03 de julio de 2021

Weekday Moth Week event! Stephenville, TX

[UPDATE: links to observations made Wednesday]

Here's the bounding box for Lance's place to view observations: https://www.inaturalist.org/observations?d1=2021-07-21&d2=2021-07-22&nelat=32.31862448135538&nelng=-98.16126481360601&place_id=any&swlat=32.308650439472004&swlng=-98.17169324225591

And here's the link for the identification modal (the filter is set to show research grade also): https://www.inaturalist.org/observations/identify?quality_grade=needs_id%2Cresearch&nelat=32.31862448135538&nelng=-98.16126481360601&subview=map&swlat=32.308650439472004&swlng=-98.17169324225591&d1=2021-07-21&d2=2021-07-22

We're hosting a weekday mini-bioblitz during Moth Week, Wednesday, July 21st. The location is a gem of a place on the headwaters of the South Paluxy River north of Stephenville. Lance's property is about 30 acres and includes some limestone upland area and some really nice heavily wooded bottomland along the river (which, at this location, is a very small, but deep channel, stream).

The hillsides are clothed in native grasses, wildflowers, shrubs, juniper, and oak. The river (more like a babbling brook) is flowing and full of water beetles and other aquatic life. Lance, the landowner, has been allowing the land to restore itself from it's former state for the past 20 years and it's looking pretty spectacular.

Here's the location:

The gate to the property is recognizable by being constructed of black pipe. The narrow driveway winds downhill through the property to the rock house. Find a place to park in the mowed grass near the house (Google map pinpointing house).

Here's a photo looking down on the house from the log cabin.

There will be electricity for lights, but you should bring extension cords if you have your own light setup.

Folks can start arriving anytime after 1 pm--feel free to explore the property before the mothing event that evening. The amount of life and diversity on this place is pretty amazing.

Ingresado el 03 de julio de 2021 por pfau_tarleton pfau_tarleton | 25 comentarios | Deja un comentario

23 de mayo de 2021

June Bioblitz @ Timberlake Field Station

Here are observations from this weekend:
--observation mode: https://www.inaturalist.org/observations?d1=2021-06-11&d2=2021-06-13&place_id=118103
--identify mode: https://www.inaturalist.org/observations/identify?quality_grade=needs_id%2Cresearch&place_id=118103&d1=2021-06-11

Spring 2019 bioblitz for comparison:

Notable observations (rarely seen species)
Typhoctes peculiaris
Round sand beetle
Helops farctus
Dasymutilla serenitas
Laccophilus quadrilineatus
Taedia virgulata

Please join us for a June Bioblitz at Timberlake Field Station--June 11-13 (two nights). Attendees may begin arriving 2 pm Friday and we'll depart Sunday afternoon. The bunkhouse (with electricity and restrooms) is available and has 6 twin beds (respond to reserve a bed--first come first served). I think it would be wisest to have only folks that are vaccinated in the bunkhouse. There's lots of room to pitch a tent near the restroom and shower facility.

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 over 2 miles of Colorado river frontage and includes bottomland and upland habitats.

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

All COVID restrictions have been lifted at Tarleton, so there are no restrictions for this event.

Probable attendees:
@mikef451 (Master Naturalist, Goodwater Chapter; insect generalist; mammal enthusiast)
@lovebirder (North Central Texas Master Birder)
@sambiology (TPWD Urban Wildlife Biologist)
@amzapp (Master Naturalist, South Plains Chapter)
@annikaml (birder/mother; compulsive photographer of everything)
@jcochran706 (Master Naturalist, Goodwater Chapter)
@bacchusrock (eager plant novice)
@connlindajo (Master Naturalist, El Camino Real Chapter)
@k_mccormack (Master Naturalist, Capital Area Chapter)
@clairesorenson (member of Native Plant Society of Texas and Texas Audubon, and docent at Ladybird Wildflower Center)
@kimberlietx (Master Naturalist, Cross Timbers Chapter; gall enthusiast, Triodanis researcher).
@jwn (primarily interested in odonates and birds)
@k8thegr8 (caterpillar expert)
@brentano (Master Naturalist)
@elytrid (Bachelor's in Entomology; loves bugs and nature in general)
@rymcdaniel (interested mostly in plants)
@butterflies4fun (Master Naturalist, Blackland Prairie Chapter; insects, primarily butterflies)
@birdsandbugs27 (Master Naturalist; medical entomology graduate student)

Ingresado el 23 de mayo de 2021 por pfau_tarleton pfau_tarleton | 111 comentarios | Deja un comentario

19 de mayo de 2021

Are you a maverick?

From time to time, I check my "maverick" status. There's almost always an ID I've made in the past that folks have corrected....leaving me to be the sole maverick with the incorrect ID (or, more rarely, the one with the correct ID).

Replace my ID with yours in the URL below to check your status:


Ingresado el 19 de mayo de 2021 por pfau_tarleton pfau_tarleton | 5 comentarios | Deja un comentario

07 de abril de 2021

May Bioblitz @ Timberlake Field Station

****Event canceled. I hope to reschedule as time and situations permit.****

Good news! Tarleton has approved the May Bioblitz at Timberlake Field Station (TWO nights, May 14 - 16). Attendees may begin arriving noon Friday and we'll depart Sunday afternoon. The bunkhouse will be available, but restricted to one person sleeping per room. There are five rooms, so the first five folks that request a room in the bunkhouse can be accommodated. Due to uncertainties regarding COVID (new variants, localized increases in cases, etc), I prefer that attendees be vaccinated so our gathering doesn't contribute to these uncertainties. Regardless, we've got almost 800 acres to engage in some really enjoyable social distancing! Our previous two bioblitzs only scratched the surface of biodiversity at Timberlake, so I'm excited to continue our inventory of biodiversity.

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 Colorado river frontage.

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

Since the event is being limited to 25 attendees (5 in the bunkhouse), I'll maintain a list here:
Spot reserved:

  1. annikaml
  2. tadamcochran (bunkhouse)
  3. mikef451
  4. connlindajo (bunkhouse)
  5. gcwarbler
  6. bacchusrock (bunkhouse)
  7. gwaithir
  8. briangooding (bunkhouse)
  9. jwn
  10. Max S. (bunkhouse)
  11. k_mccormack
  12. molly_burke
  13. benjamindurrington
  14. austinrkelly
  15. clairesorenson
  16. nanofishology


I'm tagging some folks that I seem to recall having expressed an interest last time we met, along with some other active observers. Don't be offended if you're not tagged here--I'm severely scatterbrained and loose track easily! Feel free to tag anyone else that you know might be interested. @mikef451, @sambiology, @centratex, @wildcarrot, @catenatus, @brentano, @gcwarbler, @annikaml, @oddfitz, @tadamcochran, @rymcdaniel, @nanofishology, @connlindajo, @k8thegr8, @ecarpe, @galactic_bug_man, @dan_johnson, @tdavenport, @kimberlietx, @anewman, @jeffmci9, @eric_keith, @wild-about-texas, @alflinn329, @tweedledee, @bosqueaaron

Ingresado el 07 de abril de 2021 por pfau_tarleton pfau_tarleton | 64 comentarios | Deja un comentario

16 de marzo de 2021

Anemone bioblitz at Lake Alan Henry

I'm planning on being at Lake Alan Henry north of Post, TX this coming Saturday. I'll spend the night and leave Sunday. Being so early in the season, there won't be a lot of diversity, but my goal is to search for Anemones which only bloom in March/early April. But I'll be scoping the place out for a possible future bioblitz.

Anyone wishing to join me in the search for Anemones is welcome to come. Post here and/or send me a private message with a description of your vehicle (required by the on-site biologist so that she knows who's out there).

I have access to the restricted wildlife area north of the dam (permit required), and there is a camping area on the lake not far from there. Maps:

Observations made Saturday:

Ingresado el 16 de marzo de 2021 por pfau_tarleton pfau_tarleton | 11 comentarios | Deja un comentario

14 de marzo de 2021

Last call for Anemone wildflowers!

Mid March is peak Anemone season, which will be winding down over the coming weeks.

This year, I was able to document an unusual morphological variant of Anemone at a new location in Baylor County. Here are observations of what I'm calling the "rolling plains morph" (because I've only seen it on the rolling plains) or "Anemone pilosus" (because it's so hairy both above and below the scape):

Other good news, Anemone edwardsiana has been documented from several new locations this season.

On a downside, no new observations of Anemone okennonii have been posted yet this season:

Here's the link to my previous post about observing Anemones and how folks can contribute to this scientifically under-appreciated group of wildflowers:

Ingresado el 14 de marzo de 2021 por pfau_tarleton pfau_tarleton | 3 comentarios | Deja un comentario

27 de enero de 2021

Winter-blooming wildflowers: Part II


It's officially the beginning of Anemone season here in Texas. We kick off the season this year with the first and second observations of Anemone in bloom here on iNaturalist. Congratulations @franpfer and @humblegardener!

There are still many gaps in our knowledge of Texas Anemones. I'll get to those in a moment, but first, here's how to identify the species of Anemone in Texas and adjacent states. Be sure to photograph the key features needed to identify them.

So what what are the gaps in knowledge that iNatters can help with?

  • There are some gaps in the distribution of Anemone edwardsiana in the Hill Country. Are those gaps real and the populations are disjunct, or are the gaps just a reflection of lack of observations in those areas? A recent post by @bacchusrock of an earlier observation has pushed their iNaturalist-documented distribution westward.
  • Over the past two years, we made much progress on documenting Anemone caroliniana. We might still find some populations of Anemone caroliniana in the DFW area. Beyond DFW, this species remains poorly documented.
  • In the western half of Texas and into eastern New Mexico, we have an unresolved issue of Anemones with an unusual morphology. Thanks to @kayakqueen for posting the first observations of these in the Lubbock area. Do they represent an undescribed species? More observations of these across western Texas and eastern New Mexico, carefully documenting morphological variation of all the plants anatomy, will prove useful. I'm hoping to do some genetic work to help address this question also.
  • A couple of years ago, the most recently described species, Anemone okennonii, was known from only three locations. It was discovered by @bob777 in 1992 in Kimble County. Thanks to several iNatters, we now have many new observations between the Edwards Plateau and West Texas...and maybe even up to southeastern New Mexico.

Special thanks to @kimberlietx, without whom I would certainly still consider this to be just an ugly yard weed.

So, keep your eyes peeled for this winter- and early-spring-blooming wildflower!

Ingresado el 27 de enero de 2021 por pfau_tarleton pfau_tarleton | 5 comentarios | Deja un comentario

12 de enero de 2021

Winter-blooming wildflowers: Part I

For those of us eager for spring--or at least the first signs of spring--searching for winter-blooming wildflowers is a great way to feed the soul. The bigroot springparsley (Vesper macrorhizus) is one of the earliest winter-blooming wildflowers in Texas. It's also very easy to overlook because it hugs the earth and definitely isn't what one would call showy. Formerly known as Cymopterus macrorhizus, it's a member of the carrot family (Apiaceae). It can be found from central Texas northward into SW Oklahoma and eastern New Mexico (BONAP map).

As of today, there are only two observations of Vesper macrorhizus in January--one is in full bloom (congratulations @franpfer --you currently hold the record for the earliest documented Vesper macrorhizus in full bloom) and the other is budding out (that would be one observed by yours truly--the earliest documented specimen as of right now). Peak bloom period appears to be March based on iNaturalist data.

I've had most luck finding these in country cemeteries because they grow so low to the ground. If the vegetation is tall, they're much harder to see and may be outcompeted by taller vegetation (speculation on my part).

But be careful with your identifications as a conspecific occurs sympatrically in some areas--Vesper montanus (BONAP map). And I have no clue how to distinguish them! But @nathantaylor has provided some thoughts and maybe he'll stop by here and talk with us some more about these two species.

So head out if you can, and see if you can find this spectacular beauty, er, hidden gem, er, ugly duckling?

Ingresado el 12 de enero de 2021 por pfau_tarleton pfau_tarleton | 11 comentarios | Deja un comentario

23 de noviembre de 2020

Broad-headed bugs of the genus Alydus

Fracker (1918) discusses how difficult it is to identify many species of Alydus (except pilosulus) without examination of genitalia. "Owing to numerous variations, especially in A. eurinus and A. conspersus, the present writer has been compelled to rely on genitalia for the separation of these two species and their relatives." More recently, Schaefer and Shaffner (1994) provide no obvious morphological characters to distinguish eurinus, calcaratus, and tomentosus.

Here's what I've gleaned so far from the available literature:

  • Alydus pilosulus: (eastern half of U.S. and Quebec): Humeral angles of pronotum are sharply acute and the antero-lateral margins of the prothorax are usually pale.
  • A. scutellatus (Rocky Mountains): posterior femora with pale annulus near apex (others members of the genus lack this annulus).
  • A. conspersus (Canada, across northern U.S., south to Arizona along Rocky Mountains): membrane often spotted, body without long, erect hairs.

When the above-mentioned characters are visible, those three species are fairly easily identifiable. The greater challenge lies with the following three species. How to distinguish them in areas of sympatry without genitalia? Evidently, the variation within species makes this task impossible.

  • A. eurinus (U.S. and Canada): pronotum usually black, membrane without spots.
  • A. calcaratus (western Canada, Quebec, Minnesota, Alaska, NW U.S. and south along Rocky Mountains to SW U.S.): body dark brown (fuscous) to black.
  • A. tomentosus (SW U.S. perhaps north to S. Dakota).

A. pluto was synonomyzed with A. calcaratus by Schaefer and Shaffner (1994).

Available literature describing characteristics:
Fracker, S. B. (1918). The Alydinae of the United States. Annals of the Entomological Society of America, 11(3), 255-280.
Schaefer, C. W., & Schaffner, J. C. (1994). Alydus calcaratus in North America (Hemiptera: Alydidae). Proceedings of the Entomological Society of Washington, 96(2), 314-317.
Swanson, D. R. (2011). A synopsis of the Coreoidea (Heteroptera) of Michigan. The Great Lakes Entomologist, 44(3 & 4), 4.

Ingresado el 23 de noviembre de 2020 por pfau_tarleton pfau_tarleton | 1 comentario | Deja un comentario

12 de septiembre de 2020

It's Agalinis time! False foxglove season!

Here's my guide from last year:

For those in the Tarrant Co. area, A. auriculata was documented long ago but hasn't been seen since. Is it still hanging on in some out-of-the-way place?

Along the Red River, A. aspera may occur. It's been found on the north side of the river, but not the south side.

The distribution of all of the other species hasn't been well documented. But we made much headway last season!

The identifying characteristics can be quite subtle, so photographs of from multiple angles of all the critical characteristics is important.

Ingresado el 12 de septiembre de 2020 por pfau_tarleton pfau_tarleton | 3 comentarios | Deja un comentario