It's Moth Night at Darien Nature Center!

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Program Description

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Explore the Fascinating World of Nocturnal Moths & Insects at the Darien Nature Center!

Darien Library and Darien Nature Center welcome for the third year in a row, Yale biologist and research librarian Raymond Simpson in hosting a special "Moth Night" to discover the nocturnal biodiversity of Connecticut. Most people are unaware of the impressive arthropod biodiversity that occurs at night in Connecticut. The best way to experience this diversity is simply to set up an ultraviolet light near a sheet in a favorable habitat and sit back and wait. These hot days of summer bring many species of interesting insects. Just what lurks about in the dark hours? Come and find out! This just may be your chance to see such striking species as luna moths, polyphemus moths, sphinx moths, underwing moths, tiger moths, giant water bugs, ground beetles, and a myriad of other smaller insect and arachnid species.

Ray will share some of his cases of pinned insect specimens from around the world and share other methods of surveying insects at night such as traps, sugar baiting, and gleaning leaves for caterpillars. Ray will also discuss aspects of insect ecology, and how insect diversity benefits human life despite the negative opinion many people have of "bugs" at their house lights and in their gardens. Participants of all ages are welcomed and are encouraged to use apps like iNaturalist to document what we find.

About the Presenter

Raymond Simpson has a Bachelors Degree in Marine Science from Coastal Carolina University and a Masters Degree in Ecology & Evolutionary Biology from Yale University.  He currently works at the Yale library and has four+ years of experience working at the Yale Peabody Museum in the Entomology Division.  All in all he has spent the last 15 years working with insects, specializing in the Lepidoptera (butterflies and moths) and also including maintaining his own personal insect collection, and leading multiple butterfly walks and outreach events at the Peabody. Ray has a broad biology background, and also is an avid hiker, illustrator, and a frequent iNaturalist user (username: @rayray). He continues to lead active moth surveys in our state.

Pictured: Dobson Fly, Corydalus cornutus

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