08.25.2014 Both sides of the story

In this case, the story is a possible False Crocus Geometer.  I say possible because the Genus Xanthotype is a very confusing one with several species that can only be confidently identified by the delicate term…genitallic dissection.  I am happy just calling mine a Xanthotype spp.   There are many insects whose IDs require such close scrutiny, but it isn’t anything we photographers need to undertake.

I was fortunate to find this moth on a tall dried grass stalk with nothing around it which made the top and bottom views possible.  I hope you enjoy these.

Upper Xanthotype-spp-2.-082414-600WebAnd lowerXanthotype-spp.-082414-600WebThe lower view gives us a bit of personality to bond with.  🙂

This individual was just starting to fade a bit, but the fantastic symmetry of the upper view is still able to be fully appreciated.  For some reason the underside is not a mirror image like the upper.


About Steve Gingold

I am a Nature Photographer with interests in all things related. Water, flowers, insects and fungi are my main interests but I am happy to photograph wildlife and landscapes and all other of Nature's subjects.
This entry was posted in Closeup Photography, Insects, Lepidoptera, macro photography, Moths, Nature Photography, Patterns in Nature and tagged , , , , , , . Bookmark the permalink.

22 Responses to 08.25.2014 Both sides of the story

  1. So it’s fair to say you’ve looked at geometers—some of whom are known to study symmetry—from both sides now.

    When I saw just the first picture it struck me as some sort of cravat or bow-tie.


  2. A really pretty moth captured in a macro shot. Nice work, Steve.


  3. Lottie Nevin says:

    I mentioned in an earlier post that its always an education landing here – Well, genitallic dissection is my new wisdom of the day or rather the word, I’m not even sure I want to look it up….I must confess though to taking a very CAREFUL look at the second photograph, my guess is that it’s a girl but of course what do I know about the private parts of moths? Stunning photograph, Steve 🙂


  4. Jim in IA says:

    What a nice specimen. I was surprised to notice on close inspection that the left and right wing dots are not symmetrical. At first, I thought so.


  5. Several reactions. First, another exceptional macro shot (I have taken your previous comments concerning LiveView and a piece of black cloth to heart). Two, that’s one very, very patient moth. And, three, one shouldn’t cast aspersions upon those who take professional pride and satisfaction in genitallic micro dissection. When I was working at a small college in central Indiana, part of my research focused on documenting the terrestrial molluscan fauna of the state. Indiana, like so many other mid-western states, has been subject to significant forest fragmentation over the last century or so. I cannot now remember the figures, but agriculture has gobbled up some huge fraction of what once was nearly complete forest cover in the Hoosier State. Because land snails are so dependent upon large tracts of forest they have been disproportionately influenced by fragmentation of their natural habitat. So, our research focused primarily on documenting species distributions to see which, if any animals, were endanger of extirpation (and, in one case in Illinois, extinction). Because the shells of these animals tended, in some cases, to be not very divergent, comparisons of internal anatomy were necessary to distinguish between closely related species. And, yes, the particular organ system of focus was the reproductive system … yes … the genitalia. Don’t laugh, but it’s pretty delicate work. Some of these animals were, as adults, just 2-3mm in length and required microdissection using a very powerful microscope. The trick was that you had to remove the entire system intact; and, remember that all of a snail’s anatomy spirals up the inside of the coiled shell. Dissection of this sort really did require years of practice to perfect. I’ll have to look through my files tomorrow to see if I can extract an image for you! How exciting would that be! D


    • No aspersions being cast from this url, David. I have a great deal of respect for those of you who can undertake the delicate task of that work. And it is also important work as exhibited by your example. I have to admit that I managed to never disect a frog in biology class which is obviously small entrails compared to a snail…..well large entrails but you get my drift. I am rather fond of my hopper friends and can look them square in the eye. 🙂
      Fragmentation is a big problem for wildlife all over and I don’t believe that mitigation corridors come close to making up for the huge losses in territory.


      • shoreacres says:

        The apex of my scientific career in high school probably was the frog dissection required in biology. Filled with the spirit of inquiry and a certain amount of impishness, I skinned my frog in one piece, flattened the skin, dried it, carried it home and tucked it between Mom’s bedspread and her pillow.

        The worst part was, I couldn’t stop laughing when she found it at midnight.


      • Two peas in a pod, we are, Linda. At least when it comes to pranks. On the way to Junior High School, I picked up a dried flattened road-killed frog and deposited it where a girl I liked sat in English class. Oh the hilarity. She never liked me anyway. I wouldn’t say that I am proud of the memory….. :mrgreen:


  6. The photo from the underside is so amazing, I love the detail you where able to capture.


  7. Sandra says:

    what a beautiful and attractive butterfly! And yes, really looks a bit like a bow-tie 🙂


  8. Thanks for coming over and taking a look, Sandra. 🙂


  9. Andrew says:

    It looks very badly freckled, Steve. Are those signs of disease, like our frangipani rust, or does Xanth think he looks cool like that?


  10. shoreacres says:

    When I saw this beauty, the first thing that came to mind was the Rorschach tests. It is gorgeous, both the colors and the pattern. Whether it’s a girl or boy I wouldn’t presume to say, but it clearly is alert and engaged. It looks ready for a conversation. I did read that males often have feathered antennae, and these seem plain. So, maybe it is a girl.


    • That’s a great comparison, Linda. I’m not sure about alert as it was a bit torpid until the sun hit it, but we did have a nice chat. I usually thank my subjects if they stick around long enough. 😉


  11. Love the crispness of the moth against the bokah….:) I remember reading about Nabakov, noted for studying lepidoptera as well as for writing. Although an amateur he made quite a contribution using genital dissection. And I have a friend who botanizes by microscope. Me, I’m always for the spp. designation, and the gestalt. Takes both sorts to complete the picture, I think.


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