[Leps-l] Moth gift: Winner of an eBay auction thanks his mother by naming a new species after her

metzlere at msu.edu metzlere at msu.edu
Wed Feb 22 08:27:24 EST 2017

The loving son presented the name to his mother on St. Valentine's Day 

Pensoft Publishers

Winner of an eBay  auction Steve Mix received the opportunity to pick the name for a new  species of satiny-white winged moth collected from the white gypsum  dunes of the White Sands National Monument,  New Mexico. A fan of butterflies and moths himself, he chose to honor  his supportive and encouraging mother Delinda Mix, so the moth is now  formally listed under the species name delindae. It is described in the  open access journal /ZooKeys/. 

Having spent 10 years studying the moth fauna at the White Sands National Monument, Eric H. Metzler, curator at the Michigan State University, but also research collaborator at the National Museum of Natural History, Smithsonian Institution, and research associate at the University of New Mexico and the University of Florida,  discovered the moth during the first year of the study, in 2007. Back  then, he spotted a curious small white moth with a satiny appearance,  which immediately drew his attention. 

Already assigned to the genus Givira to the family commonly known as  carpenter millers, the moth was yet to be identified as a species.  While most of its North American 'relatives' are either dark-colored, or  have substantial dark smudges on the forewings, there are only four of  them, including the new species, which are substantially white with few  or no dark markings. 

Further hindrance occurred when the researcher tried to study the  specimens, as pinned moths turned out greased due to their abdomens  being full of fatty tissue. However, the specialist managed to degrease  them by carefully brushing their scales, and, having compared them to  related species, confirmed them as representatives of a species new to  science. 

Then, Eric joined the fundraising event, organized by the Western National Parks Association (WNPA), a non-profit education partner of the US National Park Service.  The highest bidder in the eBay auction would receive the chance to pick  the scientific name for the satiny-looking moth, and thus, become part  of history. Having won the opportunity, Steve Mix, who himself had once  been interested in studying butterflies and moths, and has been  maintaining his fondness of them ever since, decided to name the species  after his mother Delinda Mix, in gratitude for "the support and  encouragement she gave to her son". 

"Steve Mix submitted the winning bid, and he chose to have the moth  named after his mother because of the lasting nature of this naming  opportunity", shares Eric. "I received no remuneration in this  fundraising venture, and by volunteering my personal money, time,  expertise, and experience I was able to help WNPA gain world-wide  positive publicity while raising some much needed cash. The rewards to  me were being able to help WNPA and Steve Mix honor his mother, which is  just so very sentimental". 

"WNPA is so pleased that we were able to work with Eric and we are  grateful to Steve. This project is a shining example of working together  towards the common good of our parks with the added value of providing a  priceless experience for everyone involved", says Amy Reichgott,  Development Manager at the Western National Parks Association. 

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