Pupils assist in moth study

Clutha Valley School pupils Nathan Bocock (8) and Vera Stirling (12) check moth traps under the...
Clutha Valley School pupils Nathan Bocock (8) and Vera Stirling (12) check moth traps under the guidance of Landcare Research scientist Dr Barbara Anderson. Photo by Samuel White.
Clutha Valley School pupils took the first steps this week to helping with a study on the population density of nocturnal moths.

Pupils were treated to a visit by researchers from the University of Otago, Landcare Research and the Orokonui Ecosanctuary on Tuesday and Wednesday. They are running a course called Shedding Light on the Night in Otago schools.

On the two-day course, pupils set moth traps during the day to collect specimens at night to help the scientists, who are studying the distribution and density of moth populations in Otago.

Landcare Research scientist Dr Barbara Anderson also explained the importance of moths and butterflies in the ecosystem and some of the activities students and lecturers took part in as part of their study and work.

Dr Anderson said a few pupils said they valued moths differently now.

"You could tell a few of them had never seen a real moth close up and they found it really cool.''

It was important to document the species, as little data was available on the populations of moths in New Zealand, she said.

Clutha Valley School was the first of six schools to be visited over the next few weeks.

The other schools are Catlins Area School, Roxburgh Area School, Mt Aspiring College, Shotover Primary School and Te Kura Kaupapa School.

samuel.white@odt.co.nz

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