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Susan's notes...

@naturephotosuze wrote:

International biodiversity challenge

I was so pleased to be a part of this team I thought I would share my experience. First, I was incredibly busy right before the challenge as I had just returned from a 2 week trip to Yellowstone and the Tetons. In addition we stopped in both Nevada and in Bishop on the way back so I had literally thousands of photos to go thru, process and edit. I’m still working on those by the way. Not only was I uploading most of those observations to inaturalist but I was also working on editing the better photos for my site on Flickr.

So though I was excited to participate in the challenge, at the same time I don’t think I was mentally ready, as I had no down time in between the two events. I went into Monday with a tentative game plan to stay fairly local and because it was to be very warm, stay pretty close to the coast. I started out going to Red Rock Canyon in Topanga. It is a place I’ve only been to once before—reason—they charge for parking and the only off street parking is almost a mile away so I didn’t want to spend too much time walking in when I knew time was at a premium.

Was it a mistake to go to a place I hadn’t been for a few years? Yes and no. My reasons for going there were that I thought the habitat might be a bit different and I had seen observations from there on inaturalist that seemed to be species I hadn’t come across much, if at all.

What I didn’t count on was that it was way hotter than I anticipated. When I got there at 9:15—yes a late start also—it was 78. But that didn’t last. By the time I left at 12:45 it was 93. And the humidity was very high so it actually felt warmer than my trip to the desert I took two days later. As a result I got a splitting headache while I was there and that pretty much limited what I did after that.

Did I find anything new there? Yes I did find a Curl Leaf Mountain Mahogany, which I see is the first observation in the Santa Monica Mountains. Serendipity is always an important part of exploring nature. So when I stopped briefly at a picnic table after a couple of hours in to eat a snack, that’s where that canyon wren appeared…miraculously as I so rarely see them. I also got the beaded rosette lichen there—a new species for me. Unfortunately I did not have it in me to hike up the hill as I’m positive I would have gotten more interesting species there. The bird life in this area was great so I think it is a place I will return to in the future.

On the way out, I stopped at Hondo Canyon. I haven’t been on this trail before but I know of it and I’ve always wanted to check it out. It was only 84 degrees there but still felt really hot. I just hung out in the riparian area, as again, I didn’t want to hike up a hill in the heat. It was pretty productive for the short time I was there. I saw several species of butterflies including a giant swallowtail—my first sighting ever. So I was pleased. When I left there I stopped at lower Topanga Canyon, as I know that Andrea has had excellent success there. It was foggy and cool down there---maybe 72, if that. I was able to add some species to the list including the mating marine butterflies; however I didn’t really spend that much time there as I was not feeling well.

Tuesday I decided to play it safe and stay cool by the coast. Red Rock Canyon was definitely not by the coast and though I told myself that it’s a canyon and in Topanga so it can’t be that bad, that wasn’t my experience. So, I went to Zuma Canyon, which traditionally for me has been very productive. However I had been there the week prior and was a bit disappointed.

Some of the areas where I have found many cool things were so overgrown with vegetation that I would have needed a hacksaw to get in. However, I know the place well and was able to focus on the areas where I usually find interesting things. I first stopped at the top of Zuma Ridge based on a report of a wide-throated yellow monkey flower that someone reported “at the trailhead”. I looked all around the area for 100 yards and did not see it. Nor did I see much else of interest up there. As it was, I really didn’t come away with much new at Zuma Canyon except for a Cabbage Webworm Moth—new to me but not a new species—however it added to the team’s list. I do have several insects from there that are still unidentified.

From there I hit Trancas Canyon. I had also been there the week before. I had found a lot of interesting mollusks in the remaining stagnant pond but because it was so overcast Tuesday, I wasn’t able to see into the pond to get photos. I did however get the team’s only observation of a California toad there.

Wednesday was my day to hit the desert. I got up early for me at 6:30 but still probably too late for the challenge. I started by heading out to an area in the Antelope Valley where Swainson’s hawks had been observed. I didn’t see any in the vicinity…just a red tailed hawk. If I hadn’t been in a rush, I would have spent more time looking for them but that would have involved driving around which is a big time suck—especially in the Antelope Valley where blocks are miles long.

I then moved on to Phacelia Wildlife Sanctuary. I just became aware of these so-called “wildlife sanctuaries” in the Antelope Valley last year when I was looking on a map for something. “Sanctuaries” are a very loose description because basically what they are is a plot of land that has a sign and maybe a dirt pullout or lot and no trails. Thus, you meander around looking for stuff…something that I enjoy, particularly in the desert, as you never know what you will see.

Unfortunately, this time of year is horrible for the desert during the day. I feel fortunate I saw as much as I did. One of the reasons I went out as far as Phacelia (almost to Edwards Airforce Base) was that they have long nosed leopard lizards and desert horned lizards there and it’s the closest area I know for these really cool lizards. But alas, I only saw a fleeting glimpse of a leopard lizard and no horned lizards and I didn’t really have the time to spend wandering around for hours to hope to see any to photograph. And it was 95! I was fortunate though to see and photograph a jackrabbit that nicely posed for me. And I did find two new species of grasshoppers for the area as well as for me—the “single banded derotmema” and the “caerulean winged grasshopper”—both of which were ID’d by Alice Abela who is super helpful all the time. And it added to the team’s total!

From there I stopped at the Blalock Wildlife Sanctuary. It was even deader there than at Phacelia—partially because I didn’t get there til noon. I saw only two ravens and an antelope squirrel. I heard a cactus wren in the distance but never saw it. However I did get a couple of lichen species as well as the plant “acton brittlebrush” which is not anywhere near us here in the greater LA basin. Traditionally, this area is quite good for species as it is close to the Juniper Hills and you get a mix of desert species as well as some higher elevation insects and plants, but the time of year is not good for insects.

Finally I stopped at Pearblossom Park and took photos of the vermilion flycatcher as I knew there was a family there. Had I not been so hot (once again), I could have sought out the verdin and a couple of other desert species. However I also would have had to probably wait until later in the day, as it was pretty quiet there between 1:30 and 2:30 PM…not the ideal birding time in the desert.

Once I cooled off when I was home, I thought I’d walk around the neighborhood and I did add to our species count there by adding a couple of things I found in the alley. The biggest takeaway I had though, is that not one person on my block seems to have any native plants in their yard. Admittedly, it’s all condos and apartments so there isn’t a lot of space for gardens but I really, really wish more people would start doing this as we are in a crisis and I feel it’s one of the only ways to have a hope of repairing things. My neighborhood is just not a place to find much wildlife although we do have some resident nanday parakeets that liven things up.

Finally, on Thursday I knew it would be a short day and I had to save time for uploading the photos, etc. which I think we all learned was the most tedious part of the process. So the night before, I was more methodical. I was going to go to Santa Ynez Canyon, which is really the closest “wild” place to me that is interesting in terms of species. I know the place well so I actually thought of what plants I might see—I knew it was going to be cool and overcast so I wasn’t expecting to find many insects and I knew we had most of the expected species of birds. I actually did a search for different plants I knew were at Santa Ynez and then checked our observations to see whether or not we had them. I actually found that I knew of at least 12 plants there that no one had found yet so that was my goal—get those plants and then anything else I happened to see. I ended up finding most of the plants, though some are yet to be ID’d. In the process I finally photographed a plant I’ve seen there before, but had totally ignored—a Western Coastal Wattle-- that was new to my list. I also added bonfire moss that I knew was there and that no one had seen. An added bonus was a new species both for me and the Santa Monica Mountains as well as the team—Giant Reed Aphids. So I felt I was pretty successful with the limited time we had.

What did I learn? Know your limits. Plan more carefully. Get up earlier. And coordinate with your teammates to avoid duplicating too many species. A few duplicates are fine but diversity is the name of the game.

By Susan Schalbe, @naturephotosuze.

Ingresado el 10 de agosto de 2020 por andreacala andreacala | 2 comentarios | Deja un comentario

Observation of the Week 2017-02-23

Our Observation of the Week is this Cryptic mantis, seen in Zimbabwe by i_c_riddell!

A longtime nature enthusiast, Ian Riddell has been a Ranger for Zimbabwe’s Department of National Parks when he was a student, and was a professional Safari Guide as well. “I use iNaturalist for nearly all my records,” he says, “having found it soon after it started after searching for some site where I could put my piles of records to use – and Zimbabwe showed as a big blank on the map.”

He’s since added over 600 observations from Zimbabwe (nearly half of all iNat observations there), including the stunning young Cryptic mantis seen above. As you can tell, this insect was found not on an adventure in the bush (“the bush is the colloquial term for any venture out of the city to wild places,” says Ian), but in his home.

“I noticed the mantid out of the corner of my eye whilst combing the cat! There was something ant-sized moving on a folded blanket on a verandah table,” he recalls. “Not an ant ‘cause the movement was wrong, so dashed inside to grab the camera and a gorgeous tiny mantid was revealed.”

The Cryptic mantis ranges throughout southern Africa, and females can grow up to about 5-6 cm in length, with the males a bit smaller. As an adult, it will have green, leaf-like wings and several leafy projections from his hind legs. In the photo you can see the thin prothorax behind its head, which is a trait of the species.

Ian says he’s “Still interested in all aspects of nature; in the garden, on a bird outing, a National Parks visit, bio-diversity surveying, whatever,” and currently does some work for BirdLife Zimbabwe, leads some birding trips, and writes short ornithological and travel articles. And he’s still into learning, admitting that “A lot of spare time is taken up on identifying past and present discoveries; moths are a real challenge!”

- by Tony Iwane

- Are there Cryptic mantid videos on YouTube? Of course

- Here’s an article about another amazing mantis, the Orchid Mantis.

Ingresado el 09 de agosto de 2020 por hannahsun99 hannahsun99 | 0 comentarios | Deja un comentario

Observation of the Week 2017-02-16

Our Observation of the Week is this Martiodrilus earthworm, seen in Colombia by hydaticus!

“Juan Palacio, one of my friends at [University of Texas at Austin], is from Colombia, and he invited me and another friend (Will) to the place where he did his Master’s research: Cueva de Los Guacharos National Park. Juan could not join us, unfortunately, but Will and I stayed in the park for a week,” explains Robby Deans (aka @hydaticus). “The park is known for its limestone caves and the oilbirds (Guacharos) that nest in them. We got to see many of these birds, and a variety of other awesome wildlife. Other highlights include Andean Cock-of-the-Rock, Eyelash Viper, and many great butterflies such as Rhetus dysonii and Morpho sulkowskyi.”

Robby’s current research involves aquatic invertebrates, but the invertebrate photographed above is decidedly terrestrial. “I was at the back of the group, but I could see a long thin animal slowly moving down the trail,” recalls Robby. “My first thought was that it was a snake, so I was already excited. Then, Will says he thinks it is a caecilian, and so I get even more excited. After Will picked it up and turned around so I could see it, we immediately realized it was a worm, and the two of us just started laughing at how impossibly big it was. It was definitely one of the more memorable moments of an awesome trip.”

What they found was an earthworm of the Martiodrilus genus (the first one posted to iNaturalist!), which are native to South America can can grow to several feet in length. Robby says this one appeared to be 2-3 feet long, depending on how stretched out it was. Not much is known about this genus, but like other earthworms they dig through the soil, aerating it and creating rich humus for plant life. And while Martiodrilus are large, they are dwarfed by the Giant Gippsland Earthworm from Australia, which has been recorded at around 3 meters in length!

Robby continues his research at UT and also teaches field courses, including Entomology and Vertebrate Natural History. “I [also] have started getting more into photography over the past three years, which helps me to share what I see with everyone else,” he says.

“I first started using iNaturalist just to share my photos and sightings with other people who are interested in natural history. Now that more people are using it, I use it more often to see what other people are finding. Things are always changing, and enough people are using the site now that you can really track those changes. The site also does a great job of linking other sources of information, and it is the only place I know of that has point observations on a map for all taxa together in one place.”

- by Tony Iwane

- Are there Martiodrilus videos on YouTube? Of course.

- And of course David Attenborough visits Australia’s giant worms.

- Interested in Vermicomposting? Here’s a how-to from University of Nebraska-Lincoln.

Ingresado el 09 de agosto de 2020 por hannahsun99 hannahsun99 | 0 comentarios | Deja un comentario

(Bonus) Observation of the Week 2017-02-13

This group of Harlequin Ducks, seen in Canada by slrtweedale, is our (Bonus) Observation of the Week!

This belated Observation of the Week comes from Sarah Tweedale. Enjoy!

“As a young girl I’d wander the forest and beach taking delight in exploring what was beneath the rocks on the beach, and in the forest fascinated by everything about it: the trees, and the way they danced in the wind, the different kinds of bark on the various trees, the bugs in the forest floor amongst the cedar bits and fir cones,” writes Sarah. “Finding fungus was like finding a treasure, and the discovery of little stands of Indian Pipe that sprung from the forest floor when the conditions were right, was a wonder to me, as was their pale translucency.” She also learned about photography from her father’s old Zeiss Ikon camera when she was a teenager.

With her career and her family, Sarah’s photography “took something of a back shelf. But not my eagerness to keep learning.” After retiring, she’s had more time to explore the surroundings of her home on Galiano Island, one of the Southern Gulf Islands in Canada’s British Columbia and work on her photography “with both my Canon 70 D and, very conveniently my iPhone.”

Sarah takes her Golden Retriever out for walks in the morning, and says “I meander out to the water’s edge by our flagpole and enjoy the feel of the breeze, sounds of seals, eagles, herons, songbirds, and in the winter, the early morning feeding of various ducks...on the morning I captured the photo of the Harlequins, I was just plain fortunate that I got to the edge of the water before our dog did, as she’d have flushed them off, and there they were, lined up on the rocks. There was little wind, so the waves were small, and the water fairly silky smooth. It made for a happy shot!”

Spectacular diving ducks that live along the northern coasts of North America, Harlequin ducks prefer rough coastal waters and and quickly flowing streams, where they search for the invertebrates and fish that make up their diet. In fact, researchers have found that many adult Harlequin ducks have evidence of broken bones, which is believed to be from their turbulent habitats. Unlike many other ducks, Harlequins make a “squeaky” noise when communicating; they are sometimes called “sea mice.”

Sarah uses iNaturalist to record her findings on Galiano Island, and says “In addition to logging information I find iNaturalist a wonderful resource [for] identifying and learning more about the species that live nearby. The great benefit to the whole enterprise, to me, is that the more I learn, the more I see. And the more I see, the more curious I am to learn more. iNaturalist is a great gift for a person like me. Thank you so much.”

- by Tony Iwane

- Check out more of Sarah’s photography and thoughts on her blog, Curious Spectacles.

- Here’s a short video of Montana’s Harlequin Ducks, with some cool footage of them in some quick streams.

- Harlequin ducks are a pretty interesting species. For instance, during breeding season females return to the same streams where they were born, bringing along a male they met on the coast! A longer article about them can be found here.

Ingresado el 09 de agosto de 2020 por hannahsun99 hannahsun99 | 0 comentarios | Deja un comentario

Observation of the Week 2017-02-09

This Pompelon marginata moth, seen in Singapore by sohkamyung, is our Observation of the Week!

“I had always been interested in nature, having been brought up on nature documentaries by Sir David Attenborough, but I only got more hands-on with nature recently,” says Kam Yung Soh. “A few years ago, we (including my wife and 10 year old son) decided to sign up for a butterfly count organised by the Singapore National Parks Board. It was a fantastic experience and since then, the family has been going out on weekends to the various parks and nature reserves in Singapore to discover nature, especially insects and butterflies. My wife and son are the ones who usually spot the creatures, which I then proceed to shoot.”

“I'm actually an Electrical Engineer by training. Neither me nor my family have any formal training in biology or natural history,” explains Kam Yung. “But my son is now pretty good at identifying butterflies, especially after we got the book A Field Guide to the Butterflies of Singapore by noted local butterfly expert SK Khew.”

The Pompelon marginata moth that he photographed above was found during a family outing at Mount Faber Park in Singapore. “As we were walking along a shaded path, we saw an iridescent blue insect fluttering in the air,” recalls Kam Yung. “We initially thought it was a butterfly and wondered what kind of butterfly it might be. It was only after it had settled on a leaf, fortunately just next to the walking path, that we realised that it was a moth; and a beautiful one too.” The moth was identified by local expert Foo Jit Leang as Pompelon marginata.

Ranging throughout much of Southeast Asia, the Pompelon marginata moth is a day-flying species that hosts on Wild Cinnamon (Cinnamomum sp.), around which it is often found. Look carefully at the back of its head and you can see a hint of the brilliant red that covers much of its thorax and abdomen, which is broken up by black dots. This species is considered to be a Euploea butterfly mimic.

A passionate citizen scientist, Mr. Soh posts his photos to Facebook, Twitter and Google+ as well as iNaturalist, and he hopes they “will help to encourage friends to be more adventurous and see nature in the wild, and not just in the local zoo.”

“Using iNaturalist has changed the way I see nature by making me be more observant, especially for the smaller creatures like insects. It is probably a common mis-belief that Singapore is a completely urban place,” says Kam Yung. “The IDs of my sightings by fellow iNaturalist users have also helped educate me on the fascinating natural behaviour of the various creatures I observed, instead of just having a photographic record of them.”

- by Tony Iwane

- Here’s a nice PDF on P. marginata from Nature in Singapore. There are some cool photos and a Tachinid maggot that emerged out of on caterpillar.

- Check out more moths and butterflies of Singapore in their respective projects.

Ingresado el 09 de agosto de 2020 por hannahsun99 hannahsun99 | 0 comentarios | Deja un comentario

Observation of the Week 2017-02-02

This Lesser Oriental Chevrotain, seen in Thailand by juddpatterson, is our Observation of the Week!

Just outside of Thailand’s Kaeng Krachan National Park is a series of watering holes that had originally been created by poachers. In dry times, many animals, including Scaly-breasted Partridges, White-rumped Shamas, Southern Red Muntjacs, and even King Cobras came to the watering holes and were easy prey for the poachers.

However, in 2009, “a couple of locals worked with the poachers to try a more sustainable strategy by giving birders and photographers access to these hides,” says Judd Patterson. “ Any initial skepticism quickly evaporated as hundreds of people scheduled visits. The demand continues to grow and now visitors from all over the world enjoy the abundant wildlife and pay the former-poachers a small fee for the privilege.”

Judd works for the National Park Service as a Data Manager for the Inventory and Monitoring Program, and in his free time is an avid bird watcher and bird photographer. He visited these watering holes and, behind a blind, photographed many animals, including the Lesser Oriental Chevrotain pictured above.

Chevrotains are part of the Tragulidae family of ungulates, and are also known as mouse-deer. They’re considered primitive ruminants, and are thought to be somewhat more like pigs than other ruminants, sharing the trait of four toes on each foot. The Lesser Oriental Chevrotain is considered the smallest of all ungulates, weighing in at no more than 2 kg (4.4 lbs), and its diminutive size helps it move quickly through the forest when it needs to. It is found through much of Southeast Asia.

“My first exposure came during the 2016 NPS Centennial when I was asked to assist with the Kings Mountain National Military Park bird bioblitz in South Carolina,” says Judd, photographing an ‘Akohekohe in Mau’i above). “It didn't take long for the expansive taxonomy, slick smartphone app, and mapping feature to capture my attention.

“Beyond birds I now stalk flowers for insects and butterflies, pester my botanically inclined friends for identification help, hope for help on mushrooms that pop up in the yard, and pause longer to study the fish that are flashing through the water. One of the most exciting elements of iNaturalist to me is the Identotron feature that is continually being fed and improved by new observations and identifications. Where else can you find an ever-adapting list of the most common species for any region and taxonomic level?”

- by Tony Iwane

- Here’s 10 adorable minutes of a Lesser Oriental Chevrotain doing some munching. Recorded at a watering hole outside of Kaeng Krachan.

- An article about the how the poachers’ watering holes were transformed into wildlife viewing areas.

- Judd also posts his bird photos at Birds in Focus.

Ingresado el 09 de agosto de 2020 por hannahsun99 hannahsun99 | 0 comentarios | Deja un comentario

Obs de quintal - Ciclo de vida do Aspisoma / Backyard Observations - Aspisoma life cycle

Há muitos anos que registro o vaga-lume Aspisoma em meu quintal. Este é um boletim informativo escrito com minhas observações simples. Aspisoma é um vaga-lume marrom da família Lampyridae que tem ocorrido com frequência no meu quintal, localizado em área urbana. Porém, meu quintal possui algumas características que favorecem a existência desses vaga-lumes: terra, grama, plantas, umidade e pequenos caracóis. Além disso, não uso nenhum tipo de repelente ou inseticida. Mantendo todas as formas de vida que surgem, incluindo pequenos caracóis e lesmas, que são o alimento básico das larvas de Aspisoma. As larvas encontram-se aderidas à parte inferior das plantas, junto ao solo. Aqui, no meu quintal, as larvas preferem a planta Belamcanda chinensis, onde alguns caracóis gostam de se esconder junto às folhas mortas da planta e aproveitar a umidade que esta região da planta oferece. Quando as larvas estão maduras, elas usam um líquido que é secretado pela região do final do abdômen e aderem às folhas lanceoladas de Belamcanda chinensis. Dias depois, os adultos emergem e o acasalamento acontece. O dimorfismo sexual é bastante discreto. Os ovos são arredondados, amarelos e lisos. Provavelmente, eles são depositados na parte inferior das plantas. Os adultos parecem não comer.


For many years I have registered the firefly Aspisoma in my backyard. This is a newsletter written with my simple observations. Aspisoma is a brown colored firefly of the Lampyridae family that has been occurring frequently in my backyard, which is located in an urban area. However, my backyard has some characteristics that favor the existence of these fireflies: earth, grass, plants, humidity and snails. Besides, I don't use any type of repellent or insecticide. Keeping all life forms that arise, including small snails and slugs, which are the basic food of larvae Aspisoma. The larvae are found attached to the lower part of the plants, close to the soil. Here, in my backyard, the larvae prefer the Belamcanda chinensis plant, where some snails like to hide the dead leaves of the plant and enjoy the humidity that this region of the plant offers. When the larvae are mature, they use a liquid that is secreted by the region at the end of the abdomen, and stick to the speared leaves of Belamcanda chinensis. Days later the adults emerge and the mating happens. The eggs are rounded, yellow and smooth. Most likely they are deposited attached to the lower part of the plants. Adults don't seem to eat.

Ingresado el 09 de agosto de 2020 por kel kel | 0 comentarios | Deja un comentario

The Bird of Prey on the Hunt

I finally got the opportunity to capture a few photos of this particular bird August 8, 2020. I have observed him/her on several occasions in the area, and once even saw him/her pick up a small bird in my yard and carry it away. It was fascinating to witness, as well as a shock. He/She came out of nowhere.

I am unsure of how to identify if a bird is male or female.

Ingresado el 09 de agosto de 2020 por shastajanes shastajanes | 1 observación | 0 comentarios | Deja un comentario

Observation of the Week 2017-01-26

This Siamese Peninsula Pitviper, seen in Malaysia by rharris70, is our Observation of the Week!

“I'm out in the field every opportunity I get and have over 40 years experience now,” says Roger Harris, who lives in Somerset, England. “I became interested in nature as a child at around the age of 8 and was immediately hooked. I live in the UK and started with birds but by my teens had  become interested in reptiles, insects and plants too. I still consider myself a fairly 'rounded' naturalist but my loves are definitely birding and herping, particularly snakes with a strong interest in venomous species.”

Well, it’s Roger’s beautiful shot of a venomous snake, the Siamese Peninsula Pitviper, that’s our Observation of the Week. It’s one of several he found while on a trip to Malaysia near the end of 2016, which he went on with his friend, TV naturalist Nigel Marven. He also ran into Oriental Whipsnakes (here’s one) and found some incredible birds and other animals.

The Siamese Peninusla Pitviper, Trimeresurus fucatus, is part of the Asian Lancehead genus, which has a complicated taxonomic history. This species was once considered a variant of the Pope’s Pitviper but is is now considered its own species. It ranges through southeast Asia, from Thailand and into the peninsular part of Malaysia, which is where Roger spotted it. Note the beautiful dual stripes on this male, which go down its flanks (giving it a red tail), and the large heat-sensing pits near its eyes. This is an arboreal snake that preys mainly on rats and squirrels, and its bite is considered medically significant to humans. Richard also saw this larger female nearby, who was still shedding her skin.

“I've only recently discovered iNaturalist so still finding my way around it but I immediately thought what a great resource it is,” says Richard. “What could be better than having people with an interest in all types of natural history getting together in one place to share resources, knowledge and information - it's a fantastic community of like-minded people.”

- by Tony Iwane

- Nigel keeps a great nature blog, and you can read his Malaysia trip post here - tons of great photos and stories!

- Niiiice footage of a Trimeresurus pitviper adjusting its jaws.

Ingresado el 09 de agosto de 2020 por hannahsun99 hannahsun99 | 0 comentarios | Deja un comentario

(Bonus) Observation of the Week 2017-01-23

This Tench with a Red Swamp Crawfish in its mouth, seen in Italy by dinobiancolini and Jacopo Pagani is our (Bonus) Observation of the Week!

(Due to illness and the holidays, it took awhile to get in touch with these gentlemen, so this is belatedly published. Also, English is not Dino and Jacopo’s first language, and I’ve done some light editing of their quotes for this piece.)

Dino Biancolini and his friend Jacopo Pagani, who are both life sciences graduate students at La Sapienza University of Rome, were at Jacopo’s countryside house when Jacopo noticed the large Tench floating in the house’s artificial pond. When they recovered the dead animal, they found that big fish had a crayfish stuck in its mouth!

“Unfortunately, size matters in nature and an error in this sense can be fatal,” says Dino. “[That’s what] likely happened when this fish tried to eat a Red swamp crayfish (Procambarus clarkii) too large for its mouth and died by asphyxiation.”

Dino explains that “this decapod is a very harmful, highly invasive species in Italy that is causing the disappearance of many prey and competitor species. Fortunately some native predators have begun to exploit this new trophic resource, unfortunately with a sad outcome in this case. We thought that the observation was very important for this reasons as well as very odd, so we decided to upload it to iNaturalist.”

Red swamp crayfish are the famed native “crawfish” of Louisiana in the United States, where they are an important culinary item. In fact, they are often raised in rice paddies, a practice that has spread to Asia. These crayfish have been introduced to many areas of the world, including Asia and Europe, where can become quite invasive. They are a vector for Crayfish plague, a mold that has caused serious decline in Atlantic Stream Crayfish, a native European decapod.

Both Dino (above) and Jacopo (below) became fascinated with nature when they were growing up in the country, and that love for nature has led them to pursue to degrees in the natural sciences. Dino currently is a PhD in the Global Mammal Assessment research group, and says “my project aims to predict the future range expansion and invasion of introduced mammals of the world in view of climate and land-use change, to understand their possible impacts on native species.”

And Jacopo says he is “currently a Master’s Degree student in Ecobiology. My thesis is focused on the study of the phenotypic trajectories in Diplodus ssp. associated with ontogeny and diet.”

“I use iNaturalist to help scientific research and enrich my knowledge,” says Dino. “In fact, since I participate in this wonderful project, I learned a lot. Thanks to the community’s help, I can now recognize many more species, both animal and plants, than before, and my vision of biodiversity has been greatly expanded, thanks to the constant flow of observations from around the world that I get.

“I believe that citizen science is a powerful tool for conservation biology because it enhances both data collection and the awareness of general public, two key factors in biodiversity protection.”

- Here’s an informative video from EOL about the Red Swamp Crawfish and its spread around the world.

- And an older New York Times article about Red Swamp Crayfish in Italy.

Ingresado el 09 de agosto de 2020 por hannahsun99 hannahsun99 | 0 comentarios | Deja un comentario

Observation of the Week 2017-01-20

This Water Clover, seen by merav in Joshua Tree National Park, is our Observation of the Week!

“Amphibian eggs?”

This was the Merav Vonshak’s simple guess when she posted the above photo on iNaturalist last week. There are currently 29 comments and 11 IDs associated with the observation now, as it set off a flurry of wonder and puzzlement among the iNat community and beyond. It certainly looked like a nudibranch, but...a desert nudibranch? Or perhaps a copepod, centipede or fungus? Folks began posting it on Twitter and Facebook to see if anyone could figure it out.

iNaturalist user @kcclarksdnhmorg came through in the clutch with the correct ID: it was the aquatic sporocarp, or spore-producing part of the Water Clover fern! As its common name suggests, this plant is actually a fern, but closely resembles a four leaf clover. It grows in moist soil or in ponds, and the sporocarps can survive in drought conditions until there is sufficient water for it to grow and split.

A postdoctoral fellow at Stanford who studies ants and other arthropods, Merav had been visiting the park with her family. It was her daughter who “showed me something interesting she found. We looked around the pool and found at least two more of these things...When we came back home I remembered that mystery creature, and decided to upload it to iNaturalist, hoping someone will have a clue. And then the fun began!...I enjoyed reading all the comments and watching it progress. And I was surprised to find out it was a plant after all, with such cool biology.”

“I love looking for creatures and sharing my observations, and iNaturalist is such a great platform for doing just that,” says Merav. “I also enjoy helping others, by helping to ID some creatures, and while doing so I learn so much! I think this is a great tool, but even more importantly, it’s a great community. People are very kind and thoughtful.”

- by Tony Iwane

- Check out Merav’s published works at ResearchGate, and her Coyote Valley San Jose project.

- Ten plants that look like animals, courtesy of Mental Floss. And yes, almost all of them are orchids.

- Even Joshua Tree National Park’s Twitter account got in on the fun!

Ingresado el 09 de agosto de 2020 por hannahsun99 hannahsun99 | 0 comentarios | Deja un comentario

Observation of the Week 2017-01-12

This Sheetweb or Dwarf Weaver Spider, seen by Zanskar on the island of Corsica, is our Observation of the Week!

“As far as I can remember I always was in the field, searching for new animals to watch, mostly birds with my brother, [who was] crazy about nature too,” says David Renoult (aka zanskar). As an adult, David is a school teacher, but “[every] time I can (and it's quite often on this island dedicated to Nature) we go out as a family, with my wife and our 7 year old boy, to enjoy anything we can encounter, from orchids, to bugs, to moths.”

He found this tiny Sheetweb spider in November, and recalls spotting the small web because it was covered with dew. “It was several weeks before Christmas and this spider seemed to me arranging its Christmas balls in its sticky tree...it was wonderful!”

There are over 4,000 species in the Linyphiidae family of spiders (also called money spiders), and due to their extremely small size (many are 3 mm or less), identification and taxonomy is very difficult. Many weave a sheet-like dome web and hang upside-down in the middle. If a prey animal lands on the web, the spider will dash over and bite it through the silk. They are also famous for their mass “ballooning” behavior; young spiders will climb to the tops of plants and release a strand of silk into the air, and when the silk is caught by the wind, it will take them away to a new place, allowing the spiders to populate a wider area.

David has been using iNaturalist for about a year now, and says “I hope more and more people will share their observations on inaturalist, to have a whole and more accurate vision about the biodiversity we have a stone’s throw from home or at the other end of the world. Because I consider this is really what iNaturalist is: a way be filled with wonder before the boundless imagination of nature, and the less the human beings will be ignorant of this biodiversity, the more we will be able to preserve it for the next generations.”

- by Tony Iwane

English is not David’s first language, and I’ve done some light editing of his quotes for this piece.

- David Attenborough walks through a silken field of ballooning spiders.

- Great footage and explanation of how sheetweavers’ webs work.

Ingresado el 09 de agosto de 2020 por hannahsun99 hannahsun99 | 0 comentarios | Deja un comentario

Observation of the Week 2017-01-05

This Marbled Swamp Eel seen in Cuba by henicorhina is our Observation of the Week!

“I have only recently started using iNaturalist,” says Oscar Johnson, a graduate student at Louisiana State University Museum of Natural Science who’s studying the population genetics of Amazonian birds. “ [And] I am slowly going through a massive backlog of photos that I have on old hard drives and adding them in to iNaturalist.”

One of those photos is the one above, showing the remarkable Marbled Swamp Eel. Oscar encountered the fish while on a trip to Cuba in 2008, where he had been visiting a friend. “Towards the end of the trip I went to a small town on the outskirts of the La Güira National Park, which I had heard was a good area to look for the endemic Blue-headed Quail-Dove. I arrived late at night and the innkeeper told me about a small trail heading into the woods that was good for herps at night, so I set off for a few hours of wandering,” he says. “I came upon this very shallow rocky stream and was surprised to find an eel swimming around in three inch deep water! I managed to get one good photo, which I later showed to one of the curators at the Natural History Museum in Havana, who was able to identify it for me.”

Not true eels, Marbled Swamp Eels are members of Synbranchidae family of ray-finned fish. Synbranchidae are well-adapted to living in shallow water and even making long sojourns on land; the lining of their mouths, full of blood vessels, allows them to breathe air quite well. They tend to be nocturnal and are known to eat insects, spiders and both tadpoles and adult frogs. When they hatch, Swamp Eels have pectoral fins for several weeks, after which time they shed them. And even more bizarre, Swamp Eels are sequential hermaphrodites, meaning that most are born female and become males later in life.

Oscar is continuing to upload his treasure trove of photos to iNaturalist, and says he’s “found it to be an incredible resource for any group of organisms. The community is incredibly knowledgeable and helpful with even the toughest identifications...It feels good to have these photos in a place where they will be put to good use!”

- by Tony Iwane

- Here’s Oscar’s personal website, featuring his photos and research.

- Asian Swamp Eels, a common food item in Asia, have been introduced to the United States and are now considered an invasive species there.

Ingresado el 09 de agosto de 2020 por hannahsun99 hannahsun99 | 0 comentarios | Deja un comentario
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First Roadkill Sightings at Lexington Reservoir (Nov. 2017)

November 12, 2017
I saw 6 dead newts on Alma Bridge Rd. between Limekiln and Priest Rock trailheads.
See: https://www.inaturalist.org/calendar/truthseqr/2017/11/12

46 dead animals on South Bay roadways

January 15, 2018
I'm very sad and disturbed to report that I saw 46 dead animals on South Bay roadways today. This is twice as many dead animals in one day as I observed in the whole of 2017.
• 42 (yes, forty-two!!) Pacific Newts
• 3 raccoons
• 1 striped skunk

The raccoons were killed on Highway 17 in Los Gatos. The skunk was on Hwy 237 in Sunnyvale. The 42 newts were killed on Alma Bridge Rd. at Lexington Reservoir between the Limekiln and Priest Rock trailheads (0.6 mile). Many were bloody with guts oozing out, which was really quite traumatizing to see. I only photographed 7 of the 42 to post on iNaturalist.org. That's 48 dead newts within a 3-month period, but more accurately during 2 visits to Sierra Azul, on a very short section of roadway.
See: https://www.inaturalist.org/calendar/truthseqr/2018/1/15

Midpeninsula Regional Open Space District is working along with other authorities to create safe corridors for wildlife. See Midpeninsula Regional Openspace District's website: "HIGHWAY 17 WILDLIFE PASSAGE" project to help protect animals from humans.

2017-2018 Newt Migration Season at Lexington Reservoir - Roadkill

January 21, 2018
I went back to Lexington Reservoir to do a more extensive count of newts killed along Alma Bridge Road from the St. Joseph Hill OSP parking lot to Soda Springs Road (2.7 miles total).

I found a total of 457 newt carcasses on the road in various stages of decomposition. There weren't as many "fresh" carcasses as last week. This count is probably inclusive of the 42 carcasses I saw last week between Limekiln and Priest Rock trailheads (0.3 mile).

Since I don't know how long it takes a newt carcass to decompose, I don't know the timeframe for these deaths (a few weeks? a few months?), but I would guess they all happened this season.

Things I noticed:
• There were clusters of carcasses around drainages from the hillside.
• Most carcasses were found on the left side of the road (uphill side) when traveling south.
• Not surprisingly, there were also clusters of carcasses near the trailheads and parking lots, where the traffic is heaviest.
• There were many fewer carcasses after the Los Gatos Rowing Club entrance, when traffic thins out.

I have photos of these 457 newt carcasses if anyone needs them for proof. (I'll probably have newt zombie nightmares after seeing all these dead bodies.)

P.S. I didn't see a single live newt during my 4.5 hour hike this morning.

Best management practices for mitigating the effects of roads on amphibian and reptile populations:

Ingresado el 09 de agosto de 2020 por truthseqr truthseqr | 0 comentarios | Deja un comentario


Did my yearly visit to the Eastern Shore. Unfortunately I didn't really get out. The beach I usually visit was disgustingly packed. A beach that normally maybe has 10 cars, was packed bumper to bumper, on both sides of the road. We didn't stay, so of course, I didn't get to examine the wildlife this year.
I did one night of mothing with my blacklight, and sheet. It was full of bees, wasps, and thrips. I got a few cool moths, but I finally called it quits when one of the others flew in my eye and stung me right below it. Ouch!
After that I think my motivation was pretty low. I did a few laps around the horse pasture. There wasn't much rain, so there were very few dragonflies to examine. It was a very BLAH vacation. I'll get the pics gone through soon.
I didn't even bother heading up to Assateague. Thought about it, was going to, and just couldn't get the motivation or time to go.
Tried to avoid people to the best of my ability.
Enjoyed spending time with my family as always, and I hope everything else can eventually go back to normal.
Hope everyone is doing well, and had a great moth week!

Ingresado el 09 de agosto de 2020 por dreadhorn dreadhorn | 0 comentarios | Deja un comentario

About the Weaver Ant

Weaver ants are found across east Asia and Australia. They are known for their habit of building their nests by weaving hundreds of leaves instead of building an underground network of tunnels. They are primarily arboreal creatures, living mainly in trees. They range from being reddish-brown to yellowish-brown.
An excerpt from Joseph Banks' Journal (cited in Hölldobler and Wilson 1990) describes the construction of the weaver ant's nest.

"The ants...one green as a leaf, and living upon trees, where it built a nest, in size between that of a man's head and his fist, by bending the leaves together, and gluing them with whitish paperish substances which held them firmly together. In doing this their management was most curious: they bend down four leaves broader than a man's hand, and place them in such a direction as they choose. This requires a much larger force than these animals seem capable of; many thousands indeed are employed in the joint work. I have seen as many as could stand by one another, holding down such a leaf, each drawing down with all his might, while others within were employed to fasten the glue. How they had bent it down I had not the opportunity of seeing, but it was held down by main strength, I easily proved by disturbing a part of them, on which the leaf bursting from the rest, returned to its natural situation, and I had an opportunity of trying with my finger the strength of these little animals must have used to get it down."

Ingresado el 09 de agosto de 2020 por vibhavperi vibhavperi | 1 observación | 0 comentarios | Deja un comentario
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Nur noch ein paar ID's aber doch schon eine Menge!

Wir haben schon 103 Beobachtungen und ganze 64 Gattungen, dass nenne ich eine erfolgreiche Exkursion. Auch wenn wir uns über mehr Mitglieder aus dem SoSe 2020 gefreut hätten, was nicht ist, soll wohl nicht sein ;) Vielen lieben Dank an alle Taxonomen und Citizen scientists für die Mithilfe an diesem Projekt. Mit freundlichen Grüßen Sercan Ege
Ingresado el 09 de agosto de 2020 por sercan_ege sercan_ege | 0 comentarios | Deja un comentario
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City Nature Challenge 2021, Россия: скоро дедлайн по заявкам городов

Дорогие друзья!

Напоминаем, что объявлены даты City Nature Challenge 2021. В следующем году челлендж пройдёт в майские праздники. Традиционно он будет состоять из двух этапов:

  • 4 дня наблюдений в природе: с 30 апреля по 3 мая
  • 6 дней загрузки и определения наблюдений: с 4 мая по 9 мая

Результаты будут подведены 10 мая.

Повторно обращаемся к организаторам: в августе вы должны решить, какой статус будет у челленджа в вашем городе в наступающем году - официальный или неофициальный. У каждого есть свои преимущества и свои недостатки. Все подробности и обсуждение по ссылке: https://www.inaturalist.org/projects/flora-of-russia/journal/38326-ob-yavleny-daty-city-nature-challenge-2021

Тэги организаторов 2020 года: @katerina_kashirina @ev_sklyar @dinanesterkova @kildor @isakovdenisrussia @pushai @olga_chernyagina @michail_anurev03 @forestru @beetle23 @radik_kutushev @aleksandrebel @stsenator @ninacourlee @geobot306 @panasenkonn @sansan_94

Ingresado el 09 de agosto de 2020 por apseregin apseregin
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First Post

It is just one week away from the bioblitz, so I thought starting today I could give some helpful tricks and tips to find the most species.
First off, let me tell all of you about myself.
My name is Robert Levy, and I am a 14 year old naturalist living on Long Island. I am relatively new to Inaturalist, and as of now, I have over 7000 observations. I am an amateur in identifying certain organisms.
I have some tips and tricks below to help everyone get the most species.
Newcomers to Inaturalist are always welcome. Tell your family and friends to be a part of this wonderful community, and take pictures of their natural environment!
Next, for identifying organisms, YOU do not have to go to species every time. If you do not know what species it is, you can put it as "Dicots", or "Carnivores", for example. You can also tag a person that knows more. For example, you can tag me at @yayemaster.
Finally, if you just take 1 photo, or if you take 1000, it still counts towards research purposes. For our newcomers, welcome to the Socially Distant Bioblitz series! And also welcome back for our returning bioblitzers.

Ingresado el 09 de agosto de 2020 por yayemaster yayemaster | 0 comentarios | Deja un comentario
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This was my first competitive bioblitz and I want to share what I learned.

My everyday way of documenting organisms includes rather generous coverage from all angles and the habitat I found it in. If it’s an insect, I look on until it flies, crawls, or hops away, then try to follow it. If it’s a plant, I cover every detail I can find, and try to frame them in a variety of ways. If the plant is new to me, I actually often come back to the same plant once I researched what it could be, to focus on the distinctive features. All that results in many pictures I have to sift through at home, to select the handful that matter. But that’s not the way to go when bio-blitzing. Time management is key. So in my case, the two most important take-aways are:

  1. Shoot economically.
    Look for the distinctive features and frame them in a way that doesn’t require much if any photo editing.

  2. Move on if you got it.
    Resist the urge to get an even better picture; resist the urge to look for details on behavior, interaction, feeding, unless of course it is just too fascinating and/or distinctive to not document it.

Like with most things in life, preparation can’t ever hurt. If possible, choose areas you know well. Even if flowering plants have mostly wilted, if you know where you saw them in a pristine state, you may find the rare last few flowers. Know the spots where animals find food at the time of the year. Know what to expect. Cover the obvious wildlife typical for the habitat in an economical way and have time left to look around and be open for surprises and new species.

Preparation also includes shopping for groceries etc. before the bioblitz starts, getting household chores out of the way, and limiting time sucking work and social obligations to a bare minimum. I tried but wasn’t too successful with that, though. How could I not help my octogenarian dad whom I had given a NYT gift subscription to establish an account there? It took a 33 minutes Facetime call during which I possibly could have found three additional species, but it saved my dad from suffering a major bout of tech frustration.

I sorely overestimated the energy I would have left at the end of each day, when I was facing the many nighttime hours on the computer. In the past half year or so I’ve been rather insomniac, and up and about during the dead of the night. During the first night of the Championship, I recorded the calls of a Great Horned Owl family, and was ready for the Coyotes that are often howling in my neighborhood. During the second night of the competition, I slept like stone. If there were any animals around my house, I didn’t hear them. Neither did I hear a thing during the following nights, other than possibly my own zzzz’s. Bio-blitzing is exhausting!

@bbunny, @kimssight, @naturephotosuze and @scubabruin were the best team mates one can possibly hope for. Supportive, equally nature nerdy, ambitious and into it. That so very much helps. We are actually planning to keep California Wild Women going as a joint project for a variety of challenges.

A bunch of people helped us with IDs, among them @tmessick, a botanist from the Sierra Nevada, @grnleaf, a botanist who is very familiar with most of California including Los Angeles County, and @sfelton, an all-rounder with a keen interest in pollinators. Special thanks to you and all who helped us!

Ingresado el 08 de agosto de 2020 por andreacala andreacala | 2 comentarios | Deja un comentario
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Saadaanko 2000 lajia kasaan?


Tätä kirjoittessaeni projektissa on 1810 lajia. Näyttää siltä, että saamme 2000 lajia kasaan, mutta homma vaikeutuu loppua kohti. Sienisesongista on vielä suuri osa edessä, mutta lajinimien saaminen useimmille sienille ei varsinaisesti ole triviaalia.

Mahtavaa menoa joka tapauksessa!

Looks like we might hit 2000 species before the end of the year. Right now we are at 1810 species. The most species-rich time of the year for fungi is here: go and then 'em. If only finding correct names for Fungi was as easy as finding specimens... :)

Ingresado el 08 de agosto de 2020 por dipterajere dipterajere | 0 comentarios | Deja un comentario
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Last two days!

It’s the last two days of the Plant Club BioBlitz – thanks to everyone who has taken part! There is still time to add your plant finds and ask friends and family to join in – the BioBlitz closes at midnight Sunday 9 August (BST).

We are pleased to see such a variety of locations and plants shared in our BioBlitz! There have been carparks in Portsmouth, garden plants, flora from London parks, and plants growing on clifftops in Cornwall and the Outer Hebrides.

For future events and other citizen science activities from the Natural History Museum keep an eye on our website. You can also read our blog posts which will include highlights of the Plant Club BioBlitz soon.

Ingresado el 08 de agosto de 2020 por victoriajburton victoriajburton | 0 comentarios | Deja un comentario
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Boardwalk damaged

One of the entrances to the boardwalk has been closed due to storm damage from April. About half of the boardwalk remains inaccessible. See the COA website for further details: https://www.albemarle.edu/for-the-community/fenwick-hollowell-wetlands-trail/.

Ingresado el 08 de agosto de 2020 por bobbyplant9 bobbyplant9 | 0 comentarios | Deja un comentario
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Great progress!

Great job, naturalists! After 26 hours of collecting, we're up to 133 observations of 89 species. Can we top 100 species before the end of the day? Can we top 200 (dare I say 300) before the end of the weekend?!? I believe we can!

Remember to always be on the lookout for new species to add, even if you're just walking down your block. I just spotted a woodpecker in a neighbor's yard! For plants, be sure to mark "cultivated" if you're in a garden or a park.

Having a goal to collect as many species as possible has really made me slow down and take a closer look, especially hunting for insects in gardens. Even if the flowers are cultivated, the insects visiting them are wild! I've also been noticing insect behavior a lot more (ie, running around after a butterfly trying to take its picture helped me notice how much time pollinators spend at each specific plant).

Looking forward to seeing more observations roll in over the weekend, and hearing your reflections on Tuesday!

Ingresado el 08 de agosto de 2020 por emartell emartell | 0 comentarios | Deja un comentario
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Nearly 300 species!

We now have 287 species recorded in and around Narroways - only 13 more species to reach 300! The meadow is full of wildflowers, butterflies and insects so keep uploading your observations!

Ingresado el 08 de agosto de 2020 por jessica481 jessica481 | 0 comentarios | Deja un comentario

Avispa género Oxybelus en Chile

Avispa género Oxybelus en Chile
(Referido desde http://www.insectachile.cl/rchen/pdfs/2012v37/Chiappa_2012.pdf)
Rev. Chilena Ent.
2012, 37: 5-16

Subfamilia Crabroninae
Tribu Oxybelini
Oxybelus chilensis - Reed, 1984 - Mediterránea árida a subhúmeda - Norte de La Serena al norte de Concepción
Oxybelus clandestinus - Kohl, 1905 - Mediterránea árida a subhúmeda - Norte de La Serena al norte de Concepción
Oxybelus comatus Reed, 1984 Mediterránea árida a subhúmeda Norte de La Serena al norte de Concepción
Oxybelus cordatus - Spinola, 1851 - Mediterránea árida a subhúmeda - Norte de La Serena al norte de Concepción
Oxybelus marginellus - Spinola, 1851 - Mediterránea a subhúmeda - Norte de La Serena al norte de Concepción
Registro compartidos en Inat respecto a este género:
Oxybelus sp. registrado al Sur de Concepción
Oxybelus sp. registrado en Santiago
Oxybelus sp. registrado en Santiago

Ingresado el 08 de agosto de 2020 por orlandomontes orlandomontes | 0 comentarios | Deja un comentario
Vida Silvestre es una entidad asociada a la Organización Mundial de Conservación