“Little sensation”: supposedly extinct moths rediscovered in Bavaria – Science

Würzburg / Wiesentheid – In an oak forest in Lower Franconia, scientists have discovered a moth believed to be extinct in central Europe.

As a “little sensation in zoology”, the University of Würzburg described the discovery of the hissing grass-tussock owl (Pabulatrix pabulatricula) in a paper. The butterfly disappeared from the forests of central Europe 100 to 150 years ago. It is also hardly widespread elsewhere in the world.

The rare find was made by a doctoral student while catching bugs in Wiesentheid. “This species is one of the greatest rarities of the native butterfly fauna,” explained Hermann Hacker of the Ecological Station of the Julius Maximilians University in Würzburg (JMU). According to reports, the first surprising discovery of a specimen was made in July 2019; in the meantime, several specimens of the rare butterfly were detected during targeted searches in the summer of 2020.

The light-grass tussock owl lives in old, light oak forests. The name results from the fact that the caterpillars of the moth only eat pipeweed.

© dpa-infocom, dpa: 200810-99-116051 / 2

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