Marjorie Moody received
her BA in Zoology from UCLA. She's currently the Insect Biosystematist
with the Pink Bollworm Project, California Dept. of Food and Agriculture
since 1968. An avid arachnologist since 1950, she visited the Kaweah Oaks
Preserve over many years to collect spider specimens. A number of her specimens
were collected by Rev. Lee Wilson, a very good friend and fellow naturalist.
She tells of many visits from Father Wilson, bringing her live spiders,
which he found at KOP and just didn't have the heart to “KILL”.
She tells of a special day when
she was out at KOP with Dick Smith and others on a Wednesday morning
birding expedition when, as they stood on the metal bridge on the Grapevine
Trail watching Black Phoebes, they observed a frisky lone mink running
along the creek bank. They watched as it dove into the water and came up
the other side. It was a positive ID for sure, due to the fact that Lee
Wilson's brother raised mink in his youth and Lee knew one when he saw
one! It was the most exciting sighting of the day.
Marjorie cut her teeth on Ohio
birds back in the sixth grade. Her sixth grade teacher enrolled her whole
class in the Junior Audubon Society and Marjorie cherished every
publication and birding opportunity. And at this same time her friend and
classmate knew lots of birds, too, because she lived out of town on many
acres of natural landscape. Her nanny, Martha Englehart, was a naturalist
and taught her the native plants and birds of the area. Marjorie moved
to California in 1944 during her senior year in high school; and to her
delight she had already learned many of the western birds. Her favorite
California bird at that time was the tiny bushtit.
Jim Lane was a classmate in Junior
College who had no interest in birding till Marjorie asked him to join
her on a Cooper Ornithological Club meeting in 1946 or 1947. He was easily
hooked and became the writer of The Lane Guides.
Her interest in spiders came shortly
after graduating from college. She says, "I used to see spiders crawling
on the bathroom wall in Santa Ana, California. I wondered if anyone
knew what they were – REALLY!" She acquired a book at the LA County Museum
Bookstore, How To Know the Spiders, by B.J. Kaston. But without
any device to get a closer view at the spiders, she dropped the spider
fetish for a time. Luckily she met a gentleman, an entomologist with
a missionary spirit, Dr. Robert X. Schick, that shared her enthusiasm for
spiders. He invited Marjorie to a collection party, she was captivated
with the eight legged critters.
Dr. Schick was studying crab spiders
but wanted her to study Oxyopes scalaris
Lynx spiders, which he suspected was more that one species. After performing
several mating experiments and rearing the offspring (this is difficult
because the siblings eat each other) trying to prove how many species there
were, she shared her finding at a Arachnid Symposium at San Diego State
College that same year. She proved that there is only one species.
Another new species!