New moth species named for Icarus

Researchers display male (left) and female specimens of the newly described owlet moth species Admetovis icarus. ©Lars G. Crabo

Did a newly-discovered moth species fly too close to the sun? Researchers named the insect, which flies in the high country of the American West, for the Greek mythological character Icarus, whose attempt at flight was grounded by the sun melting his wax wings. In addition to the owlet moth’s high-elevation range, researchers said, they were inspired by a flame-shaped mark on the wings of Admetovis icarus. The specimens were found in Nederland, Colorado, but the species, which had previously been misidentified, has been recorded as far as British Columbia’s Selkirk Mountains.

Researchers Lars Crabo, of Washington State University, and Christian Schmidt, of Agriculture and Agri-Foods Canada, describe the moth in ZooKeys. Read the paper here.