A rare find

Brandon Anstey
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Local boy captures unique moth

Asthon Stagg first noticed the stranger hovering over the flowers in the garden of his grandparents’ home in Lumsden.

RARE FIND – Gander’s Ashton Stagg made a rare discovery earlier this month; finding a Hummingbird Clearwing moth in Lumsden.

The curious eight-year-old, who was visiting from Gander, decided to try to catch the peculiar-looking moth.

It turned out to be a Hummingbird Clearwing moth, a special moth that is most commonly found in the United States.

Stagg was able to capture the insect as it was collecting nectar from the garden flowers.

“It looked like a weird moth and that’s why I wanted to hold on to it,” the boy. “It was just in the backyard hovering over the chives and flowers.

“I just caught him in my net and then I put him in a jar.”

It was an exciting moment for the young collector, who has a keen interest in insects.

Lloyd Hollett, founder and director of the Newfoundland Insectarium, said while the Hummingbird Clearwing moth can be found in the province, it is extremely rare.

“They are found on the island but they are not very common, said Hollett. “If you asked 500 people, one person might have seen one in their lifetime. In the almost 40 years I’ve been collecting insects, I think I saw one in Corner Brook around 25 years ago. That’s how uncommon they are.”

Along with its rarity in this part of the world, the Clearwing moth also displays a unique style of movement and characteristics, said Hollett.

“They’re brightly coloured. Unlike most moths, which have their wings covered with scales, hummingbird moths have clear wings.

“Apparently their wings are coloured when they first come out, but they beat their wings so fast that they beat the scales off their wings.”

After catching the moth, Ashton was quick to share the exciting discovery with his family.

“Well, I ran to tell my dad about it and then he told my mom,” he said. “Then they sent in pictures to the insectarium.”

He didn’t sit around waiting for a response though. Ashton began searching databases and the Internet for information about what he had found. It moved like a hummingbird, he said, and that’s when he thought he might have captured a rare species.

Asthon has had an interest for insects for a few years, and said it’s something he plans on continuing in the future.

Hollett was impressed by the eight-year-old’s fascination.

“It was so neat to see someone so young take so much interest in it,” said Hollett. “He pretty much figured it out on his own but he wanted to get it confirmed. Maybe he’ll be a future entomologist.”

 

banstey@ganderbeacon.ca

Twitter:@beaconnl

 

Geographic location: Gander, United States, Corner Brook

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