Wednesday, March 19, 2014

Annaphila decia ~ 03/19/14 ~ Pinnacles

More dead animals.  Hey, don't laugh at my photos, okay?  I should have asked for better lighting; the busy office was incredibly dark.  Getting decent pics is a crapshoot for me, as is evidenced by my crappy photos label.  I have zero interest in photography itself.  However, looking at my photo set compared to the standard is making me feel a bit embarrassed that I didn't take the time to line them up perfectly, properly sized, lighted, etc.  Eh, as it was, it took me a good 2-hour visit to take photos of a few trays' worth of Paul Johnson's Annaphila specimens, some from the Pinnacles National Park collection and some from his personal collection.  Thank you for your time and attention, Paul!

While I prefer alive and natural, over dead and spread, collections do have their uses.  My photos of a live Annaphila from March 9, 2014 match Paul's 4 A. decia specimens, especially compared to the series (scroll down for Annaphila spp.).  There's a distinctive, cartoony sideview of a boy's face on the hindwing, too.  The collection dates were 03/12/02, 03/18/07, and 2x 04/13/06 (yes, yes, I use mm/dd/yy).  That's good enough for me, even though I still don't think they're well represented online and barely match old hand-drawn plates (Hampson Species Index, figs. 7 & 8).  I did find it interesting that a couple more photos were uploaded to BugGuide in the days since my live post.  It's natural, since they're on the wing now.  And, I also located this gorgeous live shot, despite its misspelling (a challenge of online searching).

Alright, I'll admit I was jumping the gun the other day, fantasizing about how I may have accidentally found a previously undescribed species.  It's funny; I'm not ashamed.  Regardless, it reminded me of an item on my bucket list.  I'm not ready to go down that path now, anyways. Someday, right?  

Annaphila decia head on view

I should mention, it's really difficult to spread tiny moths this well.  Spreading takes good dexterity, talent, patience, and desire.  I have none of those qualities.  It's cool how those upright scales (that looked like jumping spider eyes) are still preserved in the spread body.  Now, all I need to do is find me some jumping spiders...

ps 03/27/14 - I am still researching this and may end up personally comparing with U.C. Berkeley's Essig Museum of Entomology original paratypes, which are accurately identified.  There is a potential that my photos, Paul's specimens, BugGuide, and Flickr are all the same, just not A. decia. Crazy, huh?  Go museums!