December 14, 2019

Texas Woolly Oak Galls

In an effort to simplify the identification of woolly looking oak galls in Texas, I pulled this info from BugGuide. It's just a first draft, so comments and suggestions are very welcome!

Charley Eiseman advises that galls on Texas oaks are largely understudied. The data for the Texas observations on BugGuide is VERY limited. Keep in mind there are probably several/many unidentified species, too.

If you are interested in helping to document galls (any, not just woolly ones) for identification, I recommend the following:

  • Photograph the whole leaf, top and bottom.
  • Photograph the gall up close.
  • If possible, break open the gall and photograph what is inside.
  • Perhaps most importantly, note the host plant.

Galls are frequently specific to a genus (oaks, elms, hackberries, etc) and to where they occur on the plant (upper-/lowerside of leaf, leaf midrib, petiole, stem, etc.) They also may or may not have features that affect the opposite side of the leaf which can help in identification.

Gall-forming Insect Hosts Gall type Gall description Sources
Andricus pattoni
Post Oak (stellata)
White Shin Oak (breviloba)
Sand Post Oak (margarettae)
Leaf midrib, underside Begins to develop in August. Galls similar to Andricus quercusflocci (which is not a TX species.) "Woolly, dirty white, of 2-10 seed-like bodies attached by one end on midrib on upper or lower side, in fall."

Unconfirmed in TX
BG See also
Andricus quercuslanigera
"Wool-bearing Gall Wasp"
Southern Live Oak (virginiana)
[Texas Live Oak (fusiformis)]
Leaf midrib, underside "Hemispherical or irregular tufts 1/2 inch long of rather long, whitish or reddish wool covering, 2 to 6 irregular brown, seed-like kernels on under side of midrib, diameter 1/12 inch, on live oak, summer."
Callirhytis furva
"Furry Oak Leaf Gall Wasp"
RED OAKS Leaf, upperside "Probably on all the red oaks"
"Small cluster of globular galls, 3-4 mm, each covered with short, straight brown hairs, upper side, fall"
"Galls drop from leaves in October; adults emerge in the second or third spring in late March."

Unconfirmed in TX
Callirhytis lanata
"Woolly Oak Gall"
RED OAKS Leaf, underside "Forms woolly, detachable galls on leaves of various species in the red oak group. The galls drop in October and adults may emerge in the second, third, or fourth spring." BugGuide
Callirhytis quercusoperator
"Woolly Catkin Gall Wasp"
RED OAKS Flower "Oval masses 2 to 3 inches in diameter, hairs greenish white or rose tinted, sometimes deep red, there may be 150 or more cells each less than 1/10 of an inch in diameter." BugGuide
Callirhytis seminator
"Wool Sower Gall Wasp"
Post Oak (stellata)
"Spring; White with pink spots, detachable stem gall. Many celled. Around 20mm in diameter." BugGuide
Neuroterus quercusverrucarum
"Oak Flake Gall Wasp"
Bur Oak (macrocarpa)
Chinkapin (muehlenbergii)
Post Oak (stellata)
Leaf, underside "Causes fuzzy, white to brown galls, about 2.5 mm across, on the undersides of leaves of oaks in the white oak group. Adults emerge from galls in April."
Typically many scattered on one leaf.

Images linked from BugGuide. All rights retained by individual photographers listed on the linked pages.

Posted on December 14, 2019 17:02 by kimberlietx kimberlietx | 5 comments | Leave a comment

October 01, 2019

Another successful BioBlitz! Thank you to everyone that came!

Thank you to everyone that came to participate in our 2nd Overton Ridge Park BioBlitz! We had around 40 folks come out! I see the observations starting to roll in and I'm thrilled with what we observed!

Posted on October 01, 2019 22:20 by kimberlietx kimberlietx | 2 comments | Leave a comment

August 10, 2019

Hymetta spp (Erythroneurini) Leafhoppers

I've been curious about some Hymetta spp leafhoppers and decided to dig into the species key since BugGuide doesn't have anything specifically listed. They do reference the Dmitriev 3I Interactive Keys and Taxonomic Databases, but I was able to find a paper with more details. (Cited at the bottom of this post.) To simplify things, I just pulled out what I thought was important info.

To summarize, the key to species is strictly limited to genitalia characters. Wing patterns are so similar between the species, that it sometimes comes down to the density of red spots, as in H. balteata and H. anthisma.

Genus Hymetta
(Extract of physical description)
Dorsum yellow or white, with reddish or brown color pattern; vertex, pronotum, and mesonotum pale, apex of scutellum black; forewing with characteristic numerous irregular red or brownish dots, with or without brown crossband; without dark spot at costal margin; apical cell II without distal spot; inner apical cell without brown spot.

H. kansasensis: Length 3.2–3.5 mm. Coloration as described for genus. Distribution: Central and southeastern USA. (Not showing TX)
H. balteata: Length 3.1–3.4 mm. Coloration variable, either as described for genus or paler overall. Distribution: Central and eastern USA (Incl TX)
H. anthisma: Length 3.3–3.6 mm. Coloration typical for genus, wings usually densely covered with red dots. Distribution: Central and eastern USA. (Incl TX)
H. trifasciata: Length 3–3.4 mm. Coloration as described for genus. Distribution: Central and eastern USA. (Incl TX)
H. arizoniana: Length 3.3–3.7 mm. Coloration typical for genus. Distribution: Arizona.

Review of the New World Erythroneurini (Hemiptera: Cicadellidae: Typhlocybinae) I. Genera Erythroneura, Erasmoneura, Rossmoneura, and Hymetta
Dmitriev, Dmitry A.; Dietrich, Christopher H.

I also reviewed Fairbairn 1928 which lists physical characters in the species key, but I assume to revision found them to be unreliable.
Fairbairn, Vera M. "The Genus Hymetta (Homoptera, Cicadellidae)." Journal of the Kansas Entomological Society 1, no. 4 (1928): 84-92.

Posted on August 10, 2019 03:31 by kimberlietx kimberlietx | 1 observations | 0 comments | Leave a comment

July 27, 2019

Save the date - Kimberlie's 2nd Annual Birthday BioBlitz!!

I've had several questions lately about whether I'm going to make my Birthday BioBlitz an annual event. Well, heck YEAH!

More info will follow as it gets closer, but it will be similar to last year's event. (Daylight bioblitz followed by mothing at the same location, Overton Ridge Park in Keller. Open to anyone and everyone.)

So, in the meantime, mark your calendars as BUSY for Saturday, September 28th from 5-10pm(-ish).

Here's what we saw last year:

@aesbiologist @amzapp @annikaml @beckymn @betsymarsh @bob777 @brentano @briangooding @cameralenswrangler @catenatus @cdroz105 @cgritz @cindylcobb5 @connlindajo @daniel112 @elizrose @galactic_bug_man @gcwarbler @itmndeborah @justjenny @k8thegr8 @kalamurphyking @katelyn3 @lovebirder @lulubelle @mchlfx @mikef451 @mokennon @nanofishology @naturemom @oddfitz @pfau_tarleton @postoak @rehb @robin_g @sambiology @sonnia @squaylei2000 @suz @tadamcochran @taosit @tfandre @walkingstick2 @wildcarrot

Posted on July 27, 2019 18:38 by kimberlietx kimberlietx | 28 comments | Leave a comment

July 06, 2019

Patriotic Odonates

I had some time to explore today, the day after July 4th. Apparently the dragonflies were celebrating yesterday, too!

Libellula croceipennis, Neon Skimmer

Plathemis lydia, Common Whitetail

Libellula incesta, Slaty Skimmer

Posted on July 06, 2019 05:25 by kimberlietx kimberlietx | 3 observations | 2 comments | Leave a comment

June 17, 2019

Dragonfly jackpot!

I spent the day with @brentano at a couple of places I had never been to before. Of course he is always looking for Odes, but I usually have my eyes toward tiny creatures. The day/location/guide did not disappoint! I saw 4 lifer dragonflies (Russet-tipped Clubtail, Swift River Cruiser, Cobra Clubtail, and Prince Basketail) and more Widow Skimmers than you could possibly count.

We saw other stuff, too, but I haven't finished editing those photos. I just had to get the dragonflies up!

Edited 6/18: Oops! I forgot to include the Calico Pennant!

Posted on June 17, 2019 20:56 by kimberlietx kimberlietx | 5 observations | 5 comments | Leave a comment

June 15, 2019

Taxonomy of Dewberries, Blackberries, and Brambles in Texas (Rubus spp)

I have basically identified my Rubus observations as R. trivialis or R. oklahomus, but I was aware there were other possibilities that I should look into. I've been looking closer at Rubus species in Texas this past 2 weeks. This journal post will walk through the musical score that is Rubus taxonomy yesterday, today, and tomorrow in Texas.

The Flora of North Central Texas, aka FNCT, (the primary flora key for DFW) listed 6 possible species in DFW: aborignium, apogaeus, bifrons, oklahomus, trivialis, and riograndis. iNat observations were in 14 species, so I knew we had some errors. I looked at all 14 species on BONAP to see which of those 14 were not documented in Texas at all. I manually added genus level IDs and comments to those (DFW) observations with the link to the map. Afterward, I went back and reviewed all of Texas observations and did the same for those.

I'll note here that if you upload an observation of a Rubus species, the ID suggestions frequently come up with species not in Texas as a first choice. (Ex. R. armeniacus.) Typically only 1 of the top 5 species recommendations is in Texas. It may even say "Seen nearby" since so many were mis-ID'ed.

If you browse the species maps for Rubus on BONAP you will count 227 species in North America. I kid you not. Or maybe it was 229. Or 224. I lost count. Fortunately, not all of those are in Texas, though. (USDA Plants Database is in line with BONAP.)

So I wandered over to Flora of North America, aka FNA, to see what they had to say about it. I'll give you the short version here: "Rubus, especially the blackberries, presents some of the most difficult species-level problems, because of polyploidy, apomixis, and hybridization. As a result, differences of opinion on the number of species to be recognized from a given region can vary tremendously... R. K. Godfrey (1988) wrote, 'oversimplification appears to be the only way to achieve a practicable solution to the dilemma.'" (I'll agree with that!)

The FNA key lists about 25 species for all of North America. I looked at every single one and the distribution ranges to find all of the species in Texas. They only list FIVE: bifrons, flagellaris, pascuus, pensilvanicus, and trivialis.

Another hop over to Plants of the World Online, aka POWO, (which iNat uses to determine synonyms and currently accepted names) was aligned with FNA. (R. riograndis is treated as R. trivialis in FNA, but not in POWO, so that will be our 6th.)
Which brings me to...

Here are a list of the synonyms and their currently accepted names for just the DFW species listed in FNCT:
R. aboriginum --> R. flagellaris
R. apogaeus --> R. flagellaris
R. bifrons --> No change
R. oklahomus --> R. pensilvanicus
R. trivialis --> No change
R. riograndis --> No change

These changes will bring iNat taxa in line with FNA and POWO and their state range maps, but it will require you to know the previous name to look at county maps on BONAP (which was last updated online in 2013/14.)

You will begin to see some curation changes on iNat affecting Texas Rubus species, to bring us into agreement with FNA and POWO, as listed above.

To summarize, all of TEXAS only has 6 possible Rubus species:
trivialis, and

This means R. allegheniensis and R. fruticosis are not valid TX species under any source.

Any observations ID'ed otherwise would be 1) a species not in Texas according to the simplified species list of FNA and PONO, 2) a cultivar, or 3) an old synonym that needs to be curated to the simplified list.

As a next step, I hope to put together a VERY simplified illustrated guide to the 3 most common Texas species: R. trivialis, R. flagellaris, and R. pensilvanicus. The purpose will be to give a quick and dirty way to differentiate those, as well as suggestions on what photos would help for a species-level ID.

Posted on June 15, 2019 03:57 by kimberlietx kimberlietx | 10 comments | Leave a comment

May 22, 2019

Three banded Leafhoppers/Erythroneura spp et al

Last year I spent some time trying to identify a three-banded leafhopper, which led me to comparing a lot of images of Erythroneura spp on BugGuide. Yesterday I was tagged on one and it got me looking at them again. I thought if I put some images together it might help me (and possibly others) to get to the right species a little easier.

(All the usual disclaimers go with this post. I'm not an expert, just an avid researcher when something interests me. Any species will have variations. This post is not exclusive of any other similar looking species, but I'll try to add them as they come up. You should not rely solely on this post for ID; BugGuide is still the best layperson resource. Consumption may cause stomach upset and/or a laxative effect. Offer valid only at participating locations.)

It's helpful to note that the background yellow stripes can also be red/orange, but the pattern of the brown bands is the first place to start.

Erythroneura calycula (Three-banded Leafhopper)
The first band is thinly U-shaped, covering primarily the eyes. All bands are brown.
BG images:

Erythroneura cymbium
The first band looks squared or like a barbell more than U-shaped. All bands are brown.
BG images:

Erythroneura tricincta (Three-banded Leafhopper)
The first band is wide and covers almost the entire pronotum. All bands are brown. Note the same common name as E. calycula.
BG images:

Erythroneura bistrata
The first band is wide and comes to an angle at the legs. (This is a key feature to differentiate bistrata and tricincta. The distal (bottom) edge of the 1st band curves forward in bistrata creating the angle, and backward in tricincta.) The second band is usually irregular or mask shaped instead of straight lines. The bands often have red coloration too.
BG images:

Erythroneura vitis (Grapevine Leafhopper)
This species has very distinct marks that look like a white circle with a red outline on a brown body. The white bands will be thinner, all edged in red, and the 2nd brown band will be rounded not mask shaped.
BG images:

Erythroneura diva
The 1st band is brown with red overlaying it. The 2nd is red with brown only on the sides.
BG images:

Erythroneura integra
The 2nd band is brown with red overlaying it and slightly lower.
BG images:

Eratoneura arpegia, amethica OR trivittata
The head has no brown band on it. The 1st band curves forward like Erythroneura bistrata, but the 2nd band is brown on the sides and red in the middle. The 3rd band is brown, or red with a brown dot. Note that this is a different genus than the other examples. The species are currently combined on BugGuide into a complex and not in separate species.
BG images:

If you have input on corrections, please comment or message me! These are grossly simplified descriptions for quick ID, but please consult BugGuide for full descriptions and details.

For other genera with similarities, also review
Eratoneura sp
Empoa sp
Ossiannilssonola sp

Additional resources:
Many Erythroneura have subspecies where one of them will have the three-banded look. Ex: E. rosa var repetita. It's worthwhile reviewing the images at

Photo credits:
E. calycula - John Boback;
E. cymbium - Kimberlie Sasan;
E. tricincta - Royal Tyler;
E. bistrata- Ken-ichi Ueda;
E. vitis - Timothy Reichard;
E. diva - Timothy Reichard;
E. integra - Timothy Reichard;
E. arpegia/amethica/trivittata complex - Lee Elliott;

Posted on May 22, 2019 18:25 by kimberlietx kimberlietx | 6 comments | Leave a comment

May 05, 2019

CNC 19 - My personal wrap-up

The competition still has just over 24 hours to go, but I wanted to share some of my thoughts since I'm done uploading...

At the moment, I have uploaded 1371 observations of 532 species.

My personal goal for the competition was to make 1000 observations of as many different species as I could find. (I never did find that darn squirrel! I swear they go into hiding during the CNC!) I'm thrilled to have achieved my personal goal!

Last year I made 757 observations of 437 species. Definite improvement!
And I'm anxious to see the final results on Monday.

Some thoughts about the things that I saw or experienced during the challenge that aren't represented in the photos:

- Since I could not drive very far, I did all of my observations within 10 miles of my home at various parks and fields that I frequent. It helped to know what species were already there, and where I could find some species I had not already photographed.

- I moth'ed in my backyard every night. It was one of the best turn-outs I've had in a while! Lots of larger moths, and several new species for my yard.

- I photographed more grasses and sedges than I've ever done before. I won't remember any of them next week, but if I just keep doing that it will eventually sink in.

- I also photographed a LOT of plant galls. (Those balls that insects make on plants/trees.) Their variety of shapes fascinate me!

- My most photographed species (11 times) was of the Venus' Looking-Glass Flower (Triodanis biflora)

- I had no idea the Brown Thrasher (bird) could sing! I heard him before I saw him and I was mesmerized!

- I found 2 live caterpillars in the bluebird nestboxes after the young had fledged. I don't know if they were looking for somewhere to pupate, or if they just got lucky and avoided being lunch. 1 was interesting. 2 is curious...

- I waited 30 minutes to catch a hummingbird, but they were zipping all over the place and chittering so I knew they were there. Never did get a pic. Later, I saw a strange squirrel and tried to photograph it, but it kept jumping from limb to limb and then disappeared. Right above it, in the treetop, was a Black Chinned Hummer that I was able to photograph.

And I love stats, so....

- Daily totals:
Day 1: 371 observations, 15 new species
Day 2: 390 observations, 9 new species
Day 3: 264 observations, 9 new species
Day 4: 346 observations, 9 new species

- Observed taxa:
341 Plants
123 Insects
28 Birds
26 Fungi
15 Arachnids
7 Mollusks
5 Reptiles
2 Mammals
2 Other
2 Ray-finned fishes
2 Protozoa
1 Amphibians

Posted on May 05, 2019 01:24 by kimberlietx kimberlietx | 5 comments | Leave a comment

February 01, 2019

CANCELED/ Carolina Anemone Scavenger Hunt BioBlitz

Carolina Anemone Scavenger Hunt BioBlitz
Saturday, March 23rd, 10am – 2pm
Mansfield City Cemetery

Image by @suz Suzette Rogers

The spring flowers are starting to bloom across Texas and we need your help to find and document a not-so-common species of Anemone, Anemone caroliniana, or the Carolina Anemone. The Anemone North Texans might be most familiar with, A. berlandieri, is known by the common names Tenpetal Anemone and Windflower. Both species grow side-by-side and look alike at first glance, so the Carolina Anemone often gets overlooked. In fact, only 5 DFW locations have been documented on iNaturalist!

Come join us on Saturday, March 23rd at 10am at the Mansfield City Cemetery (a documented location) to learn what to look for and participate in a Scavenger Hunt BioBlitz where we will visit other nearby locations looking specifically for the Carolina Anemone. (Bring a sack lunch with you, too!) Afterward, we will be looking for volunteers to visit locations throughout DFW during the spring blooming period to find as many new locations as we can!

For more information, contact @pfau_tarleton or @kimberlietx. And please tag anyone that you think might be interested!

Posted on February 01, 2019 22:54 by kimberlietx kimberlietx | 19 comments | Leave a comment