June 21, 2020

My microscope.

Ag Can lab

The microscope on the left was 'mine'. This is a photo from the 1980's of Gord Ayre's lab. The microscope was a beautiful German Zeiss or Leitz (I can't remember which), probably made in the 1950's. Binocular, it was not a zoom, but had three fixed lenses for magnification. It had wooden arm rests for working on the stage. I don't know what I was doing that day, but the light was separate, and was hot. Later the new microscopes would be equipped with a ring of fibre optics that stopped the heat from getting to the stage. I actually found the heat was beneficial for some things.
Anyway, while I was there, these microscopes were declared surplus, and we were able to bid on a batch. Garth Bracken arranged for a group of us to make a bid, and I joined in - I wanted to own that microscope! We submitted it, and were just short of the winning bid. I don't know who got the microscopes, but to this day I regret not having this microscope. No one's fault - just fate. But goddamn, I love that scope!!

Posted on June 21, 2020 21:49 by mamestraconfigurata mamestraconfigurata | 1 comment | Leave a comment

William (Bill) Turnock

I've been meaning to write this for some time. Bill Turnock was another one of the scientists I worked with, although not extensively. He could dream up some amazing studies. He wanted to sample flea beetles across a canola field, presumably to see if there were more on the edge than in the middle. I was drafted into this scheme. It involved sampling at the corners of a canola field, and then across the field. Great idea, but carrying it out was another matter. Basically it involved strapping a gas lawn mower engine to your back. It ran a large vacuum sampler that had a net in it. I, and another person (I think her name was Chris) would go out to a quarter section field, strap the engine on our backs, sample around set points on the field corners, and then set out diagonally across the field. It was early to mid summer, the canola was thigh high, and the temperatures in the mid 20's C. We had a lawn mower on our backs. It was not fun. To his credit, Bill came out to see it one day, and stopped the project.
Bill was a red headed, bearded man, full of energy. When I saw him, he always seemed to be talking. The only other concrete memory I have of him was in regards to a trip to Swan River, to sample either Bertha Armyworm, or flea beetles. There were four of us, and for some reason there were four small trees at the back of the Suburban. The next day, while his main technician Bob Bilodeau, was driving, Bill remarked that the Suburban handled differently without the trees in the back. Bob gently reminded him that all the gear we had was no longer in the back as well. Bill accepted this, and moved on to another matter. Bill could be difficult, but essentially he was a good person. Apparently, he died in 2008 - https://passages.winnipegfreepress.com/passage-details/id-134254/TURNOCK_WILLIAM

Posted on June 21, 2020 20:57 by mamestraconfigurata mamestraconfigurata | 0 comments | Leave a comment

March 21, 2020

Peridroma saucia

An exceedingly variable moth. Many resemble this image, but they range in colouration from brick red to this. Main features are 7 black marks along costa, large round orbicular spot, and a fairly prominent, double AM line.

Peridroma saucia

Photo courtesy of CBIF (https://www.cbif.gc.ca/SpeciesBank/spp_pages/noctuoidea/jpgs/image_e.php?image%5B%5D=110915.jpg%2CPeridroma+saucia)

Posted on March 21, 2020 20:00 by mamestraconfigurata mamestraconfigurata | 0 comments | Leave a comment

Feltia subgothica/tricosa

These are the two most difficult species to differentiate in the Feltia genus. The most reliable method is to look at the male antennal seate. The difference can be seen here - https://www.ndsu.edu/pubweb/~gefauske/ndmoths/names/10674.htm - and these features can be seen on iNat with high image magnification, but not always.
Bugguide has a somewhat confusing description (https://bugguide.net/node/view/10466). Through my observations I think this is how it works - F. subgothica has a less 'furry' antenna, is overall a lighter looking moth, and has this appearance.

F. tricosa has longer setae, is darker, and looks like this.

This is only a rough guide. Due to variation and wear, it may not be possible to identify these moths visually, in which case (after Feltia jaculifera & F. herilis have been ruled out), genus Feltia would be the prudent option.

Photos courtesy of CBIF.

Posted on March 21, 2020 16:43 by mamestraconfigurata mamestraconfigurata | 0 comments | Leave a comment

March 19, 2020

Mythimna oxygala

Mythima oxygala is the only other species in this genus in North America. Very similar to , but the arrangement of the three black dots is characteristic.
Mythimna oxygla

Photo courtesy of CBIF - https://www.cbif.gc.ca/SpeciesBank/spp_pages/noctuoidea/jpgs/image_e.php?image%5B%5D=110436.jpg%2CMythimna+oxygala

Posted on March 19, 2020 17:00 by mamestraconfigurata mamestraconfigurata | 1 comment | Leave a comment

March 17, 2020

Feltia herilis features

Felti herilis is one of the easier spp of Feltia to identify. Orbicular spot is somewhat elongated, and is the the same shade as costal strip. The central light strip basically ends at reniform.

Feltia herilis
Photo courtesy of CBIF (https://www.cbif.gc.ca/SpeciesBank/spp_pages/noctuoidea/jpgs/image_e.php?image%5B%5D=110676.jpg%2CFeltia+herilis)

Posted on March 17, 2020 19:37 by mamestraconfigurata mamestraconfigurata | 0 comments | Leave a comment

March 16, 2020

Feltia jaculifera features

I struggle to explain this feature, so here is a picture with the Wshown. It can be darker and smaller than this one, but this shape in the Terminal area is an indication of Feltia jaculifera. Photo courtesy of https://www.cbif.gc.ca/SpeciesBank/spp_pages/noctuoidea/jpgs/image_e.php?image%5B%5D=110670.jpg%2CFeltia+jaculifera


Posted on March 16, 2020 21:30 by mamestraconfigurata mamestraconfigurata | 2 comments | Leave a comment

February 28, 2020

Agrotis ipsilon features

Again, another common moth whose features are hard to describe. Quite variable in appearance, but these are the basics. For type range, see http://mothphotographersgroup.msstate.edu/species.php?hodges=10663


Posted on February 28, 2020 20:26 by mamestraconfigurata mamestraconfigurata | 3 comments | Leave a comment

Mythimna unipuncta features

I have found that this common moth is often improperly identified, but it's features are hard to describe. I made this simple guide to clarify things. I used one of the open images from the Smithsonian.


Posted on February 28, 2020 15:06 by mamestraconfigurata mamestraconfigurata | 2 comments | Leave a comment

November 10, 2019

Moth Wing Features

I realised that many people may not understand the names of the moth wing features that I routinely use in identifying moths. I made this, and I hope it is useful (This is Version two - first one had a spelling mistake!).

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Posted on November 10, 2019 20:36 by mamestraconfigurata mamestraconfigurata | 34 comments | Leave a comment