Journal archives for December 2019

December 01, 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 without genetic data. 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 and eastern NM, two other genera of gophers occur (Cratogeomys and Thomomys) and they can be difficult to distinguish from Geomys without a specimen in hand (showing the incisors) in areas where their range overlaps.



Range maps of each species of Geomys (based on museum data and unpublished research): https://www.inaturalist.org/taxa/map?taxa=44052,44058,44053,44054,44059,44055,44060,74359,%2044057,423601,44056#6/34.251/-93.87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 and shape of mound:
    --very lumpy texture and symmetrical mound shape = mole (https://www.inaturalist.org/observations/13015309)
    --granular texture (not lumpy) and asymmetrical (often with a plug visible toward one side) = gopher (https://www.inaturalist.org/observations/5087818)

  2. Position of mounds (this difference not always visible, use in conjunction with soil texture and shape 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!

Posted on December 01, 2019 03:04 by pfau_tarleton pfau_tarleton | 5 comments | Leave a comment

December 14, 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”.
  4. 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. Include the phrase "observation set" in each description so you can filter your observations that include observation sets by using a URL query to search for that phrase (see below).
  5. Compile your list of observation sets by making a journal post (or include in your profile) so you can go back and find these quickly. If you included the phrase "observation set" in your description of each observation (step 3), you can use this URL to display all of your observations that include observation sets. Like this: https://www.inaturalist.org/observations?place_id=any&q=%22observation%20set%22&subview=grid&user_id=pfau_tarleton [just replace my ID with your ID].

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

My linked observations are here:

Life cycles by kimberlietx:

Other folks' life cycle collections:

Posted on December 14, 2019 22:52 by pfau_tarleton pfau_tarleton | 6 comments | Leave a comment

December 31, 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.

Posted on December 31, 2019 23:38 by pfau_tarleton pfau_tarleton | 0 comments | Leave a comment