Bart the Mothman
January 16, 2020 5:38 AM   Subscribe

Bart Van Camp has trapped (and released) 500 species of moths in his tiny garden in Flanders and made a poster out of it. He also wants you to see some of the thousands of tiny creatures he has seen in this small space. He also does gardens of other people, mainly politicians and naturalists, like Herman van Rompuy or Fredrik Sjoberg or George Monbiot. Some posters like the one for journalist Tine Hens include the number of moths as well.
Monbiot wrote in the Guardian "Two naturalists from Flanders, Bart Van Camp and Rollin Verlinde, asked if they could come to our tiny urban garden and set up a light trap. The results were a revelation... our failure to apprehend the ecology of darkness limits our understanding of the living world."
posted by vacapinta (7 comments total) 26 users marked this as a favorite
This is a project I always planned to do with my kids. Who knows, maybe this will be the year for it.
posted by pipeski at 7:30 AM on January 16

Brilliant! Such important visualizations to explain habitat loss. And also beautiful.
posted by Nancy_LockIsLit_Palmer at 10:18 AM on January 16

I’m on something like 535 species in my garden in London. I actually just heard from the county moth recorder today that I had the second county record for one species, and the first since 1911 for another one.

It’s a great time to try moth trapping (in the UK, at least) because there are several good field guides available and masses of information online, as well as (largely) helpful facebook groups. It used to be much more difficult to get started, especially to identify the smaller moth species.
posted by Bloxworth Snout at 12:02 PM on January 16 [1 favorite]

I'm trying not to accumulate new hobbies, but this is so cool! I can't tell how big his garden is, but it doesn't look very big in his poster, probably not much bigger than mine. At the very least I will take a closer look at the moths trapped in the spider web by the porch light! (It gets cleaned, really, but I'm not going to kill an outdoor spider so...)
posted by lemonade at 12:45 PM on January 16

"One of the penalties of an ecological education is that one lives alone in a world of wounds."

-Aldo Leopold

This is so painfully true.

Also, to everyone planning on trapping moths, please be gentle and careful and release them all unharmed. We mean well, but we can still do so much damage...
posted by WalkerWestridge at 1:01 PM on January 17 [1 favorite]

Bart now has posted an English version of his garden poster, along with tips on how to draw critters to your garden.
posted by vacapinta at 3:15 AM on January 20

Also, to everyone planning on trapping moths, please be gentle and careful and release them all unharmed.

I don’t disagree with the sentiment, but there are some species which can’t be separated except by dissection. Personally I sent off about 80 for dissection last year out of a total of 5882 moths caught. Those then get included with all the records I send off to the local recorder and make a small contribution to our knowledge of moth populations. I think that’s a reasonable trade-off, but obviously people can come to their own judgement.
posted by Bloxworth Snout at 8:45 AM on January 20

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