Giant Leopard moth
Forest tent caterpillar
Sphinx moth caterpillar
Insect enthusiasts will flock to Battelle Darby Creek Metro Park like a moth flutters to 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 July 23-29.
According to nationalmothweek.org, the global event promotes understanding and enjoyment of the moth. It also aims to raise awareness about biodiversity.
Katie Bennett, a naturalist at Battelle Darby Park, said that 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, she said.
Bennett 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 assisted the resource managers at Battelle 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, more than 10,000 moth species exist in North America.
“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 their surroundings. Others have vibrant colors or patterns that serve as a warning to predators.
“Bright patterns, bold markings and a moths unique ability to camouflage itself for survival adds to the challenge and appreciation of moth viewing, Bennett said.
Moth Mania will include a basic introduction to the moth and common species found at Battelle Darby Park. Lights and sheets will be set up to attract the insect for a closer look. Participants are encouraged to bring cameras.
National Moth Week started with a small group of moth enthusiasts in New Jersey. At night, they would gather to study and photograph moths. Interest grew.
For more information, visit www.metroparks.net.