Journal archives for November 2017

November 03, 2017

I Recommend...

An honest to goodness Texas treasure!

Posted on November 03, 2017 01:41 PM by jwparker2 jwparker2 | 1 comment | Leave a comment

November 25, 2017

California Cochineal

In the sixteenth century, one of the world's most precious commodities was cochineal, a legendary red dye treasured by the ancient Mexicans and sold in the great Aztec marketplaces, where it attracted the attention of the Spanish conquistadors. ...
" A Perfect Red" by Amy Butler tells the AMAZING story of cochineal.

baldeagle suggested an ID

Compare Agree

Cactus Scattered Cochineal
Dactylopius opuntiae
I’m confident these are Dactylopius opuntiae, based on information in this study of the ranges of Dactylopius species and their host plants within Mexico. Specifically:
• Only two species are found at altitudes as low as the 400-1200 feet of the Austin area: Dactylopius opuntiae and Dactylopius tomentosus.
• Although I haven’t yet found documentation of the ranges of in the United States, only one of those species is documented as far north in Mexico as states that border the United States: Dactylopius opuntiae.
• Dactylopius opuntiae also is found in wetter climates—wetter, at least, than the near-desert conditions favored by Dactylopius tomentosus.
• Perhaps more to the point, only one of those species—again, Dactylopius opuntiae—causes damage to the host plant that is as severe as the damage we see in Central Texas.
• Finally, unlike most if not all other species in this genus, Dactylopius opuntiae is tiny. By that I mean that the others are much easier to see—bigger than an aphid but no bigger than the larva of a ladybug. But Dactylopius opuntiae is so small that it’s all but impossible to locate through its cocoon. Although we can’t determine that from these photos, that has been true of every cochineal bug I’ve ever examined in Texas. By contrast, when touring a cochineal farm in the Mexican state of Oaxaca, I had no trouble seeing Dactylopius coccus, even with the cocoon in place.
In other words, based on all these factors, I think it’s safe to say that any observation of cochineal insects in Texas—except, perhaps in the Trans-Pecos region—is Dactylopius opuntiae.
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Posted on November 25, 2017 12:15 AM by jwparker2 jwparker2 | 0 comments | Leave a comment

November 27, 2017

Into Slugs and Snails?

Posted on November 27, 2017 03:26 PM by jwparker2 jwparker2 | 0 comments | Leave a comment

November 29, 2017

Jerusalem Crickets: Who Knew?

See comments to understand how difficult it is to get to "species" with any accuracy. Thank you Alice!

And more:
Point Conception Jerusalem Cricket ( spatulate spines...)

Posted on November 29, 2017 03:34 PM by jwparker2 jwparker2 | 1 comment | Leave a comment

November 30, 2017

San Diego Wirelettuce

Quite the discussion for this little plant:

Posted on November 30, 2017 03:59 PM by jwparker2 jwparker2 | 0 comments | Leave a comment

My Confusion : Identification Down to Species...

Have been told that cochineal ( and Jeruselem Crickets and Old Man of the Woods) can NOT be identified to species with pics. So, why are species IDs available as a choice? I am soooo confused! Thanks!

iNaturalist doesn't take into account whether or not a species can be identified to species level based on photos. Sometimes people also have additional non-photographic information to support species determination.

Hope that helps.

Thank you Carrie!

Posted on November 30, 2017 11:02 PM by jwparker2 jwparker2 | 0 comments | Leave a comment

Field Guide for Scorpions of the Americas

There are a few sources that are available online.
On, do an author search for Haradon (Richard). There you will find a series of papers on the revision of Paruroctonus from 1983, '84, and '85. There are many other papers on scorpions, but that series is best for Paruroctonus and California.
On, search for Gertsch and Gertsch and Soleglad. Of particular note are the monograph on Uroctonus (now Pseudouroctonus, Graemeloweus, Kovarikia, Catalinia, and Uroctonites), the Pan-Puritan Expedition, and Paruroctonus ("Vejovis boreus group"). There are several others by searching "scorpiones". You might need to pick and choose.
On search "Williams Baja", and Stanley C. Williams or S. C. Williams. I don't think it's available but search for John Hjelle's paper on Coast Ranges.

For Hadrurus anzaborrego and Anuroctonus, search for those with Soleglad

  • thanks for info from Kari McWest my scorpions guru...
Posted on November 30, 2017 11:09 PM by jwparker2 jwparker2 | 0 comments | Leave a comment