I could use a little advice from the entomologists & bug curators (?) in the crowd.
Yesterday, I spotted a moth and took a few pictures to post on iNaturalist. Nothing among the suggested taxa looked right, and having seen it still sitting on the same patch of concrete as I got home tonight, I went back and captured it to get a couple more pictures. A knowledgeable biologist focusing on moths in BC was able to identify it (thanks, dave328!), and I agreed that it’s a good match. The irony was that I’d observed & he previously identified for me as Tetracis formosa, another moth that I saw back in 2018 in the same area. I’d been uploading a few old observations to iNat. Tetracis formosa is fairly rare on iNat, so the computer vision isn’t giving good suggestions yet.
My go-to resource for checking species in British Columbia is UBC’s E-Flora & E-Fauna databases / online encyclopedias. Tetracis formosa is listed in E-Fauna, which notes only two observations in BC, both based on photos.
Incidentally to this, it has a provincial status of S3S4, which I understand to mean between 3 & 4 on this scale:
1 = critically imperiled
2 = imperiled
3 = special concern, vulnerable to extirpation or extinction
4 = apparently secure
5 = demonstrably widespread, abundant, and secure.
Preserved specimens are entirely absent from British Columbia, although there is a single specimen at the University of Alberta, according to the GBIF data for Tetracis formosa. 99.5% of preserved specimens are in the United States and about 90% of those are all located at Colorado State University’s C. P. Gillette Museum of Arthropod Diversity.
I’ve double-checked a few local catalogues: the Royal BC Museum’s Entomology catalogue and it doesn’t have any specimens of this species (though it has numerous Hemlock Looper Moths…); the Spencer collection in the Beaty Biodiversity Museum at UBC doesn’t have any; the Pacific Northwest Moths at WWU doesn’t have any.
I’m more at home with plants, so I understand how national and local herbarium collections are important to science. My guess is that it’s equally true for arthropods including moths. So instead of letting this little moth fly off tonight, I’m considering collecting it to submit to one of those local collections. Is this sensible? Would it be valuable for them scientifically? What steps would I need to take for proper collection & temporary preservation?