Mothing night at Godwin Ranch

There is so much to do at the preserve while mild temperatures last that we are overdue for some updates.

On March 23rd, Godwin Ranch hosted a mothing night with the precious help of Goodwater Master Naturalists Jack Cochran and Mike Farley. Jack set up three rigs along the main road before sunset, complete with elaborate wide-spectrum lights to attract more species of moth. Mike placed his medusa station in a tree a bit more out of the way.
We had a timid yet frantic showing around the twilight hours, and the least patient of us (mostly me) worried that the moths would never settle down to get their picture taken. This was an unfounded concern as they obliged after a few minutes of flapping about the sheets. Things picked up quickly and peak observation hours ranged from 8 to 10pm, with more than 100 species of insect lured to the lights. Among them were roughly 70 moths. Highlights included a Schinia bina, a couple of Whip-marked snout moths, a Southern Purple Mint, and several Ethmia moths.
Pseudoscorpions hitching a ride on the legs of Crane flies also created some fracas. This dispersal behavior called phoresy has been reported in our caves, but seldom observed, let alone documented. It is quite remarkable that such a diminutive animal would display such sophisticated behavior (deciding it's time to move farther afield, waiting for an appropriate conveyance, clamping onto it with their pincers, deciding when the conditions are favorable to disembark).
Attending moth enthusiasts kept Mike and Jack busy with their own questions regarding identifications and behavior (Why all the flapping? Do they interact between species? Is it mating season? Will the parasitic wasps attack adults?). We'll be sure to organize another one in the fall, once temperatures cool down again.

Publicado el abril 9, 2024 06:19 TARDE por eleonorelc eleonorelc

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It was a great night of bugs and enthusiastic attendees! Many thanks for arranging it.

Publicado por jcochran706 hace alrededor de 2 meses

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