Moth Diversity of the Grand River Grasslands of South-central Iowa
Ecology, Evolution and Organismal Biology
Moths play important roles in local ecosystems and many species have important economic impacts. Moths are some of the most diverse organisms on Earth, composing about 10% of all known species. Eastern North America alone is home to thousands of species. Though they are incredibly diverse, and have large economic impacts, there is still little knowledge regarding the geographic distribution or population size for most of these species. Iowa is one of most diverse states for moths as it is situated between several broad areas with regionally endemic species including: the North, the Northeast, the Plains, and the annual migration of species from the South. In this study lights were used to attract specimens that were photographed and released. Over two seasons, 316 species were encountered from six different locations in Ringgold and Decatur counties. Several species encountered in this research project represent species that had previously never been observed in Iowa.