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Moths and Memories
SUBTITLE CREDITS & FOUR EARLY LITERARY MENTORS
I chose the subtitle (“Moths & Memories”) primarily as an excuse to allow me to draw attention to the stimulating and amusing writings of P.B.M. Allan, potentially of great interest to any moth-hunter who has progressed somewhere beyond the “vacuum cleaner/drawer-filling phase” of this vast and endlessly fascinating field of inquiry! Moths & Memories (London: Watkins & Doncaster, 1948), was borrowed from the title of one of several books written by P.B.M. Allan in the 1930's-1940's. Other titles in the series were: Talking of Moths, A Moth-Hunter's Gossip, Leaves from a Moth-Hunter's Notebook, Larval Foodplants, etc. Although I never had the pleasure of meeting him, Mr. Allan was one of my first “armchair mentors” (and an imaginary field companion), in my earliest years of moth-hunting on Oak Pass Rd. (late 1940's to early 1950's). I have included here three of his most interesting (and valuable) chapters as PDF's, for the benefit and amusement of those “moth-ers” who are seeking to learn and understand more....Some of the topics addressed by Mr. Allan (often in considerable depth; sometimes hilariously or flippantly but always to get you thinking), are summarized in the 3 copied Tables of Contents, which are included with the above-mentioned PDF's.
One of my (other) early mentors again, only via the written word was W.J. Holland: The Moth Book (The Nature Library: Doubleday, Page & Co., 1903), a beautiful copy of which was given to me for Christmas, 1944, by our earliest, nearest (and dearest!) neighbor on Oak Pass Rd., Nelle Kennedy Stowell (mentioned elsewhere). Holland's “bible” was the only book, illustrating moths in color, to which I has access as a child and teenager. I spent many hours pouring over the 48 excellent color plates and various line-drawings....Unfortunately (for me), the majority of species illustrated by Holland were of the eastern or southern U.S. faunas not western. Nevertheless, a Californian could “hit the jackpot” every-so-often amongst the Holland plates, which I soon discovered....My original (hardback) copy finally fell apart, and I had to have it rebound! There was also a paperback reprint-edition, produced 65 years later by Dover Publications, Inc. (1968) plate quality somewhat inferior to the first edition.
The must-read classic essay in Holland's Moth Book is entitled “Sugaring for Moths” (pp.146-150 in both editions)....
My other earliest mentors were two amazing women who co-authored a fascinating book entitled Caterpillars & Their Moths (302 pp.), by Ida M. Eliot & Caroline G. Soule (The Century Co., 1902)....Their chapters are packed with numerous original observations and insights in plain English, on the early stages and life histories of (mostly) the larger eastern moths (sphingids & saturniids), but also with a scattering of moths from other families (arctiids, noctuids, notodontids, etc.), which were included in Part II of the book (Life-histories: pp.67-299). Part I (pp.3-66) offers much specific detail on rearing techniques, hunting for eggs, larvae, pupae, and larval habits, etc., etc., etc.....So far as I have been able to determine (scanning numerous bibliographies of contemporary entomological writers), Eliot & Soule have been consistently and studiously ignored (“overlooked”) by today's (supposedly) more “sophisticated” lepidopterists no doubt for the usual pathetic reason intellectual snobbery. For chapter-&-verse, deftly exposing this pervasive phenomenon, default to Dr. Anthony STANDEN (1950) and Prof. W. M. WHEELER (1929); they said it all, decades ago!!....Intellectual snobbery is as alive and well today as ever before: The only variables that seem to change over the years are the buzzwords (constantly evolving), the clothing fashions, and the wines or beers proclaimed by the highly-educated(??) but obviously insecure victims of this easily recognized malady....
Moths and Memories
Where Are the Specimens Now?
ASH CANYON FIRE (2011)
Background and Introduction
Elfin Forests, Worldwide: MAQUIS / FYNBOS / KWONGAN / MATORRAL / CHAPARRAL
About The Backyard Concept
Motivations: Why Publish This Material?
Summarizing How These Projects Evolved
About the Photographs
Bias in Photo Representation
Taxonomy & Classification (the names)
About Moth Families & Subfamilies
Some Thoughts About Moth Surveys
Abundance Ratings Defined (8 Categories)
About the Flight Periods
Interpretation of the Flight-Phenograms
Miscellaneous Comments on Black Lights
Peculiarities of Moth Activity
Prime Time = Full-Moon-Plus-Ten
How To Obtain Perfect (Moth) Specimens
To Kill Or Not To Kill??
Beating or Sweeping for Larvae
ACKNOWLEDGEMENTS & DETERMINATIONS
Miscellaneous Tidbits Dept.