Journal archives for November 2021

November 06, 2021

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 on November 06, 2021 01:24 by tchakamaura tchakamaura | 8 comments | Leave a comment

Shout outs

Thanks to @kevinfaccenda for plant ids in the study region, @mettcollsuss for ant ID's, @kyhlaustin for moths, @kmagnacca and @melodi_96 for insects. Thanks @brothernature, @adamt2, and @mufffin for general IDs.

Thanks to @roman_romanov, @bdstaylor, @jameskdouch @shanesmicroscope and @plingfactory for all the microscope IDs.

Posted on November 06, 2021 03:38 by tchakamaura tchakamaura | 0 comments | Leave a comment

November 07, 2021

Pitfall traps, crawfish, stream water samples.

I've put out two traps, flush as I can with the ground, and with a log cover and a leaf cover supported by stones, with ethanol-water mixture inside. They are in locations with plenty of leaf litter and under small bushes, where there are going to be animals living on the ground.

I will update once I collect something from them; since they are double-cups, I can always remove a sample and replace a cup without digging the trap back out. They are pretty inconspicuous, so I don't expect them to be disturbed, except for rain or perhaps mice. The cups might be too small?? The bugs are quite small anyhow.

Tomorrow I'm going to get a sample from the water on the side channel back when it runs parallel the stream (or not).

Currently I have a sample form the stream proper and from an irrigation channel later down, past a sort of collection filter that removed a lot of debris. Was a crawfish in that channel too.

Posted on November 07, 2021 09:18 by tchakamaura tchakamaura | 0 comments | Leave a comment

November 16, 2021

Blank river slides, piftall goings, microscope

Blank river slides
I took some water and debris - mud from the edge bottom and leaves - from both the stream (large) and the canal that feeds the cultural center's taro gardens. I didn't see anything in any of the water samples, even the ones that included muddy water on the slide. Nothing from scrapings off the leaves. I don't understand this, since the streams are supposed to be alive, but I guess it makes me trust the water more?

I technically did find a few organisms, but hardly any. Perhaps the pond, which was my comparison, is just over-full with life, so that mud from the banks contained a lot. Thus sampling methodology is more important in the stream. The stream is also running water, not stagnant. I confess, I couldn't get out into the stream proper to take a mid-stream bottom sample, only edges; but I got scrapes right off the canal bottom.

I just find the blankness quite interesting.

Pitfall traps
Pitfall traps collect two types of things so far - springtail and pillbugs. When I was putting the springtails under the microscope, they all seemed different - various levels of hunchback. But, someone here said something to make me feel like they're the same type.

The fact that millipedes and pillbugs alone fell in was surprising, because the soil and leaf litter around the trap was crawling with spiders and bugs as well as the springtails and millipedes.

When I took out the ethanol cups I left empty cups behind, creating a dry trap inadvertently, but the dry traps were not effective compared to the ethanol ones.

The system took a few days to get going. After 1 day I found nothing, and after 3 days I found plenty of, as I said, springtails, millipedes, and a few flies. And maybe one ant?

it took a few days to get going - 1 day was nothing, two more days led to springtail haven.

Dry traps don't work at all. (I left them out for four days).

It turns out, springtails have scales; this is news to me. When they were in the ground they seemed whitish. After being in the alcohol for near a week, they were drab grey and blackish. I don't know if the ethanol changed their colour or if this is a function of seeing them up close. They did lose some scales to the trapping method. :P

Currently, the 40x objective is not useful to me because everything becomes so blurry, not even due to the short depth of field, but just intrinsically hazy in an incurable-by-focusing way. I don't know what this is, but maybe I'm using the microscope wrong? I would like to clear this up because I could use the higher magnification for some of the smaller critters, especially a ciliate I just found with 'bubbles' inside of it and what appear to also be green inclusions.

The more I go the more things turn up to learn? Like, springtail anatomy and now ciliate anatomy, or was it the other way around?

Posted on November 16, 2021 06:35 by tchakamaura tchakamaura | 0 comments | Leave a comment