Welcome to LepCourse 2012!

On this page you will find links to lectures, pictures, and websites from the 4th Annual Lepidoptera Course held at the Southwestern Research Station in Portal, AZ.

*A note on email addresses: I created image files containing the addresses to prevent spam bots from scraping our addresses off of this site! This requires you to input the addresses manually into your mail clients. *
People appear in the order their information was received

Meet the Instructors:

Jim Miller


head shot.jpg

I study moths in the Noctuoidea, the largest superfamily in the Lepidoptera (70,000 described species). My research addresses general issues in taxonomy, biodiversity, phylogeny, and historical ecology. I have focused on one noctuoid group in particular, the Neotropical Dioptinae (465 described species). Dioptines, a derived clade within the family Notodontidae or prominent moths (3,500 species worldwide), are fascinating for several reasons: First, whereas other notodontids are nocturnal and cryptic, dioptines are diurnal and brightly colored. Second, their caterpillars specialize in feeding on toxic plants such as nightshades (Solanum) and passionflowers (Passiflora). Other notodontids feed on trees such as oaks and poplar; these typically do not contain toxins. The evolutionary origin of the Dioptinae is thus associated with basic changes in life style – from a nocturnal to a diurnal habit, and from feeding on trees to feeding on toxic host plants. The group thus mirrors the evolution of butterflies. In a recent paper, I reclassified the genera of Dioptinae (Miller, 2009; Bulletin of the AMNH, No. 321) in order to provide a taxonomic context for future evolutionary and biological research on the group. I am currently involved in two projects: A study of the moth and caterpillar fauna at a site in northeastern Ecuador (http://caterpillars.unr.edu/lsacat/ecuador/index.htm); and a revision of the North American Notodontidae, to be published in 2013 as part of the “Moths of North America” project.

Bruce Walsh



My interests are in the macromoth diversity of SE Arizona, and in educating future generations of lepidopterists. When not doing so, I'm a professor of statistical/population genetics at the University of Arizona.

Fun fact: my first described species, Lithophane leeae, is a bright pink moth namely in honor of my lovely wife of 20+ years Lee, who also happens to drive a bright pink pickup.

Meet the Students:

Nick Dowdy


external image author.jpg

I am broadly interested in many topics including: insect behavior, bioacoustics, phylogenetics, coevolution, ecology, and the application of emerging technologies to biological research. My work focuses on acoustic mimicry and aposematism in tiger moths (Erebidae:Arctiinae). I want to know how these defenses work in the wild against tiger moths' greatest enemies - bats. So, basically, I study a coevolutionary arms race that has been taking place between many species of moths and bats since the dinosaurs went extinct! To learn more visit "Research". I am also the manager of this wikipage, so please email me with comments, questions, or whatever!

Dorit Eliyahu



As a chemical ecologist, I am interested to see if and how chemicals are involved in the various interactions between lycaenid caterpillars and ants. I am also interested to see if chemicals are involved in host-location of adult lycaenids. In addition, I am interested in the defensive chemicals of caterpillars, and would like to get more into that, starting with the swallowtails. I had a student during the summer who started a project on osmeteria of Battus philenor, and she got some interesting results that are worthy of further exploration.

Gary Anweiler


Lepidoptera interests focus on the macromoths of Alberta, Canada, and on the systematics of the New World noctuid subfamilies Acronictinae and Pantheinae. Currently working on a revision of these noctuid subfamilies with Chris Schmidt as part of the MONA (Moths of North America) series project. I have also spent countless hours curating and organizing the Lepidoptera holdings of the University of Alberta Strickland Entomological Museum, and data basing and preparing "species pages" for the University of Alberta on-line Virtual Museum project.

Tobin Hammer


headshot_hammer 2.JPG

I’m a doctoral student at the University of Colorado and am investigating the role symbiotic microbial flora play in the biology of Lepidoptera. There are a number of examples in other insect groups of native bacteria and other microorganisms having effects on host nutrition, development, coloration, trophic interactions, and mating behavior. However, comparatively little is known about the symbionts of Lepidoptera—a group otherwise well studied and widely appreciated. The invisible millions of microbes living in the guts and other tissues of Leps are likely to be as important to them as our own human “microbiome” is to ours. I’m also interested in using certain taxonomic groups within the Lepidoptera to study coevolution and biogeographic patterns in host-microbe systems. Currently I am working on a project tracking patterns of microbial transmission over the life cycle of the neotropical butterfly Heliconius erato.


Captain Chris is making a funny face

Alessandro conquers Rattlesnake Hill

Nick is ready with his net

Leslie is capturing the Tobin Twins

A link to a video that documents the gushing of the creek on Aug. 17th:


Collection Locations:

SWRS, Portal, AZ (nightly):
31.888N 109.207W
elevation: 1630 meters

Above Onion Saddle (8/12/2012)
31.9150N 109.2691W
elevation: 2520 meters

Turkey Creek (8/12/2012 & 8/17/2012)
31.909N 109.252W
elevation 1954 meters

Pinely Canyon Campground (8/10/2012)
31.934N 109.272W
elevation: ?

John Hands Campground (8/13/2012)
31.878N 109.223W
elevation: 1720 meters

Paradise Road (8/14/2012)
31.931N 109.177W
elevation: 1592 meters

Paradise Cemetery (8/16/2012)
31.932N 109.208W
elevation: 1675 meters

Foothill Road
31.956N 109.148W
elevation: 1405 meters


All powerpoints are copyright by the corresponding author, all rights reserved. Publishing, distribution, or removing material from these talks is prohibited without explicit written consent.

Saturday, August 11th 2012

Lepidoptera Course students greeted with a night of sheet collecting.

Sunday, August 12th 2012


C. Schmidt - Techniques for Collecting, Pinning, Spreading, and Labeling Macrolepidoptera

J. Brown - Techniques for Collecting, Pinning, Spreading, and Labeling Microlepidoptera

D. Bowers - Applied Lepidopterology
Applied Lepidopterology.ppt

B. Walsh - Overview of Macrolepidoptera families

Monday, August 13th 2012


J. Miller - Larval Morphology
Larval Morphology PPT

D. Bowers - Lepidoptera-Plant Interactions
Lep-Plant PPT

D. Wagner - Caterpillar Diversity
To be released

Tuesday, August 14th 2012

J. Miller - Adult Morphology
Adult Morphology PPT

J. Dombroskie - Male Secondary Sexual Characters
Male Secondary Sexual Characters PPTX

R. Brown - Wing Patterns
To be released

Wednesday, August 15th 2012

D. Doussard - Bioprospecting
To be released

J. Miller - Male Genitalia

C. Schmidt - Male/Female Genitalia Dissection Techniques

J. Miller - Female Genitalia

Thursday, August 16th 2012

J. Brown - Microlepidoptera phylogeny and classification

J. Dombroskie - Pyraloidea
Pyraloidea PPTX

Friday, August 17th 2012

P. Goldstein + C. Schmidt - Macrolepidoptera phylogeny and classification
Macroheterocera PPT

J. Brown - Butterfly Classification
File Not Found
File Not Found

D. Bowers - Lepidoptera Predators and Parasitoids
Predators and Parasitoid PPT

Saturday, August 18th 2012

P. Goldstein - Lepidoptera Conservation
Lepidoptera Conservation

J. Dombroskie - Historical Lepidopterists

D. Bowers - Lepidoptera defenses
Lepidoptera Defense PPT

P. Goldstein - Phylogenetic Methods

Sunday, August 19th 2012

J. Miller - Mimicry
Mimicry PPT

D. Bowers - Eucaterva variaria (Geometridae)
Eucaterva variaria PPT


All powerpoints are copyright by the corresponding author, all rights reserved. Publishing, distribution, or removing material from these talks is prohibited without explicit written consent.

Thanks to all the instructors!!!


For more Lepidopteran Madness see:

LepCourse 2011