04 May 2005
Baskettails and the promise of spring
It looks like the snow is finally gone (4.5" last weekend, a flurry yesterday). Although it was only about 55F today with a cool breeze, it was sunny, prompting Class Insecta to reappear. The first Bombylius I'd seen in at least 10 days were out and about, along with one of my favorite little diurnal moths, the Grapevine Epimenis (Psychomorpa epimenis). It flitted away before I could take a photo. And, to my surprise, the first furry-bodied Epitheca of the year. It was probably a Common Baskettail (E. cynosura), but we are on the lookout for the Stripe-winged Baskettail (E. costalis) and will be netting and peering at many. With the similarity in male genitalia (that should snare some readers Googling for, um, other things), variability in the wing patterns, and probability of intergrades, I'm sure the early-season Epithecas will be the cause of a lot of consternation. I'm very goal-oriented, though, so I look forward to the challenge!