Media Alert: The USGS is calling all dead butterflies and moths in six states
Citizens in six mid-U.S. states are being asked to mail in deceased butterflies, moths, and skippers to help U.S. Geological Survey scientists establish a Lepidoptera Research Collection (LRC). The pilot study for this citizen science invitation includes six states: Alabama, Georgia, Kansas, Nebraska, Oklahoma, and Texas.
These specimens will help USGS scientists identify contaminants and environmental factors which may be contributing to the decline of insect populations. Citizen participation will ensure enough specimens throughout the nation are available to answer research questions.
The DEADline is November 1, 2023.
"There are some questions that can't effectively be answered without help from a lot of people. It's what makes citizen science so special and valuable,” said Julie Dietze, USGS scientist-in-charge of the effort. "Collections like this one are important because they have the potential to provide scientists now, and 20 years from now, access to specimens. Without the specimens it will be far more difficult to answer questions related to contaminants and environmental health."
The citizen science pilot began in April of 2023 and based on the response and number of specimens received so far, the collection efforts may continue beyond November into 2024. The LRC will be made available to all scientists within the USGS to conduct research. States included in the pilot study were selected based on at least one of three factors: 1. Locality relative to the migration pathway of the Monarch butterfly 2. Presence of Confined Animal Feeding Operations (CAFOs), and 3. Locality relative to the Corn Belt.
The USGS Environmental Organic Chemistry (EOC) unit, located at the USGS Kansas Water Science Center, will specifically be looking at the occurrence of antibiotics, pesticides, hormones, and mycotoxins in Lepidoptera.
Citizens can mail their specimens to:
1217 Biltmore Drive
Lawrence, KS 66049
Learn more about the call to action by viewing the flyer here:
All specimens submitted as part of the Lepidoptera Research Collection will be added to the USGS Research Scientific Collections (ReSciColl) database. The ReSciColl database is a product of the National Geological and Geophysical Data Preservation Program (NGGDPP). ReSciColl started in 2007 and is comprised of more than 3.5 million items from collections.
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