18 de febrero de 2020

Mantidflies in Florida

I'm reaching out to observers in central Florida to keep an eye out for an apparently unique mantidfly documented in that area. Here are some observations:

If you find something that looks like this, capture it, post a pic, and contact me. It may just be an unusual variation of a common species, but it has a very unique set of characteristics and *might* be a new species. If we have a specimen in hand, I can sequence the DNA and send the critter itself to a taxonomic expert for further characterization.

@ryancooke, @gaudettelaura, @brennafarrell, @joannerusso, @mbelitz, @joshuadoby, @ericpo1, @scottsimmons, @j_appleget, @vijaybarve, @stevecollins, @marykeim, @floridensis

Ingresado el 18 de febrero de 2020 por pfau_tarleton pfau_tarleton | 6 comentarios | Deja un comentario

15 de febrero de 2020

Spring Timberlake Bioblitz

If the weather is cooperative, I'll be hosting another bioblitz at Timberlake Field Station in March or April. It will be the weekend of March 21st (or the 28th if the weather is bad). March 28th (or April 4th if the weather is bad) (Friday - Sunday).

Tarleton State University’s Timberlake Biological Field Station is an educational and research facility located on the Colorado River in the heart of Texas--midway between Austin and Abilene. The 790 acre property has approximately 3 miles of river frontage.

Here's the link to detailed info about Timberlake: https://docs.google.com/document/d/19D_D0b94QvtB72GR8e5cSH8XHXFSe9DS69zffjRrbtw/edit?usp=sharing

I'm tagging some folks that have expressed an interest and some nearby folks. Don't be offended if you're not tagged here--I loose track easily! Feel free to tag anyone else that you know might be interested.
@mikef451, @sambiology, @centratex, @davedenlinger, @lovebirder, @greglasley, @tweedledee, @alflinn329, @gpstewart, @ncowey, @tvasquez, @kbbutler, @mikaelb, @sawwhet, @sheliahargis, @jeffmci9, @sambiology, @wildcarrot, @catenatus, @brentano, @bosqueaaron, @gcwarbler, @annikaml, @mchlfx, @oddfitz, @tadamcochran, @rymcdaniel, @nathantaylor, @entomike, @nanofishology, @galactic_bug_man, @connlindajo, @k8thegr8, @squaylei2000, @ecarpe, @jeffmci9

Ingresado el 15 de febrero de 2020 por pfau_tarleton pfau_tarleton | 20 comentarios | Deja un comentario

18 de enero de 2020

Annotation resolution: phenology

I don't do new year resolutions, but I'll make one exception. Well, two. I'm going to do lots of annotation (and not just phenology) from here on out. And take breaks from doing it to use the new piece of exercise equipment next to my computer so that I'll have more energy to observe stuff outside.

I discovered that you can filter observations that don't have annotations, so I'm doing phenology of TX/OK anemones now (note all the settings): https://www.inaturalist.org/observations/identify?reviewed=true&quality_grade=needs_id,research&page=2&order_by=random&taxon_id=883652&place_id=18,12&without_term_id=12

And here's an interesting article about plant phenology.

And here's an amazing document covering all aspects of plant phenology.

Setting yourself up for an annotation session:
1. go to Identify mode
2. select the taxa (e.g. Lepidoptera or flowering plants) and the place (anywhere in the world as no local expertise is required)
3. go to Filters and select Research Grade in addition to Needs ID
4. open More Filters and select Without Annotation and a relevant option for your taxa
5. click through each observation (with the Annotations tab selected) and annotate away!

Once selecting all the options, you can bookmark the resulting URL for quick access later.

Ingresado el 18 de enero de 2020 por pfau_tarleton pfau_tarleton | 1 comentarios | Deja un comentario

31 de diciembre de 2019

Accurate geotagging

My camera has a built-in GPS, but it usually takes forever to get satellite readings and so many of my pics are missing the geotag. So, when I'm out on an observing trek and want to make sure I get accurate locations, I'm using the GPXLogger app on my phone in two different ways. I start the GPXLogger app to record my trek (I have it set to record my location every 40 seconds or so) and then, later, I sync my pics with the locations using GPicSync software on my computer (it ties pics with locations based on the timestamp). But I don't trust that GPXlogger is always working, so as a backup, I take a pic of the GPXLogger screen every so often to document the coordinates in my camera roll.

Ingresado el 31 de diciembre de 2019 por pfau_tarleton pfau_tarleton | 0 comentarios | Deja un comentario

14 de diciembre de 2019

Link multiple observations of same individual over time

This is something that I'd like to do more often, as the opportunity arises. So here's a reminder for myself on how to do it.

1. After creating the first observation, add "Similar observation set" or "Observation group" as the Observation Field. A box appears--type in (or copy/paste from the URL) the ID number of the first observation.
2. Repeat this for each observation, using the same ID number for all of them.
3. To see all observations in the set, click on the field name and select “Observations with this field and value”.
3. To make it more obvious that each observation is part of a set, copy this URL and add it to the description field of each observation.
4. Compile your list of observation sets by making a journal post (or include in profile) so you can go back and find these quickly.

This approach was originally described here and there's a detailed tutorial here.

My linked observations are here:

Some other folks' linked observations:

Ingresado el 14 de diciembre de 2019 por pfau_tarleton pfau_tarleton | 6 comentarios | Deja un comentario

01 de diciembre de 2019

Gopher Gawking Guide

Gopher gawking is becoming almost as popular as bird watching (well, maybe that's an overstatement), but there aren't many gopher gawking guides available. So to help with IDs, I've updated the taxon range maps for Geomys here in iNat. By using the "Compare/Suggestions" feature, one can make pretty confident IDs based on these distribution maps. All the species of Geomys look about the same, so geographical location is really the only way to ID them. The range maps I added here on iNat should be fairly accurate. I've spent a considerable amount of time in the published literature to get these maps as accurate as possible. I've also spent time in the field and have used DNA sequencing to clarify some areas. Also, I've generated soil maps using GIS to fine tune potential distributions in Texas. And I've supplemented all this by locating gopher mounds using Google Maps satellite imagery in parts of Texas. The contact zones between some species pairs have not been mapped well yet (requiring much field work and genetic analysis), so these remain areas of uncertainty: G. knoxjonesi vs. G. bursarius in the Texas panhandle, G. personatus vs. G. attwateri between San Antonio and Corpus Christi, and G. bursarius vs. G. breviceps north of Dallas. Otherwise, one can ID gophers of the genus Geomys quite accurately using these iNat range maps.

In western TX, two other genera of gophers occur (Cratogeomys and Thomomys) and they can be difficult to distinguish from Geomys without a specimen in hand in areas where their range overlaps.

Here's a link showing ranges of all the species of Geomys: https://www.inaturalist.org/taxa/map?taxa=44052,44058,44053,44054,44059,44055,44060,74359,%2044057,423601,44056#6/34.251/-93.87

To ID your gopher (assuming it's Geomys), click the "compare" button, make sure Geomys is the Taxon and United States is the Place. From there you'll have the list of species to choose from and their range maps.

For documenting gophers, pics of mounds can be sufficient, but be sure to get pics that distinguish them from mole hills:
1. Texture of soil in the mound:
--very lumpy = mole (https://www.inaturalist.org/observations/13015309)
--granular (and often with a plug visible) = gopher (https://www.inaturalist.org/observations/5087818)
2. Position of mounds:
--no directional pattern or rarely distinctly curved line = mole
--several mounds in a fairly straight line = gopher (https://www.inaturalist.org/observations/4550501)

Have fun gopher gawking!

Ingresado el 01 de diciembre de 2019 por pfau_tarleton pfau_tarleton | 4 comentarios | Deja un comentario

23 de noviembre de 2019

How to know the Texas Arabideae (Genera Draba, Abdra, and Tomostima)

Species of the Tribe Arabideae are among the first flowers to bloom (January--March or early April). Being small and inconspicuous, they are often overlooked. Observations of Texas Arabideae are here. These species have been lumped and split, taxonomically; recently, all were in the genus Draba. The following characteristics vary, so documenting multiple characteristics will confirm the ID. Features to capture include:

  • side view of mature fruits (pods)
  • side view of flowering stem (pedicel) from top to bottom (with hairs in focus)
  • view of leaves

Also, young plants may be challenging or impossible to identify.

  • 1. Hairs on leaves and stems lie flat (appressed); mature fruit <5 mm long: Abdra brachycarpa (formerly Draba) [resource]

  • 1. Hairs on leaves and stems upright; mature fruit 5-15 mm long

    • 2. Pedicels (flowering stem) smooth (glabrous); leaves always entire (not notched): Tomostima reptans (formerly Draba) [resource]

    • 2. Pedicels pubescent; at least some leaves usually with 1+ pair of teeth

      • 3. Leaves crowded near base; fruit elongate, blade-like; hairs along the stem branched: Draba cuneifolia [resource]

      • 3. Leaves extending up stem: fruit oval, football-shaped; many hairs along the stem unbranched: Draba platycarpa [resource]

    *There is also a yellow-flowered species in Jeff Davis county (Trans-Pecos): Draba standleyi

Ingresado el 23 de noviembre de 2019 por pfau_tarleton pfau_tarleton | 3 comentarios | Deja un comentario

05 de septiembre de 2019

False Foxgloves: how to know the species of Agalinis in Texas

False Foxgloves (Agalinis) produce attractive, purple blossoms in late summer through fall. The distribution of these species are poorly documented, so our observations can help with that. There are several species in Texas that are quite similar yet unique in subtle ways.

Here's a guide that I put together as an attempt to note distinguishing features: https://docs.google.com/presentation/d/1jQ4yVFHhCZ2Yhy7v_Z3ngp-tZIvOKN3UtCBm0mOBbg4/edit?usp=sharing

Generally speaking, here are some features that must be documented (always take pictures of multiple flowers and multiple stems to capture the variation):

  • length of flowering pedicel (relative to length of calyx)
  • length of leaves relative to pedicels
  • orientation of leaves (clasping stem or perpendicular to stem)
  • length of corolla lobes (all the same, or upper shorter than lower)
  • orientation of upper corolla lobes (reflexed or arching over stamens)
  • size of flower (pay attention if small: 8-13 mm long)
  • length of lobes of calyx (relative to tube of calyx)
  • shape of leaves (threadlike, flat-narrow, flat-broad, divided)
  • leafyness (presence of well developed axillary fascicles "extra leaves")
  • I recommend that folks carry with them a white pillow case to use as a backdrop for photographing the plants (if you're serious about getting a good ID--especially for those rare eastern species where leaf length, shape, and density are critical).

BONAP maps of Agalinis: http://bonap.net/Napa/TaxonMaps/Genus/County/Agalinis (not accurate or up to date)

Ingresado el 05 de septiembre de 2019 por pfau_tarleton pfau_tarleton | 15 comentarios | Deja un comentario

22 de agosto de 2019

October 4-6 Bioblitz at Timberlake Biological Field Station



The spring 2019 bioblitz at Timberlake was tons of fun. Between May 17-20, 18 observers made 5,379 observations of 1,103 species! https://www.inaturalist.org/observations?d1=2019-05-17&d2=2019-05-20&place_id=118103

Several folks attending the spring bioblitz asked for a fall get-together, so we have one scheduled for October 4-6. All the details are here:

Timberlake Biological Field Station is in Mills County, between Lampasas and Brownwood, on the Colorado River.

Highlights from the spring bioblitz: https://drive.google.com/open?id=1LoKVe3raOSmtJXrrswuohVzQdgHieuUd

Ingresado el 22 de agosto de 2019 por pfau_tarleton pfau_tarleton | 48 comentarios | Deja un comentario

04 de mayo de 2019

My new identification trick

When trying to identify, say, a beetle in a family that I'm not familiar with, I still have to dig through all the images of beetles in families that I'm familiar with (families that already know it doesn't belong to. I can recognize carabids, scarabs, click beetles, fire fly beetles, leaf beetles, etc. I don't need to be seeing those when I'm searching for something that I know isn't in those families.

So, I created a URL filter to display all beetles EXCEPT those families that I'm familiar with.

This one is for observations within the area I'm usually most interested in--my "bounding box" (which includes most of TX, OK, and LA): https://www.inaturalist.org/observations?nelat=37.30409286559174&nelng=-90.85243710937493&place_id=any&quality_grade=research&subview=grid&swlat=27.102526266329324&swlng=-104.51942929687493&taxon_id=47208&view=species&without_taxon_id=49567,57659,48486,47625,81951,47961,51146,47592,53816,59510,81969,55051,60473,52932,53248,47951,53849,48201,47961,47731,54964

This one is for my own observations (so I can see if I've seen any beetle like this before): https://www.inaturalist.org/observations?place_id=any&subview=grid&taxon_id=47208&user_id=pfau_tarleton&verifiable=any&without_taxon_id=49567,57659,48486,47625,81951,47961,51146,47592,53816,59510,81969,55051,60473,52932,53248,47951,53849,48201,47961,47731,54964

Ingresado el 04 de mayo de 2019 por pfau_tarleton pfau_tarleton | 4 comentarios | Deja un comentario