New places

Ron Gatrelle gatrelle at
Sun Jun 10 14:30:51 EDT 2001

Mark wrote:

Another thing worth encouraging is the discovery of new pockets of
habitat -
places where bugs fly that have not been previously studied or where data
has not been previously recorded.  Simply going back to the same old well
known hot spots is important for the monitoring of known populations - but
find it so much more interesting to locate these new spots.  Here's where
you(we) amateurs play a huge roll.  Most (I'm tip-toeing through the tulips
here) BTB and collector folks will seek out locations where they can expect
to see certain species.  Others - especially the children amateurs who are
limited to the habitats very close to home - tend to go out looking
they see flora (the concrete jungle of L.A. in the 60's was still inundated
with overgrown empty lots).  These are my kind of lepidopterists.


Double dittos on this. Growing up in Iowa (Buffalo) it was just me and the
neighborhood. Then the pasture, the orchard, the rock quarry. The prairies
didn't get checked till I was grown and came back to visit.

In San Diego (Navy, 67) it was just me and the vacant lots on Point Loma
and where ever the bus would take me.  There were other lepsters there - I
just never encounter any till I met Fred Thorne just before we moved. The
wife was from L.A. area (Duarte) so when we visited her uncle up there I
located a few more lots, parks and canyons - sonora blues too.

In Pensacola it was the same story. Then here to Charleston. Perhaps this
is why to this day I more often then not just "head out" - I just drive.
After a while you just develop an instinct. That area looks interesting.
Well what do you know I just found M. hesseli for the first time in South
Carolina. I just rediscovered P. batesii in NC.  Here is a new population
of atala in Dade county, Fl.  Went to northeast Nebraska, and how about
that, a 200 acre still largely prairie pasture loaded with Speyeria idella.
(Before going to the area I had called the resident Nebraska lepsters who
said they didn't know of any idella in that part of the state.)

I had to learn all the taxonomic stuff myself too. No BTB books, no
collector mentor, no hot spots or any one to show me to them etc. I had to
learn the taxonomy of these things by myself too. The first S. kingi I ever
caught was in Pensacola in early AUGUST! - a rag of a female. I still have
the specimen. It took me weeks to ID that thing but I got it right. I had
to not only find the spots I had to develop a taxonomic eye too.

So, if you just want to fill out a drawer or a life list - go with the
crowd. If you want to find those undiscovered colonies in those unknown
habitat niches - go where no lepster has gone before. Then that will become
"the hot spot" where the masses will parade to - while you are off to -
well, no one really know where or what you will find either. Including

As Mark said, discovering new "islands" of habitat may be one the most
needed and least facilitated areas of lepidoptering today. These places
need to be ofound now for before they are gone forever.


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