SEVEN BACKYARDS HOME NORTH AMERICA:   Santa Monica Mts.   Valyermo   Kansas   Oregon   Arizona   AUSTRALIA:  South Australia   Western Australia
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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About The Backyard Concept

One of the objectives at this website is an attempt to demonstrate that, in many rural (or even suburban) locations, the backyard entomologist can (potentially) still uncover much that is "new" or previously unknown/ unpublished in the vast field of entomology....Ideal locations for such investigations will always include close proximity to the native flora of a district — and the less disturbed or altered the habitat is, the better! Lacking that, one can create a "butterfly (or moth!) garden" by means of selected plantings that attempt to re-introduce some of the plants that were once native to the district, before the "developers" arrived and "improved" (denuded and flattened) everything, rendering that American sacred cow, "Progress"....

As your native plant garden grows and matures, more and more interesting insects and other arthropods will begin to appear and take up residence — and birds will follow. Then, the studies can begin (right outside your door)!....All that will be required will be sharp eyes, a good notebook, the best camera you can afford, and (most important of all) an inclination to slow down and really notice what's going on in the garden! And then, invest the extra effort to document and record what you are learning, so that it can (eventually) be communicated to others via the written word, and/or by sketches, drawings, or photographs, etc.....It is NOT necessary to travel hundreds (or thousands) of miles to learn something interesting or NEW in the diverse and uncrowded field of entomology.... Start with your own BACKYARD!....You may never run out of things to investigate — the more so if your interests and curiosity extend beyond merely one order of insects.

For REAL "backyard-inspiration", delve into the extensive writings of J. Henri Fabre (France) and/or H.D. Thoreau (New England). Two observations from Thoreau draw attention to this approach [The bracketed words are mine.]:

"It takes a man [or woman!] of genius to travel in his own country, in his native village, to make any progress between his door and his [garden] gate!" Journal, 6 AUG. 1851


"The discoveries which we make abroad are special and particular; those which we make at home are general and significant. The further off, the nearer the surface. The nearer home, the deeper." Journal, 7 SEP. 1851

SO, WHY NOT DIG IN and QUIT FLITTING ABOUT?? (This approach should garner even greater appeal as the price of gasoline climbs ever higher!)....

For TWO current examples of well-studied "back yards", see the work of Jillian Cowles (Vail, AZ. — east of Tucson) and Bob Behrstock (Hereford, AZ. — south of Sierra Vista).
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.