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Features of Natural Interest

One newly described invertebrate endemic to Ascension is Erechthias grayi, a short-winged, flightless moth. It is suspected that several endemic micro-moth species may exist on the island. One specimen of this species was found on Green Mountain, and another close to White Horse Hill, a very different environment with considerably less vegetation. The moth specimens from both Green Mountain and White Horse Hill were compared. It turned out that they were the same species, and the moth was named Erechthias grayi, acknowledging the work of botanist Alan Gray in the discovery. It would seem that being unable to fly is advantageous in windy environments. E. grayi appears to live in sites of natural vegetation that are relatively free from human influences and the new conservation challenge is to therefore conserve these important habitats. 

Left: Erechthias dracaenura. Middle: E. grayi. Right: E. grayi.

© Donald R. Davis & Howard Mendel
(Features of Natural Interest, 27 of 32 - Slide ref. 619)