Σεπτέμβριος 04, 2021

Egira dolosa

Often hard to identify. This is an early flying moth. The white stripe that runs from orbicular to orbicular (when the wings are closed) may be faint or even absent. The black/white colouration, and the white collar do not change.

egira dolosa2
Photo courtesy of CBIF.

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Ιούλιος 13, 2021

Eudryas spp.

I only became aware of these species this year. All identification descriptions only referred to the terminal scalloping as the means of separating them. It turns out that the other wing markings also play a role - see this discussion for detailed information - https://inaturalist.ca/observations/86116419#activity_identification_8c7b1120-41cd-414f-b3f1-a5b0dc442061


Photos courtesy of CBIF

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Ιούνιος 22, 2021

Actebia fennica (Black army cutworm)

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Ιούνιος 08, 2021

Moth migration

This is a subject that has fascinated me since the 1980's. Some work I was involved with showed that some common pest species (Mythimna (Pseudaletia) unipuncta & Peridroma saucia) could not survive Canadian prairie winters. It was proposed that the moths migrated in some way from the south - US and Mexico. (https://www.cambridge.org/core/journals/canadian-entomologist/article/abs/cold-tolerance-of-pseudaletia-unipuncta-and-peridroma-saucia-lepidoptera-noctuidae1/0503E9AF109FE85AF562FA4FE7516D4C (Paywall = P)). It was unsure at the time whether it was a random migration in that the moths got up into the atmosphere and were blown by chance to the north. The inability to survive northern winter conditions Quebec (https://www.cambridge.org/core/journals/canadian-entomologist/article/abs/overwintering-potential-of-true-armyworm-pseudaletia-unipuncta-lepidoptera-noctuidae-populations-in-quebec1/AE26822F389B0D7B6E327CA8E6182F12 (p)).

Studies seem to show that M. unipuncta not only migrate north, but also south in the Canadian autumn (https://ir.lib.uwo.ca/cgi/viewcontent.cgi?article=7218&context=etd). Later, it was proposed that the migration was a reaction to daylength and temperature - https://link.springer.com/article/10.1017/S1742758400022657 (P).

It appears as if a number of moth species undertake this migration every spring and fall. Not only that, but moths migrate into mountains, and then back to the lowlands (https://www.researchgate.net/profile/John-Brown-13/publication/274221265_Concentrations_of_Lowland_Sphingid_and_Noctuid_Moths_at_High_Mountain_Passes_in_Eastern_Mexico/links/5d3302d7299bf1995b398ddf/Concentrations-of-Lowland-Sphingid-and-Noctuid-Moths-at-High-Mountain-Passes-in-Eastern-Mexico.pdf). It also appears that the abundance of moths in mountains seems to help sustain Grizzly Bear populations (http://scholarworks.unr.edu:8080/bitstream/handle/11714/4220/Robison_unr_0139D_10331.pdf?sequence=1&isAllowed=y)!

As I said, this is fascinating to me.

Αναρτήθηκε στις Ιούνιος 08, 2021 0814 ΜΜ από mamestraconfigurata mamestraconfigurata | 0σχόλια | Αφήστε ένα σχόλιο

Ιούνιος 21, 2020

My microscope.

Ag Can lab

The microscope on the left was 'mine'. This is a photo from the 1980's of Gord Ayre's lab. The microscope was a beautiful German Zeiss or Leitz (I can't remember which), probably made in the 1950's. Binocular, it was not a zoom, but had three fixed lenses for magnification. It had wooden arm rests for working on the stage. I don't know what I was doing that day, but the light was separate, and was hot. Later the new microscopes would be equipped with a ring of fibre optics that stopped the heat from getting to the stage. I actually found the heat was beneficial for some things.
Anyway, while I was there, these microscopes were declared surplus, and we were able to bid on a batch. Garth Bracken arranged for a group of us to make a bid, and I joined in - I wanted to own that microscope! We submitted it, and were just short of the winning bid. I don't know who got the microscopes, but to this day I regret not having this microscope. No one's fault - just fate. But goddamn, I love that scope!!

Αναρτήθηκε στις Ιούνιος 21, 2020 0949 ΜΜ από mamestraconfigurata mamestraconfigurata | 1 σχόλιο | Αφήστε ένα σχόλιο

William (Bill) Turnock

I've been meaning to write this for some time. Bill Turnock was another one of the scientists I worked with, although not extensively. He could dream up some amazing studies. He wanted to sample flea beetles across a canola field, presumably to see if there were more on the edge than in the middle. I was drafted into this scheme. It involved sampling at the corners of a canola field, and then across the field. Great idea, but carrying it out was another matter. Basically it involved strapping a gas lawn mower engine to your back. It ran a large vacuum sampler that had a net in it. I, and another person (I think her name was Chris) would go out to a quarter section field, strap the engine on our backs, sample around set points on the field corners, and then set out diagonally across the field. It was early to mid summer, the canola was thigh high, and the temperatures in the mid 20's C. We had a lawn mower on our backs. It was not fun. To his credit, Bill came out to see it one day, and stopped the project.
Bill was a red headed, bearded man, full of energy. When I saw him, he always seemed to be talking. The only other concrete memory I have of him was in regards to a trip to Swan River, to sample either Bertha Armyworm, or flea beetles. There were four of us, and for some reason there were four small trees at the back of the Suburban. The next day, while his main technician Bob Bilodeau, was driving, Bill remarked that the Suburban handled differently without the trees in the back. Bob gently reminded him that all the gear we had was no longer in the back as well. Bill accepted this, and moved on to another matter. Bill could be difficult, but essentially he was a good person. Apparently, he died in 2008 - https://passages.winnipegfreepress.com/passage-details/id-134254/TURNOCK_WILLIAM

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Μάρτιος 21, 2020

Peridroma saucia

An exceedingly variable moth. Many resemble this image, but they range in colouration from brick red to this. Main features are 7 black marks along costa, large round orbicular spot, and a fairly prominent, double AM line.

Peridroma saucia

Photo courtesy of CBIF (https://www.cbif.gc.ca/SpeciesBank/spp_pages/noctuoidea/jpgs/image_e.php?image%5B%5D=110915.jpg%2CPeridroma+saucia)

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Feltia subgothica/tricosa

These are the two most difficult species to differentiate in the Feltia genus.The most reliable method is to look at the male antennal seate. The difference can be seen here - https://www.ndsu.edu/pubweb/~gefauske/ndmoths/names/10674.htm - and these features can be seen on iNat with high image magnification, but not always.
Bugguide has a somewhat confusing description (https://bugguide.net/node/view/10466) that I no longer use. An important features to notice is the mounded orbicular spot which is not the same colour as all the costal streak.
F. subgothica has shorter antennal setae.

F. tricosa has longer setae, is darker, and looks like this.

This is only a rough guide. Due to variation and wear, it may not be possible to identify these moths visually, in which case (after Feltia jaculifera & F. herilis have been ruled out), genus Feltia Complex would be the prudent option.

Photos courtesy of CBIF.

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Μάρτιος 19, 2020

Mythimna oxygala

Mythima oxygala is the only other species in this genus in North America. Very similar to , but the arrangement of the three black dots is characteristic.
Mythimna oxygla

Photo courtesy of CBIF - https://www.cbif.gc.ca/SpeciesBank/spp_pages/noctuoidea/jpgs/image_e.php?image%5B%5D=110436.jpg%2CMythimna+oxygala

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Μάρτιος 17, 2020

Feltia herilis features

Felti herilis is one of the easier spp of Feltia to identify. Orbicular spot is somewhat elongated, and is the the same shade as costal strip. The central light strip basically ends at reniform.

Feltia herilis
Photo courtesy of CBIF (https://www.cbif.gc.ca/SpeciesBank/spp_pages/noctuoidea/jpgs/image_e.php?image%5B%5D=110676.jpg%2CFeltia+herilis)

Αναρτήθηκε στις Μάρτιος 17, 2020 0737 ΜΜ από mamestraconfigurata mamestraconfigurata | 0σχόλια | Αφήστε ένα σχόλιο