Writing the article took a fair bit of time, plus the editing cycle at the Zootaxa journal, which is how the publication of the species description became a kind of Christmas present for the authors.
What makes this find extraordinary?
The place where it was found. The world has no other region where the fauna of large moths, that include the Nolidae family despite their diminutive size, has been studied as thoroughly as in northern Europe. A completely new species of large moth was found nearly 40 years ago, and even though all northern European countries have always had good entomologists, Nola estonica had not been described before.
What does a lepidopterist feel in moments like that? Winning the lottery is not far off as a comparison I presume?
Considering the circumstances, it is difficult to compare the moment to anything at all. The first feeling I had was disbelief as we had considered it impossible to find a new species of large moth in northern Europe. Because new data soon proved the matter to be more than wishful thinking, I felt obligated to turn the discovery into a scientific description of a new species as best I could.
True satisfaction – which I believe is felt by everyone who successfully concludes a long project – arrived only when I received the letter telling me the article had been published on December 21. We have received sincere congratulation from colleagues in Estonia and elsewhere to demonstrate we truly did something special.
As concerns comparisons to winning the lottery, certain elements to that effect can be found in the story of Nola estonica’s discovery. Public databases suggest that the DNA of Nolidae specimens has been sequenced in Europe in the past, including that of light specimens. However, it has somehow happened that specimens of the species we described were never included in those studies. Even though it might have turned out differently.
The reason the discovery cannot be fully compared to winning the lottery is that luck alone was not enough. Things would not have gone this way without the authors’ decades worth of experience as moth collectors and lepidopterists.
Scientists have quite a lot of freedom when describing new species. The name needs to have at least two characters and be pronounceable. For example, you cannot call a new species “e” or “xx,” while you are otherwise rather free in your decisions.