RE: My last word

Donald Frack (
Fri, 16 Apr 1999 20:20:11 -0700

To the Calvin gang:

I'm sure all of you are relieved this has come to an (apparent) end. I would
like to apologize to you all, including Jonathan Wells, if my last part
(round 3) was somewhat disjointed. Long messages are, I know, difficult on
group readers. Delays between them disconnect the subject. As I was laying
out the last one, I came down with the flu. I finally became tired enough of
fretting over it that I finished and sent it so as not to drag this out any
more. It probably suffers greatly from lack of proper time. Furthermore,
this past week I have corresponded with Jerry Coyne, and an American
peppered moth specialist. Certain ethical constraints have made it very
confusing what I can and cannot say about them.

I have only one comment on Wells's "last word". He wrote:

> 1. Since 1988, it has been well known to everyone who studies peppered
> moths that tree trunks are not their normal resting places. Michael
> Majerus lists six moths on exposed tree trunks over a forty year period,
> but this is an insignificant proportion of the tens of thousands that were
> observed during the same period. There simply is no question about it:
> peppered moths do not normally rest on tree trunks in the wild.

I have already been contacted by a list member asking me about the "tens of
thousands" of moths. Attentive readers will probably have noticed that we
were talking about Majerus's sample of field collected moths from resting
positions as 47, and Wells's incessant "one moth". Wells has found me out.
You can now be told the truth that the normal resting position of peppered
moths is in the bottom tray of light traps, for that is where these
specimens were "observed."

Don Frack