אפריל 19, 2022

Identifying Triodanis - Venus's Looking Glass Flowers

I've put together a fairly basic ID chart for ID'ing Triodanis flowers to species. This is a living document, so it may have changes made without notice. I suggest bookmarking the following link instead of downloading the document:

For questions/comments about the document, please PM me directly. For questions about ID'ing a particular observation, please tag me in the observation using @kimberlietx

פורסם ב אפריל 19, 2022 04:05 אחה"צ על־ידי kimberlietx kimberlietx | 12 תגובות | הוספת תגובה

דצמבר 13, 2021

Kermesidae: Gall-like scale insects of Texas

In researching IDs for gall-like scale insects I found a site that made ranges easy to search. Scalenet.info has some great information, but not enough (that I saw) to properly ID scale insects in the gall-looking form we usually photograph. With this information, it looks like Texas Kermesidae should primarily be ID'ed at the family level except for on Live Oaks which can be Genus Allokermes.


The following list are my commonly seen oaks in DFW, but you can find all hosts and Kermesidae ranges on the site.

Quercus stellata (Post Oak)
Kermes pubescens, Kermes sylvestris, Allokermes galliformis

Quercus marilandica (Blackjack Oak)
Kermes pubescens, Allokermes galliformis

Quercus macrocarpa (Bur Oak)
Kermes pubescens, Allokermes galliformis

Quercus virginiana (Live Oak)
Allokermes cueroensis, Allokermes galliformis

פורסם ב דצמבר 13, 2021 10:30 אחה"צ על־ידי kimberlietx kimberlietx | 0 תגובות | הוספת תגובה

אוקטובר 17, 2021

How you can easily make virus observations

James Douch wrote a great post on the iNat Forum about how to make observations of viruses and he couldn't have made it any easier! Here's a way to keep your eyes open for new species! And James is great about helping out if you want to tag him in your observations!

Read the full post here:

"However, few iNaturalists are even aware that viruses may be observed on iNaturalist, and the number and diversity of virus observations is low. Of course, many viruses cannot be detected without laboratory techniques, but this is not always true. I would like to provide some suggestions on how you can easily make your first virus observation." ~James K. Douch

פורסם ב אוקטובר 17, 2021 05:22 אחה"צ על־ידי kimberlietx kimberlietx | 0 תגובות | הוספת תגובה

ספטמבר 25, 2021

Oct 16th - Volunteers needed for biosurvey of future Lake Arlington Native Garden site.

Arlington Water Utilities and Tarrant Regional Water District are teaming up to create a native plant demonstration garden and prairie restoration at the Lake Arlington Spillway. Before any construction efforts get underway this fall, we would love your help documenting existing biodiversity on the site. The project site is currently a field of low-growing grasses and forbs, both native and non-native, surrounded by low-lying fields with wetland vegetation and bordered by native trees. The site is owned by Arlington Water Utilities and only accessible with permission via a gated entrance.

We are hosting our first biosurvey on Saturday, Oct. 16th from 8am to 10pm. We would love to have anyone interested to join us in documenting the flora and fauna of the site. You can come anytime throughout the day and stay as long or as little as you like. Snacks will be provided under a covered area with chairs for relaxing and socializing.

If you are interested in volunteering, please sign up at this link: https://www.signupgenius.com/go/10c0f4eaaaa2ea4fcc61-lake. After registration, we will send an email with directions to the site, instructions for entering the gate and signing in, and a map of the area to explore. If you would like more information not included here, please contact Kimberlie Sasan on iNaturalist at @kimberlietx or by email at kimberlietx@gmail.com.

פורסם ב ספטמבר 25, 2021 09:58 אחה"צ על־ידי kimberlietx kimberlietx | 14 תגובות | הוספת תגובה

מאי 11, 2021

Triodanis Quick Tips

If you've been trying to figure out how to ID which species of Triodanis flower you have seen, this post is intended to give you a quick and simple way for the two most common species in Texas and the US: Triodanis perfoliata "Clasping Venus's Looking Glass" and Triodanis biflora "Venus' Looking-Glass". I'll create a more detailed key to all seven of the species soon, but until then feel free to tag me in your observations or send me a direct message if you need help.

Photograph the stem so you can see the leaves and the fruiting capsule. To identify to species you will want to to see where the pore ("window") is located.

Here's an example of T. perfoliata fruit with the pore in the middle. It also has leaves that wrap around the stem ("clasping").
(Click on the picture to go to the observation.)

Here's an example of T. biflora fruit with the pore at the apex. Also, the leaves are simply attached, not wrapping.

פורסם ב מאי 11, 2021 05:04 לפנה"צ על־ידי kimberlietx kimberlietx | 9 תגובות | הוספת תגובה

אוקטובר 05, 2020

Maps to Texas soil types

In my study of a couple of particular plant species it has been helpful to see soil maps and compare them with what is known about the plants' soil needs. I've been using USGS geologic maps overlayed on Google Earth. I thought some other folks might find this resource helpful.

  1. First, download the USGS Texas geologic KML file here:
    Click on the link for "txgeol.kml" Uncompressed version and save it to your computer (in a location you can find.)

  2. Next, navigate to Google Earth: https://earth.google.com/web/. If you have not used it before, it could take a while to download completely. (There should be a completion % at the bottom left of the screen.)

  3. Once Google Earth has completely loaded, find the symbol on the left side of the screen for "Projects". Click on "New Project" and select "Import from KML file on computer". Navigate to where you saved the txgeol.kml file earlier. Again, it may take some time to load the file. You will see it begin to add an overlay to the globe, but wait until it is at 100% before trying to search for a location.

  4. Once it's completely loaded, you can now search for an address or GPS coordinates. Right click on the location and a box will pop up telling you the name of the geologic group. Click on "Detailed description" to find out the soil composition and more details. Here's an example of the map view and the soil description:

פורסם ב אוקטובר 05, 2020 02:24 לפנה"צ על־ידי kimberlietx kimberlietx | 2 תגובות | הוספת תגובה

ספטמבר 16, 2020

WANTED! Bramble observations in Fall/Winter

Hey friends! As the weather starts to cool down I'm sure you will all be out and making more observations in the next couple of months. I have a favor to ask...

Fall isn't the usual time for Brambles to be observed, but that's what makes this the perfect time! I'm on the hunt for a particular blackberry/dewberry bush that is very green right now, when all the others are starting to turn brown. So, if you happen to notice a healthy looking blackberry bush, it's worth documenting!

Here are some key characteristics to look for:

  • Upright, not laying on the ground (typically over 3 feet tall)
  • Leaflets are wider and rounder than what we usually see. Leaves could have 3 or 5 leaflets.
  • The underside of the leaves are whitish, not green like on the top.

If you think you have found one that fits the description, take photos like you usually would, but include a photo of the whole plant and especially one of the back of the leaves. Bonus love for anyone that also wants to photograph the thorns on the lowest part of the main stems and the stem of any spent flowers still attached. (Examples below.) And please tag me!

Bonus love for these extras!

So you might be asking, "What's this all about?" (Or maybe not. If you're like me, you love a scavenger hunt no matter what it's for! Except car keys. SIGH.) Well, if you've been following my posts on Rubus species in Texas, you could probably win Bramble Trivia Night if you recall that we have 3 common species in Texas and 2 much less common species. I'm looking for observations of the "much less common" species. Since they are robust plants this time of year, it's much easier to spot them now than in the spring when all the others are in bloom, too.

Thanks for keeping your eyes open! And beware of the thorns...

פורסם ב ספטמבר 16, 2020 07:57 אחה"צ על־ידי kimberlietx kimberlietx | 26 תגובות | הוספת תגובה

יולי 18, 2020

Rambling thoughts: 100 Degrees of Nature

Depending on where you live, you may not have the pleasure of sweating through day after day of near 100-degree temps as we are in DFW. This morning I went out from 8:30am-10:30am and came home drenched, despite staying in the shade 80% of the time. I wish we had a pool, but since we don't, I keep on keepin' on with nature.

It seems like I've been busier than usual lately. I enjoy having "projects" to learn from, and I've get several going at the moment, which you have probably noticed if you are following my observations. I'm in the middle of photographing Hackberry Galls for a "reference" point of what we see in the field versus what Gagne described and photographed in 2013.

I've also been learning about and rearing leafminers to document life-cycles, which I always find interesting. These micromoths and flies are tricky though. I seem to be documenting more parasitoid wasps instead. Oh well! Still interesting!

I've really struggled with the Bluebird monitoring this year. Just as I got all the boxes prepped for the season and volunteers ready to help, COVID19 pulled the rug out from under us. Instead of being able to check the boxes every 3-4 days with the help of 4 resident volunteers, I'm doing good if I can make it by all 50 boxes once a week on my own. I've also had a record breaking year of fledglings, too! 195 so far and another 60 growing big and strong. If not for being able to see those sweet little faces from hatching to adolescence, I'd have given up a long time ago!

And today kicks off National Moth Week! Wooohooo!! I'm much more excited than I have energy for at the moment, though. I'll put out my mothing gear tomorrow and hopefully get to see some very-very-very-missed friends at a covid-minded gathering at the end of the week. A couple of moths ago I joined a project to collect some particular micromoths that will hopefully help the microlepidoptera research community on some gaps and unknown species. I've been slacking on that and I'm looking forward to seeing what's new at the light since I put it out last.

If you hung in there with me this long, tell me what iNat-ish stuff you've been up to lately! I miss seeing my IRL iNatters so much!! Stay cool...

פורסם ב יולי 18, 2020 01:27 לפנה"צ על־ידי kimberlietx kimberlietx | 4 תגובות | הוספת תגובה

מאי 29, 2020

Clustered midrib gall on Post Oak

I have been wondering (for four long years) about the ID of a particular gall which has come to be known as the Clustered Midrib Gall. After some amazing collaboration between @megachile, @mileszhang, and myself we have finally solved the mystery!

There is quite a history to this gall, so this post is to record the abbreviated details for future reference.

The gall was first described by itself (without the larva or adult fly) from a Post Oak in 1862 by Osten Sacken. (Osten Sacken, 1862)

In 1887 Ashmead described a new wingless fly and erroneously thought the gall is the one Osten Sacken had described. He published that as Acraspis vaccinii (which later becomes Zopheroteras vaccinii), using Osten Sacken's description of the gall. (Ashmead, 1887)

In 1913 Beutenmuller described a new winged fly without the gall as Andricus lustrans. (Beutenmuller, 1913)

In 1918 Beutenmuller described a new winged fly and gall, which he named Andricus impositus, and even commented that he first thought it was Z. vaccinii but the fly did not match even though the gall did. (Beutenmueller, 1918)

In 1927, Weld figured out that the winged A. impositus fly is the same as the winged A. lustrans fly and described Callirhytis lustrans, the winged fly and the correct gall. In addition, he commented on 1) Ashmead's error, 2) the A. lustrans and A. impositus flies being the same species, as well as 3) Kinsey's Andricus dimorphus var. verifactor fly. (Weld, 1927)

Today, the current accepted name is Callirhytis vaccinii (Ashmead). (Krombein, 1979)

Zopheroterus vaccinii is the accepted name for the unrelated wingless fly and the correct gall it came from.

Weld points out that he found the same looking gall on Quercus breviloba in Austin and Boerne, Tex. Kinsey also reports the galls on Q. breviloba in Leander and Austin, Tex.

Weld's 1927 description of the Callirhytis lustrans gall is the most recent and accurate, and is transcribed here:

Callirhytis lustrans (BEUTENMUELLER)

Andricus lustrans BEUTENMUELLER, Trans. Amer. Ent. Soc. vol. 39, 1913. p. 244.
Andricus impositus BEUTENMUELLER, Ent. News, vol. 29, 1918, p. 329.
Andricus dimorphus verifactor KINSEY, Indiana Univ. Studies 53, 1922, p. 15.
Acraspis vaccinii (gall only), ASHMEAD, Trans. Amer. Ent. Soc., vol. 14, 1887, p. 136.

Lustrans was described from two adults captured at Austin, Texas, gall and host unknown. One of these specimens was given in 1921 to the writer, who recognized its close relation to impositus. Lustrans is described as without a median groove, but this specimen in certain positions shows a faint median line, while the groove in some of the many available parataypes of impositus is fully as faintly defined. The writer is unable to separate paratypes of verifactor from lustrans. The gall of this species was first described by Osten Sacken in 1862, but Ashmead was evidently in error in thinking he had reared it in 1887, associating the wingless fly he reared with the wrong gall. These galls occur as midrib clusters on under side of leaves of Quercus stellata in the fall, dropping when mature. When fresh the individual galls are shaped like huckleberry flowers, somewhat cylindrical with the end distinctly truncate and depressed, but during the winter on the ground they become globular except for a short pedicel, and the depressed end becomes a flattened circular scar at apex with a slightly raised rim, and the greenish or reddish color changes to brown.

Beutenmueller sent the writer galls from New York City which contained pupae on November 1 and adults on November 25 (age of galls unknown). The writer collected galls at Poplar Bluff and Ironton, Mo.; Wharton, Trinity, Arlington, and Boerne, Tex.; Hugo, Okla. At Hugo they were just starting to develop on July 25. Galls collected in October, 1917, at Trinity, Tex., gave two adults May 18, 1919. In galls collected at Ironton in fall of 1917 pupae were found in October, 1918, and in March, 1919, flies emerging before May 12, 1919. S. A. Rohwer collected galls at Ironton in October, 1918, and reared adults April 9-16, 1919, and a few more were found dead in cage May 12, 1920 (Hopkins U. S. No. 10777j).

A precisely similar gall on the shin oak, Q. breviloba, was seen at Austin and Boerne, Tex., and may prove to be that of this species.

Illustration (Beutenmuller, 1909)


Ashmead, William H., "On the Cynipidous Galls of Florida, with Descriptions of New Species and Synopses of the Described Species of North America" (1887)
URL: https://www.jstor.org/stable/25076487

Beutenmuller, William, "The Species of Biorhiza, Philonix and Allied Genera, and Their Galls" (1909)
URL: https://books.google.com/books?id=80RKAAAAYAAJ&pg=PA255

Beutenmuller, William, "Descriptions of New Cynipidae" (1913)
URL: https://www.jstor.org/stable/25076912

Beutenmuller, William, "Notes on Cynipidae, with Descriptions of a New Species (Hym.)" (1918)
URL: https://www.biodiversitylibrary.org/page/2570776#page/411

Kinsey, Alfred C., "Studies of Some New and Described Cynipidae (Hymenoptera)" (1922)
URL: https://www.biodiversitylibrary.org/page/7610739#page/363

Krombein, Karl V., "Catalog of Hymenoptera in America North of Mexico" (1979)
URL: https://archive.org/details/catalogofhymenop01krom/page/1106

Osten Sacken, Baron R., "Additions and Corrections to the paper entitled: 'On the Cynipidae of the North American Oaks and their Galls'” (1862)
URL: https://www.biodiversitylibrary.org/item/22852#page/297

Weld, Lewis H., "Field Notes on Gall-inhabiting Cynipid Wasps with Descriptions of New Species" (1927)
URL: https://www.biodiversitylibrary.org/page/7610739#page/363

פורסם ב מאי 29, 2020 05:57 לפנה"צ על־ידי kimberlietx kimberlietx | 2 תגובות | הוספת תגובה

מאי 07, 2020

1,000+ species documented in my suburban yard

Woohoo! I finally reached 1,000 species (wild, no cultivars counted) in my .25 acre suburban yard. Well, a lot of that is house, but I count those inside creatures, too! It took me 3.5 years, which I don't think is much at all! Mothing... that's definitely the biggest boost.


פורסם ב מאי 07, 2020 02:48 לפנה"צ על־ידי kimberlietx kimberlietx | 5 תגובות | הוספת תגובה