Video | Business Headlines | Internet | Science | Scientific Ethics | Technology | Search

 


Houdini-like moth gets a new name

Houdini-like moth gets a new name


Fred the Thread -
the world's skinniest caterpillar? Photo: Birgit E. Rhode,
Landcare Research
Click to enlarge

"Fred the Thread" - the world's skinniest caterpillar?
Photo: Birgit E. Rhode, Landcare Research


www.landcareresearch.co.nz

Houdini-like moth gets a new name

A mystery moth that grows from what is thought to be the world’s skinniest caterpillar has received its new scientific name after confounding experts for years.

However, even now that it has come to light, its future may not be bright.

Landcare Research scientist Dr Corinne Watts first discovered a skinny, bright orange caterpillar in 2003, and nicknamed it “Fred the Thread”.

Initially, the identity of the tunnelling creature was puzzling. However, “Fred” turned out to be the caterpillar of a previously unknown genus of moth. The caterpillar lives only inside stems of the threatened rush-like plant Sporadanthus ferrugineus, which is found at just three wetland sites in Waikato.

The moth has now been named Houdinia flexilissima. Houdinia is a salute to the renowned escape artist Harry Houdini. The name was chosen because of the adult moth’s remarkable escape from the tight confines of its host plant after pupating, and because the moth escaped classification for so long. Flexilissima means “very flexible” or “pliable”.

However, it remains to be seen if the moth can pull off its most amazing escape yet – its escape from extinction. If the wetlands where Fred the Thread lives were to be drained or redeveloped, the moth would be lost forever. One of these wetlands is being mined for peat.

“We found that moving the Sporadanthus plants only 400 metres away from intact wetland habitat caused numbers of moth eggs and larvae found on the plants to plummet,” Dr Watts says.

“From an ecological standpoint it would be a real shame to lose this moth. It is highly evolved, and has an incredibly specialised relationship with its host plant.”

ENDS

© Scoop Media

 
 
 
 
 
Business Headlines | Sci-Tech Headlines

 

Watch This Space: Mahia Rocket Lab Launch Site Officially Opened

Economic Development Minster Steven Joyce today opened New Zealand’s first orbital launch site, Rocket Lab Launch Complex 1, on the Mahia Peninsula on the North Island’s east coast. More>>

Earlier:

Marketing Rocks!
Ig Nobel Award Winners Assess The Personality Of Rocks

A Massey University marketing lecturer has received the 2016 Ig Nobel Prize for economics for a research project that asked university students to describe the “brand personalities” of three rocks. More>>

ALSO:

Nurofen Promotion: Reckitt Benckiser To Plead Guilty To Misleading Ads

Reckitt Benckiser (New Zealand) intends to plead guilty to charges of misleading consumers over the way it promoted a range of Nurofen products, the Commerce Commission says. More>>

ALSO:

Half A Billion Accounts, Including Xtra: Yahoo Confirms Huge Data Breach

The account information may have included names, email addresses, telephone numbers, dates of birth, hashed passwords (the vast majority with bcrypt) and, in some cases, encrypted or unencrypted security questions and answers. More>>

ALSO:

Rural Branches: Westpac To Close 19 Branches, ANZ Looks At 7

Westpac confirms it will close nineteen branches across the country; ANZ closes its Ngaruawahia branch and is consulting on plans to close six more branches; The bank workers union says many of its members are nervous about their futures and asking ... More>>

Interest Rates: RBNZ's Wheeler Keeps OCR At 2%

Reserve Bank governor Graeme Wheeler kept the official cash rate at 2 percent and said more easing will be needed to get inflation back within the target band. More>>

ALSO:

Get More From Scoop

 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
Sci-Tech
Search Scoop  
 
 
Powered by Vodafone
NZ independent news