Abundance of insects, defaulting back to insects over protozoans for species counts, specialization is for insects, habitats, microscope.

Getting more and more 'protozoan' (sensu lato) observations in. It's looking like it's not going to be these creatures that push me over the edge into 1500 when the time comes, as they are kind of homogenous across samples, and I hear place. Plus, they're difficult to identify, and I can't do it. I tried out a key on obs on iNat and I kept getting wrong answers. I suppose I must learn some 'protozoan' biology first.

In other news, wasps - they are so much less frequent in my obs here as op to Jamaica 'cause I hardly see them. In Jamaica, in my yard all the plants used to be buzzing and mostly with flying insects; here maybe it's because I'm on campus or something or it's the time of day, but the flying insects I see are extremely small and don't land. No huge paper wasps, some bees I guess, but not like mud daubers everywhere. Plus, even the stinkbugs and plume moths are subdued. I feel like there's less of everything mobile, macroscopic, and arthropod.

As for weeds, these there are a plenty. But I feel like I've been having mostly 'invasives', and what's more, invasives that are the same as back home, and bout half are native to that hemisphere but half not. I'm not getting much from native Hawaiian plants, as I see nothing 'exotic' about my observations. Climbing a hill out of Manoa valley would do the trick, but I chose this area already. That it is easily accessible might make up for its more urban, and possible suppressed?, diversity.

To go on, I'm probably going to have to specialize in certain groups. Learn how to tell different types of ants apart so that I may actually observe some more kinds. Tons of types of snail, of whitefly, of bark beetle or something, or all of the above. And, learn the habitats, probably.

As for 'habitat', I've actually sampled a variety of habitats, macroscopically - bushy weedy stuff and low shrubs and vines all over the square, all disturbed, fish pond and stadium pond, and catchment under an open water pipe. I've looked under a couple of bark pieces off trees. And, besides the water, the terrestrial sampling is look-and-observe. No traps. Might resort to traps - I'll bet 1400 of these 'species' are 'invisible', except inasmuch as one does a literal, sampled, survey, lacking influence from charisma.

But I looked at the top observers from Hawaii. All but one (a diver) don't even have 1000 'species' identified, so I'm starting to think this is an unrealistic goal. Lol! Most definitely - at 160, I'd need 'bout ten times this, and I have prolly less than 1/10 the observations of the second person (who has ~800 species). They range more widely than I; so that's how widely you'd have to range to get the species here - mountain birds and such, included.

On the other hand, my parcel being so small, I'm actually including things which have not been included before, and since I have the microscope, I'm observing microorganisms in the water which isn't common - here or anywhere on iNat I'd bet.

So it would stand to reason that by taking good microscope photos, and by paying attention to the presentation of the slides, I could add something to iNat, especially about Hawaii.

That would also be a useful thing to do when I go home.

Posted by tchakamaura tchakamaura, November 06, 2021 01:24


Have you hiked up Wa'ahila? There's definitely native plants up there you can get and if you stay below the state park it's pretty close to campus.

Posted by kevinfaccenda 7 months ago (Flag)

I have. But, it's outside the 'area'. Rules are I have to pick a square, ideally 1 km, and find 1 k species. I extended it to 1.5 km to include the whole region I have to traverse on account of living there, anyway. Wa'ahila is just outside of that, because it's past Manoa stream. I could of course stretch the boundary to include the ridge and delete some region elsewhere, but that's a little outside the spirit of the challenge. Anyways, it's harder to do 1.5 k in 1.5 km than 1 k in 1 km, so I might do it. Plus, I think there are lavender waxbills up there and none down campus anyways and I want to capture them.

I have walked up Wa'ahila, and what's more, walked up that ridge until a divide on the mountain top where you can see the other side of the island.

Posted by tchakamaura 7 months ago (Flag)

Oh wow you took it all the way to Mount Olympus, nice. I must have missed any plants you posted from that hike. That's a fun hike. I also didn't know lavender waxbills were here, I thought they were all common waxbills so I gotta look harder now.

Have you tried setting up a blacklight yet? If you have a place you can set one up you can get lots of insects to boost your count. If you want 1000 species there's no way to get that without the majority being insects/arthropods since they are absolutely the most diverse group of multicellular organisms in lower Mānoa. The problem then becomes that you need a decent camera/macro lens if you want to ID them to species.

Posted by kevinfaccenda 7 months ago (Flag)

For macro I was thinking of the TG tough 6 for bugs. I am going to buy that soon, and use it in this project. For birds I'm using my very old superzoom camera. I would like to upgrade it, but I don't see a camera that will fit the bill, because I want a DSLR/mirrorless this time, but I would still need the zoom, so a good zoom lens. And I'm a student, not a wealthy 'photographer'. So maybe I'll wait for Nikon to make more mirrorless lenses for its crop sensor bodies?

I don't know they were lavender waxbills, technically - I had binoculars and I looked at the face of one of them and I saw black, not red, so I looked it up and that bird matches. But I see also they are meant to be in Hawaii only? Anyways, maybe I misremembered its head, but I'm quite sure it's not a red band on it.

I have not set up a blacklight. I live IN a sort of blacklight, so perhaps the night creatures are aclimated! Moths sometimes fly inside. To do it outside I'd want a spot to not bother anybody on campus and a bright light, maybe to compete with the building, or, piggyback off the building's light.

I have changed the shape of the parcel also, to include parts of Wa'ahila - don't think I'm going to make it otherwise. And, I really want the species on that ridge!
I set out pitfall traps by Manoa stream, and I hope those work for arthropods. I put water and ethanol in them.

Posted by tchakamaura 7 months ago (Flag)

I've tried one of those cameras before. The macro was incredible. Way more than I can get out of my DSLR and extension tubes.

Another fun thing to do would be homemade Berlese funnel and get inverts from duff/soil samples. It would be hard to ID them to species, but the diversity at higher levels would be pretty good.

Can you count morphospecies toward your 1500? So counting something which is unique even if you haven't ID'd it to species?

I'm really curious about the pitfall traps. Tag me when you start uploading the results.

Posted by kevinfaccenda 7 months ago (Flag)

Also if you ever want to botanize on campus sometime DM me. I can probably help find you some plant species which would be new to your project.

Posted by kevinfaccenda 7 months ago (Flag)

I will have two separate counts, one for species and one for unique taxa. I want a Tullgren funnel so bad; I tried it in a forest in New York where there was a lot of leaf litter and it worked like a charm. I shall buy a cheap and small one rather than make one. I don't have mesh wire to cut; otherwise I was thinking to take two bowls to superimpose and cut the bottom out of one to replace with mesh, and put it under a lightbulb, but then there is this: https://www.bioquip.com/search/DispProduct.asp?pid=2845. As I'm trying to be mostly not destructive and don't have the time to sort tons of stuff at once, I'm not taking large samples anyway. I'll let you know about the campus thing. Where do you think of?

Posted by tchakamaura 7 months ago (Flag)

I've spent a bunch of time up on wa'ahila so I know the plants there well. and just weedy areas, there are lots of weeds on campus which I have been doing out of my way to identify so I'm pretty comfortable with them in any location they occur

Posted by kevinfaccenda 7 months ago (Flag)

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