Mammoth Cave's Moth Collection
Mammoth Cave National Park is best known for, well, its cave. But it also has a pretty amazing variety of lepidoptera, which you and I know as butterflies and moths.
This weekend you can learn more about the park's lepidoptera, and actually help the world learn a little bit more about the fluttery creatures, by participating in the second year of an ongoing study of the park's moths and butterflies.
The studies are being led by Dr. Jeffrey Marcus of Western Kentucky University and Dr. Kurt Helf of the park's Science and Resources Management Division.
This Saturday, July 8th, from 10 a.m. to 11 a.m. Dr. Marcus will lead a free butterfly walk down along the River Styx Spring Trail to the Green River. While Dr. Marcus will be available to discuss the various species that are spotted, he also will be working to capture, and then release, individuals for identification. If you'd like to join the trek, meet at the pavilion in front of the park's visitors center.
Saturday night, from 8 p.m. to 9:30 p.m., Dr. Marcus will erect a mercury vapor lamp and a white sheet to attract moths at the Maple Springs research facility just north of the Green River Ferry. Any moths that show up will again be captured temporarily for identification and then released.
Last year's efforts identified one previously unknown species of moth, two moth species known to exist in only one other area of Kentucky, and a population of Olympia Marble, a rare butterfly species.