Stockton College to Host Moth-ing Event on Galloway Campus for National Moth Week

From the Stockton College News Archive

The Richard Stockton College of New Jersey’s resident entomologist Dr. Jamie Cromartie will lure nighttime nature to a backlight for observation on Friday, July 25, 2014 during the third annual National Moth Week.

Nature enthusiasts of all ages will have the chance to see some of the estimated 150,000 to more than 500,000 moth species that inhabit our planet. Participants will meet at 8 p.m. in the unpaved parking lot on Vera King Farris Drive across the street from the Arts and Sciences Building. The rain date is Monday, July 28.

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Dr. Jamie Cromartie, associate professor of Entomology and president of the American Entomological Society, will use various techniques such as backlighting and sugar bait to attract a diversity of species for observation. “We ought to see several dozen species of moths ranging in size from a sixteenth inch to half a foot across, along with several other orders of insects, including treehoppers, owlflies, mantisflies, longhorn beetles and fishflies,” said Cromartie.

This year’s Moth Week is designated “the year of the silk moth.” The large, bright green luna moth with its four eye spots and long, lobed tail is a silk moth and perhaps the most recognizable moth species. “The Saturniidae, or giant silk moths, are our largest moths, and we have found most of the species that occur in southern New Jersey on the Stockton campus at one time or another,” said Cromartie.

Moth Week provides an educational opportunity for nature enthusiasts to learn about moths, their habitat, ecological roles and the threats they face. “It is important to protect and manage their habitats and avoid light pollution, which may be among the reasons they have become much less common around our towns and suburbs. Other problems that affect moth diversity are the increasing prevalence of mowed lawns, planting exotic species of trees and shrubs in place of the insects’ native caterpillar host plants, aerial application of chemicals to control forest pests and loss of forest diversity because of lack of fire,” Cromartie explained.

Note: Cromartie, who specializes in insect ecology, organized the first Galloway Township 4th of July Butterfly Count, an initiative led by the North American Butterfly Association to monitor butterfly populations, in 1979. The event became an annual tradition in 1988 and brings back alumni to help monitor local butterfly populations. Dr. Jack Connor, professor of Writing, administers the South Jersey Butterfly B/Log, a live South Jersey butterfly public spreadsheet with a running collection of posts and photos of butterflies in New Jersey’s southern eight counties.

About National Moth Week: National Moth Week is a project of the Friends of the East Brunswick (NJ) Environmental Commission, a nonprofit organization dedicated to environmental education and conservation. The event grew out of local summer “Moth Nights” organized by David Moskowitz and Liti Haramaty of the commission since 2005. National Moth Week (NMW) shines a much-needed spotlight on moths and their ecological importance as well as their incredible biodiversity. This nine-day global event encourages children and adults to become citizen scientists and contribute photos and data to online databases. Last year, more than 400 events were held in all 50 states and 41 countries.

Visit Flickr to see photos from last year’s Moth Week event held at Stockton.

Contact: Susan Allen
Office of News & Media Relations
Galloway Township, NJ 08205
(609) 652-4790

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