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Moth - Datana

Moth - Datana
Miami County, Kansas, USA
July 18, 2015
Blacklighting at Idalia Society Gathering. Is this Datana perspicua?


Images of this individual: tag all
Moth - Datana Moth - Datana

Moved from ID Request.

Well, I feel your pain. Thes
Well, I feel your pain. These are notoriously hard to identify, but my vote would be for D. contracta because the two brown spots are always in the AM sectiona AND there is a small / mark in the PM section I do not see on any other species. See Larry Line's photo on MPG. None of the BG photographs show that / and the information page does not mention it.

Not a species ID unless confirmed.

Thanks Anne!
for checking this one out.

Boy, I'm trying to find consistent clear distinctions in the pictures of each species and I'm not getting that very well. In Peterson they try to lay out distinguishing features. Around here, we mostly see a lot of what gets ID'd as D. ministra. But in those, the orbicular spot is faint or absent. It's present in this one. D. drexelii has a noticeable orbicular spot and apical dash, but that one is described as uncommon and has a reddish shading along the costa - which this one doesn't. Peterson says D. contracta does not have a scalloped outer margin, but this one does seem to. You're right, the image on MPG does look a lot like this one, and that outer margin may have some scallop to it(?) Peterson's description of D. perspicua is what drew me to this one because it includes conspicuous orbicular and reniform spots with apical dash and slightly scalloped outer margin which description-wise, seems the best fit for this one.

BUT ...

I just don't see these characteristics consistently in the images either here or MPG.

SO ...

I'm not sure what I'm doing (?!?!)

This sure is fun when it's not frustrating :)

Well, I was clearly wrong expecially about the apical dash. I seldom go to my Peterson's since what I am looking for is often not addressed there, but I am going to have to spend more time with it! I have never focused on a wavy fringe when looking at Datanas. I think you are probably right in your species choice and this one looks almost like yours . As for picture inconsistancies, I have begun checking to see who placed the specimen since users, who often give little indication of their background/qualifications, can also place photographs. John Carr told me that that doesn't work because the moving notifications did not begin until 2009. So now, I try to focus on images placed after that.

I agree
for the most part I don't use Peterson so much anymore since BG & MPG can usually cover it. But then there are these tricky ones where the distinctions are not obvious/clear. That's Chrissy's picture above. Since she's here in Missouri, I've compared notes with her. On some difficult ID's I've asked her how come some people are posting species level ID if that can only be determined by dissection/DNA. Apparently some are able to have a specimen dissected, so that's why they can ID them to species, yet other folks come along and just put them there. There are a few species INFO which clearly stated it cannot be ID'd to (so do not place in) species without dissection. That is very helpful.

I cannot tell you enough how good it is of you to give of your time and effort to help with ID's like you are doing.

Thanks, again!

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