Sunday, October 5, 2008

Visit to Finca Hilde, El Mirador, Veracruz, Mexico

Don Bowman and I recently returned from an 8-day trip to Finca el Hilde, El Mirador, Veracruz, Mexico. This part of a research study being conducted on Mexican butterflies and moths (Lepidoptera) with Dr. Manuel Balcazar-Lara of the Universidad de Colima. We survey moths each night at several sites at the Hacienda or the coffee plantation. We were hosted by Jorge Muller and his gracious talented staff. Each night we set up 4-5 ultra-violet or mercury vapor lights and studied the moths that were attracted. We found a stunning diversity of moth species, especially tiger moths (Arctiinae), prominents (Notodontidae), geometers (Geometridae), and others. We roughly estimated 200 species of moths of all families each night at each sheet. On four of the nights we ran ran lights within the coffee plantation. This plantation has been certified as a bird-friendly, organic, shade coffee plantation. We found the moth species at the plantation were as diverse or more diverse as at the Haciendaa itself. Thus, we can assert that the plantation is also "moth friendly." We plan to expand on this notice by preparing a listing of the Arctiinae, Saturniidae, and Sphingidae for publication. We have studied moths in other Mexicaan states such as Nuevo Leon, Sonora, and Tamalipas, but we found this to be the most diverse area. We highly recommend this area to any biologist or naturalists who wish to have a pleasant tropical experience and intrigueing studies.

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