Monday Moth

ANSWER: This wasn’t easy – but this large and beautiful moth was from Australia and is in the family Xyloryctidae (Philarista sp.). We have a handful of representatives of this group here in the US and Ted MacRae over on Beetles in the Bush has a few great photographs of them. Somehow I think we . . . → Read More: Monday Moth

Monday Moth

Chiricahua multidentata (Geometridae)

This Monday’s moth is a spectacular species from the mountains of Arizona – Chiricahua multidentata, a Geometrid. The only known location for this species is at the very top of the Chiricahua mountains above 9,000 feet (which was just bruned to a crisp). Hopefully the fire was not entirely . . . → Read More: Monday Moth

Monday Moth

I’ll keep the ball rolling with Arctiinae and post a photo today of Ctenucha brunnea. This moth can be common in tall grasses along beaches from San Francisco to LA – although in recent decades the numbers of this moth have been declining with habitat destruction and the invasion of beach grass (Ammophila arenaria). But . . . → Read More: Monday Moth

Monday Moth

I’m going to keep the ball rolling with this series and try to make it more regular. I will also focus on highlighting a new species each week from the massive collections here at the California Academy of Sciences. This should give me enough material for… at least a few hundred years.

Grammia edwardsii . . . → Read More: Monday Moth

Richard Branson is an Idiot


Source: Wikipedia

It turns out that Richard Branson has a new idea; to save the ring-tailed lemur (Lemur catta) by importing them to his private British Virgin Island. As the article points out Branson spent millions of pounds and years of effort to turn the island into “the most ecologically friendly . . . → Read More: Richard Branson is an Idiot

Mystery Revelaed

OK – a few apologies for not having full images *yet* of the larvae in question (I will in a few days!). Over the weekend I was out with a group of Berkeley students on Mount Hamilton and PhD candidate Meghan Culpepper collected a few species of Scaphinotus and a some larvae! So the specimen . . . → Read More: Mystery Revelaed

Estimates of Global Species Diversity

This recent article in the American Naturalist has taken a second look at some of the famously inflated species estimates, some going high as 100 million (Erwin, 1988). Estimates conducted by the authors indicate that projections above 30 million have probabilities of <0.00001. Their estimated range is more likely to be between 2.5 and . . . → Read More: Estimates of Global Species Diversity

Aquamoth part 3

A continuation of the aquamoth series, this time with video from Science Friday! Yes, I have to link it because wordpress won’t embed… Thanks Ted, figured it out!

Aquamoth part 2

I came across the full-text PDF of the amphibious moth article and extracted the tree showing the radiation of this species group and probable evolution of the amphibious traits. Interesting to note the case shape, and each moth is endemic to its own volcano in the Hawaiian archipelago.

This is a Bayesian analysis of . . . → Read More: Aquamoth part 2


Another amazing animal from Hawaii – a completely amphibious caterpillar (published in the March 22 PNAS). While there are a few aquatic Lepidoptera, all of them have gills that keep them restricted to the water (mind you, we are talking only about the larval stage). If their stream dries up, so does the caterpillar. . . . → Read More: Aquamoth!