Journal archives for September 2022

02 September, 2022

Challenges for next week -- with rain, maybe these will be even more challenging!

OK, here are the challenging challenges for our third annual socially distant bioblitz! How many do you think you can get?

Sunday: observe an insect with maxillary palps (if you can show these in your photo, extra points!

Monday: observe a plant with at least three different common names

Tuesday: observe some animal scat -- can you identify anything the animal ate?

Wednesday: observe a thief in nature -- use your imagination! What organisms are able to steal?!?

Thursday: observe a plant with different colors or textures on the different sides of its leaves

Friday: observe an animal that digs (no pets, please!)

Saturday: observe an organism and translate its scientific name

If you get any of these, be sure to tag me (@sambiology) on the observation. Always love seeing folks that challenge themselves to find these! :)

Posted on 02 September, 2022 19:14 by sambiology sambiology | 4 comments | Leave a comment

12 September, 2022

Results on Thursday! :)

So, there's a few more days to toss up observations or add on ID's before I put together a little report with highlights from the week-long bioblitz.

Here's the ID page:
https://www.inaturalist.org/observations/identify?project_id=fall-socially-distant-bioblitz-dfw-urban-ecosystem-2022

Stay tuned! :)

Posted on 12 September, 2022 01:45 by sambiology sambiology | 0 comments | Leave a comment

16 September, 2022

Results for the 2022 Fall Socially Distant BioBlitz

During the first full week of September, naturalists and nature enthusiasts throughout Dallas/Fort Worth went outside to engage with nature. Quite a few folks used the tool of iNaturalist to document urban biodiversity. A LOT of data was collected yet again! Over 20,000 observations of around 2200 species were documented by 1129 citizen scientists. If you want to look at the data of the overall project, here it is: https://www.inaturalist.org/projects/fall-socially-distant-bioblitz-dfw-urban-ecosystem-2022

Although this wasn’t really a competition among the 6 master naturalist chapters, three different chapters’ areas led in the three different categories. The Elm Fork MN’s led the observation count, the North Texas MN’s led the species count, and the Cross Timbers MN’s led in observers! Overall, each chapters’ area had a lot of participation and a tremendous amount of useable data was collected. Birds, bugs, plants, fungi, all of the flora and fauna (and evidence in tracks and scat!) were observed. I encourage you to look through the project to see what others saw during this week.

You can search through the data with this link: https://www.inaturalist.org/observations?project_id=fall-socially-distant-bioblitz-dfw-urban-ecosystem-2022&verifiable=any&place_id=any This is filterable, so if you want to know what beetles were documented this week, you can filter by that (158 unique beetles were documented in the Dallas/Fort Worth area!!!): https://www.inaturalist.org/observations?place_id=any&project_id=fall-socially-distant-bioblitz-dfw-urban-ecosystem-2022&taxon_id=47208&verifiable=any
You can search the different Asteraceae (sunflower family) that were observed during these seven days too: https://www.inaturalist.org/observations?place_id=any&project_id=fall-socially-distant-bioblitz-dfw-urban-ecosystem-2022&taxon_id=47604&verifiable=any

I challenge you to learn some of the species that were seen in our urban ecosystem:
https://www.inaturalist.org/observations?place_id=any&project_id=fall-socially-distant-bioblitz-dfw-urban-ecosystem-2022&verifiable=any&view=species How many of these have you seen? Did you know we had all of these organisms in our area?!? We share the Dallas/Fort Worth area with so many species – it’s well worthy of appreciation, and I think it’s super fun to learn the names of our ‘natural neighbors.’

Each day, we had a few pretty challenging challenges! I was happy to see lots of folks tackle these! If you’re curious, here are some of the challenges and a few of the standout observations that I noticed:

Maxillary palps - Ask a kid how many legs an insect has, and most kids will say “six” in no time. However, many insects have several extra appendages – maxillary palps are the structures outside of the mandibles that guide food into the mouth. Take a look at the maxillary palps on this grasshopper:
https://www.inaturalist.org/observations/133690788

Plants with multiple common names – For me, it’s hard to think of an example of a plant that has only a single common name! Lots of these have lots of different name, and I’m sure there are loads of other names not in English for every plant:
Prairie verbena, purple prairie verbena, Dakota vervain, Dakota mock vervain, moradilla, or alfombrilla: https://www.inaturalist.org/observations/133796234
Chinaberry tree, pride of India, bead-tree, Cape lilac, syringa berrytree, Persian lilac, Indian lilac, or white cedar: https://www.inaturalist.org/observations/133775906

Stuff in scat - John Bunker Sands is a great spot to see scat on the boardwalk!
https://www.inaturalist.org/observations/133946244

Thief in nature: https://www.inaturalist.org/observations/133854891
"Argyrodes are kleptoparasitic spiders that live on the webs created by orb-weaver spiders. These spiders feed on the small prey items caught in the host webs that they parasitize. In some instances, Argyrodes may even feed on previously digested carcasses that remain on the web."
https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Argyrodes#Behavior
Emerald moth – stealing the flowers to stick onto its back:
https://www.inaturalist.org/observations/134054827

Plant with different colors or textures on the different sides of its leaves – almost all plants have different characteristics of the adaxial and abaxial (top and bottom) of the leaves.

Japanese honeysuckle: https://www.inaturalist.org/observations/133845748
Mustang grape: https://www.inaturalist.org/observations/134241817

Animal that digs – lots of animals dig. Cicada nymph have fossorial front legs that are wonderfully adapted to digging: https://www.inaturalist.org/observations/134330258

Translate a scientific name – I LOVE learning the names of things, and it’s especially fun to learn the derivation of the common and scientific name. I encourage you to read about the name of a toad bug (Sam’s favorite bug, just FYI): https://www.inaturalist.org/observations/134474578

There were so many great observations! There is one particular observation that needs to be mentioned. A limpkin was observed in Dallas County!!! This is normally a Florida bird, but for whatever reason, they’re moving inland – we’ve seen some around DFW this year, but this one was an exciting find for Dallas County: https://www.inaturalist.org/observations/133964227

This is the third year that we’ve done a “fall DFW-wide socially distant week-long bioblitz.” Compare this year’s results to the past two:
In 2021, around 28,000 observations of 2300 species by 1369 observers
In 2020, around 36,000 observations of 2600 species by 1253 observers

Relevancy – it is necessary to look at the data from not just the intrinsic and pure enjoyment of engaging with nature, but also from a practical standpoint. How can we use this information? We can use this data to learn more about the biota in the urban ecosystem, and we can teach others about this biodiversity. We can use these datapoints to show public land managers how important natural areas are to us all. We can highlight areas of high or low biodiversity to provide guidance on managing these spots. We can show empirical evidence of a growing naturalist constituency in the Dallas/Fort Worth area. Relevant? You bet. We’re using this data big time. Be proud of being part of this naturalist community!

Hopefully, we’ll do the fourth fall socially distant bioblitz in our area again next year! In the meantime, keep your eyes and ears open for the biodiversity all around us. If you want to, document it on iNaturalist too – share your observations with the rest of the world! Hope you get time to engage with nature frequently!

If you have any questions or concerns, please let me know! Thanks!

Sam Kieschnick
Urban Wildlife Biologist, DFW
Texas Parks and Wildlife
Sam.kieschnick@tpwd.texas.gov
@sambiology on iNaturalist

Posted on 16 September, 2022 00:38 by sambiology sambiology | 0 comments | Leave a comment

25 September, 2022

October gatherings in/around DFW!

Just wanted to toss up a tiny journal post about some of the upcoming gatherings/bioblitzes around DFW. I don't have all of the details on these (yet), but as I get them, I'll update this journal post!

October 8: black-lighting at LLELA in Lewisville
October 15: black-lighting at Harry Myers Park, Rockwall (details below)
October 29: bioblitz at Coyote Loop Trail in Burleson

Mark your calendars! :)

Posted on 25 September, 2022 02:22 by sambiology sambiology | 25 comments | Leave a comment