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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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Five Severely Endangered Hotspots of Biodiversity & Endemism Finally Receiving Much-Needed Attention:

A recent article in "Nature Conservancy" magazine, Vol.58(3): 56-64 (Autumn 2008), sums up a cause I've been championing relentlessly since the early 1960's (i.e., for nearly half a century!) -- namely, the urgent need to save (set aside) more of the remaining viable remnants of the fast-disappearing and regularly overlooked "elfin forests" (evergreen sclerophyll woodlands / chaparral / heaths), worldwide.... My personal contribution toward this effort took place 3 decades ago, north of Geraldton, WESTERN AUSTRALIA, at Howatharra Hill Reserve (see Backyard No. 6C). Unfortunately, I haven't the finances to be able to continue more of the same at today's real estate prices, or I would indeed be doing so RIGHT NOW!!.... I am aware of certain unique elfin forest remnants that are today still screaming for rescue from the path of advancing so-called "Progress", and most of these are "next door" to some of the highest-priced real estate on the planet -- places where the completely predictable herds of high net-worth sheeple flock (and compete) to conspicuously proclaim their wealth by building macmansions (with swimming pools, of course).... The popular attraction in each of these endagered localities is the unique Mediterranean climatic pattern that dominates all 5 of these widely-separated (small!) zones on the planet: mild wet winters and long dry summers. This peculiar regimen predominates in the following 5 widely separated regions:
  1. The Mediterranean regions of coastal southern and eastern EUROPE / N. AFRICA (maquis, macchie, garrigue, phrygana);
  2. Coastal S. / SW. AFRICA (fynbos or "heaths");
  3. Coastal S. to SW. AUSTRALIA, from west of Melbourne over to Perth, and thence north to Geraldton and somewhat beyond Kalbarri (kwongan or "heaths");
  4. Central CHILE (matorral);
  5. Coastal/subcoastal CALIFORNIA, from the SW. Oregon border region south to northern BAJA CALIFORNIA, MEXICO (coastal sage scrub and various distinctive chaparral formations). Unfortunately, each of these regions is more-or-less ideal for viticulture!

Also unfortunate (for the potential future preservation of the unique and incredibly rich/diverse native elfin forest remnants that do still exist), is the fact that none of them harbor any exotic or "charismatic megafauna", OR bone-crunching predators -- like crocodiles, lions, tigers, cheetahs, rhinos, hippos, elephants, pandas, grizzly or polar bears, wolves, sharks, dolphins, or sea lions, etc. etc. -- which could be fairly well relied upon to garner the caring and protective sentiments of the masses.... "JUSTABUNCHABRUSH" to Jane and John Doe -- a very "hard sell" indeed!!.... The elfin forests are mostly seen (if even "seen" at all) merely as boring zones of "BRUSH", to endure and hurtle through (pedal-to-the-metal), while ON THE WAY to (the higher and cooler) Pine Forests or the Popular-Bodies-of-Water-in-the-Mountains (such as Lake Arrowhead or Yosemite), or on the way to Magic Mountain, or to the Redwoods, or to the Chilean peaks and glaciers, or to Ayer's Rock, or to the W. Australian beaches, or to the vineyards (grape monocultures) of South Australia, South Africa, Chile, Italy, France, or California, etc., etc., etc., etc. -- i.e., all the trendy and relentlessly promoted popular "DESTINATIONS" offering plenty of wine to taste!!.... And never mind what was growing there first (who cares??): How could a "BUNCHABRUSH" possibly have any value, beauty or interest, compared to a homogeneous grape monoculture???
For a little visual feedback on this question, scan the color habitat photos under both 1C and 6C. Subsection 6C showcases a totally untouched, 600-acre remnant patch of elfin forest on the north-central coast of Western Australia (NNE. of Geraldton), possessing nearly all of its "original" native flora still intact, and fully protected from future "development" by Class A Reserve status: Dept. of Conservation & Land Management, Reserve No. 40587. (Grape-growers need not apply!)....

— ANDERSON, J.M., ed. (1999) -- Towards Gondwana Alive, Vol.I. South Africa: National Botanical Institute, Pretoria. ISBN 1-919795-60-X (140 pp.)

— BRADBY, Keith (1984) -- "A rationale for respect" (toward the bushlands), in Diversity or Dust: 33-37. Australian Conservation Foundation, Hawthorn, VIC. 3122.

— PACKARD, Vance (19 ) -- The Status Seekers.

— PEARCE, Heather (1984) -- "Attitudes" (toward the bushlands), in Diversity or Dust: 57-63. Australian Conservation Foundation, Hawthorn, VIC. 3122.

— POLUNIN, O. & HUXLEY, A. (1978) -- Flowers of the Mediterranean. London: Chatto & Windus, Ltd. ISBN 0-7011-22846 (260 pp.)

— POLUNIN, Oleg (1987) -- Flowers of Greece & the Balkans (a fieldguide). Oxford Univ. Press. ISBN 0-19-281998-4 (658 pp.)
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.