Ron Gatrelle gatrelle at
Fri Jan 12 13:31:55 EST 2001

I am considered by some as an expert on US leps. To what ever degree this
is true, I did it on my own. Growing up in Iowa I had to find all my own
spots, make my own identifications because there were no other collectors
or Museums around. I then joined the Navy and spent two seasons in San
Diego. This pattern continued there. Not because there were no other
lep-ers or Museums, but because I did not know of or come into contact with
them until just a few months before the Navy moved me to Pensacola FL. (I
met Fred Thorne about 3 months before I left San Diego). Two seasons in
Pensacola and then here to Charleston. Over the years I have been the first
to establish hundreds of new state, and county records. I also was forced
to become a taxonomist in having to make all my own identifications.
I am a firm believer in two things. First, find your own spots, and second
find new spots. I often make long trips to areas (even other states) I know
nothing about and spend the vast majority of the time driving around with
many very short (5 minute) stops to "check out" areas. Just one example.
Twenty years ago I was invited to go to northeast Nebraska to do some
preaching. I called the Big-Collector-Guy in Neb. and asked if he new of
any Speyeria idalia colonies in that area of the state. He said no. While
there I spent one full day just driving, crisscrossing the grid of rural
roads. I found a thriving colony of idalia in about 300 acres of
semi-virgin prairie with a small amount of cattle grazing the area. Seek
and you shall find.
The biggest benefit I have seen by the "new Lepsters" (watchers). Is that
their disdain for collectors has caused them not communicate with the
collectors - so they have reinvented the wheel and found many new
Ron Gatrelle
----- Original Message -----
From: "Todd Redhead" <toddredhead at>
To: <leps-l at>
Sent: Friday, January 12, 2001 10:16 AM
Subject: Hotspots
> Question from a relative newcomer:
> Collectors, it seems to me, all seem to have a couple of "hotspots" where
> they collect regularly.  A good hotspot might be an area where one can
> some uncommon species with some regularity or maybe where there is a
> diveristy of insects that can be found in sheer numbers.  These hotspots
> are, for obvious reasons, often closely guarded secrets.
> Here is my question:
> How do collectors out there find these places?  Is there a method that is
> commonly followed or is it just hit and miss?  How would you suggest a
> newbee (me) go about developing his own hotspots?
> Thanks from Toronto (about 20 deg F today)
> Todd
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