of the Chiricahua mountains above 9,000 feet (which was just bruned to a crisp). Hopefully the fire was not entirely devastating and the population will rebound in the years to come. Before 2009 this moth was known from fewer than 10 specimens, all captured at the slightly lower elevation on Onion Saddle in the Chiricahuas. In the spring of 2009 access to a gated road lead to the collection of dozens of specimens in a single night. All of the previous records had been rare strays that had flown down to 8500′ – but the simple act of driving up an extra
1000′ 500′put the collector in the ideal habitat and surprisingly this moth was common! This seems to be par for the course with most insects, very few are actually rare while the rest are just difficult to capture. Either they don’t come to lights, don’t forage within arm’s length, or only live in hard to access habitats. Once you discover their biology (or get lucky) you usually can find the animal in abundance.
You might have also noticed the regular posting of Monday Moth – I’ve been out in the field for the last two weeks and had a stack of scheduled posts. I should start mixing things up more now!