21 de julio de 2022

Identifying Moths for Beginners

As part of my July 21st Deep Dive demonstration on Identifying Moths for the Blackland Prairie Master Naturalists I am referencing several websites that are helpful for beginners wanting to learn how to identify moths. These are listed here without explanation, so if you didn't attend the demonstration and can't make sense of something on the list, feel free to PM me.

iNaturalist

• Search only DFW Area: Account Settings>Account>Default Search Place = “DFW Metroplex, TX, US”
• Search string: &without_taxon_id=47224
- Lepidoptera (Butterflies & Moths): https://www.inaturalist.org/observations?taxon_id=47157
- Moths only: https://www.inaturalist.org/observations?taxon_id=47157&without_taxon_id=47224
- YOUR moths only: https://www.inaturalist.org/observations?taxon_id=47157&without_taxon_id=47224&user_id=kimberlietx (replace my username with your username)

Moth Photographers Group

Plate Series>Try Walking Through the Moth Families
Select Family (Fast)>View By Region>Texas

BugGuide

Silhouette Key to Major Moth Families: https://bugguide.net/node/view/21675

Discover Life ID Guides

Use wing shapes, colors, resting position, etc to narrow down IDs with photos.



Curved Horn Moths (Superfamily Gelechioidea)

Moth Wing Features

by Ian Toal


Peterson Field Guide to Moths of Southeastern North America

by Seabrooke Leckie and David Beadle
Amazon $28

Most Common Moth Families

Noctuidae: Cutworm Moths
Erebidae: Underwing, Tiger, Tussock Moths
Crambidae: Crambid Snout Moths
Geometridae: Geometer Moths
Sphingidae: Sphinx Moths
Tortricidae: Tortricid Leafroller Moths
Pyralidae: Pyralid Snout Moths
Gelechiidae: Twirler Moths
Saturniidae: Emperor, Royal, Moon, and Giant Silk Moths
Gracillariidae: Leaf Blotch Miner Moths

National Moth Week

July 23-31, 2022

Public Gatherings:
July 23 - Spring Creek Forest, Garland
July 24 - Acton Nature Center, Granbury
July 25 – River Legacy, Arlington
July 29 - John Bunker Sands, Seagoville ($)
July 30 - Connemara Preserve

Ingresado el 21 de julio de 2022 por kimberlietx kimberlietx | 1 comentario | Deja un comentario

My new gall wasp species is official! 🥳

If you've been in any conversation with me in the last year, it probably included a fair amount of excitement that I was describing a new species of gall wasp with some colleagues. (Not to belittle their involvement in any way! It was a team effort. Now back to the bragging...) Today our paper has been formally published, so I'm going to brag a little bit longer! Plus, it includes some bonus content about other things I've been working on, too.

Discovery through iNaturalist: new species and new records of oak gall wasps (Hymenoptera: Cynipidae: Cynipini) from Texas, USA.
Y. Miles Zhang, Kimberlie Sasan, Robert J. O'Kennon, Adam J. Kranz
July 20, 2022

Abstract: A new species of the genus Druon Kinsey, 1937, D. laceyi Zhang, Sasan & O’Kennon sp. nov. is described on host plant Quercus laceyi Small from central Texas. We also re-establish Andricus lustrans Beutenmüller, 1913 comb.rev., and transfer Striatoandricus aciculatus (Beutenmüller, 1909) comb. nov. from Andricus. Finally, we report a new state and host record for Druon gregori Melika, Nicholls & Stone, 2022. All observations were first shared on the social platform iNaturalist, highlighting the potential of cybertaxonomy in uncovering overlooked biodiversity.

Allow me to introduce you to... Druon laceyi

If you are interested in reading the full paper, PM me. Miles did a fantastic job of describing the wasp in words the rest of us can hardly understand.

Ingresado el 21 de julio de 2022 por kimberlietx kimberlietx | 9 comentarios | Deja un comentario

19 de abril de 2022

Identifying Triodanis - Venus's Looking Glass Flowers

I've put together a fairly basic ID chart for ID'ing Triodanis flowers to species. This is a living document, so it may have changes made without notice. I suggest bookmarking the following link instead of downloading the document:
https://drive.google.com/file/d/1G1pro3tLp9Lp_9dFrjo9pBGTf0xhte_2/view?usp=sharing.

For questions/comments about the document, please PM me directly. For questions about ID'ing a particular observation, please tag me in the observation using @kimberlietx

Ingresado el 19 de abril de 2022 por kimberlietx kimberlietx | 12 comentarios | Deja un comentario

13 de diciembre de 2021

Kermesidae: Gall-like scale insects of Texas

In researching IDs for gall-like scale insects I found a site that made ranges easy to search. Scalenet.info has some great information, but not enough (that I saw) to properly ID scale insects in the gall-looking form we usually photograph. With this information, it looks like Texas Kermesidae should primarily be ID'ed at the family level except for on Live Oaks which can be Genus Allokermes.

http://scalenet.info/scalesplace/texas/kermesidae/

The following list are my commonly seen oaks in DFW, but you can find all hosts and Kermesidae ranges on the site.

Quercus stellata (Post Oak)
Kermes pubescens, Kermes sylvestris, Allokermes galliformis

Quercus marilandica (Blackjack Oak)
Kermes pubescens, Allokermes galliformis

Quercus macrocarpa (Bur Oak)
Kermes pubescens, Allokermes galliformis

Quercus virginiana (Live Oak)
Allokermes cueroensis, Allokermes galliformis

Ingresado el 13 de diciembre de 2021 por kimberlietx kimberlietx | 0 comentarios | Deja un comentario

17 de octubre de 2021

How you can easily make virus observations

James Douch wrote a great post on the iNat Forum about how to make observations of viruses and he couldn't have made it any easier! Here's a way to keep your eyes open for new species! And James is great about helping out if you want to tag him in your observations!

Read the full post here:
https://forum.inaturalist.org/t/how-you-can-easily-make-virus-observations/27236

"However, few iNaturalists are even aware that viruses may be observed on iNaturalist, and the number and diversity of virus observations is low. Of course, many viruses cannot be detected without laboratory techniques, but this is not always true. I would like to provide some suggestions on how you can easily make your first virus observation." ~James K. Douch

Ingresado el 17 de octubre de 2021 por kimberlietx kimberlietx | 0 comentarios | Deja un comentario

25 de septiembre de 2021

Oct 16th - Volunteers needed for biosurvey of future Lake Arlington Native Garden site.

Arlington Water Utilities and Tarrant Regional Water District are teaming up to create a native plant demonstration garden and prairie restoration at the Lake Arlington Spillway. Before any construction efforts get underway this fall, we would love your help documenting existing biodiversity on the site. The project site is currently a field of low-growing grasses and forbs, both native and non-native, surrounded by low-lying fields with wetland vegetation and bordered by native trees. The site is owned by Arlington Water Utilities and only accessible with permission via a gated entrance.

We are hosting our first biosurvey on Saturday, Oct. 16th from 8am to 10pm. We would love to have anyone interested to join us in documenting the flora and fauna of the site. You can come anytime throughout the day and stay as long or as little as you like. Snacks will be provided under a covered area with chairs for relaxing and socializing.

If you are interested in volunteering, please sign up at this link: https://www.signupgenius.com/go/10c0f4eaaaa2ea4fcc61-lake. After registration, we will send an email with directions to the site, instructions for entering the gate and signing in, and a map of the area to explore. If you would like more information not included here, please contact Kimberlie Sasan on iNaturalist at @kimberlietx or by email at kimberlietx@gmail.com.

Ingresado el 25 de septiembre de 2021 por kimberlietx kimberlietx | 14 comentarios | Deja un comentario

11 de mayo de 2021

Triodanis Quick Tips

If you've been trying to figure out how to ID which species of Triodanis flower you have seen, this post is intended to give you a quick and simple way for the two most common species in Texas and the US: Triodanis perfoliata "Clasping Venus's Looking Glass" and Triodanis biflora "Venus' Looking-Glass". I'll create a more detailed key to all seven of the species soon, but until then feel free to tag me in your observations or send me a direct message if you need help.



Photograph the stem so you can see the leaves and the fruiting capsule. To identify to species you will want to to see where the pore ("window") is located.

Here's an example of T. perfoliata fruit with the pore in the middle. It also has leaves that wrap around the stem ("clasping").
(Click on the picture to go to the observation.)



Here's an example of T. biflora fruit with the pore at the apex. Also, the leaves are simply attached, not wrapping.

Ingresado el 11 de mayo de 2021 por kimberlietx kimberlietx | 9 comentarios | Deja un comentario

05 de octubre de 2020

Maps to Texas soil types

In my study of a couple of particular plant species it has been helpful to see soil maps and compare them with what is known about the plants' soil needs. I've been using USGS geologic maps overlayed on Google Earth. I thought some other folks might find this resource helpful.



  1. First, download the USGS Texas geologic KML file here:
    https://mrdata.usgs.gov/geology/state/state.php?state=TX
    Click on the link for "txgeol.kml" Uncompressed version and save it to your computer (in a location you can find.)

  2. Next, navigate to Google Earth: https://earth.google.com/web/. If you have not used it before, it could take a while to download completely. (There should be a completion % at the bottom left of the screen.)

  3. Once Google Earth has completely loaded, find the symbol on the left side of the screen for "Projects". Click on "New Project" and select "Import from KML file on computer". Navigate to where you saved the txgeol.kml file earlier. Again, it may take some time to load the file. You will see it begin to add an overlay to the globe, but wait until it is at 100% before trying to search for a location.

  4. Once it's completely loaded, you can now search for an address or GPS coordinates. Right click on the location and a box will pop up telling you the name of the geologic group. Click on "Detailed description" to find out the soil composition and more details. Here's an example of the map view and the soil description:



Ingresado el 05 de octubre de 2020 por kimberlietx kimberlietx | 2 comentarios | Deja un comentario

16 de septiembre de 2020

WANTED! Bramble observations in Fall/Winter

Hey friends! As the weather starts to cool down I'm sure you will all be out and making more observations in the next couple of months. I have a favor to ask...

Fall isn't the usual time for Brambles to be observed, but that's what makes this the perfect time! I'm on the hunt for a particular blackberry/dewberry bush that is very green right now, when all the others are starting to turn brown. So, if you happen to notice a healthy looking blackberry bush, it's worth documenting!

Here are some key characteristics to look for:

  • Upright, not laying on the ground (typically over 3 feet tall)
  • Leaflets are wider and rounder than what we usually see. Leaves could have 3 or 5 leaflets.
  • The underside of the leaves are whitish, not green like on the top.

If you think you have found one that fits the description, take photos like you usually would, but include a photo of the whole plant and especially one of the back of the leaves. Bonus love for anyone that also wants to photograph the thorns on the lowest part of the main stems and the stem of any spent flowers still attached. (Examples below.) And please tag me!

Bonus love for these extras!

So you might be asking, "What's this all about?" (Or maybe not. If you're like me, you love a scavenger hunt no matter what it's for! Except car keys. SIGH.) Well, if you've been following my posts on Rubus species in Texas, you could probably win Bramble Trivia Night if you recall that we have 3 common species in Texas and 2 much less common species. I'm looking for observations of the "much less common" species. Since they are robust plants this time of year, it's much easier to spot them now than in the spring when all the others are in bloom, too.

Thanks for keeping your eyes open! And beware of the thorns...

Ingresado el 16 de septiembre de 2020 por kimberlietx kimberlietx | 26 comentarios | Deja un comentario

18 de julio de 2020

Rambling thoughts: 100 Degrees of Nature

Depending on where you live, you may not have the pleasure of sweating through day after day of near 100-degree temps as we are in DFW. This morning I went out from 8:30am-10:30am and came home drenched, despite staying in the shade 80% of the time. I wish we had a pool, but since we don't, I keep on keepin' on with nature.

It seems like I've been busier than usual lately. I enjoy having "projects" to learn from, and I've get several going at the moment, which you have probably noticed if you are following my observations. I'm in the middle of photographing Hackberry Galls for a "reference" point of what we see in the field versus what Gagne described and photographed in 2013.

I've also been learning about and rearing leafminers to document life-cycles, which I always find interesting. These micromoths and flies are tricky though. I seem to be documenting more parasitoid wasps instead. Oh well! Still interesting!

I've really struggled with the Bluebird monitoring this year. Just as I got all the boxes prepped for the season and volunteers ready to help, COVID19 pulled the rug out from under us. Instead of being able to check the boxes every 3-4 days with the help of 4 resident volunteers, I'm doing good if I can make it by all 50 boxes once a week on my own. I've also had a record breaking year of fledglings, too! 195 so far and another 60 growing big and strong. If not for being able to see those sweet little faces from hatching to adolescence, I'd have given up a long time ago!

And today kicks off National Moth Week! Wooohooo!! I'm much more excited than I have energy for at the moment, though. I'll put out my mothing gear tomorrow and hopefully get to see some very-very-very-missed friends at a covid-minded gathering at the end of the week. A couple of moths ago I joined a project to collect some particular micromoths that will hopefully help the microlepidoptera research community on some gaps and unknown species. I've been slacking on that and I'm looking forward to seeing what's new at the light since I put it out last.

If you hung in there with me this long, tell me what iNat-ish stuff you've been up to lately! I miss seeing my IRL iNatters so much!! Stay cool...

Ingresado el 18 de julio de 2020 por kimberlietx kimberlietx | 4 comentarios | Deja un comentario