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Suzuki’s Promalactis (Promalactis suzukiella)

Posted on Jul 19, 2015

Happy National Moth Week! We will be showing you many cool species over the next week so we can all appreciate these incredible insects even more. I have a bunch of individuals that I still have to key out from mothing during the past couple of months, and I have tried to do some field work at least every week or two with them. This was one of my first finds last night, and I swear that I knew immediately when looking at it that it would be a non-native species. It seemed divergent to me in some way. Even though many North American moths are staggeringly beautiful, with vibrant shades, odd shapes and fantastic designs, they all seem to fit a certain palate. Maybe I have flipped through the Peterson Field Guide too much, but this looked to me to be out of the ordinary for us. I was right as this is Suzuki’s Promalactis (Promalactis suzukiella), a moth that calls Japan, Korea and Taiwan home. Apparently it has made a place for itself from New York to Georgia, and is currently expanding in the Southeast, Mid-Atlantic and New England. This striking species brings many questions to mind – how it is handling some of our incredibly severe winters? What sort of negative or positive impacts is it having on our environment? How fast is it moving across the continent and how far can it go? Beginning to study tiny, secretive species suddenly thrust into our lands and figuring out if it is a harming or helping…where do you even start?! All that I know right now is that this is a spectacular species that I honestly feel fortunate to have seen. Conservation is a constant conundrum!

Suzuki's Promalactis Promalactis suzukiella moth July 18 2015-0006

Scott Kruitbosch
Conservation & Outreach Coordinator