Sunday, March 9, 2014

Annaphila decia ~ 03/09/14 ~ Pinnacles

Annaphila day-flying moth nectaring on birch-leaf mountain mahogany
Annaphila decia nectaring on Cercocarpus betuloides

I think I've fallen in love.  This Annaphila is small, maybe 2/3 the size of its larger A. depicta sibling.  In fact, that's how I was introduced to the genus 3 years ago by Chris Grinter.  Its lines are gorgeous.  Look how they line up exactly on both the top and bottom wings, in its natural pose.  Even from the underside, there's full-on orange.  Be still my heart.

Unfortunately, I'm uncertain of its ID.  I queried Paul Johnson from Pinnacles, and we agreed it isn't well represented online.  Come on, look at this horrid picture.  He thinks it's A. decia. Both Moth Photographers Group and Pacific Northwest Moths have spread photos that don't quite match in my eyes.  I used to be quite familiar with Hodges, and I believe it's possible this is a yet undescribed Annaphila species (Hodges 9850-9872), the same as Hartmut Wisch's photos on BugGuide.  I'm asking Jerry Powell and Paul Opler for their opinions, hence why I'm including extra photos in this post.  Then, for Jeffrey Caldwell, yes, I do have additional pictorial evidence of proboscis use on the Cercocarpus betuloides flowers.

Holy cow, btw!  This bush was literally buzzing, which is so strange, because nothing else around it had that kind of activity, not even neighboring mountain mahoganies.  The leaf chews were kind of cute.  Leafcutter bees?

Annaphila decia looking very much like a jumping spider

And finally, you read it here first on Nature ID.  Paul Johnson suggested I could get an Annaphila paper out of the uncanny resemblance to jumping spiders that I noticed in this photo, right down to their striped legs.  The black scales on its shoulders and scruff of the neck look a lot like eyes, don't they?  Of course, I'd need to look at Paul's PNP specimens, observe more, take a lot more photos including local jumping spiders.  Apparently, our crappy 10-year-old point-and-shoot isn't so crappy, since it gets images when Paul's fancier DSLRs scare away the subjects.  Mmm, maybe, I should take on this pet project?  That is, if I don't lose interest first; I am prone to infatuations, after all (don't get me started on salamanders).  At the very least, I should figure out a way to get gas and food supplemented for these kinds of efforts.  For astonishingly hilarious jumping spider videos from down under, check out Jürgen Otto's peacock spiders.  Ha!  LiveScience has an excellent interview with Jürgen of how he came to do this.

ps 03/16/14 - I'm worried I might be a little crazy to believe I may have found a "new to science" moth.  In my defense, I've seen it happen twice for plants at Fort Ord within the last 2 years.  For some wacky reason, land life has not been as well-documented for the greater Monterey area compared to just north by 2 hours.  I think everyone is focused on the ocean life here, instead.

Then the thought process continues to something on my bucket list.  I want to be the person to name and describe a new species.  Crazy, huh?  I already know I would name it after Chris Grinter @ The Skeptical Moth, because of all the help he's provided me with moth IDs since I started my blog 5 years ago.

I've heard back from everyone I've queried.  I feel like I've found my fold with their various personalities.  There was a suggestion that this was A. divinula, which has only a single online reference on the Moth Photographers Group.  Nope.  Yes, yes, I already have in mind to personally check out 5 collections that would most likely have comparable specimens.  And so, my journey continues...

ps 03/21/14 - I've made a firm ID above (until I find out otherwise) and provided an update with comparison to Pinnacles specimens.


Anonymous said...

Interesting observation! Here is a paper about day-flying metalmark moths (Choreutidae: Brenthia) mimicking jumping spiders.

Imperfect and Tense said...

Wowser! That's a big lump of science to squeeze into one post :o)

A suggestion of a 'new to science' species, plus the mimicking possibilities (of which I was blithely unaware).

A. Maze. Ing.

Katie (Nature ID) said...

Thank you so much for the paper, Charley. I need to figure out JSTOR if I'm going to continue this research.

Katie (Nature ID) said...

Graeme, did you check out the peacock spider videos?

Imperfect and Tense said...

The clue's in the question ;o)

Spiders? No way!

OK, I promise to have a look...

Imperfect and Tense said...

You were correct. That was amazing and hilarious. I couldn't help thinking that it explained a great deal about the roots of dancing in human tribal cultures. Thanks for chivvying me to watch it.