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New Genus and Five New Species of Moths Discovered in Colorado

By Luis Pons
September 24, 2002

A new genus and five new species of moths have been discovered by an Agricultural Research Service scientist surveying the high-altitude valley around Telluride, Colo.

The yet-to-be-named discoveries were found by research entomologist Michael Pogue, who works at the ARS Systematic Entomology Laboratory located within the National Museum of Natural History in Washington, D.C.

Pogue conducted the inventory over eight days during the summer of 2001 on an invitation from Sustainable Ecosystems Institute (SEI), a Portland, Ore.,-based nonprofit organization devoted to ecological issues. SEI spent 18 months studying the effects of development on the ecology of Telluride, an area with a colorful history and great natural diversity.

In all, Pogue collected 110 species of moths in the family Noctuidae and 29 species of butterflies, two of which had not been documented before in San Miguel, Telluride's county.

He says that four of the specimens of moths he discovered were already in the National Museum of Natural History's extensive insect collection, thanks to a similar inventory of the area done in 1977. Unfortunately, those specimens were not scientifically described at that time, and thus were not considered to have been officially "discovered."

During the 2001 inventory, a fifth new species was collected.

New species names will become official when they are published in a scientific journal.

All of the collected specimens are housed in the insect collection of the Smithsonian Institution's National Museum of Natural History. The collection, which is one of the largest of its kind in the world, was featured in the June 2002 issue of Agricultural Research magazine. The article can be viewed online at:


ARS is the chief scientific research agency of the U.S. Department of Agriculture.

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