Arctic Oeneis 1 – Preliminary results

We are thrilled to report that first expedition of the Triplehorn Insect Collection with Notes from Nature was completed and it was a success! Ninety nine explorers joined us to transcribe data from 1,443 specimens in three species and 5 subspecies. The records are now in our online database and fully available to anyone interested.

Data from dry insect specimens are challenging to transcribe. Labels are small, often handwritten, and sometimes the collector’s handwriting is downright impossible to decipher. Collecting locality information is frequently abbreviated in cryptic ways, date formats may vary dramatically, and, to add insult to injury, labels frequently contain misspellings and typos. It is not uncommon to come across labels that contain only a number, say “3456”. The older the specimen the more acute the problems and the more complicated the task of transcription becomes.

Despite of these obstacles, the overall quality of the data transcribed by Notes from Nature volunteers was very good.

Here are a few cool facts about the first expedition of Arctic Oeneis. About 65% of the specimens were from Canada and 30% from the USA. The remaining 5% of the specimens were from other countries or had no label data.

There were 152 collecting localities, some very similar, but with different elevations or a different mile marker (example, localities along Dempster Highway.)

Locality farthest north: 69.1597°N Sheep Creek & Firth River, British Mts., YT, Canada (Oeneis alpina excubitor, OSUC 727955)

Locality farthest south: 33.9078°N Crescent Lake, Apache Co., AZ (Oeneis alberta, OSUC 722232, 722235, 722245, 722248, 722252)

Locality farthest west: 149.5303°W Anchorage, Anchorage Muni., AK, (Oeneis bore hanburyi, OSUC 735514)

Locality farthest east: Mont Albert tableland, 3500ft+, Gaspé Peninsula, QC, Canada (all 65 Oeneis bore gaspeensis)

We’re now kicking off our second expedition, featuring three species and 10 subspecies of Arctic Oeneis, and we would be delighted if you’d come along with us. We can’t wait to see what other interesting facts we’ll uncover.

As part of the Arctic Oeneis digitization project we have already photographed over 4,300 specimens with their respective labels. We expect to complete the photography part of the project this spring.

Thank you, volunteers! Now to the next expedition!

— Luciana Musetti, Curator, Triplehorn Insect Collection

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