Journal archives for November 2015

November 03, 2015

Welcome wagon

I spend alot of time ID'ing other people's obs, but not as much welcoming new people to the site, partially because we don't have good ways to easily search for these new users.

I'm going to try using this journal post as a place to share the URLs of observations made within the last 24 hours that represent the user's first observation. The plan is I'll paste them in daily as comments on this post. And I'll plan to reference this list if I'm feeling like spending some time welcoming new users. Please feel free to join me or pass this post onto other who might want to help.

@tiwane, @carrieseltzer, @sambiology, @joelle I know you've each asked for functionality to try to locate these new users. This will be a poor mans version of it to see whether an welcoming interface for searching for this kind of new content is worth building.

From the last month:
www.inaturalist.org/observations/2696720 (inat)
www.inaturalist.org/observations/2696628 (inat)
www.inaturalist.org/observations/2696606 (MX)
www.inaturalist.org/observations/2696569 (inat)
www.inaturalist.org/observations/2696509 (inat)
www.inaturalist.org/observations/2696474 (inat)
www.inaturalist.org/observations/2696400 (inat)

Posted on November 03, 2015 19:16 by loarie loarie | 19 comments | Leave a comment

November 05, 2015

A tale of two terrestrial isopods

60% of all the terrestrial isopod (Oniscidea) observations on iNat belong two two European species that have been introduced around the world. They are the Common Pillbug and one of several species of Woodlice (Porcellio scaber, P. laevis, and P. dilatatus). Because they are so commonly encountered and posted by amateurs there's a lot of mis-IDs resulting from confusion between these groups. Fear not! They are easy to tell apart!

The butt (posterior) end of terrestrial isopods have 2 projections (the 'uropods') sprouting from either side of their triangular shaped last body part (the 'telson'). If you have a Pillbug (aside from being able to roll up) the uropods are very short and don't protrude past the telson. The black arrow here points to one of the two short uropods:

If you have a Woodlouse (aside from NOT being able to roll up), the uropods are pointy and stick out past the telson. The black arrow here points to the telson:


Like these two groups, by far most of the terrestrial isopods in the US are a handful of introduced European species that are actually really easy to learn (and wait for future posts here). Another commonly seen group are the Sea Slaters which are always found along the shore in the US (except one weird mountain one in Hawaii). Pretty much every other native terrestrial isopod in the US belong to amazing but rarely seen critters you have to hunt for. I hope you'll join me in trying to track down and share as many as these crazy creatures as possible!

Posted on November 05, 2015 02:22 by loarie loarie | 4 comments | Leave a comment

November 18, 2015

What to look for

Here are some common critters around the Academy staff entrance. Can you find them all?

Posted on November 18, 2015 19:39 by loarie loarie | 0 comments | Leave a comment

Observation of the Week, 11/12/15

This Long-tailed Blue butterfly seen by Tamsin Carlisle in the United Arab Emirates is our Observation of the Week!

After obtaining a BA in Zoology from Oxford and a PhD in Evolutionary Ecology at UC Santa Barbara, Tamsin Carlisle had every intention of being a field biologist, but the “disruptive nature of life itself” intervened and she has since become a successful business journalist, based in Dubai and writing mainly about oil and gas.

She’s never given up on her passion for biology, however, and soon after moving to Dubai she joined the Dubai Natural History Group, a group whose members “head out of the Glitter City to explore the surrounding expanses of far-from-barren desert and mountains, along with the occasional mangrove swamp.” For the past year she’s been the Bird Recorder for the group, and began to use iNaturalist as a way for her to keep a list of her sightings, and for help with identification.

With her background in evolutionary biology, Ms. Carlisle is interested in “how new species arise and become established, why they spread or contract geographically and wink in and out of existence over time.” This led to her observation of the Long-tailed Blue butterfly, which she noticed looks and behaves similarly to another lycaenid butterfly, the the Plains Cupid (above). The former she has seen east of the rugged Hajar Mountains, and the latter she observed on the western side of them. These observations, along with two similar Lacertid lizard species divided by the mountains, has made her wonder if “a pattern [was] emerging and, if so, what role was being played by the physical barrier of the Hajar Mountains?”

With questions such as these, in “a region where fauna and flora have been incompletely inventoried and mapped,” she writes, “citizen naturalists can help.”

Citizen Scientists: Keep exploring. Keep sharing.

Maybe your discovery will become an iNaturalist Observation of the Week!

- by Tony Iwane

Hey, iNaturalists! See something that blows your mind? Click ‘Add to favorites’ so it can be considered for the Observation of the Week!

Posted on November 18, 2015 19:48 by loarie loarie | 0 comments | Leave a comment