[Fwd: Fw: Re: [SoWestLep] 2005 prospects for S. Calif. and NW Arizona.]

Monarchrst at aol.com Monarchrst at aol.com
Mon Jan 24 10:32:17 EST 2005

There are some interesting observations on this subject here in Yuma, Arizona.  We are tucked away in the very southwest corner of the state.  We are having the wettest winter for about 9 years, maybe longer than that.  Back in 1994, or thereabouts, we had similar spring rains (sprinkles by anyone else's standards) and the wild flowers carpeted the deserts in all directions.  This year has the same wild-flower abundance.

The difference is that we have had a very cool early winter with very little flying.  Currently, that is resulting in very low moth catches to blacklight.  The species range is there but not the numbers.  In the last really wet early spring, I was catching so many moths that it was actually quite hard too go through a trap because of the sheer numbers that were present.  Hundreds of H. lineata, thousands of the various common geometrids and noctuids - it used to be almost like a scene from a horror movie.  This year, the trap has only 20-30 in it.  A starkly different picture.  It was particularly noticeable last week, when we had warm, calm, partly cloudy  nights, with minimums close to 60F.  Normally at this time of year, that would bring vast numbers, even on a dryish winter.

So I am wondering whether the previous coolness as well as any impact on earlier droughts, keep the numbers down for a while.  I shall be interested to see if the February/March numbers come back up to normal.

Ian Watkinson


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