Monday, September 3, 2012
This post will be about a couple of recent expeditions and accomplishments during our on-site workdays at the ETNHC.
The Nuelle's are based in Spring Texas - just outside of Houston, so we try to plan regular trips to the ETNHC to curate, collect, study and assist the Dr. Godwin and Dr. Goodwin however we can. During our trips we typically try to sneak in some moth lighting, daytime collecting and of course curating activities. We are actively working at creating a good representational collection of Lepidoptera from sites right on the campus and nearby surrounding areas.
In March we went up for several days and transferred the first Cornell drawers of our collection to Room 102 - a collection room that we share with Dr. James Goodwin and his huge collection of Tabanidae (Horseflies). Dr. Goodwin is an amazing guy, he's been everywhere and is always looking to help you learn and apply fresh ideas and insights. I really enjoy the conversations with him. On this trip we set up lights on the beautiful boardwalk down in the Bottomland Hardwood Forest habitat.
The boardwalk is so long and transverses some amazing habitat right next to a creek. The lighting was really good and we enjoyed the company and assistance of Mr. Kyle Oliver - a Jarvis student. Lots of Luna Moths - Actias luna after 9:30 PM. We saw some unique species including the Lettered Sphinx Moth - Deidama inscriptum.
In May we went back for some intensive fieldwork and we brought a few thousand additional specimens for curation into the main collection. The collecting was simply astonishing. We located a patch of Honeysuckle growing in the Sandy Land Prairie area and it was attracting an awesome local day flying Snowberry Clearwing Sphinx moth - Hemaris diffinis. In addition to this amazing moth we saw so many Spicebush Swallowtails -Papilio troilus. This is a gorgeous black and blue butterfly that we see infrequently in the Houston area. The lighting at night was amazing and we had a surprise visit from the Azalea Sphinx Moth - Darapsa choerilus.
The Oak trees on campus were home to several species of Underwing or Catacola moths. These amazing insects use cryptic coloration to blend in to the bark on the trees and then when they fly off they reveal brightly colored underwings to startle any would be predators. Our good friend David Kent joined us for 2 days to help gather specimens and to look over the Collection.
Our visit in July was beyond belief. We came up specifically to host an event in conjunction with the National Moth Week organization. My son Robert was unable to make this trip so my daughter Elizabeth Nuelle and her fiance Sergio Barraza came along to lend a hand.
We spent a lot of time collecting and lit Friday night in the Sandy Land Prairie area. On Saturday we hosted the National Moth Week event on a wonderful patch of habitat owned and under the stewardship of Bart and Liz Soutendijk. See Blog Post.
Bob Nuelle, Jr.
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