We had three readings today to commemorate Rachel Carson's birthday (May 27, 1907).
Bill Pierson read from his cell phone:
way to open your eyes is to ask yourself, What if I had never seen this before?
What if I knew I would never see it again?
Don Hunter and I (Dale Hoyt) chose selections from Carson's posthumously
published book, A Sense of Wonder.
who dwell, as scientists or laymen, among the beauties and mysteries of the
earth are never alone or weary of life. Whatever the vexations or concerns of
their personal lives, their thought can find paths that lead to inner
contentment and to renewed excitement in living. Those who contemplate the
beauty of the earth find reserves of strength that will endure as long as life
Finally, my selection:
A child’s world is fresh and new and beautiful,
full of wonder and excitement. It is our misfortune that for most of us that
clear-eyed vision, that true instinct for what is beautiful an awe-inspiring,
is dimmed and even lost before we reach adulthood. If I had influence with the
good fairy who is supposed to preside over the christening of all children I
should ask that her gift to each child in the world be a sense of wonder so
indestructible that it would last throughout life, as an unfailing antidote
against the boredom and disenchantments of later years, the sterile
preoccupation with things that are artificial, the alienation from the sources
of our strength.
. . .
sincerely believe that for the child, and for the parent seeking to guide him,
it is not half so important to know as to feel. If facts are the seeds that
later produce knowledge and wisdom, then the emotions and impressions of the
senses are the fertile soil in which the seeds must grow.
drizzle and threat of thunderstorms fifteen Ramblers met this morning, equipped
with umbrellas or other rain gear. It wasn't a real rain although it was
persistently moist. But that didn't dampen our enthusiasm -- there was still a
lot to see.
26 people met by the arbor in the lower parking lot to begin our ramble.Today's report was written by Hugh Nourse.
Hugh brought today's reading from Ann Haymond Zwinger, Downcanyon:A Naturalist
Explores the Colorado River through the Grand Canyon, page 93.:
Over at BugGuide there is
a single photograph of a fern ball posted in their
"unidentified leaf shelter" category.
Caterpillar frass inside fern ball
We collected three fern balls today and all contained quantities of frass, but not
caterpillars. The caterpillar occupant had left the house.
consulted an online database of lepidopteran food plants and found only a
single species recorded as having fed on the Christmas fern (Polystichumacrostichoides), namely, a moth, Herpetograma aeglealis. Googling this name led, indirectly, to a
recent paper describing a new species of Herpetogramma,
The following quotation from that paper reveals a University of Georgia connection:
of a species of Herpetogramma were reared on Christmas fern in Athens,
Georgia (Ruehlman et al. 1988)**; the species was identified as H. aeglealis,
but through the courtesy of Dr Matthews, one male specimen was loaned to the
CNC, and a complete dissection including the vesica was prepared by Don
Lafontaine, and it proved to be a specimen of the new species. All specimens
for that study were determined to be a single species, due to their larvae,
habits, host plant, and appearance of the adults, we believe they all belong to
Herpetogramma sphingealis and not to H. aeglealis. According to
these authors, the larvae are solitary leaf rollers and live on the terminal
leaflets of young fronds, passing the winter as eggs, emerging at the beginning
of the spring and eating the fronds within a silk shelter for around a month,
and then pupate to emerge about 12 days later.
reference to Dr. Matthews is to Dr. Robert Matthews, now a Professor Emeritus in UGA's
So the caterpillar we never saw is
likely to be the newly described moth species Herpetogramma sphingealis (there is no common name).
* Handfield L, Handfield D (2011) A new species of Herpetogramma (Lepidoptera, Crambidae,
Spilomelinae) from eastern North America. In: Schmidt BC, Lafontaine JD (Eds)
Contributions to the systematics of New World macro-moths III. ZooKeys 149:
TE, Matthews RW, Matthews JR (1988) Roles for structural and temporal
shelter-changing by fern-feeding lepidopteran larvae. Oecologia (Berlin) 75: