what kind of moth is this please
Thu, Jul 2, 2009 at 1:48 PM
We had this moth at work 2 days ago sitting on the concrete most of the day and then hanging on the building for most of the night, then it was gone.
This sure looks like a Lime Hawkmoth, Mimas tiliae, to us. The problem with this identification is that the Lime Hawkmoth is a European species and this sighting could indicate an accidental introduction. We are copying Bill Oehlke who does comprehensive species data on the family Sphingidae, as well as the United States Department of Agriculture new pest advisory group at firstname.lastname@example.org because the introduction of a new species to an area outside of its typical range can have significant environmental consequences and it should be treated seriously. The ease with which new species can be introduced by humans to distant locations can have dire impacts on local indigenous populations. Thanks for your cooperation in this potentially seriously matter.
Confirmation of Identification
Sat, Jul 4, 2009 at 4:52 AM
I agree that your id of the western PA moth is M. tiliae, and that it does not belong there.
Now that Bill Oehlke, and expert in Sphingidae, has established that this is in fact a Lime Hawkmoth, there are several additional questions raised. First there is the possibility that this is a hoax. Though we like to believe that our readership is ethical, the possibility always exists that someone out there has “gone rogue” and is playing a joke. Once we establish that that is not the case here, the next question is whether this is an isolated individual that somehow got introduced, or if it is part of a brood or the beginning of an actual, viable introduction. More sightings would be necessary to establish that. Since the climate of northwest Pennsylvania is not dissimilar to that of the UK, and since the food tree, Linden, is grown ornamentally in northeast Ohio, and probably also in northwest Pennsylvania, the possibility exists that a population of Lime Hawk Moths may become established and spread in North America. We hope our friends at the USDA are checking their email during the holiday weekend since we just received a request to notify them of any suspected introductions. If you see a Lime Hawkmoth in the eastern portion of North America, please contact us immediately and put the name Lime Hawkmoth in the subject line of your email. More importantly, please contact the USDA at email@example.com so the authorities will know of the sighting.
Update from Doug Yanega from the Entomology Research Museum at UC Riverside
Monday, July 13, 2009
Last Friday, while we were without a computer, Doug Yanega was kind enough to leave us a voice message regarding the Lime Hawk Moth sighting. This is a paraphrase of the message he left: The Lime Hawkmoth is already known from eastern canada so Pennsylvania is just the first time it has been sighted across the US border. Probably introduced carelessly or intentionally from someone has imported and was rearing Sphinx Moths from overseas.
Update from the USDA
Wednesday, August 5, 2009
Hi again Daniel,
I just wanted you to know that we are still receiving emails concerning the Lime Hawk Moth and I’m enjoying how excited people are about this.
Can you post a short note that we at USDA need an actual specimen to submit it for official identification, not just a photo (although I have been enjoying the wonderful photos)? If someone is able to catch a specimen, they can email us at firstname.lastname@example.org for the address to send it.
That would help us so much.
PS – have you squished all your Bagradas? I lost all my cucumbers to aphids this year 🙁 little buggers!
UPDATE: New Pest Advisory Group – Insects new to the United States
September 15, 2009
I am once again hoping you can do one last update to the Mimas tiliae posting on your website (the one where it was found in Pennsylvania). I have finally been able to get ahold of someone in USDA that told me the official procedure:
If you have found a specimen (dead or still alive, any life stage, must be a specimen, not photos) the first step is to take the specimen to your state’s land grant university entomology department, cooperative extension office, or the state’s department of agriculture, who will then forward it to the appropriate authorities.
Can you please add this to your website? We are getting so many photos, but no one has found a specimen and now we know what the official procedure is if some are found.
Thanks so much and keep up the good work!
Stephanie M. Dubón
Coordinator and Pest Analyst
United States Department of Agriculture
UPDATE FROM APHIS: Procedure for alerting APHIS about new pests
July 8, 2010
I think there has been some confusion as to the correct procedure of alerting APHIS to potential invasive pests. I know Stephanie Dubon asked you to contact her in the past, but she no longer works for the USDA. Right now the best thing for people to do is to try and get the actual specimen and submit it to their state department of agriculture or to contact their county extension agency. They will then send the specimen on to APHIS.
Is it possible to remove Stephanie Dubon’s contact information from your website? (See Lime Hawk Moth in PA postings). We really appreciate the vigilance of everyone out there looking for potential invasive pests, but unfortunately, there is very little we can do in our office. Stephanie’s position was not filled and so there is no one to handle these kinds of emails anymore. By far, the best thing to do, as I mentioned, is to go through the proper channels (i.e., through the state departments of agriculture and/or the county extension offices).
Thank you for your consideration. We just don’t want people to become frustrated waiting for a response.
The New Pest Advisory Group