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Angel Lichen Moth Abundance and Morphology Data, Grand Canyon, AZ, 2012

October 4, 2016

Two unique datasets on the abundance and morphology of the angel lichen moth (Cisthene angelus) in Grand Canyon, Arizona, USA were compiled to describe the phenology and life history of this common, but poorly known, species. The abundance data were collected from 2012 to 2013 through a collaboration with river runners in Grand Canyon National Park. These citizen scientists deployed light traps from their campsites for one hour each night of their expedition. Insects were preserved in ethanol on site, and returned to the Southwest Biological Science Center in Flagstaff, Arizona for analysis in the laboratory. A total of 2,437 light trap samples were sorted through, 903 of which contained C. angelus. In total, 73,841 C. angelus were identified and enumerated to create the abundance data set. The morphology dataset is based on a subset of 28 light trap samples from sampling year 2012 (14 from spring and 14 from fall.) It includes gender and forewing lengths for 2,674 individual moths and dry weights for 1,102 of those individuals. The purpose of these data is to better understand the life history of Cisthene angelus (adult angel lichen moth) in Grand Canyon. These data describe the phenology and morphology of mature adult angel lichen moth, Cisthene angelus along an elevation gradient in the canyon-bound, riverine environment of the Colorado River in Grand Canyon, northern Arizona, USA. Data were collected to correlate empirical data on the emergence and morphology of mature C. angelus to geographical and temporal variables. A goal was to describe the life history of this understudied, yet common, species over broad spatial and temporal scales. Although no prior data exist on the abundance or morphology of angel lichen moth, we suspected that populations in Grand Canyon would exhibit variation in abundance and morphology along the elevation and temperature gradient that exists. Specifically, we predicted that angel lichen moth adults captured at lower elevations would be more numerous and larger than adults captured at higher elevations due to warmer temperatures. Abundance data were collected by citizen scientists using light traps. C. angelus collected in light traps were subsampled for wing length and weight data, which were processed at Grand Canyon Monitoring and Research Center, Southwest Biological Science Center in Flagstaff, AZ.