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Fifty Species Goal: #24-49

Holy mackerel, we are blowin' this thing out of the water! While I was off in Texas, two old sightings finally got an ID (and damnit, I'm counting them!) plus a whole bunch of new ones showed up.

In fact--a mere three months and some change after starting--we've nearly hit the 50 species goal! One species away!

Dude! Dude! I know I'm the one who's really excited by this--I mean, it's my garden and everybody else probably thinks I'm nuts--but how amazing is that!? We're almost there already! Some of those months were mid-winter and nothing much was showing up!

I sorta feel like this proves--at least to me--that if you just LOOK, there's an insane amount of biodiversity just lurking everywhere. Yes, my garden is particularly buggy, owing to my crazed planting and lack of pesticides, but it's not anything that anybody else couldn't do, given a patch of dirt and a cel phone camera and a really weird hobby.

So, without further ado, the new bugs!

As usual, this is mostly Lepidoptera, thanks to the nice people at BAMONA, but we did add a couple new insects of other varieties! (Some of you on Twitter saw some of these names already, incidentally.)

#24 -- Hydrochara sp. Water Scavenger Beetle

This is a big glossy black beetle that looks like every other big glossy black beetle. I'm tentatively thinking H. lotor, but frankly, there's no way to make a really good id. I am comfortable with the genus level on this one.

#25 -- Euparius marmoreus Marbled Fungus Weevil


I have a snout!

How freaky cute is this thing? It reminds me of the keyboardist from the Star Wars cantina scene.

#26 -- Harmonia axyridis Harlequin Ladybird

An invasive ladybug. These are the little bastards who try to get into your house in droves in winter. I am not fond of them, despite my general positive disposition toward ladybugs.

And now, the moths, with their awesomely weird names!

#27 -- Galgula partita The Wedgling

This sounds like some kind of fairy, probably not terribly well-inclined towards humanity.

#28 -- Hydriomena transfigurata The Transfigured Hydriomena

Have I mentioned that I love it when "The" is part of the name of these moths? (I have no idea what makes this one "transfigured." It's a pretty bland moth.)

#29 -- Hypena baltimoralis    Baltimore Bomolocha Moth

This has got to be a dance.

#30 -- Lithophane innominata   Nameless Pinion

The entomologist was feeling lazy that day.

#31 -- Lithophane petulca    Wanton Pinion


I...wait, what?

I am forced to assume that the entomologist had been in the field much too long for this one, if he has taken to slut-shaming Lepidoptera.

#32 -- Arogalea cristifasciella   Stripe-backed Moth

The entomologist, having recovered from his weird bout of projection, went back to purely descriptive names.

#33 -- Eupsilia vinulenta   Straight-toothed Sallow

Much like the Curved-Toothed Geometer, I find myself really not wanting to look at this moth's mouth, for fear of never sleeping again.

#34 -- Chaetaglaea sericea   Silky Sallow

This moth uses a very good shampoo.

#35 -- Himella intractata    Intractable Quaker

EEEEEE! OH MY GOD, I GOT AN INTRACTABLE QUAKER MOTH! I saw the name and I wanted to see one, but I figured they probably lived somewhere else!

Mind you, I am not sure what's so intractable about them...


Sure, he looks innocent, but he refuses to ask for directions or change plans once he's made them.

#36 -- Condica vecors   Dusky Groundling

This sounds like a fantasy race of goblins or something.

#37 -- Elaphria grata   Grateful Midget



*backs away from entomologist*

#38 -- Ectropis crepuscularia   The Small Engrailed

This sounds vaguely Arthurian.

#39 -- Argyrotaenia velutinana   Red Banded Leafroller Moth

This is an extremely uninteresting (and very small) moth with no apparent red bands. Fortunately I have a 7x zoom lens for my iPhone...

#40 -- Nedra ramosula   Gray Half-Spot

This is actually a pretty handsome fellow. He looks like he's got a fur collar and iridescent cloak.


Take me to the Ren Faire!

#41 -- Nemapogon auropulvella   European Grain Moth

This is one teeny tiny little moth, and what little information I can find says that it's native to the US, despite the name. I don't even know.

#42 -- Phalaenophana pyramusalis   Dark-banded Owlet Moth

The Owlet Moth Tribe returns!

#43 -- Pero ancetaria Hübner's Pero

Holy crap, there's an umlaut in my garden!

#44 -- Paectes abrostoloides   Large Paectes

Also known as the "Sweetgum Defoliator," which is like the most obscure serial killer ever.

#45 -- Ilexia intractata   Black-dotted Ruddy Moth

Another small brown not-all-that-exciting moth.

#46 -- Lascoria ambigualis Ambiguous Moth

Having exhausted his powers with the Grateful Midget, our entomologist slumps back into despair.

#47 -- Poanes zabulon Zabulon Skipper

A butterfly this time!

#48 -- Ancyloxypha numitor Least Skipper

Another butterfly. A very small brownish one.

#49 -- Knulliana cincta  Longhorn Hickory Borer

This is a beetle. And by "This is a beetle" I mean "FOR THE LOVE OF GOD IF GIANT BUGS FREAK YOU OUT, DO NOT GOOGLE THIS THING." It's...large. And bitey. And apparently attracted to porch lights.

So that's 49. We're one ID away from hitting the fifty species goal! How cool is that?!

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We get Palo Verde Root Borers and they are huge! Three-plus inch beetles aren't quite my thing.

Congrats on being so close to your goal already!

Identifying bugs is not a weird hobby at all.

When I was a child in Switzerland there were giant beetles with pronged pincers living in our garden. We called them train conductor beetles and would put leaves between their pincers to get them to punch holes in our "tickets".

Spiders freak me out but I have no problem with beetles of any size.

Some of those names are magnificent :)

Nr 40 is very dashing.

It's important to me if only because your commentary on the names is priceless.

This. This post completely made my day.

in case you hadn't heard

to the tune of "joyful joyful" (9th symphony chorus)

beetles are not dirty bugs,
spiders, scorpions, or slugs.
heroes of the insect realm,
they sport wing-ed burnished helms.
they are shining and divine.
they are lovely and just fine.
beetles do not bite or sting,
they love almost everything.

Re: in case you hadn't heard

It also works to Hark! The Herald Angels Sing, which is the first place my brain went.

Re: in case you hadn't heard

Also to the "Habanera" from Carmen--though that would probably appeal more to Gypsy Moths. ;-)


Am I the only one who immediately clicked through to see if the Wanton Pinion had been named by Nabokov?

the most obscure serial killer ever.

As opposed the European Grain Moth, which is a cereal killer.


I can understand the descriptive naming but you know the lepidopterist has been out in the field too long when they start viewing moths as wanton and grateful. Either that or they were named in a different language and they got put through Google translate.

Yes, those invasive ladybugs are ... I am not fond of them either. They decided that our farmhouse was a nice place to winter. Where by winter they mean "congregate by the literal thousands, lay eggs, die, and emit stinky dead-ladybug pheromones so the next generation will find the place again next year." Large parts of the attic were approximately completely carpeted with them and there were plenty inside the rest of the house too.

Now you're making me wonder how many species are in our back yard, which is not particularly gardened but is very large and typically gets mowed about twice a year, hence a pretty good habitat. I'm not curious enough to actually go looking, though, because several of those species are going to be mosquitoes and chiggers. We have friggin' diurnal mosquitoes!

A bit late, but here are some good videos (Natl Geographic etc) on honey badgers.

joshuakennon . com/ amazing-intelligence-honey-badgers/

Don't know if you saw my comment on the last post...

I was reading an io9 article on upcoming genre movies and saw this movie description:


Elijah Wood and Rainn Wilson are teachers at an elementary school where some bad hot dogs cause a zombie outbreak among the students, and the teachers have to dole out some tough discipline.

This film got pretty upbeat reviews at Sundance and was acquired by Lionsgate, but no clue about a release date yet."

The imdb description just says there's a virus outbreak, nothing about hot dogs of any sort, and the photo shows only human beings. Still... sound familiar, anyone?

Speaking of things sounding familiar, I saw something on Cracked today about romances that need allergies. Figured that you might want to know that, in case you want to tell them that your story exists or whatever.

what's with the slut shaming? The poor thing.

If the bug guys get bored, they can always start naming nail polish colors.

These are fabulous.

We should make a game out of inventing funny yet plausible moth species name. :)

Or bird species.

My suggestion: Frabjous Jay.

I am amused by the biodiversity, but I stay for the commentary. Let's face it -- they have to name it something, but I think some of these people are rather isolated in terms of socialization amongst human colonies, and they get pretty loopy staring at back patterns and snout shapes 15 hours a day in the field... (grin)

Dr. Phil

Wonderful names, wonderful commentary. When I was a kid I tried to identify the moths in my yard, but the only guides I could find covered a couple dozen of the largest and most charismatic species (mostly giant silkworm moths, hawkmoths, and underwings) and did not even handwave an attempt to cover the vast, vast sea of small-grayish-or-brownish ones. I did much better with butterflies, though some skippers gave me problems.

Zabulon Skipper has got to be off Star Trek.

Borers are biters? I've seen them before (in my home and everything!) but for all that they are ENORMOUS (dem antennas, man), I didn't get the impression they were terribly aggressive.

Maybe it's the porch light. Lots of good bugs have that problem, perfectly model citizens, but get them on some porch light and suddenly they're stumbling around, swearing at your garters, and trying to get in fights with the local plant life.

I remember reading once about an English biologist who decided to limit her study to her own small, urban back garden. Over a good few years of study, she found hundreds and hundreds of different species of animal (not even going into botany!), including about 60 new subspecies and almost 30 COMPLETELY NEW species that no one had ever seen before*. The biodiversity in our world is astounding, and our knowledge is incredibly limited. Often new discoveries are made simply by someone going and looking where no one has ever bothered to look closely enough before...

*my numbers may be off a bit, I read this some while ago and cannot find the source, but the order of magnitude is right.

May I say I find it awesome that you are excited! As for weird hobbies, the world is filled with interesting things to discover and learn so the fact that you are exploring your surroundings with a different perspective is pretty great. I hope you get your 50 goal

that is super cool!

also, those entomologists be crazy :)

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