For the next couple of months, I will be exploring the western US in search of leaf mines to photograph and collect. I’m not sure how often I’ll get a chance to post something here, but I figured I’d take this opportunity (internet access while staying with new friends in Casper, Wyoming) to at least mention what I’m up to and report that my setup for raising and photographing adult leafminers on the road seems to be working. Which is a good thing, because pretty much everywhere I look I come across something that seems to be new to science.
While finishing up my contract work along the Maine coast in August, I collected some leaf mines in orache (Atriplex) similar to the one in lambsquarters (Chenopodium) shown here. A few days ago, while camping in the Black Hills of South Dakota, I went through all my vials and found that this moth had emerged:
It might be that this, too, is Chrysoesthia sexguttella, but I know there are several Chrysoesthia species that mine in various goosefoots (members of the family Chenopodiaceae, now considered part of the amaranth family, Amaranthaceae), and I don’t know what they look like, so I’ll have to figure that out later.
In another vial, I found this moth:
This is Astrotischeria astericola (Tischeriidae), a species I’m not sure has been photographed alive before. It emerged from a mine in an aster leaf that I had collected just a few days earlier in Ohio, the home state of Annette Braun, who first described the species in 1972. There is some information about Astrotischeria species at microleps.org.
And that’s it for now… it’s late and tomorrow I’m continuing on to Yellowstone, or thereabouts.