Evening meetings of the Gila Native Plant Society will be held throughout the fall, winter and spring on the third Friday of the month at 7.00 p.m. in Harlan Hall, second floor, Room 219, corner of Alabama and 12th Streets, on the Western New Mexico University campus. Free and open to the public. Refreshments following the program.
Previews of coming attractions
Friday, Apr. 19 – “I Bought Native Plants. Now What?”, presentation by Hanna Blood.
Friday, May 17 – “MESQUITE: the Tree of Life, the Tree of Future”, presentation by Richard Felger.
Our March 15th meeting featured a presentation by Ronald Parry entitled “Moths of the Gila National Forest and Vicinity.” As Ron explained, the Lepidoptera is an order of insects that includes both butterflies and moths. Many people are familiar with butterflies because of their beauty and their presence during daylight hours. Unlike butterflies, moths are little appreciated since they are largely nocturnal. This is unfortunate since many moths are beautiful and their biology is equally interesting. Most of the larger moths found within the Gila region fall into one of eight moth families. The talk summarized the characteristics of moths in each of these families and provide examples of local moths from each group.
Presenter Ron Parry was born and raised in Southern California. Exposure to the beauty and biodiversity of the California landscape in his youth converted him into a naturalist at a young age. The gift of a chemistry set from his parents one Christmas morning proved to be a turning point in his life and eventually led him to a B.S. in Chemistry from Occidental College and a Ph.D. in Organic Chemistry from Brandeis University. After graduating from Brandeis, he did two years of postdoctoral research in plant biochemistry in the United Kingdom, followed by a year of postdoctoral work at Stanford University. He returned to Brandeis as an Assistant Professor of Chemistry in 1971 and moved to Rice University in 1978. His research focused on the biochemistry associated with the formation of the complex toxins, antibiotics, and defense compounds produced by plants, microorganisms and fungi.
After retirement in 2012, he returned to his interests in natural history and began to study moths. Among other things, he serves as a yearly volunteer at the La Selva Research Station helping Prof. Lee Dyer of the University of Nevada with his project on caterpillars and climate change. More information on the moths of the Gila region can be found at Ron’s website: https://southwesternmoths.com/
For those interested in following up on this fascinating topic, Ron also suggested the following websites and books:
Basic Techniques for Observing and Studying Moths and Butterflies by
William D. Winter, Jr., 2000 (Available from The Lepidopterists
Moths of Western North America by Jerry A. Powell and Paul A. Opler,
University of California Press, 2009.