The Daily Mail has reported that an all new species of moth has been discovered by an amateur naturalist who spotted its caterpillar digging through an oak leaf in Devon woodland, England.
The “micro” moth, which has a wingspan of just 0.24 inches, was discovered in Hembury Woods in Devon by local naturalist Bob Heckford who noticed tell-tale signs of mines dug through the leaves of oak saplings. The new species has not been found anywhere else in the world and has been named “Ectoedemia heckfordi” after Mr Heckford.
One of the specimens has been acknowledged as the “type” for the species, against which future finds will be compared. Due to the significance of the discovery’s another specimen has been sent to the Natural History Museum.
The amateur naturalist has found other micro moth species, which were previously unknown in the UK, and in 2006 he discovered an oil beetle in south Devon which was thought to be FORMERLY EXTINCT in the British Isles. Heckford expressed his affection for nature:
“For most of my life I’ve had a passion for the natural world and been privileged enough to have beautiful wild places on my doorstep… discoveries, however great or small, are deeply rewarding and vital to our understanding of an ever-changing world… I’m sure that there are yet more wonders to be uncovered.”
The National Trust’s conservation adviser Matthew Oates said the “fantastic” discovery showed Britain was still ‘turning up the goods” when it came to finds of new species. Oates expressed his enthusiasm for the diversity of life left to be discovered in our world, even in relatively small and well populated areas such as Great Britain:
“What it shows is you don’t have to go to the Amazon to find new species, you can actually still do it in this country — though by and large you have to go small… so much of these discoveries have been made by amateur naturalists, and their role and contribution to our understanding has been phenomenal.”
These words should serve as a source of encouragement for all the amateur monster hunters and cryptozoologists who are canvassing the forests and waterways of this Earth in search of heretofore UNCLASSIFIED species.