17 September, 2022

2nd Annual Lake Arlington Garden Biosurvey – Oct. 15th

Arlington Water Utilities and Tarrant Regional Water District have partnered to create a native plant demonstration garden with 2,000 sq. ft. of flowering native perennials and grasses on city-owned land adjacent to the Lake Arlington Dam. We will be seeding a native wildflower meadow in the surrounding 3 acres in November. In an effort to understand the impacts of these projects on local wildlife, we would love your help documenting existing biodiversity on the site.*

We are hosting our 2nd annual biosurvey on Saturday, Oct. 15th from 8am to 10pm. Please sign up at this link to help! Once you register, we will send you directions to the site, instructions for entering the gate and signing in, and a map of the area to explore.

*The project site is surrounded by low-lying fields with wetland vegetation and bordered by native trees and lake shore. On the 3 acres around the demonstration garden, there is a field of low-growing forbs and grasses which are being treated to remove invasive grasses. The site is owned by Arlington Water Utilities and only accessible with permission via a gated entrance.

Here is the project from the 1st annual biosurvey so you can see what we found last year:

Posted on 17 September, 2022 15:04 by kimberlietx kimberlietx | 4 comments | Leave a comment

21 July, 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.


• 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


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

Posted on 21 July, 2022 15:51 by kimberlietx kimberlietx | 1 comment | Leave a comment

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.

Posted on 21 July, 2022 01:26 by kimberlietx kimberlietx | 9 comments | Leave a comment

19 April, 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:

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

Posted on 19 April, 2022 16:05 by kimberlietx kimberlietx | 12 comments | Leave a comment

13 December, 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.


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

Posted on 13 December, 2021 22:30 by kimberlietx kimberlietx | 0 comments | Leave a comment

17 October, 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:

"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

Posted on 17 October, 2021 17:22 by kimberlietx kimberlietx | 0 comments | Leave a comment

25 September, 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.

Posted on 25 September, 2021 21:58 by kimberlietx kimberlietx | 14 comments | Leave a comment

11 May, 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.

Posted on 11 May, 2021 05:04 by kimberlietx kimberlietx | 9 comments | Leave a comment

05 October, 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:
    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:

Posted on 05 October, 2020 02:24 by kimberlietx kimberlietx | 2 comments | Leave a comment

16 September, 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...

Posted on 16 September, 2020 19:57 by kimberlietx kimberlietx | 25 comments | Leave a comment