Newly Discovered Brazilian Moths Named for Rainforest Trust Vice Chair and Wife

Liz Howard

Dec 5, 2017


This November, Rainforest Trust Vice Chair Dr. Eric Veach and his wife, Luanne Lemmer, received a rare honor recognizing their work to help preserve Brazil’s vanishing Atlantic Rainforest. The couple became the namesakes for two new moth species discovered in the Serra Bonita Reserve in the Atlantic Rainforest, a Rainforest Trust-supported project.

Serra Bonita’s Director of Scientific Research, famed lepidopterist Dr. Vitor Becker, described the new members of the Notodontidae family — Chlorosema lemmerae and Rosema veachi — in a paper published in Proceedings of the Entomological Society of Washington. Dr. Becker chose the names of the moths to recognize Eric and Luanne for their generosity in supporting the expansion of the Serra Bonita Reserve.

“This is a tremendous honor,” said Dr. Veach. “Luanne and I are proud to have helped protect vital habitat for these beautiful moths and so many other threatened species in Brazil’s rainforests, and to support the important work that Dr. Becker and others are doing to document unique species in the region.”

  • Vice Chair Dr. Eric Veach (bottom center) with the framed moth images.

Brazil’s Atlantic Rainforest, considered the second most endangered biome in the world, is also one of the most biodiverse. Serra Bonita Reserve is a privately-owned conservation area dedicated to the protection and preservation of one of the ecosystem’s last intact remnants. This vital conservation area protects threatened wildlife, including six rare bird species and the Yellow-breasted Capuchin, a Critically Endangered primate. At least 17 species have been discovered at Serra Bonita, including Chlorosema lemmerae and Rosema veachi. Rainforest Trust has worked with local partner Instituto Uiraçu to expand the reserve by 1,788 acres, and Eric and Luanne were among the major donors who made the land purchases possible.

“We have always felt that it is important to save all the world’s species, not just the cute and cuddly ones,” said Luanne. “The Serra Bonita Reserve has an incredible amount of biodiversity, and we are proud to have helped Dr. Becker in his efforts to protect and study the many new species there.”

Dr. Veach received a framed image of their namesakes during a Rainforest Trust Board meeting in September.

“I was delighted to learn that these newly described moths would be named for Eric and Luanne,” said Rainforest Trust CEO Dr. Paul Salaman.

“It is well-deserved recognition of their invaluable support for Serra Bonita and for threatened habitats and species throughout the tropics.”

For more information on how you can support Rainforest Trust, visit our Conservation Action Fund.