Welcome to the new year, and nearly a full year of blogging! It’s amazing how fast the time flew by, but again it always does. As you likely noticed December turned out to be my weakest posting month with a whopping 2 posts. Resolution: more posting!
Progress has been made and unfortunately it is pointing toward a direction I was not particularly hoping for. As it turns out my moth may not be new after all! I finally managed to track down two specimens of a species known from the same general vicinity as my specimen above. Gazoryctra lemberti is known from the central Sierra Nevada near Yosemite but has been so rarely collected I can only find 5 specimens known to science in the literature. Two additional specimens are housed at the Field Museum in Chicago (which was totally unknown to me, and nearly knocked me off my feet when I found them during a random drawer sweep!). When I saw this moth I knew what I was seeing – my moth from the Sierra!
The two Field Museum specimens are rather special in that they date from the collection of Harrison G. Dyar, 1894. (Read more about this crazy eccentric lepidopterist over on an old Bug Girl post). On the data label was a small tag indicating a publication: I looked it up – G. lemberti OD (.pdf).
Hummm that’s a pretty good coincidence, 2 specimens collected at this exact locality on the exact year… wait, these are probably the original type series! What are the chances that a moth known from 5 specimens would have another two specimens from the same date in another collection? More work to do, but it’s always nice to find a “lost” type.
But what this means is that the bug above is most likely Gazoryctra lemberti, and not a new species after all. Glad I didn’t start too much work on this…