Happy National Moth Week!
We are featuring one unique moth per day to celebrate National Moth Week, July 18th - 25th. Each featured moth represents a species only found within White Sands National Park.
Day 2: The name of this moth, Protogygia whitesandsensis, means: “The moth that comes from White Sands.” This moth species was the first moth species discovered, in 2007, as new to science from White Sands National Park. Adult moths with a wing span of about 1 1/2 inches fly in February, March, and April. The adult moths can be abundant in interdune areas where dark leaves, fallen from plants from the previous year’s growing season, litter the ground, providing a perfect background for the gray and white moths to hide in the winter.
It can be hypothesized that the darker color of the adult moths allow them to absorb solar radiation during the colder winter months when the days are the shortest. The extra solar radiation can warm the moths, allowing them to fly on cold winter nights. Adult moths were captured on nights when the temperatures were below freezing.
Photo credit: Eric Metzler
Image description: A white moth with dark markings on its wings rests on a white background. Image texts reads "Protogygia whitesandsensis".