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


New species named after Hollywood blockbuster

New species named after Hollywood blockbuster

The new species of day-flying moth found during Forest & Bird’s Denniston BioBlitz in March will be named after the world’s most successful movie Avatar, scientist Brian Patrick announced today.

Arctesthes avatar, or more commonly the Avatar moth, is a fast and low-flying striped moth that was discovered by Wildlands entomologist Brian and soon after caught by his son Hamish during the species scavenger hunt on the West Coast’s Denniston Plateau in March.

Brian, Hamish and Forest & Bird opened naming rights to the public to raise awareness about the plans to coal mine on the Denniston

Plateau where the new species was found.

The father and son duo judged the winner from nearly 100 entries and although tempted by “Denniston survivor” and “Arctesthes bioblitzia”, Brian said the Avatar moth was a clear winner. “It was by far the best one. It’s a novel name and the movie is about a mining company that threatens to devastate a human-like species that’s living in harmony with nature. It’s just a really good analogy.”

The movie parallels the real life threat to the environmentally unique plateau as Australian mining company Bathurst Resources plans to open-cast mine on Denniston Plateau. If it goes ahead, it would be the country’s largest open-cast mine on public conservation land. Forest & Bird is appealing the consents and is working to save the plateau and have it made into a reserve.

The Avatar moth is just one of the significant finds during the BioBlitz weekend that saw 150 volunteers, including top scientists, scour the plateau in search of unusual plants and animals.

Other new species discovered are likely to include another moth, beetle, wingless wasp and three spiders. Forest & Bird Top of the South Field Officer Debs Martin says discovering the new species underscores the ecological importance of the area and the urgent need to protect it from mining.

“All the scientists agree that the plateau harbours life, especially little life, that is either not known or is relatively uncommon elsewhere. Denniston Plateau provides a mainland island habitat that we’re only just discovering,” she says.


© Scoop Media

Business Headlines | Sci-Tech Headlines


Oceans: NOAA Declares Third Ever Global Coral Bleaching Event

As record ocean temperatures cause widespread coral bleaching across Hawaii, NOAA scientists confirm the same stressful conditions are expanding to the Caribbean and may last into the new year, prompting the declaration of the third global coral bleaching event ever on record. More>>

Scoop Business: A Decade Of Government Pre-Seed Investment

More publicly-funded science is being commercialised after a decade of government ‘pre-see’d investment, according to an independent review. More>>


Solid Energy: Plan To Shut Unprofitable Huntly East Mine

Solid Energy, the state-owned coal miner in voluntary administration, plans to shut down its unprofitable Huntly East mine and lay off 65 staff after deciding the site stands "no chance whatsoever" of finding a buyer. More>>


E Tū: Merger Creates NZ's Biggest Private Sector Union

E tū has been created by the merger of the Engineering, Printing and Manufacturing Union and Service and Food Workers’ Union. It represents more than 50,000 working New Zealanders in industries as diverse as aviation, construction, journalism, food manufacturing, mining and cleaning. More>>


Internet: NZ Govt Lifts Target Speeds For Rural Broadband

The government has lifted its expectations on faster broadband speeds for rural New Zealand as it targets increased spending on research and development in the country's information and communications technology sector, which it sees as a key driver for export growth. More>>


Banks: Westpac Keeps Core Government Transactions Contract

The local arm of Westpac Banking Corp has kept its contract with the New Zealand government to provide core transactions, but will have to share peripheral services with its rivals. More>>


Science Investment Plan: Universities Welcome Statement

Universities New Zealand has welcomed the National Statement of Science Investment released by the Government today... this is a critical document as it sets out the Government’s ten-year strategic direction that will guide future investment in New Zealand’s science system. More>>


Get More From Scoop

Search Scoop  
Powered by Vodafone
NZ independent news