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Seven Backyards
Moths...Moths...Moths...and their Habitats...and other stuff....
Several Long-Term Backyard
Studies in the U.S. and Australia

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Abundance Ratings Defined (8 Categories)
The abundance-ratings (A, B, C, or D) refine all of these records a bit further, by giving at least some indication regarding the relative abundance of each species at the study location. BY NO MEANS are these ratings ever intended to imply anything about the abundance of these moths anywhere else in southern Arizona or even just up the road half a mile! A species rated as rare ("C" or "D") here, may in fact swarm by the hundreds at some other location, or in another plant association. Most of the C or D-rated species are probably just "strays" (onto our 5 acres), from somewhere higher up in the pine-belt of the nearby mountains, OR from lower elevations of the various Sonoran Desert habitats well to the north and west of this location. The following symbol (§) indicates a species that was not seen at all in certain years; such species are usually referred to as "cyclic". This depends entirely on the availability of its ephemeral foodplant, which may be completely absent in years of insufficient winter rainfall; there are not many moths in this category. Two good examples in this study are: Lithostege and Yermoia (Geometridae).
ABUNDANT in NUMBERS coming to uv. lights: [A+] implies super-abundant here: Seen by the thousands most years.... (Note: Almost any sp. can fluctuate in numbers from year to year, some being far more "cyclic" or unpredictable in their annual flight periods than others.) [A] implies abundant here: Seen by the hundreds in this loc. (most years, more than 100).

MODERATE in NUMBERS coming to uv. lights: [B+] implies somewhat less than 100 (but more than 50) seen most years. [B] implies falling somewhere in between common & rare (approx. 20 to less than 50 seen most years). [B-] implies tending toward "C" (between approx. 10 to 20 individuals seen most years).

SCARCE in NUMBERS coming to uv. lights: [C] implies less than 10 but more than 3 individuals seen most years. [D] implies only 1 to 3 (max.) seen most years (in some years, none). [D1] implies that only a single record has ever been taken for the entire duration of this study, up to the present date! In these (few) instances, the complete date is usually given following "D1" (i.e., 29 SEP. 83). These are typically "strays" from other nearby habitats, OR may be migratory Mexican species (some sphingids, some catocaline noctuids, etc.); the latter typically arrive from August to early November.
Seven Backyards



Moths and Memories


Where Are the Specimens Now?


Background and Introduction


About The Backyard Concept

Motivations: Why Publish This Material?

Summarizing How These Projects Evolved

About the Photographs

Bias in Photo Representation

Moth Identifications

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


Miscellaneous Tidbits Dept.