Olethreutine Moths of the Midwestern United States
Olethreutine Moths of the Midwestern United States: An Identification Guide
By: Todd Gilligan, Donald Wright, and Loran Gibson
First a side story: I took an entomology class last quarter. My lab TA specializes in microhymenoptera. We talked about microepidoptera. On more than one occasion, he talked about how he would never do microlepidoptera because those folks had to do dissections and separate the reproductive tracts. I did not know what he was talking about but I never asked him to explain. Why I brought it up will become clear later.
This book is another in a series put out by the Ohio Biological Survey. I've been buying some of their books and found out about this one last week. It is the priciest one, going for $75. Figured I'd try getting one from a library before I shelled out the money. OSU campus in Marion had a copy, which I find strange since the Columbus and Wooster campuses are the ones that have the advanced entomology courses. Anyway, the book came in and I can understand why it is the priciest. It is hardcover with lots of pictures.
While flipping through the book, two things caught my eye. First was that many of the moths in the pictures are missing their abdomens. Second was lots of pages of male and female genitalia pictures. The book is 334 pages long and 107 of those pages are genitalia pictures. Suddenly, what my TA had talked about came into focus. People who collect these moths (which tend to have a wingspan between 5 to 10 mm long) cut off the moths' abdomens, remove the genitalia, stain it, and study it to determine what moth they have. And even then I read multiple times, "Genitalia of the two species are indistinguishable." And I know a guy out in New Mexico who is there just to find new microlepidoptera. I cannot imagine doing what he must be doing all the time.
The book covers 306 Olethreutinae moths (they are a subfamily of the family Tortricidae) that are found in the midwest US. The book has 5 plates that show pics of all 306 moths, which makes it easier to identify a moth instead of going through all the pages.
Moths are split up by tribe but the book does not explain anything about why the tribe classification exists. Then the moths are classified by genus. Each genus is explained, some in a lot of detail. Each species gets a bigger than life pic, size specs, flight period, distribution, larval hosts, and some remarks about the adult. Many times, the book also has tidbits on the larvae's habits including where pupation occurs.
There are pictures of 12 eggs, 36 caterpillars, and 2 pupa.
The most interesting tidbit I found in the book was you can sex these moths by the frenulum. The males have single stout bristle while the females have 2-3 finer bristles. Don't know what a frenulum is? It is something most moths have but butterflies do not. It is a filament on the hindwing that couples with varying parts of the forewing.
The beginning of the book spends 10 pages getting you up to speed with the terms that are used in the book. Sometimes the only difference between two species is the hair pencil on the hind tibia, so you need to know what that means. The last 15 pages cover eggs, larvae, and pupa. Details on raising and preserving larvae are included. I found the history of larvae preservation to be interesting.
The book says it is geared towards amateur collectors and professional entomologists. With all the genitalia pictures, I'd agree with the professional entomologist part.
Since I'm more into trying to identify caterpillars, I cannot cost justify me spending $75 on this book. YMMV
Here is a link that might be useful: Ohio Biological Survey - click on Publications