Letting Go

After 33 years of collecting moths in the Pikes Peak Region, I finally have begun to let it go to the C. P. Gillette Museum in Fort Collins at Colorado State University. The first installment, 36 drawers of mostly Noctuidae (the owlet moths) were shrink-wrapped and dispatched on August 29. One drawer is shown here.9.jpg

And here is the first load.IMG_2410.jpg

And in their new home.Screen Shot 2018-09-01 at 10.46.16 AM.png

Many more to go in the next few weeks. Sad to see them go, but I know that they’re in a better place. (!)

My Atalopedes Paper

This paper was rejected by the Lepidopterists Society because I did not make a clear enough distinction between “perching” and “roosting.” The latter involves shade-seeking, while perching means sitting on an elevated leaf or flower and watching for passing insects to harass. Anyway, the point of the paper should be clear. Atalopedes skippers modify their behaviors at high temperatures to avoid overheating. They can’t tolerate temperatures above about 40°C, so if the Texas thorn-scrub savanna warms beyond that, they’ll move north. I would.

1.png23 Continue reading “My Atalopedes Paper”

Latest butterfly records yet

Until this fall, the 22nd of November was the latest date on which I observed butterflies. But this fall I have records from five dates in November and six dates in December, through the 20th, one day short of the solstice. On December 12th I found Colias eurytheme (alfalfa butterfly), Colias philodice (clouded sulfur), and Nathalis iole (dainty sulfur) on the wing in good numbers. On 16 December, Nathalis iole was about, basking laterally against the dark soil on a hillside. And on the 20th, Nathalis iole again, three of them. The previous record for this species was F. Martin Brown’s 3 December 1954 observation. Combined with last February’s records, we now have only about 48 days of butterfly-less weather! Here is Nathalis iole.DSC04834.jpg

Colias eurytheme (alfalfa butterfly)DSC04836.jpg

Colias philodice (clouded sulfur)DSC04838.jpg

Autographa californica (California signature moth)DSC04858.jpg

And Nathalis iole, the latest-flying butterfly on record, with a date stamp, one day before the winter solstice.DSC04899.jpg

 

What a Summer!

Looking back, this was one of the best summers of my life. To begin with, it was the earliest spring in my fifty years of record keeping, with emergent butterflies flying in February, and a strong flight through March. Then the huge May freeze!DSC02488.jpgDSC02468.jpgDSC02499.jpg

Then, red tailed hawks nesting in the back yard. I never imagined that.DSC02862.jpg

Then, other birds, both on the mountain and in the garden.DSC02939.jpgDSC01531.jpg

And mothing! I had the pleasure of collecting moths in several areas, some new to me: Blodgett Peak Open Space, Ute Valley Park, Bluestem Prairie Open Space, Rock Creek Canyon, and Baculite Mesa. Keeping track of all those moths isn’t easy. I added 37 new records for the Pikes Peak Region, bringing my current total to 2073 species.

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And the garden OMG, what a year for the flowers!DSC01710.jpgDSC03440.jpg

And the July rains!

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I heard that it was the wettest July on record. So, up came the mushrooms. We found about 40 species on one hike in Bear Creek.

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And July on Shelf Road, the amazing rabbit bot fly!DSC03605.jpg

And rare butterflies. The third record of Nymphalis californica and the fourth record of Adelpha bredowi in El Paso County.

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Plus many new records of the butterflies like the pigmy blue, Brephidium exilis (photo by Tim Leppek), which reminds me of Eric Eaton and all the new friends I found on the Arthropods Colorado Facebook Group. That’s been a load of fun. (What will we do in the winter?)

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So it was an amazing summer. I already have seasonal affective disorder from the 7:30 twilight. I can’t wait until spring.