New moth species gets blockbuster name

By The Greymouth Star -
A new moth species found on the Denniston Plateau has been named after the 'Avatar' movie. Photo / File
A new moth species found on the Denniston Plateau has been named after the 'Avatar' movie. Photo / File

A new species of moth found on the part of the Denniston Plateau earmarked for mining has been named after a Hollywood blockbuster movie Avatar.

The day-flying moth was found during the Forest and Bird 'Bio Blitz' in March. Arctesthes avatar, or more commonly the Avatar moth, was discovered by Wildlands entomologist Brian Patrick and was soon afterwards caught by his son Hamish.

Forest and Bird opened naming rights to the public to raise awareness about the plans to mine the plateau for coal.

The father and son duo judged the winner from nearly 100 entries.

"It's a novel name and the movie is about a mining company that threatens to devastate a human-like species that's living in harmony with nature. It's just a really good analogy," they said.

Australian mining company Bathurst Resources plans an open-cast mine at Denniston.

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