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Old 03-16-2013, 08:26 AM   #41
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I thought you might find it useful to read The Lepidopterists' Society statement on collecting.

Statement on Collecting : The Lepidopterist Society

The class I took was a required course for entomology majors. We spent two days a week closely examining insects that had been previously caught and mounted. But that does not give you experience with collecting, spreading, and mounting. These are skills learned by practice and using the tools of the trade. They are skills that graduating entomology majors should have.

Most people don't know that when it comes to identifying microlepidoptera (micro moths - wingspan under 20 mm), you cannot tell which species you are looking at under a microscope. The moths are identified by their genitalia. So, you have to dissect the teeny moths, get their reproductive tract out, put it on a slide, and stain it. Point being, you cannot even ID these moths without killing them. If you have $, you can run DNA these days but the moths are still dead.

If you want to look at a lot of microlep genitalia, I recommend Olethreutine Moths of the Midwestern United States. An Identification Guide by Gilligan, Wright, and Gibson. "More than 650 genitalia photographs"

Tortricid.net - Olethreutine Moths of the Midwestern United States

Definitely not a coffee table book. I don't own it. I read OSU's copy.

Micro insects are the big thing these days if you want to discover some new species.
My desire to learn about insects is to teach my 4th graders how to be more respectful of nature, all nature, not just charismatic megafauna like polar bears and pandas and elephants. I appreciate learning about the different butterflies and moths in our area and planting the plants that attract these insects. I also teach adults at our wildlife refuge how to attract insects by planting native plants.

I do have a great moth book that just came out last year.

Peterson Field Guide to Moths of Northeastern North America (Peterson Field Guides): David Beadle, Seabrooke Leckie: 9780547238487: Amazon.com: Books

Not so sure I need to read a book about microlepidoptera and their naughty bits.

Are you studying to be an entomologist, KC Clark?
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Old 03-16-2013, 03:35 PM   #42
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I did not buy it since I have a few Peterson Field Guides and I don't use them very much. I guess they are not organized in a way I like. I had to buy the insects one for my entomology class. We got to learn about how out of date that book is when it comes to insect classification. It has not been updated since it was first published in 1970.

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Are you studying to be an entomologist, KC Clark?
My dad stuck me with the title of "bugologist" many moons ago.

I took a couple basic entomology classes at OSU back in the early '80s. I took this latest class because I wanted to hang out with entomologists who were forced to talk to me. In the past few years, I've gotten to hang out with more and more experts but I cannot communicate at their level. Being in an entomology class for 5 days a week forced me to learn more of the lingo and how to pronounce the $100 words, at least the way they are pronounced at OSU.

Getting an entomology degree at OSU is tough to do these days. The department is on life support (at least it was autumn 2011). Few classes are offered. The profs who were gods in their field have retired. They have not really been replaced because OSU has a newer department called Evolution, Ecology and Organismal Biology. Apparently, it is the latest and greatest way to go. I'm sure it has to do with making it easier to attract $ from outside sources.
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Old 03-16-2013, 04:18 PM   #43
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In the past few years, I've gotten to hang out with more and more experts
Next time you run into any of them.....
Tell them all about how much diversity there is in the Wildlife gardeners site you've been involved in and ask them to drop by and check it out.
They're expertise and knowledge would "certainly" be appreciated.
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Old 03-17-2013, 10:34 AM   #44
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My daughter is looking for an undergraduate institution with a biology department that acknowledges animals and not just cells, and it is amazing how many now have ecology and evolution departments. When I was going through, biology was all just cells and biochemistry.

It is a shame that entomology is going by the wayside, given how many insect pests we are fighting.

I have the Peterson guide to moths. They all look alike, bark mimics galore, and it is impossible to find anything in it. Very frustrating. Bill Oehlke has great websites on silkmoths and hawkmoths.

Suunto called a tiny moth I posted "one of the ittsibittsidaea" and said it wasn't worth trying to separate the microlepidoptera further on our level. I find it hard enough to separate all of the small and medium brown moths I have around my woods without worrying about the 3-4 mm ones, so I left it at that.
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Old 03-17-2013, 11:26 AM   #45
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ittsibittsidaea...funny!
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Old 03-17-2013, 11:57 AM   #46
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Suunto called a tiny moth I posted "one of the ittsibittsidaea" and said it wasn't worth trying to separate the microlepidoptera further on our level. I find it hard enough to separate all of the small and medium brown moths I have around my woods without worrying about the 3-4 mm ones, so I left it at that.
I had a bunch of small brown moths that were supposed to go into my collection for my class. I spent a boatload of time trying to identify them but I could not be sure what I had. I eventually ran out of time so they did not go in. In hindsight, I'm sure I could have gotten away with using my best guess. The guy grading them was a microhymenoptera expert (teeny wasps). He had told me numerous times how he would never go into microlepidoptera because of the ID work involved. Since I was the lepidoptera guy, I'm sure he would have taken my word for what the moths were.

There are around 2500 moths in Ohio so it is tough to know them all.
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Old 03-17-2013, 10:57 PM   #47
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Default Wasp Mimic

Caught this moth in my yard last year. Could not believe how much it looked like the paper wasps that live around here. For non-believers, the last pic should prove to you that it is in the lepidoptera order (hint: how it eats).

Moth may appear dead in a couple shots. It is not. Used the old insect photography trick of cooling it in the fridge. The moth flew away after its photo shoot.

I am not sure which species this moth is. I know it is in the Sesiidae family. My best guess on species is Paranthrene asilipennis, the oak clearwing moth.
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Old 03-18-2013, 07:16 AM   #48
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Wow! It really does look like a wasp! Cool!
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Old 03-22-2013, 12:12 AM   #49
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I did not buy it since I have a few Peterson Field Guides and I don't use them very much.
I was trying to find some bit of wisdom that I had posted elsewhere. Instead I found a post about how I bought the above book and how much my son liked it. A search of my house turned up the book in a bag I take with me for presentations. I bought the book in April '12.

Maybe I have too many Lepidoptera books? Nah.
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Old 03-22-2013, 07:51 PM   #50
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Caught this moth in my yard last year. Could not believe how much it looked like the paper wasps that live around here. For non-believers, the last pic should prove to you that it is in the lepidoptera order (hint: how it eats).

Moth may appear dead in a couple shots. It is not. Used the old insect photography trick of cooling it in the fridge. The moth flew away after its photo shoot.

I am not sure which species this moth is. I know it is in the Sesiidae family. My best guess on species is Paranthrene asilipennis, the oak clearwing moth.
A truly awesome mimic!

So, if I post photos of my hard to id moths, you can id them???
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