Wednesday, September 14, 2005

ENV: West Texas Part I

Here's some teaser pics from the west Texas trip. I will be posting many more pics this weekend, but wanted to show some highlights for some friends . . .

Clicking on the pictures will get you a larger version . . .

Update: Dr. James K. Adams has graciously identified Moths #3 and #4 below. Thanks!

Update II: Thanks to Mike Quinn, Dr. Ric Peigler, Michael Van Buskirk, Charles Bordelon, Andrew Spicer, Terry Doyle and Jimmy Jackson for their comments on and confirmation of the identity of the Agapema. Thanks mucho!

First, this huge sphinx which showed around midnight at Sauceda where we bunked the night of 10-11 September. A total of five showed up before dawn. All were females. We moved them to a tree to photograph later and they were still present on the bark at four the following afternoon. These have a wingspread approaching five inches.




Modest Sphinx, Pachysphinx modesta
Sauceda, Big Bend Ranch State Natural Area, 11 September 2005







[The bug has now been identified by a host of experts, including the group's specialist, as A. dyari. This is my jumbled original commentary: "This next moth is in the genus Agapema. Using pictures and details from what i assume to be authoritative sources on the web i am still having trouble IDing this bug. Here's the candidates: 1) Agapema galbina, or Tamaulipan Agapema, seems to be out as a possibility based on a discussion on TX-Butterfly from late 2003. Most pictures i found show A. galbina to be significantly paler than this individual. However, the individual pictured on the USGS site is very similar to this one, some characters seem to me closer than those i find for other species illustrated. I have to wonder if the USGS picture is correctly identified, and not meant to disparage anyone -- just that it doesn't match other pics (which themselves could be wrong). 2) Agapema nona, or Mexican Agapema, which seems to me, also based on TX-Butterfly discussion, to be unlikely based on range, but still has some characters nearer to this individual than other pictures i have seen (comparisons from the Moths of SE Arizona site, Moths of N Mexico site and one commercial site). 3) Agapema dyari, or Chihuahuan Agapema which, based on the TX-Butterfly discussion, makes the most sense, and for which the sole picture i can find (on Mike Quinn's Texas Ento site) is a pretty good overall match. And 4) Agapema platensis, a recently described species for which i can find no online info or pictures. I have a photo of A. platensis taken before it was described (from Kinney County) -- but i can't locate the photo right now -- otherwise i don't know how it fits in this picture. I have not yet accessed a couple more sites that may be of some help and will update. I am also posting to TX-Butterfly, and the many wonderful experts there will hopefully offer some help and/or confirmation. I have about 20 additional pictures (all dorsal) of this bug if someone thinks there is something that needs a different view."]



Chihuahuan Agapema, Agapema dyari
San Antonio Canyon, Chinati Mountains, 8-9 September 2005



Stiriine Moth sp. 3 (Noctuidae), Chalcopasta howardi
San Antonio Canyon, Chinati Mountains, 8-9 September 2005



Acontiine Moth sp. 4 (Noctuidae), Hemispragueia idella
San Antonio Canyon, Chinati Mountains, 9-10 September 2005



Golden-headed Scallopwing, Staphylus ceos
at light sheet, Sauceda, Big Bend Ranch State Natural Area, 10-11 September 2005



Golden-banded Skipper, Autochton cellus
Laguna Meadow Trail, Chisos Mountains, 12 September 2005



Mayan Setwing, Dythemis maya
Ojito Adentro, Big Bend Ranch State Natural Area, 11 September 2005





Robber Fly sp. with Painted Lady, Vanessa cardui
San Antonio Canyon, Chinati Mountains, 8 September 2005



Fly sp.
Laguna Meadows trail, Chisos Mountains, 12 September 2005



Chisos Mountains Quonker, Paracyrtophyllus excelsus
endemic, Laguna Meadow, Chisos Mountains, 12 September 2005



Buprestid sp., Psilopterus drummondii
La Cienega, Chinati Mountains, 9 September 2005
i thought it was funny to find out that in India, where this bug is introduced, it is
considered a pest of mesquite (also introduced). i guess mesquite's importance as
a crop is somewhat more valuable there than here.



Solpugid sp., perhaps Eremobates sp.
San Antonio Canyon, Chinati Mountains, 8-9 September 2005



Black Widow, Latrodectus cf. hesperus, with Hemipteran sp.
San Antonio Canyon, Chinati Mountains, 9-10 September 2005



Agave Threeband, Humboldtiana agavophila
endemic, Laguna Meadows, Chisos Mountains, 12 September 2005



False Yucatan Mitresnail, Holospira yucatanensis
on Selaginella foodplant, endemic, Rio Grande Ridge, Big Bend National Park, 11 September 2005



Pallid Bat, Antrozous pallidus
San Antonio Canyon, Chinati Mountains, 10 September 2005
about 150 of these bats were roosting here in the middle of the night
after feeding in the post-dusk hours. by dawn they had left to day-roost
elsewhere. on the night of this photo, during one of my rounds, there was
a single Mexican Free-tailed Bat, Tadarida mexicanus, roosting with them.



Say's Phoebe, Sayornis saya
San Antonio Canyon, Chinati Mountains, 8-9 September 2005



False-agave, Hechtia scariosa
Boquillas Ridge, Big Bend National Park, 11 September 2005



Chinati Mountains from San Antonio Canyon, 9 September 2005



Shelter with handprints, ca. 5,000 years old
Fresno Canyon, Big Bend Ranch State Natural Area, 11 September 2005



Sierra del Carmens, 12 September 2005



Rio Grande, Colorado Canyon, Presidio County, 11 September 2005



Santiago Peak, 12 September 2005






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