USING DNA BARCODING TO UNCOVER NEW AND RARE MOTH SPECIES IN WEST NEW BRITAIN, PAPUA NEW GUINEA
|Candice M Sawyer; California State University, Chico; firstname.lastname@example.org; Donald G. Miller III, David M. Keller, Tag N. Engstrom
We are currently facing a push for global biodiversity assessment. Climate change, habitat destruction, pollution, introduced species and more are threats to biodiversity. Taxa which have not yet been inventoried from scarcely explored geographies are particularly vulnerable. To date, a biodiversity assessment on moths has not been completed on species from West New Britain, Papua New Guinea. The Chico State Entomology Collection possesses 251 moths from two locations within this region, the Lake Hargy Caldera and the Hargy Oil Palm plantation. Identification of these museum specimens was made as a preliminary effort to create a species inventory. Specimens were identified by a combination of DNA barcoding and morphological assessment. Of the 251 specimens, there are 147 species. Of these, 72% were identified to species or genus. Only 27 were successfully DNA barcoded, yet these data brought significant value to identification efforts. DNA barcoding revealed previously misidentified species. Several species of interest were identified, including rare and endemic species. Further research is needed, but there are several specimens we believe represent novel species. These data provide a glimpse of the moth species in a previously uninventoried region.