Journal archives for May 2023

May 02, 2023

Time to start assisting with ID's

We need to clear the Unknowns for starters:

https://www.inaturalist.org/observations/identify?quality_grade=any&iconic_taxa=unknown&order_by=random&project_id=city-nature-challenge-southern-africa-2023&place_id=13313

The link includes observations across KZN (eThekwini, South Coast, PMB/Midlands, iLembe, Zululand).

Please only identify those that you know to family or finer level.
Don't waste your time with "Plants" - you need to get it to grasses, or peas, or daisies.
Birds, Reptiles, Amphibians, Fish, Insects, Spiders, and such are perfectly fine. As is fungus or lichen.
Go as detailed as you can, but at this stage just push them as fast as you can to a low level: don't worry about checking the field guides at this stage, we will come to those in a day or two.

Don't forget to FAVE any exciting observation that you come across

Posted on May 02, 2023 10:57 AM by suvarna suvarna | 0 comments | Leave a comment

May 03, 2023

Help with CNC 2023 identifications

Now that the City Nature Challenge 2023 observation phase is over, we require our specialists' support in assisting with identifications.

Our current status is:
23.9% Research Grade
8.1% Casual
68% Needs ID - 63,919 observations need identification, of which * 21,023 don't have any ID at all.

Identification Curation Tool - a quick 2 minute refresher tutorial can be seen here: https://vimeo.com/246153496

We are encouraging our specialists to start assisting, check out the details on this journal entry - https://www.inaturalist.org/projects/city-nature-challenge-southern-africa-2023/journal/79380-identification-time

Posted on May 03, 2023 11:26 AM by suvarna suvarna | 0 comments | Leave a comment

May 18, 2023

Legume pictures advice from Charles Stirton

.... a sideview of a flower (detached if in a congested flower head) is like ^gold dust^ for naming species in the pea family. There are just so many yellow-flowered legumes that general pics are mostly only useful to get to genus level.

If it is easy for you to re-photograph this plant can you take and upload a picture of a detached flower side view on and also one with the wing petals removed so that one can see the keel (innermost pair covered by wing petals). The keel should be either ^shoe-shaped^ or more ^U-shaped^. If the anthers are of two types (5 long and 5 short) then we can confirm the genus at least. If it also has inflated pods (fruits) then it is certainly this genus. There is a possibility it might belong to the genus Argyrolobium which has forest species with very similar leaves and flowers but which have different fruits (long and flattened) and an almost 2-lipped calyx (best seen from side view of a flower) vs 5 distinct teeth in Crotalaria.

For legumes, one needs a detached flower (or if on the plant free from other flowers) and a side view of the flower has the most features. Unfortunately, unlike Australian peas, the front views are largely boring and uninformative. Also, a close-up of a detached leaf would be very helpful as the stipules, veining, hairiness, and stipules are all important identifying features.

Posted on May 18, 2023 05:05 PM by suvarna suvarna | 0 comments | Leave a comment

May 23, 2023

Arachnid photo advice

Use manual focus
More macro shots
Focus as close to the phone as possible
Take the phone closer and closer to the subject and at about 12 cm distance it loses focus. Then move it back until the subject is in focus again.

Posted on May 23, 2023 09:25 AM by suvarna suvarna | 0 comments | Leave a comment

May 24, 2023

Observations still waiting to be categorised and identified

CNC2023 has concluded and the results confirmed.
We still looking for support with identifications, every contribution helps, while acknowledging that some observations can't be further identified.

Priority is to clear the 5 500 observations in the Unknown category: https://www.inaturalist.org/observations/identify?iconic_taxa=unknown&project_id=154461

a whopping 36 0000 Plant observations: https://www.inaturalist.org/observations/identify?iconic_taxa=Plantae&project_id=154461

6300 Insect observations: https://www.inaturalist.org/observations/identify?iconic_taxa=Insecta&project_id=154461

3500 Fungi and Lichen observations: https://www.inaturalist.org/observations/identify?iconic_taxa=Fungi&project_id=154461

1500 Arachnid observations: https://www.inaturalist.org/observations/identify?iconic_taxa=Arachnida&project_id=154461

868 Mollusks observations:https://www.inaturalist.org/observations/identify?iconic_taxa=Actinopterygii&project_id=154461

418 Mammal observations: https://www.inaturalist.org/observations/identify?iconic_taxa=Mammalia&project_id=154461

403 Bird observations: https://www.inaturalist.org/observations/identify?iconic_taxa=Aves&project_id=154461

129 fish observations: https://www.inaturalist.org/observations/identify?iconic_taxa=Actinopterygii&project_id=154461

52 Reptile observations require ID: https://www.inaturalist.org/observations/identify?iconic_taxa=Reptilia&project_id=154461

41 Amphibian observations require ID: https://www.inaturalist.org/observations/identify?iconic_taxa=Amphibia&project_id=154461

Posted on May 24, 2023 06:03 PM by suvarna suvarna | 2 comments | Leave a comment

Genus Aspalathus

As per Charles Stirton: If the keel is hairy then A. chortophila, if hairless then A. gerrardii. Unfortunately photos are not good enough for an ID.

Posted on May 24, 2023 08:43 PM by suvarna suvarna | 0 comments | Leave a comment

May 25, 2023

CNC 2023: Best observations

The best observation for CNC2023 southern Africa comes from the City of Tshwane.
Congratulations to @tjeerddw for submitting the observation of the Southern Serval

Looking at each City's favourite observation, listed as per CNC 2023 Southern African leaderboard:

Cape Town a tie between South African Mantis contributed by @hhodgson and Sand Rain Frog contributed by @siziphiwexego

eThekwini Crab spider contributed by @suncana

Overstrand Puff Adder contributed by @thyme5way12

Garden Route Common slug-eater contributed by @skye87

Overberg Southern Baboon spider contributed by @erickmunro

Weskus Prostigs family spider contributed by @cecileroux

Nelson Mandela Bay Villa vitripennis insect contributed by @mariedelport

Joburg Potatoe Lady Beetle contributed by @allanweideman10

Thohoyandou Leucauge levanderi spider contributed by @thanzi

Tshwane Apart from the Southern Serval, the 2nd most favourite observation is the Golden Eye Lichen contributed by @lezanne_rossouw

Botswana central Yellow-veined Widow contributed by @botswanabugs

Bloemfontein Konrad's Broad-headed Jumping Spider contributed by @hrodulf

Buffalo City Crassula perfoliata contributed by @vats

Potchefstroom Singlespine River Crab contributed by @anje

KZN South Coast a tie between Wahlberg's Epauletted Fruit Bat contributed by @bushboy and Whitebar Acraea butterfly contributed by @timmcclurg

Makgeng Euphorbia pulvinata contributed by @simon_attwood

Zululand a tie between Pink-mouth Egg Cowry marine mollusk contributed by @aspearton and South African Giraffe contributed by @magdastlucia

Gaborone & SE Genus Bucculatrix moth contributed by @tuli-2

Pietermaritzburg Dry-leaf Commodore butterfly contributed by @callas_gunther_kahlert

Lubombo Dragon-headed Caterpillars contributed by @ardy3

Mbabane-Hhohho Blesbok contributed by @katebraunsd

Nelspruit Eulophia horsfallii contributed by @heinrichhuman

Waterberg Speckled Rock Skink contributed by @jaheymans

Nairobi Rat-tail Maggot Fly contributed by @batili419

Pondoland Mountain Malachite damselfly contributed by @phindile2

Botswana South a tie between Threeband Slugs and Eastern Dotted Border catepillar both contributed by @matewe

Maputo City Reed Frog contributed by @alvaro_albino

Northern BotswanaZululand a tie between Southern Red-billed Hornbill contributed by @anthony1764 and Eastern Scarlet butterfly contributed by @robert_taylor

iLembe Lesser Fig-tree Blue butterfly contributed by @nadiafunke

Kigali City Eletica Blister Beetle contributed by @loisposey

A hearty congrats to all the observers for the fantastic observations and huge thanks to all who have taken the time to vote for their favourite observation of the Challenge.

Surprisingly, most observations made were of plants yet very few were the City's favourite observations!

Posted on May 25, 2023 06:12 PM by suvarna suvarna | 2 comments | Leave a comment

Crotalaria dura subsp dura - Chales Stirton comments

David Styles did a useful summary distinguishing Crotalaria dura ssp dura and C. globifera. See https://www.ispotnature.org/communities/southern-africa/view/observation/486252/crotalaria-dura-subsp-dura

In essence he said quoting Marianne Le Roux:

Crotalaria dura subsp. dura has a prostrate, decumbent to decumbent-erect habit, whereas C. globifera has an erect habit.
Crotalaria dura subsp. dura has a keel petal that is rotund (U shaped) unlike the angled curvature and distally straight and elongate beak of C. globifera (looks like a medieval pointed shoe) (thanks to Marianne le Roux for this, included in an article previously published in PlantLife)
Note also the often brown calyces seen in Crotalaria dura subsp. dura.

Posted on May 25, 2023 08:50 PM by suvarna suvarna | 0 comments | Leave a comment

May 26, 2023

CNC 2023 contributing to Threatened, Protected and Invasive Species

While we understand that a proportion of observations are not of good photo quality to ascertain identification to species level, with time those keen on surveys can only improve their photography skills. We encourage our identifiers to share tips and tricks for their respective taxon groups as well as produce videos and crib notes that we share via our YouTube channel.

Our participation in CNC annually brings much fun being in nature, while feeding foundational biodiversity data to our national datasets, especially that of endemic, threatened, and protected species.
More importantly, CNC data is being analyzed by local government agencies responsible for managing and reporting on biodiversity at the municipal scale.

The South African Red List Plants and Animals Project produced 551 Threatened species
497 Plant species
34 Bird species
17 Mammal species
5 Reptile species
4 Amphibian species
4 Ray finned fish species

Note that these are records as per the South African Red List Plants and Animals Project which does not have all taxonomic groups listed.

The Arachnid expert has kindly shared the list of Protected Species recorded ID'd thus far:
Baboon spiders genera (Harpactira, Ceratogyrus, Pterinochilus, and some others)
Some scorpion genera (Opistophthalmus and Opisthacanthus)
See images here

The NEMBA Alien Species South Africa Project produced 245 Invasive species
223 Invasive Plant species
7 Invasive Bird species
5 Invasive Fish species
4 Invasive Insect species
2 Invasive Mammal species
2 Invasive Mollusk species

Posted on May 26, 2023 07:23 PM by suvarna suvarna | 0 comments | Leave a comment

Code for choosing specific genera

https://www.inaturalist.org/observations?d1=2023-04-28&d2=2023-05-01&place_id=113055&subview=map&taxon_ids=334630,208505,208505,340490,203836&verifiable=any&view=species

Code above is for the protected genera of Arachnids surveyed during CNC2023. See Journal entry.

the taxon_ids  numbers refer to the genera... Obtained using Explore feature: put name in species box and get number off the url. Place into  combined URL with a comma

Posted on May 26, 2023 07:45 PM by suvarna suvarna | 0 comments | Leave a comment