[Tweeters] One Bad Mother

Dennis Paulson dennispaulson at comcast.net
Thu Apr 19 13:27:17 PDT 2012


Well, shoot. I see now he also mentioned sparrows and flycatchers. What was I thinking? Obviously when he started talking about insects, they got my full attention.

Dennis


On Apr 19, 2012, at 12:54 PM, Rolan Nelson wrote:


> Ah, but Jeff did mention Robin and Grouse in his post, did he not? Way to go, Jeff!

>

> Rolan Nelson

> Fircrest, WA

> rnbuffle at yahoo.com

>

> --- On Thu, 4/19/12, Dennis Paulson <dennispaulson at comcast.net> wrote:

>

> From: Dennis Paulson <dennispaulson at comcast.net>

> Subject: Re: [Tweeters] One Bad Mother

> To: "jeff gibson" <gibsondesign at msn.com>

> Cc: "tweeters" <tweeters at u.washington.edu>

> Date: Thursday, April 19, 2012, 11:50 AM

>

> Wonderful post, as always Jeff, although not even a token bird for the tweeters guidelines. Tsk tsk, you are one bad mother.

>

> Whiteflies can be very abundant in this area, especially in fall. Every year around October or even into November I see tiny bits of white fluff dancing around the sunbeams in my yard, and on close inspection, that's what they turn out to be. It's fascinating that the Wikipedia account of whiteflies tells you little about their biology but much on how to kill them. Why would we want to do that?

>

> Well, you didn't mention that all Homoptera have little beaks at the front end with which they pierce plant cuticles and suck plant juices. So whiteflies are not so different from the other homopterans of our yards and gardens, the much-loved aphids (well, at least ladybird beetles love them). In the East you would add cicadas to the list of commonly seen (and heard) homopterans, but we don't seem to have them in western WA. There are some out in the remnant sagebrush in the eastern WA agrobusiness zone.

>

> There are a gazillion kinds of homopterans in the tropics, many of them spectacularly shaped and/or colored (what a shame we can't attach photos in tweeters!), but we're very short on them in the Pacific Northwest, the nadir of insect diversity. So we should really appreciate those little whiteflies, moth mimics and plant suckers that they are.

>

> Dan and Hal, note the mention of "bird" earlier in this post.

>

> Dennis

>

>

> On Apr 19, 2012, at 11:14 AM, jeff gibson wrote:

>

>> While not the greatest Birder in town, there are plenty of things I'm a lot worse at. Like, I'm one bad Mother.

>>

>> Really this post is just one big Moth mea culpa. Last April I posted "(My") Worlds Smallest Moth". "Flirting", as I referred to it, with very small moths in Snohomish I described a very tiny white moth, while in repose about the size of the "O" on a One Cent piece. I was mistaken.

>>

>> In my yard last week on a sunny day in Everett, I spied my little white moth buddy's. "Cool!" I exclaimed, and ran to my truck to get my 10x hand lens to get a better look. Since they're quite flighty it took awhile to get a close look. Finally I got one individual to hold still long enough for a leisurely look - that's because it was dead. I got a really good look top, and bottom. And that's when the scales fell from my wings - er, I mean that's when the scales fell from my eyes.

>>

>> "Hey, you aint no Moth!" I exclaimed. It was a Whitefly. In a birds to bugs comparison , my faux pas was like calling a Robin a Grouse.

>>

>> This is where it gets confusing. A Whitefly is not a "real" fly but rather a member of the insect Order Homoptera, which includes Cicada's, Leaf- hoppers, Aphids etc. It is frequently mistaken for a moth because it's wings and body are often covered by a white powder. I feel somewhat enabled in my ignorance by my information sources.

>>

>> " frequently mistaken by out-of towner's as a Moth"

>> - New York Times

>>

>> " This little Moth looks ready for a June wedding!"

>> - Cosmopolitan Magazine

>>

>> " Left Coaster's often call this moth a fly, but at least it's White"

>> - Rush Limbaugh

>>

>> Actually I'm just kidding about all those sources, but even real bug info sources do mention the creature's resemblance to a little moth. The species I saw last April in Snohomish was different than the one's in my yard this year - a bit whiter and a dead ringer for larger real moths I saw photo's of online. Really!

>>

>> Like most Tweeters I take some pride in, and feel some responsibility for, proper I.D. However there are some good excuses for boo-boo's. I have sort of refined a list I think get's to most of them:

>>

>> 1. Ignorance/ Lack of Information/ Mis-information (refer to above Sources).

>> 2. Bad viewing conditions: the classic " the sun was in my eyes'" comes to mind. Raindrops on your lens, etc.

>> 3. Sub-standard equipment.

>>

>> Mea Culpa in my case fall's right on #3. Hey all I had was a dinky 10x hand lens! Made for examination of slow-moving objects, such as rocks. It was only on examination of the dead Whitefly that the truth came out. Actually, for a lot of micro moths the proper equipment would include a Kill Jar and a dissecting scope. Only that way could one see the little Moth ball's and other possibly diagnostic features of Moth I.D. Whatever.

>>

>> The truth is I'm really not the specialist type. I'll never know most of our local moths to species, let alone genus, but that's OK, I still think they're neato. If you really want to see what you could be up for in Moth ID check out Bugguide.net and hit search for" Moths of Washington State" which will get you to a page of photos, mainly taken by a fellow named Dick Wilson down on Willapa Bay Wa. If you tap on the link to him you will find hundreds of photos of Willapa Bay Moths. You thought Sparrows and Flycatchers were tough? Try looking at a big page ot Moth photos - much like looking at a page of tweed samples. I always liked tweed, and always liked Moths.

>>

>> So I'm one bad Mother. I don't want to the word to get out around the Anchor Pub though. Just up the block is a hangout bar of our local Biker gang. I can see it now - a whole herd of the guys pulling up to the Anchor on their hogs. Sauntering in they ask my wife behind the bar a question. She cover's her face trying not to laugh and points my way, where I'm inspecting a beer.

>>

>> Finding myself surrounded by Bandito's, I'm a bit nervous.

>>

>> " Well, well, well. Why lookee' here boys here he is ; 'The One Bad Mother'! we've been hearing all about".

>>

>> Examining my scrawny middle -aged frame and grinning their sharky grins one says,

>>

>> " Don't look so tough to me. Don't look too BAD! What ya got to say for yerself Bad Boy". The whole gang yuks it up.

>>

>> " Oh gee whiz sorry guys", I say. " I guess there's been a misunderstanding. It's supposed to be pronounced 'MOTH -er'. Hey wanna see my bug collection?"

>>

>> Jeff Gibson

>> One Bad Mother

>> Everett Wa.

>>

>> P.S. My bug collection consists of two individuals, poorly curated. One is a moth.

>>

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>

> -----

> Dennis Paulson

> 1724 NE 98 St.

> Seattle, WA 98115

> 206-528-1382

> dennispaulson at comcast.net

>

>

>

>

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-----
Dennis Paulson
1724 NE 98 St.
Seattle, WA 98115
206-528-1382
dennispaulson at comcast.net



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