Here are a few more images from my recent northern road trip, this time from western Idaho. Right outside the town of New Meadows were fields of flowers thick with life. It was some of the best day collecting I’ve done in years, and fellow road tripper Peter Jump and I discovered this population of Adela flammeusella. This represents a likely state record for Idaho and possibly the eastern most population known for this species. They are supposedly associated with Owl’s Clover (some now reassigned to Castilleja), but I don’t recall ever seeing any at this location. I usually notice this plant whenever I’m in the field because it is the host to a handful of other interesting leps.
One frustrating character of the genus Adela is the homogeneity of the genitalia. For any entomologist out there it is par for the course to use the morphology of genitalia as a plethora of characters most useful in species identification. Microleps are often most easily differentiated through dissection, and a few groups must be dissected to even get to genus! But even strikingly different Adela are almost identical internally. Instead, a leg will go off to get DNA barcoded. Chances are it’s nothing too interesting, but stranger things have been known to happen. At the very least it will be informative to know what the genetic divergence might be across the range of the species.