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:

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: 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!!!):
You can search the different Asteraceae (sunflower family) that were observed during these seven days too:

I challenge you to learn some of the species that were seen in our urban ecosystem: 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:

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:
Chinaberry tree, pride of India, bead-tree, Cape lilac, syringa berrytree, Persian lilac, Indian lilac, or white cedar:

Stuff in scat - John Bunker Sands is a great spot to see scat on the boardwalk!

Thief in nature:
"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."
Emerald moth – stealing the flowers to stick onto its back:

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:
Mustang grape:

Animal that digs – lots of animals dig. Cicada nymph have fossorial front legs that are wonderfully adapted to digging:

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):

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:

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
@sambiology on iNaturalist

Posted on 16 September, 2022 00:38 by sambiology sambiology


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