iNatting in Real Time - An Experiment (for me)

Mary Kay and I took a couple of hikes in Forest Park in suburban Portland, OR, today. And today's effort was purposefully a little different for me in the field. Because (a) we were hiking in a densely-shaded forest which was giving my small point-and-hope Canon camera fits in the low-light conditions, and (b) we were in an urban park with pretty good cell phone reception and I had my trusty new iPhone 14 at hand, I decided to go full “iPhone-iNaturalist” mode for the day. This was a way to both accumulate some more observations but, more importantly, to better familiarize myself with the operation of the iOS version of the iNaturalist app. Previously I had occasionally “Explored” an area with the app, but I rarely uploaded observations in real time in the field. This was a chance to try my hand at the latter type of work flow.

So in about 4 hours and 3 miles of hiking (a pretty typical iNat pace for me), I made and uploaded about 75 observations. In my recent uploads (for July 3 from about 10 a.m. to 2 p.m. PDT), this includes all the plants and a few critters from https://www.inaturalist.org/observations/170866351 through https://www.inaturalist.org/observations/170909028.

I came away with the following take-home lessons:

— It’s so much fun and so easy to accumulate observations in real time; this is a drastic reduction in the work required compared to my usual tedious work flow that I’m infamous for. See, for instance:
https://www.inaturalist.org/posts/37458-my-inaturalist-upload-process (Am I right? @sambiology, @kimberlietx)

— In addition to the fun of quicker uploads, I think the real-time and repeated access to field identifications is a hugely positive learning tool. I found myself more readily cementing into my neurons the names of new-to-me plants without the need of continually leafing through a field guide or waiting until I got back to other references at home. This, of course, is a direct result of being in the field in an area with relatively strong cell phone coverage. Elsewhere in the “boondocks”, this capability wouldn’t exit. Using the app in the field as a handy learning tool is also constrained by the following issue:

— Adding identifications to observations for real-time uploads is still a somewhat frustrating and iffy process. iNat’s Computer Vision is amazing and is improving with every release. However, suggestions for plants are still most commonly placed at genus level in a botanically diverse area like the Pacific Northwest. That means a lot of genus-level uploads and the need to wait until I get back to references (i.e. hard-copy books and full-fledged internet) or wait on others to refine those IDs. Maybe this shows my own impatience or my pathological self-reliance on such matters; I am uncomfortable relying on external “validation” of IDs.

— Because of the limited editing tools available to use on images in the iOS version of the app, I quickly found it necessary (to meet my own demanding standards for cropping, etc.) to take images with the Camera app first, then edit them a little bit (especially cropping) in Photos before grabbing them from the Photos stream to upload them as observations from within the iNat app. If I simply accessed the camera from within the app, I was left with whatever image size, shape, and quality was obtained in real time. The newer iPhones have great cameras, but most often they just don’t meet my standards for iNat submissions. I understand that for the vast majority of cell phone contributors of iNat observations, this is less of an issue. But as the cliché goes, “I have my standards.”

All-in-all today’s hiking with the iNat app was a very positive experience and exposure for me. I’m sure you’ll be seeing more such uploads from me in the future, but…I’m still old school, so I’m not giving up my beloved field guides, books, MPG, BG, Biodiversity Heritage Library, and other tools. My work flow for the thousands of observations thus far (and in the future) accumulated on the present road trip will still take the pathway characterized by my long-ingrained snail pace!

由使用者 gcwarbler gcwarbler2023年07月04日 02:27 所貼文 | 3 評論 | 留下評論


Cross-Post: A Newly-Identified Texas Endemic Pyralid

On the Moths of the Greater Austin project journal, I just uploaded a detailed account of our (@jcochran706 and me) recent recognition of a Texas endemic Phycitine moth, the "Cute Plateau Pyralid", which flies for only a brief time in the Spring. That post has some identification notes and will soon have some supporting images. In the meantime, here are links to the iNat species pages for the Cute Plateau Pyralid, it's MPG page, and it's most similar relative, the Dusky Raisin Moth, and it's MPG page.

由使用者 gcwarbler gcwarbler2023年04月18日 23:21 所貼文 | 7 個觀察記錄 | 0 評論 | 留下評論


Inaugural Texas moth festival - Mega Moth Mission

This ought to be spectacular! The National Butterfly Center has announced an exciting new event, Mega Moth, scheduled for Labor Day Weekend, Friday-Monday, September 1-4, 2023. The event will be based out of, and focused, of course, on the National Butterfly Center near Mission, Texas, with host accomodations at La Quinta Inn & Suites in McAllen. Registration is now open. Complete details about the event can be found here:

Mega Moth Mission

There will be many mothing stations set up at NBC on Friday through Sunday nights, as well as workshops and guided walks during the day. Lecturers will include Jack Cochran (@jcochran706) and Kate Fatras (@k8thegr8), with a keynote talk on Saturday night by yours truly.

With this journal entry, I’m announcing the topic of my Saturday evening talk, which will be: “A ‘Birder Gone Bad’: Expanding My Horizons into Mothing.” I will explore my own journey into moths, along with the commonalities of this path traveled by—or available for travel to—anyone with a keen interest in Nature.

I hope all of you will consider being a part of this inaugural event and join us at the National Butterfly Center in September!

See also, Jack Cochran's (@jcochran706) announcement of the event here.

由使用者 gcwarbler gcwarbler2023年03月20日 15:17 所貼文 | 3 評論 | 留下評論


A Couple of Upcoming March 2023 Activities

March is a wonderfully busy month for all of us iNaturalists. I’m a little late getting this posted but I wanted to announce a couple of opportunities for Austin area iNatters.

  1. I will be hosting a visit in Austin for our pal and premier iNaturalist James Bailey of California (@silversea_starsong), March 7-13. James will be staying at our house on Salton Drive and I’m going to be figuring out a schedule of daily target activities to maximize James’ time in Central Texas. We have no fixed schedule yet but we’ll probably be making local field trips within 1-2 hours of Austin on most days, March 8-12. We might even organize a pot luck dinner in James’ honor on the evening of Friday or Saturday (March 10 or 11). All of this is to be determined. But PLEASE leave a note on this journal post, message me directly, or send me an email at [gcwarbler AT austin.rr.com] if you’d like me to keep you advised of the anticipated schedule. We’d love to coordinate with and link up with as many other Austin-area iNatters as we can.
  2. Mike Murphy (@mikmurphy), owner and proprietor of Los Madrones Ranch near Dripping Springs, TX, has invited local iNaturalists in the Austin region to visit the ranch for a memorial mini-bioblitz on Saturday, March 25, in honor and memory of our friend Greg Lasley who spent a lot of time on Los Madrones.
    Mike announced the event in a comment on the RIP Greg Lasley blog here:
    There will be a midday BBQ and we will be setting up a few mothing stations at Los Madrones on Friday night. Visitors will have the opportunity for overnight camping (primitive) but facilities are limited. Please contact Mike Murphy directly on iNaturalist or via his email address (see the above blog). Here’s a link to an iNat map of observations in/around Los Madrones Ranch off of Hamilton Pool Road in western Travis County:

Please leave a comment here or message me directly and let me know of your interest in either/both events.

由使用者 gcwarbler gcwarbler2023年02月14日 01:54 所貼文 | 13 評論 | 留下評論


Complex Taxonomic History of Cisthene and Illice

My recent research into “The Complex History of Two Lichen Moth Genera”, Cisthene and Illice (including a discussion of Eudesmia and several other lichen moths), has now been published in the December 2022 issue of Southern Lepidopterists’ News (Vol. 44, No. 4, pp. 461-468). A pdf copy of the paper is available to download on ResearchGate.net at this link.

If you have trouble downloading that paper or don't have access to ResearchGate, please message me privately and I can send it as an attachment to an email. I'm going to tag a number of iNatters who contributed images and otherwise helped with this research.

Cisthene unifascia_5184

由使用者 gcwarbler gcwarbler2023年02月07日 14:15 所貼文 | 10 評論 | 留下評論


Recognizing Eudesmia quadrifasciata of southern Mexico

Resumen (español): Eudesmia quadrifasciata es muy similar a E. arida. Su principal carácter distintivo, la mayor parte de las alas traseras negras, no es evidente en las fotos de campo. Las diferencias sutiles en la forma de la mancha subterminal en las alas anteriores pueden ayudar a distinguir la especie; esta mancha es más corta y más en forma de lágrima en quadrifasciata que en arida. Los rangos de las dos especies están muy separados. E. quadrifasciata se encuentra desde el estado de México al sur hasta Oaxaca.

Eudesmia quadrifasciata: Acatlán, Puebla @hildeberto | Zapotitlán, Puebla @bsullend

Eudesmia quadrifasciata: Ixtapan de la Sal, México @mizrain | Zapotitlán, Puebla @monitorzapotitlansalinas

The lichen moth Eudesmia quadrifasciata (Erebidae: Arctiinae) is very similar to E. arida of northern Mexico and the southwestern United States. Walker (1865) described "Gerba quadrifasciata" from Oaxaca, Mexico, from a single male specimen. It's primary distinguishing character is the mostly black hindwing with just a small basal spot of orange, a character that will be unrecognizable in most field photos. Other than this aspect, Walker's brief original description does not allow for handy discrimination from most other Eudesmia which occur in Mexico. Of note, however, Walker did mention that the subterminal crescent "narrows towards the interior angle, which it does not reach." Hampson's (1900) redescription of quadrifasciata and illustration of the type (below) indicate that the subterminal crescent runs from "just below the costa to just below vein 2", i.e., somewhat shorter than the more northern E. arida and unlike E. menea. The illustration of E. quadrifasciata by Hampson (1900, pl. 25, fig. 23, below, left) shows a forewing that is probably indistinguishable from that of E. arida but Draudt's illustration (1918, pl. 35, row i, below, right) emphasizes that the subterminal crescent is short and teardrop-shaped (thicker anteriorly, narrowed posteriorly). As with populations of other species/phenotypes, the hue of the color bands and their widths vary quite a bit within the small available set of images. None of the available images on iNaturalist shows a view of the hindwing or abdomen.

Eudesmia quadrifasciata Hampson 1900 Eudesmia quadrifasciata Draudt 1918

Among iNaturalist observations as of 20 December 2022, I identified 9 observations in the Mexican states of Oaxaca, Puebla, Morelos, and Mexico which have a distinct short, teardrop-shaped subterminal crescent (map, below). An additional somewhat disjunct record in the state of Jalisco appears to be of the same phenotype:

Dyar's (1917) "Cisthene" [= Eudesmia] tehuacana, described from Tehuacán in the state of Puebla, Mexico, apparently differs from E. quadrifasciata only in that the abdomen is "black above, except at base and tip". I expect this is just a regional variant of E. quadrifasciata.


Draudt, M. 1918. 61. Genus: Cisthene Wkr. Pp. 273, In: A. Seitz, The Macrolepidoptera of the world: a systematic account of all the known Macrolepidoptera. Division II: The Macrolepidoptera of the American Region, Vol. 6. The American Bombyces and Sphinges. Publ. 30, XI, 1918.

Dyar, H. G. 1917. A note on Cisthene. Ins. Insc. Menstr. 5:8-10.

Hampson, G. F. 1900. Catalogue of the Lepidoptera Phalaenae in the British Museum. Vol. 2. Catalogue of the Arctiadae (Nolinae, Lithosianae) in the Collecion of the British Museum. London. 589 p.

Walker, F. 1864 [1865]. List of the Specimens of Lepidopterous Insects in the Collection of the British Museum. Part XXXI--Supplement. Printed by order of the Trustees, London.

由使用者 gcwarbler gcwarbler2022年12月22日 03:41 所貼文 | 1 評論 | 留下評論


Testing SimpleMappr

I'm learning how to use SimpleMappr (SimpleMappr.net) to create distribution maps. Here I'm going to try to embed the first map I created. It shows the distribution of five species of Eudesmia lichen moths in southern South America. The data are mostly from a download of all iNat sightings of four of the species as of Dec. 8, 2022, with the addition of a couple of records from earlier literature. Please don't take this as a final product of anything. I'm still working on the data set. This is just an EXAMPLE of the use of SimpleMappr.

The next test is to show a downloaded version of a map which I then uploaded to Flickr and will embed here. This shows the distribution of observations of Eudesmia cypris in Mexico, from iNaturalist data as of Dec. 8, 2022. This can be compared to the (adjacent) screen capture of the iNat observation map from my previous post on this species. (There are more dots on the iNat screen capture because it includes a few sightings on which there isn't community agreement yet, e.g. the original observer or subsequent identifier has not yet concurred.)

Eudesmia_cypris_1350 Map Eudesmia cypris iNat 20221206

Well, that seems to work OK. Don't worry about the size of the legends, scales, etc. These versions of the images have been reduced just to fit conveniently in the journal format.

由使用者 gcwarbler gcwarbler2022年12月19日 03:25 所貼文 | 7 評論 | 留下評論


Eudesmia cypris: A distinctive lichen moth from central Mexico

Resumen (español): Entre las varias especies del género de líquenes Eudesmia descritas en México, E. cypris se reconoce fácilmente por su tórax negro. Por lo demás, es muy similar a E. arida. Ocurre en las tierras altas del centro de México en los estados de Aguascalientes, Guanajuato, Jalisco, Michoacán y el sur de Zacatecas.

Eudesmia cypris (L to R): Agauscalientes, @leptonia | Michoacán, @minerva31 | Michoacán, @elrayman210

In my continuing review of the literature on the lichen moth genus Eudesmia, I have tried to carefully read the original descriptions, compare those to the earliest published drawings of the species (often from the type specimens), and then compare these to the array of modern images available on iNaturalist and other repositories. This is very challenging for the populations of this genus in Mexico. There are no less than 11 species names that have been applied to various Eudesmia populations in Mexico. Many of these are likely to be synonyms because of the variation in color and patterns that wasn’t appreciated by researchers in the 19th Century (see my journal entry on this topic). However, a few of the named species have distinctive enough characters to be recognizable in modern images.

One such species is Eudesmia cypris (Druce, 1894) (originally described in the genus Ruscino; see below). Druce described the species from a specimen from Lake Chapala, Jalisco, Mexico. This is a blackish moth with the standard Eudesmia orange-yellow median band across the forewings, a subterminal arc of the same color, and with the basal part of the hindwings also orange-yellow. Druce described the median orange-yellow band as “wide”, but his illustration in volume 3 of the moth volumes of Godman & Salvin’s Biologia Centrali-Americana (plate 78, figure 5; see below) shows a Eudesmia with a rather narrow median band compared to the variation seen in various other populations and species. The margins of this median band are fairly straight.

Druce BCA III 78-5 Ruscino cypris annotated

The subterminal orange arc is much like that in Eudesmia arida in that it does not quite reach the costal margin of the forewing. Most importantly, however, Druce further described the species as having the “head, antennae, thorax, abdomen, and legs black; collar and tegulae orange-yellow.” The black thorax and abdomen are evident in the aforementioned image in the Biologia and these are distinct from all other populations of Eudesmia in Mexico. The next nearest species with black on the thorax are the distinctive Eudesmia unicincta and Eudesmia lunaris of Colombia and Venezuela. Populations of other named Eudesmia species all around E. cypris have an entirely orange-yellow head, thorax, and abdomen.

As I reviewed observations on iNaturalist, I encountered a distinct set of images in the highlands of central Mexico with the diagnostic black center of the thorax, surrounded by the orange collar and tegulae as described by Druce. They occur in a geographically unified region in the interior of Mexico in the states of Aguascaliente, Guanajuato, Jalisco, Michoacán, and Zacatecas (see screen capture from iNat, below). I conclude that these all represent Eudesmia cypris. The species appears to be confined mainly to the western portion of the Trans-Mexican Volcanic Belt (TMVB)(see map below) and nearby highlands of the Sierra Madre Occidental to near Zacatecas (city). There are no images yet of the species on the Pacific coastal slope of west Mexico and none south of the TMVB.

Map Eudesmia cypris iNat 20221206
Map of Eudesmia cypris observations, as of 7 December 2022. For another version of a range map of Eudesmia cypris, see my journal entry on testing SimpleMappr.

Perez-Moreno et al 2021 Fig 1 TMVB crop 2nd
Trans-Mexican Volcanic Belt (TMVB). Adapted from Pérez-Moreno et al. 2021. Appl. Sci. 2021, 11(13), 6126. Open Access, downloaded from mdpi.com.

Thus far this range seems to be allopatric with (i.e., completely separate from that of) Eudesmia arida which occurs south to northern Zacatecas in the west and across the arid Mexican plateau to Nuevo Leon, San Luis Potosi, and Hidalgo. I haven’t found any other obvious field marks for separating cypris and arida in images of living moths except for the black thorax (which is all orange in arida). It is conceivable that cypris is just a regional color morph of arida (in which case, “Eudesmia cypris (Druce, 1894)" would have name priority over “Eudesmia arida (Skinner, 1906)”), but that must await proper phylogenetic studies with genitalic examination and DNA analysis.


Druce, H. 1894. Descriptions of some new species of Heterocera from Central America. Ann. Mag. Nat. Hist. (6)13:168-182.

Druce, H., 1881-1900. Biologia Centrali-Americana. Insecta. Lepidoptera-Heterocera, Vol. I., Vol. II (1891-1900), Vol. III (Plates; 1891-1900). Edited by F. D. Godman and O. Salvin. Links to BHL: Description of Ruscino cypris in Vol. II; link to plate 78 in Vol. III.

Skinner, H. 1906. New butterflies and moths with notes on some species. Entomol. News 17(3):95-96.

由使用者 gcwarbler gcwarbler2022年12月07日 18:00 所貼文 | 2 評論 | 留下評論


Recognizing Eudesmia australis (Orfila, 1935)

Eudesmia australis (Orfila, 1935)

Cisthene australis Orfila, 1935. Rev. Soc. Entomol. Arg. 7:225-226.
Vianania australis Orfila, 1953. Physis 20(59):483-484.
[Bendib & Minet (1999) synonymized Vianania under Eudesmia.]

Resumen (español): Eudesmia australis se puede reconocer por las pequeñas manchas anaranjadas en el collar y las manchas anaranjadas subapicales "triangulares" en las alas anteriores. La especie se encuentra desde el estado de Santa Catarina, Brasil, hasta el sur del departamento de Buenos Aires, Argentina.
Resumo (português): Eudesmia australis pode ser reconhecida pelas pequenas manchas laranja no colarinho e pelas manchas laranja subapicais "triangulares" nas asas anteriores. A espécie é encontrada desde o estado de Santa Catarina, Brasil, ao sul do departamento de Buenos Aires, Argentina.

Eudesmia australis: Argentina @claudianr | Argentina @luchoperalta | Uruguay @gmmv80

Like other southern South American members of the genus, Eudesmia australis has (a) two orange subterminal patches instead of one orange crescent, and (b) a median orange or yellow band which often has irregular margins, bulges in the middle, and narrows at the costa and inner forewing margins. Of the two subterminal patches, the shape of the subapical one has been described as "subtriangular" or "triangular" (Orfila 1935, 1953), refering to the fact that the patch is widest in the middle, its basal edge forms a broad obtuse angle, and the distal margin is evenly and gently curved. This is similar to the same patch on E. ruficollis of Brazil and contrasts with the rectangular or crescentic subapical patch on E. argentinensis. The thorax is mostly black with two widely separated spots of orange on the collar, unlike the nearly continuous orange collar of both E. argentinensis and E. ruficollis. There appears to be a general trend for the orange on the collar to be slightly more extensive towards the northern part of the range of this species, thus approaching the continuous orange collar shown on E. ruficollis.

On iNaturalist, Eudesmia australis has been documented from southern Brazil, through Uruguay, and into southern Buenos Aires province, Argentina, where the species apparently overlaps with Eudesmia argentinensis. The westernmost images on iNaturalist are near Tornquist, Buenos Aires Province. The northernmost images are from the state of Santa Catarina, Brazil.

DRAFT map of the distribution of five species of Eudesmia in southern South America. Data are from iNaturalist observations as of 8 December 2022 plus a few earlier records from the literature.

Orfila, R. N. 1935. Lepidoptera Neotropica, II. Dos nuevas especies de Noctuoidea. Rev. Soc. Entomol. Arg. 7:225-226.

Orfila, R. N. 1953. Notas sobre Lithosiidae, I. El género Eudesmia Hb. y un género y especie nuevos. Physis 20:474-485.

由使用者 gcwarbler gcwarbler2022年11月27日 15:01 所貼文 | 9 評論 | 留下評論

Uncovering another lichen moth: Eudesmia aymara from Bolivia

Resumen (español): Después de estudiar la literatura sobre varios géneros de polillas de líquenes, descubrí una observación de Eudesmia aymara, una especie local y aparentemente poco común del centro de Bolivia. La observación fue realizada por @eldirko en enero de 2021. [En la taxonomía de iNat, esta especie solía ser incluida en el género Vianania. Posteriormente Bendib & Monet (1999) colocaron Vianania como sinónimo de Eudesmia.]

This is kind of fun! I’ve spent many days recently delving into the literature on the lichen moths of the genus Eudesmia and related genera such as Vianania, etc. This can be pretty tedious, but I really enjoy little discoveries along the way. Well, today I made a big “discovery” in this group of moths.

Eudesmia aymara was described originally in the genus Vianania by Ricardo N. Orfila in 1953 from a few specimens collected in Bolivia. The original description (of both the new genus and species) is in the Spanish-language journal, Physis, the official bulletin of the Argentine Association of Natural Sciences (Asociación Argentina de Ciencias Naturales). Hernan M. Beccacece of the National University of Córdoba (Argentina) was kind enough to send me a pdf of the original paper by Orfila. Almost simultaneously in my literature review, I came across a listing of “Type material of Arctiinae…in the Museo Argentino de Ciencias Naturales” (Rodriguez-Ramirez et al. 2020. Zootaxa 4742) which included photographs of the holotype specimen of Vianania aymara. [Incidentally, although Orfila does not explain the name, “aymara” refers to a population of indigenous people of Bolivia and their language.] As I read through Orfila’s description and looked at the photos in the other paper, I once again came to the conclusion that it ought to be recognizable in field photos. However, as of earlier today (11/26/2022), there were no observations of any Vianania or Eudesmia moths on iNaturalist from Bolivia, despite there being at least two and maybe three species occurring in the country.

So I began a search through tiger and lichen moths (Arctiinae) from Bolivia, which numbered some 1,500 observations. Several pages into this set of observations, I suddenly came across this observation by Dirk Dekker (@eldirko), made in the Sucre municipality, Chiquisaca Dept., Bolivia, in January 2021:
Eudesmia aymara, Bolivia, Dirk Dekker (iNat)
It is a perfect match to Orfila’s description and the illustration of the holotype specimen (which I can’t link to because of copyright restrictions). I finished going through the rest of the Arctiids in Bolivia and found no other examples. So Dirk’s image is the first photo of a living example of the species, and to date, the only one.

The species is recognized by the combination of marks I mention in Dirk’s observation, above, namely:
-- orange collar
-- black thorax and abdomen
-- pale yellow median band on the forewings consisting of 4 separate spots (innermost reduced to a dot)
-- two yellow subterminal patches on forewings
-- hindwing broadly yellow at base, with black terminal band
From Orfila’s specimens and Dirk Dekker’s image, the species has only been documented in two locations in mountainous central Bolivia. The number of specimens which may have been subsequently taken by collectors or researchers and which are sitting in obscure collections is unknown. It makes me wonder what other unrecognized discoveries are hidden among unidentified observations on iNaturalist!

DRAFT map of the distribution of five species of Eudesmia in southern South America. Data are from iNaturalist observations as of 8 December 2022 plus a few earlier records from the literature.

Acknowledgements: Thanks to Dirk Dekker (@eldirko) for uploading this important observation! I also thank Hernan M. Beccacece (Universidad Nacional de Córdoba, @hernan24) and Juan López-Gappa (Museo Argentino de Ciencias Naturales Bernardino Rivadavia) for providing difficult-to-locate references. Jose Balderrama (@jose_balderrama) helped with Bolivian placenames. Lucas Rubio (@lrubio7) helped update the taxonomy on iNaturalist.org. Tony Iwane (@tiwane) helped me trouble-shoot the syntax for this post.

由使用者 gcwarbler gcwarbler2022年11月27日 03:07 所貼文 | 8 評論 | 留下評論