Species definitions!

Grkovich, Alex agrkovich at tmpeng.com
Wed Sep 5 15:25:07 EDT 2001

Oh, I'm not saying the field work is not necessary. Quite the contrary! But
if we observe the countless Fritillaries with the intent of merely drawing
up a tally of "245 X, 126 Y, 57 Z... etc." without progressing beyond this
level of study, then what is the worth of the field work, either to
ourselves or to science? The poor fellow who has taken the time and spent
the energy to determine that there were "223" instead of "225" Juvenal's
Duskywings (and I'm using an example of a posting I saw from this past May-
and the poor fellow reported them as "Juvenile's") himself is probably
unaware of the treasures that exist on the other side of the door of
understanding. That's what I'm talking about. This is why someone taking the
time to count the actual number of Cabbages seems worthless to me while the
person may be at same time being blind to the observation of the degree of
white banding on an astyannax or the degree of hybridization between
weidemeyerii and rubrofasciata etc. etc. Or even to the understanding of why
some astyannax have bands and others don't. And the worst factor is that
some people in leadership capacities permit or even propagate ignorance in

> -----Original Message-----
> From:	Mark Walker [SMTP:MWalker at gensym.com]
> Sent:	Wednesday, September 05, 2001 3:15 PM
> To:	'agrkovich at tmpeng.com'; 'Ron Gatrelle'; 'Leps-l'
> Subject:	RE: Species definitions!
> Alex wrote:
> > I guess what bothers me the most is that such very deep 
> > mysteries have been
> > replaced by endless reports of "I saw 23 Orange Sulphurs and 15 Common
> > Sulphurs and 223 Juvenals Duskywings and ...." And anyway, 
> > since when has it
> > become so important to actually count Cabbage Butterflies????
> Ahhh, yes, but I guess it IS more important to encourage field work of any
> sort - even if the notion of counting does seem a bit less interesting
> (not
> to mention accurate) than sampling.  I, for one, would like to know when
> someone sees hordes of Juvenal's Duskywings.  In fact, I'm sorry I don't
> provide more information on frequency in my field posts - I've mostly
> stopped putting comments like 'common' or 'numerous' in them.  A lot of
> this
> information is just as, if not more, important than the fact that the
> species was sighted at all (which I guess is Alex's point anyway - we
> don't
> talk about it like Klots did - at least not much, anymore).  For example,
> on
> my most recent trip (while in Grant, Co. OR), I found lots of
> Fritillaries.
> One of them was Speyeria hydaspe.  All the other species of Speyeria were
> fresh.  Absolutely none of the S. hydaspe were fresh, and in fact there
> were
> few with whole wings at all.  This would tell me that S. hydaspe flies
> quite
> a bit earlier than the other Speyeria (along with S. cybele leto), a
> simple
> enough conclusion - but one of significant interest nonetheless.
> Incidentally, I'm looking over the races of Speyeria according to Howe.
> Awesome.  I don't care what you call them specifically, there's little
> more
> fascinating then a drawer showcasing ecologically induced Speyeria
> variation.
> Mark Walker
> Oceanside, CA


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