This Upstate New York Moth Added to Endangered Species List
The remarkable bog buck moth can be found in only ten colonies in the entire world and six of those colonies can be found in Upstate New York. However, this little creature is at a very real risk of going extinct and has been added to the endangered species list.
The bog buck moth isn’t the largest moth in the world, but it is still a decent size with the wingspan of the male both about five to six centimeters and the wingspan of the female moth about six to seven inches. The bog buck moth belongs to a family of larger moths which includes the giant silk moth.
The bog buck moth is white, black, and orange and it lives in wetlands or ferns. Caterpillars hatch in early June, feed until the middle of July and then hunker down in peat moss to make their cocoons. Around mid-September, adults emerge from the cocoons, and the moth then only lives for a period of about two weeks. During the time it is alive, the moth will not eat, but it will mate.
The bog buck moth colonies in New York, all six of them, are located in Oswego County and all of the colonies with the exception of one are in the wetlands that are sheltered by the eastern Lake Ontario dunes.
Scientists are not exactly sure why the bog buck moth population has declined so rapidly but the decline is serious enough that the moth is now considered to be endangered.
One of the theories surrounding the rapidly declining number of bog buck moth moths includes the changing habitats of the fens and the fact that the female moth can’t fly very far, so if the buckbean plant that she needs for her babies is shaded out with shrubs, flying to a new place to colonize isn’t all that easy.
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Another theory on why the bog buck moth has become endangered is, as with most cases of endangered species, predators. And of course, there’s the human theory in which humans pollute or threaten the wetlands, home of the bog buck moth.