Friday, October 21, 2005

ENV: Not-Really-a-Cat-Friday

Today i went out to do some photography before a cold front hits this weekend that might knock our bugs down for a while -- there are several things i still need to get for the year. Of several cool things i found today i thought i'd feature a nicely unworm Ocola Skipper. I don't see this skipper all the time, though sometimes i see several in a day's tromping around. It is one of the Panoquinas, a genus of sometimes localized, often coastal species that are not widespread in the US. Although a couple of other species have occurred in the Hill Country, the Ocola is the only one to be expected.

Recently Hecebolus Skipper in this genus has been found in Austin, and i may make a trek there to try to find it and two other special butterflies that i have searched for unsuccessfully in Kerr County. One of those is Rawson's Metalmark whose type locality is in Kerr County. I have searched many times around the food plant and at spots nearby without success for this critter.

The other is Lacey's Scrub-Hairstreak named for turn of the 20th century Kerr County rancher Howard Lacey. He was an excellent naturalist and collected Lepidoptera and Birds and made huge contributions to our knowledge of hill country faunas. Although he discovered the hairstreak in Val Verde County, it has been found in several Hill Country Counties and in south Texas. I have yet to locate Southwestern Bernardia, its hostplant in Kerr, and thus no bugs here, at least yet -- and no one else has found it here either. Dan Hardy and Chris Durden have recently found both of these in Austin and i'll be there soon to look for them.

In addition to the Ocola Skipper, i had a cooperative Sachem today (and some other things for film), and a really cool-looking fly that i believe is a Syrphid, but for which i am unable to locate photos of anything similar. Cool anyway.
Update: I searched for Lacey's Scrub-Hairstreak and Rawson's Metalmark in Austin but was unable to locate either -- although i did get film of some other cool stuff. Gayle Strickland was kind enough to spend (probably a great deal of) time searching for an ID for the odd fly below and i believe he nailed it as a Stratiomyid or Soldier Fly, probably in the genus Odontomyia -- and so i am adjusting the ID below.

Be sure to check out the weekly Friday Ark at The Modulator, and remember that the Second Edition of The Circus of the Spineless is coming up at Snail's Tales -- get your posts written, posted and submitted to Aydin . . .

Ocola Skipper, Panoquina ocola

Sachem, Atalopedes campestris

Soldier Fly sp., cf. Odontomyia sp.


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