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Researchers find new moth species in northern islands

November 5, 2009
The Maui News

HONOLULU (AP) - University of Hawaii researchers have discovered eight new moth species in the Northwestern Hawaiian Islands.

The moths were found on Laysan, Mokumanamana and Nihoa islands within the Papahanaumokuakea Marine National Monument.

The monument said in a news release Wednesday that the moths are all members of the genus Hyposmocoma. The discovery was announced last month in Zootaxa, a journal for zoological taxonomists.

The scientists believe the moths may be descendants of species that colonized the Hawaiian archipelago more than 5 million years ago. That's before a volcano formed Kauai, the oldest of the main Hawaiian Islands.

All of Hawaii's native Hyposmocoma moth species are small, with most only having a wingspan of less than half an inch.



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