25 de octubre de 2023

How you can get better help with your mushroom ID's than we can give you with just a view of their tops

I'd like to help you get the right ID for your mushrooms, but with only a view of the top of the mushroom(s) we can only find a relatively small percentage of the possible distinguishing features we need to determine the species. We usually need at least a view from above the horizontal, looking down to show the top side, but preferably at a low enough angle to also show the stem, if it has one, then another view from below the mushroom, aiming at the junction of the stem and the gills, pores, or teeth, to show how they meet, and showing the whole stem.

If you are interested, here are some additional tips on giving more, and better, information on your next fungus observation, to get better help with their ID's,:

Your first view may be taken without removing it from where it is growing, and in many cases you may be able to show both the top(s) and the stalk (if it has one), ideally from close enough to recognize who it is, if it was your friend, and from far enough to see what any group of mushrooms it may be in looks like, and to see a bit of what it is growing in, and with. You then might carefully remove either your only mushroom, or one of your group, from what it is growing in, getting the whole stalk to the very bottom, as well as possible, without breaking the stalk, if you can, and minimizing damage to any soft parts that were under the surface. You can then lay it on the side, and aim your camera at the junction of the gills, pores, or teeth, making sure that junction is in focus, but include the whole stalk, and whole cap, in that view, which will show whether or not there is a ring, or scaliness on the stalk, and any distinctive features of the stalk bottom. We will then have much more to go on for a species ID. This mushroom laying on its side can be together in one photo with any others that it may have been growing with, or it can be in a separate photo (as it has to be if you only have one mushroom).

There may be other features to focus on with different views, or that can be described in written notes in the "Notes" section. You may have views from different distances, including those that best show what the mushroom is growing in, and with. For some mushrooms smells, or even taste, can be distinctive, that can be reported on (you can always taste, and spit it all out), some mushrooms also have color changes upon bruising different parts of the surface, that can be shown, and / or reported on. Some will exude fluids of different colors upon cutting different parts. Spore prints can be made with at least gilled mushrooms, and the colors of these can be shown, or reported on. Some people use chemicals on some mushrooms to test for a color change, that they may, or may not, get when putting a couple of drops of certain chemicals on them. There are also microscopic differences that could be shown. Additional things may be used to determine a mushroom species. It always helps to describe any feature in the "Notes" section that can't be clearly seen from one of your observation photos, among those may be the types of trees or plants that may be close to it.

I don't expect most people to do chemical tests or to offer microscopic views, but they are examples of all of the possible additional information one can give for an ID beyond a view of the top(s) of the cap(s), and I don't expect everyone to do taste tests. A view of mushroom caps is therefore only a small percentage of what an identifier might use to identify a mushroom species, so I would usually at least start with views that show top, the underside of the cap, the whole stalk (if it has one), and how the gills, or pores, or ?, meet the stalk, or meet the surface the mushroom grows from if there is no stalk. With only views of the tops you can't expect very good mushroom identifications.

If you find another observation that only has views from above the mushroom, feel free to link to this post!

Publicado el octubre 25, 2023 09:43 TARDE por stewartwechsler stewartwechsler | 6 comentarios | Deja un comentario

13 de septiembre de 2023

Why I strongly object to iNaturalist listing Urtica dioica gracilis as "Urtica gracilis", then designating native Urtica dioica as "Introduced" in North America

The labeling of our native Stinging Nettles – Urtica dioica as “introduced” has really made me upset, but earlier I very inappropriately vented my anger in this forum on a previous version of this post. Another mistake I've since learned from! My apologies! Here is a shorter, and sweeter version:

In early 2022 an iNaturalist curator replaced Urtica dioica gracilis with Urtica gracilis, following a newer taxonomy of POWO – London's Kew Gardens' Plants of the World Online, which followed the taxonomy changes proposed in a 2014 paper “Weeding the Nettles II”, which one of the Kew Gardens taxonomists co-wrote. iNaturalist regularly follows the taxonomy of POWO, even when it isn't widely agreed upon by world univeristies. iNaturalist then designated Urtica dioica as an introduced species in North America. POWO and iNaturalist now are using the full species name “Urtica gracilis” for what what most American universities still call “Urtica dioica gracilis". These universities use "Urtica dioica dioica" for the Eurasian taxon. In calling the North American native taxon “Urtica gracilis”, and in calling “Urtica dioica” with no subspecies designation “introduced” in North America, iNaturalist is what iNaturalist calls a “maverick”.

I strongly oppose this taxonomy change for multiple reasons. The first is that the new taxon name achieves nothing. We already had the taxon name “Urtica dioica gracilis” for that taxon, native to North America, and we already had the taxon name “Urtica dioica dioica” for the Eurasian taxon, that iNaturalist is now just calling “Urtica dioica”. The constant changing of taxon names comes at a great cost, in that it undermines the purpose of scientific names, to have one name for each taxon that everyone in the world can use. We now have different people using different scientific names for this taxon, either because they are following a different taxonomic authority, because they didn't agree with the new name, hadn't learned the new name, or didn't know the old name. It also adds to the cost of what has become constant work updating names of taxa, or adding synonyms to taxon names, and finding all of the records for one taxon under multiple names.

The second reason I strongly oppose this taxonomy change is that it has come together with the labeling of Urtica dioica as an introduced species in North America, while both older records of the native taxon continue to go under “Urtica dioica”, and newer observations of the native taxon continue to be identified as "Urtica dioica". These identifications of newer observations of the native taxon as "Urtica dioica" come from observers and identifiers, that either don't know the latest proposed taxonomy change, or following the taxonomy of most North American universities, don't agree with it.

While there are a small number of records of the European taxon, Urtica dioica dioica, in North America, the vast majority of records of Urtica dioica that indicate race, in at least my Pacific Northwest of North America, are for one of two native taxa, Urtica dioica gracilis, or U. dioica holosericea. Of 1337 records of Urtica dioica displayed by CPNWH – the Consortium of Pacific Northwest Herbaria they have only 31 North American records of the non-native Urtica dioica dioica.

I particularly object to the labeling of most Stinging Nettle records in North America because, as a long time advocate for protecting, and planting, native butterfly host (caterpillar food) plants, Stinging Nettle has been at the top of my list of plants that need to be protected, and planted, but labeling them “introduced” would have many people eradicating it, and not planting it. Of the approximate 20 species of butterflies that we may find in my city of Seattle, 5 use Stinging Nettle as a host plant, and for 3 of those 5 it is an obligate host plant, them being unable to lay their eggs on any other species. Two of these 5 species occur throughout North America, and throughout the Northern Hemisphere, and additional butterfly species in North America (and in Eurasia) use Stinging Nettle as either an obligate host plant, or facultative host plant, that is they are able to lay their eggs on other plant species also. The Red Admiral, the species found through most of the Northern Hemisphere, that only lays its eggs here on Stinging Nettle - Urtica dioica.

My initial reaction to iNaturalist labelling our native Stinging Nettles, that have long gone under the name “Urtica dioica”, and continue to go by that name, was to make all of my identifications of North American Stinging Nettles, as “Urtica gracilis”, both so these native plants wouldn't be treated as introduced species, and because I thought I was just following new, current taxonomy, but I later realized that was problematic. First, I couldn't change all 23,000 pre-existing Stinging Nettle observations in North America to “Urtica gracilis”, and that new observations of North American native Stinging Nettles would continue to go under “Urtica dioica”, and that my calling them “Urtica gracilis” effectively supported the taxonomy change that led to North American native Stinging Nettles being called “introduced”.

The people making the name change may not have fully weighed the disadvantages of the name change against any advantage of having taxonomy that they may have thought slightly more accurate.

Publicado el septiembre 13, 2023 12:54 MAÑANA por stewartwechsler stewartwechsler | 19 comentarios | Deja un comentario

30 de abril de 2023

My 27 year effort to help Seattle's butterflies is finally bearing documented fruit (or eggs)!

Twenty seven years ago I started looking for butterflies in Seattle, as I had always looked for them as a kid, on Long Island, New York over 55 years ago. I didn't find that many butterflies, and didn't find that many species here. I thought maybe urbanization, and the commercializing of the metropolitan landscape had wiped out many of their host (caterpillar food) plants, as well as wiping out many of the flower species they preferred to nectar on. I then looked into the current status of Seattle's native plant species. I found a checklist, assembled by Arthur Lee Jacobson of all of the wild plants that ever were recorded growing in metropolitan Seattle, and he listed 512 native species, and 146 of them were listed as "extirpated", that is they historically were recorded here, but appeared lost, as they hadn't been recorded here for decades. I then wanted to help with the recovery of all of the area's lost, and locally rare, native plant species, not only those that butterflies used, but helping the recovery of any lost, or locally rare plant species, which in turn would help all of the other species of co-adapted animals, fungi, and plants. Butterfly habitat plants still remained a priority. I knew that if I wanted to start any locally lost plant species growing here again, I would have to learn the habitats of all of these plants to both know where I might still find them, and where they would be most likely to survive, thrive, and spread, if I planted any here, so I started to study the habitats of all of our local, native species, with a special interest in the locally rare, and locally lost, species, and then a special interest in those that the butterflies used.

I started my efforts in Ravenna Park in 1996, where I successfully established a population of Petasites frigidus palmatus - Western Sweet Coltsfoot / Palmate Coltsfoot, where there was excellent coltsfoot habitat, but no coltsfoot when I arrived. I was pleased to see a couple of observations of butterflies nectaring on Coltsfoot in our larger area, and the 2nd observation, proving its additional value as a butterfly habitat species! I then moved to West Seattle in 2000, where I then started working to help uncommon to rare plant species, as well as working to help lost species return. In West Seattle's Lincoln Park I was successful in establishing a population of Cirsium brevistylum - Short-styled Thistle, a species that historically grew in Seattle, but evidently had been lost. I was interested in bringing back lost thistles especially because 2 of our local butterflies lay eggs on them, and more nectar on their flowers. While the thistles have now been growing in Lincoln Park since about 2005, I have never seen one of the butterflies that "host on" (lay their eggs on) them actually lay eggs on them, and never found butterfly caterpillars on them.

Then, about 5 years ago, I decided to start work on making a grassy area in the park into the best butterfly habitat I could. Starting from one edge of the grassy area, I started pulling all of the non-native species out. I then starting planting with relatively few plants of a few native species that I both hoped would spread well and cover the ground tightly enough to discourage the non-natives from coming back, as well as those species that might attract butterflies to lay their eggs on, and to nectar on the flowers. Starting with just a few plants 4 - 5 years ago, the formerly lost annual Collomia heterophylla - Varied-leaf Collomia did an especially good job of filling in all of the space the other natives didn't fill, to make the patch as weed resistant as I knew how. I also wanted to use it as a place for some of Seattle's, and Lincoln Park's, lost species to grow again.

That edge of this grassy area was also a forest edge where every year I might see a couple of one of Seattle's less common butterflies, Polygonia satyrus - the Satyr Comma - (though I prefer the alternate name "Satyr Anglewing"). The grassy area also had a small patch of Stinging Nettle - "Urtica gracilis" by iNaturalist's taxonomy or "U. dioica" by the taxonomy of the our west coast universities. This species is the most important host plant for Seattle's butterflies, with 5 of the maybe 21 butterflies that might still be found in Seattle laying their eggs on it, and 3 laying only on Stinging Nettle, including the Satyr Comma. Stinging Nettle is also used by humans, as a green vegetable that when cooked can't sting. It also has multiple medicinal uses. Sadly, 2 years ago, I found someone had dug up the nettles, maybe for their medicinal herb garden, that I had hoped the Satyr Commas, and the other area butterflies that host on it, would lay eggs on. So I dug a bit of nettle root stock out of one of the denser patches elsewhere in the park, and planted it in a sunny spot in the middle of the grassy area where I hoped those butterflies would find it (butterflies preferring sunny spots). The patch I started with a bit of root stock became robust over the 2 years since I planted it, while pulling weeds away from the patch, and giving it occasional squirts of water!

Then today I watched one of our Satyr Commas land on the nettles! It then went to the underside of a leaf, where it would lay an egg! I had hoped to make an iNaturalist observation of it, but it flew off before I could. I tried to see where it went, but before I could catch up with it, it flew back to the nettles, then back to the underside of another leaf, where it would lay another egg! This time I was able to get the observation too! I thought was lucky to get 2 eggs! It then repeated its pattern, fly away, come back, land on the patch, go to the underside of another leaf, and lay another egg and fly off again. I only imagine the pattern is to check if there are more nettles nearby to spread the eggs out, but if not, come back and lay another egg in the same place. It did this at least 7 times! (and that robust nettle patch now had more than enough leaves to raise more than 7 caterpillars on!) While I couldn't get a 2nd photo, I had at least 7 eggs on my now robust little nettle patch!

This was the first time in my efforts that started in 1996 to help our butterflies by helping the growth of their habitat plants, that I actually either saw a butterfly caterpillar on one of the plants where I got them growing, or saw a butterfly lay an egg on one! I now not only had a growing little butterfly habitat meadow, but one that was proven to be used in the most critical way by one of our butterflies, that is for egg laying. While I wouldn't call the Satyr Comma "rare" here, it is among the less common butterflies that we still see here, and I'd like to think there could be 7 more here next year thanks to my efforts!

Publicado el abril 30, 2023 05:42 MAÑANA por stewartwechsler stewartwechsler | 4 comentarios | Deja un comentario

02 de marzo de 2023

A Sad History of Ravenna Park Allowed My Successful Introduction of a Missing Native Species There!

If you see, or make, an observation of, Petasites frigidus var. palmatus - Western Sweet Coltsfoot (or "Palmate Coltsfoot" as I prefer to call it) in Ravenna Park in Seattle, that plant was most likely part of what may have been my greatest success in introducing or re-introducing, a locally native species that I estimated was missing from its habitat!

In 1996, when I was living in the Ravenna neighborhood, I had made it my goal to bring back as much of the lost biodiversity where I lived as possible, and decided the shaded wetland habitat along Ravenna Creek would be perfect for Palmate Coltsfoot, but I couldn't find any there. I then found a large and healthy population in a wooded wetland in a Seattle area greenbelt, and dug up several roots. I also gathered some seed. I then planted the root-stock in a several spots in the wetland along the creek in Ravenna Park, and I sprinkled the seed all along that wetland. I then moved to West Seattle, and didn't return to Ravenna Park.

Then, after I began to use iNaturalist in 2017, I started seeing observations of Petasites frigidus in Ravenna Park, and they kept coming! Though the park is not very large, there are now 54 iNaturalist observations of P. frigidus in Ravenna park! The P. Frigidus had evidently spread throughout the wetland along the creek there! I'd also like to think a couple of outliers, such as 2 observations nearby along the Burke Gilman Trail, might have originated from the Ravenna Park population's wind dispersed seed. I also later realized that, as one of the closest natural areas to the University of Washington, it would be a top destination for students in classes now using iNaturalist. It would also be a top destination for other Seattlites, living not too far away, to enjoy nature. Of course the coltsfoot with its dramatic, giant, leaves would attract the attention of anyone looking to make their next iNaturalist observation.

I then asked why the coltsfoot spread as easily as it did throughout the Ravenna wetland? When I started on my goal to help "Mother Nature" recover the lost natural wealth of species, and natural beauty, that she had in my local area before European contact, I thought it would be easier. I would just learn which plant species may have historically grown in my area, but were evidently lost, I would learn to identify them, and learn just the kinds of habitats they naturally grew in, and grew best in. The locally lost co-dependent animal and fungus species would also have a better chance of returning after I brought back the plant species that they depended on. If the plant species wasn't totally extinct, I would then find where it still lived, and, if the population I found was large enough to spare some seed, or plants, with no impact, I would collect some seed, and / or a bit of plant material. I would then find areas near where I lived that had the habitats closest to the preferred natural habitats of those locally lost species, and plant them there. Then, if that remaining habitat was close enough to what they grew well in, they would grow, and spread through that habitat. I knew it might require some additional effort to get plants, and populations established, such as maybe some initial watering, or some weeding around them, and that my efforts might not always succeed.

I later realized that if a species no longer grew where it once did, something probably caused it to disappear from that location, and odds were that the thing that caused it to be lost wouldn't have changed, and would still interfere with the reestablishment of that species in that location. Many species that once lived in a given location have been lost because newer conditions no longer supported their being able to hold their own, and continue indefinitely there. So the coltsfoot spreading through the shaded wetland along Ravenna Creek, with no help beyond planting several pieces of root stock, and sprinkling seed through the wetland, was more the exception, than the rule.

Most of the plant species lost from the Seattle area, that were here before European contact, disappeared either because of land management practices imported with the European commercial culture, or because introduced, incompatible, species that came in with the global commerce the Europeans brought here, made the habitat less suitable for the lost native species not compatible with the introduced species.

So if I found good, shaded wetland habitat for Palmate Coltsfoot along Ravenna Creek, why wasn't the Coltsfoot there already. I initially thought people of European heritage may have somehow wiped out a previous Ravenna ravine population. Maybe they over-harvested the coltsfoot for coltsfoot cough syrup (whether or not it was effective).

Then, about a week ago, I was looking into the history of parks officials selling off the commercially valuable, older trees in our parks, and pocketing the money. While I had long suspected there were other examples, my limited websearch revealed only one documented example, in the history of Ravenna Park

Ravenna Park was originally created in 1887 as a private preserve showcasing Seattle's last patch of old growth forest, with magnificent, enormous trees, up to 13' in diameter, and 274' high, no longer seen then in Seattle, and ceremonies by admirers named each of a number of the largest trees after some famous person. While this old growth forest would have had a wealth of biodiversity, I imagine the forest floor might have been darker than the coltsfoot usually grew in. Ravenna Park also had a trout and salmon stream, fed by Green Lake, running through it, and mineral springs, popular at the time to drink from for the reported healing properties of their waters. The original private owners charged 25 cents admission (~$9 in today's dollars), and it was a very popular destination, especially after the street car line was extended to the new town of Ravenna in 1892.

While the private owners of Ravenna Park had offered to sell the park to the city, rather than buying it, in 1910 the city condemned the park, the legality of the condemnation highly questionable, and took ownership of it. A court determined that the owners should get $144, 920 for it, only about $5,000 less than the asking price! So they could have just bought it!

In another act of misuse of city power, in 1911 the level of Green Lake was lowered by 7' by the city of Seattle, nominally to create additional park land, and Ravenna Creek was also diverted into a sewer line to put Ravenna Boulevard over its former path. This left the tiny fraction of the former Ravenna Creek, that we see today, flowing through Ravenna Park, no longer supporting the trout and salmon, but with a newly created wetland along most of the bed of the formerly much wider stream.

Not only was the much wider stream that supported salmon and trout turned into a far narrower creek, without those fish, but by 1913, with the park in the city's hands, and the superintendent of parks J. W. Thompson, in charge, the ancient trees of Ravenna Park started disappearing. This was also in a culture, and a time, where, and when, the enormous trees of the Seattle area had recently been cut for the money they could yield. The first to come down, was the largest, that had been named "The Roosevelt Tree", after President Theodore Roosevelt, (or alternately called "The Big Stick" after Teddy Roosevelt's famous saying "Walk softly, but carry a big stick") An investigation revealed that the superintendent pocketed the money for the sale of 63 cords of firewood. The superintendent falsely claimed it was rotten, and had to be removed as a threat to public safety. In spite of protests, the largest of the trees kept being cut, and removed.

So rather than those from the commercial, European culture having degraded the habitat for a lost species, they added light, and expanded the wetland surrounding the now much narrower creek. This may have created appropriate habitat for a native species that may not have occurred in that location before. And, as Ravenna Park had become an island of P. frigidus habitat in a growing urban sea, the nearest remaining P. frigidus population may have been too far away for its seeds to easily blow to Ravenna Park, so to grow there the coltsfoot needed to be introduced there to occupy the habitat that was created by, what I would argue were, misguided modern humans at around 1911.

Publicado el marzo 2, 2023 04:14 TARDE por stewartwechsler stewartwechsler | 7 comentarios | Deja un comentario

16 de octubre de 2021

Lovely flower faces, and flower heads alone, are better for attracting pollinators than determining a plant species

Too often, people talk about the different "wildflowers" as if they are different plant species, but they are really only a small part of any species of plant. I've come to the conclusion that while plants created flowers to attract pollinators, humans were also attracted. The degree to which we then focused on the flowers came for much less benefit than the pollinators got for that focus. In the process, the photos people took of any species of plant has tended to focus too much on the flowers, and their faces, more than is best to identify which species the plant is.

Know that distinguishing features for any given plant species may come with any of the following: a view at how the plant as a whole looks; or how any of the countless plant parts look; or with other features of the plant, such as smells, or the way they grow; as well as with photos of, or notes on, the habitat, and plant community, they are growing in. A flower face, or even whole flowering top of plant, alone, only shows a small percentage of the potential distinguishing features of that species. Also views that show both side and face of a flower show more features than just face views. For flowers that form any kind of tube, a side view is needed to show the shape of that tube, and there may be sepals, or leafy bracts, on the side, or back, of a flower, that have distinguishing features of the species. While the time you have to spend may be limited, views showing, and notes on, more features of a plant, improve your chances of getting a good ID.

Also know that the character of the leaves on a plant, that sends up a flower stalk from the ground, changes as you go up, from the larger, more complex, more distinctive, basal leaves, at the bottom of the flower stalk, to the smaller, less complex, leaves further up the stalk, closer to the flowering area, and going into the flowering area, which may have tiny, simple leaves, potentially with no more shape than a tiny finger, just called "bracts". So the most useful photos of leaves are generally the basal leaves, or those that are closest to the basal leaves, at the bottom of the plant, that aren't shriveled up yet. Occasionally cauline leaves (leaves on the flower stalk) have distinctive features, so also having a view of leaves from the middle of the stalk doesn't hurt.

With many groups of plants a view of just a flower face, often only allows me to say which genus it is in, or maybe only which family. Also know that the Aster Family has many species with similar yellow flowers, such as the many dandelion look-a-likes, so for many of these yellow flowered Aster Family members better distinguishing features tend to be found in the basal leaves, rather than the flowers. So if you only have time for one photo of these, one showing the basal leaves will be better than one of a flower, though having views that show both are even better. For some other Aster Family members good views of the side of the flower head, showing the usually green, often somewhat leafy, "involucral bracts", on the side of the whole flower head, may be the biggest key to determining the species.

So remember that if you are overly distracted by the reproductive organs of a plant, that is the flowers, and their faces, you may miss offering key distinguishing features that may allow others to determine, not just how pretty the flowers are, but what species the plant is!

Publicado el octubre 16, 2021 12:28 MAÑANA por stewartwechsler stewartwechsler | 2 comentarios | Deja un comentario

08 de octubre de 2021

It always helps to use your "Notes" section for some habitat notes

I see too many naturalists, including a number of the most experienced ones, failing to offer any of what I will argue is some of the most important information that can be used to identify the observed species, that is its HABITAT! They will too often only use their "Notes" section to tell us the location, duplicating the information in the satellite map. (I suspect this originates with a need to include location information in field notes, when there was no satellite map that you could zoom in to, or out from, to see the location.) Some location information that you don't think could readily be determined from the satellite map, might still be useful to include.

Every naturalist knows that you first need to know where a species is being observed to know if it is within the range of that species, that is to know whether or not the species it might be identified as, is known to occur where the organism has been seen. If it is being seen in North America, it is not likely to be a kangaroo, only known to occur in Australia. While Australia could be considered the "physical range" of that species, its habitat could be considered the "ecological range" of that species. Learning the ecological range of a species is at least as important as learning the physical range, and reporting the ecological conditions where a species is found, can be one of the biggest keys to knowing what your species might be.

It always helps me when the "Notes" section is used to include at least a short note about the habitat of the observed species. For fungi, and plants, this can include what it is growing in, or on. For plants, it helps to know the other plant species it is rooted in the same material with, and within a short distance from (a shorter distance for shorter rooted, nearby herbs, and a longer distance for longer rooted nearby trees). That material can be wetter, or drier, it can be rockier, sandier, or composed less, or more, of humus, or maybe clay. It could be in an acid bog, or in an additionally salty area, possibly with salt spray, or where some tidal salt water periodically covers the ground, mixed, or not mixed, with fresh water. The spot can also be sunnier, or shadier.

For Animals any information on the physical conditions where it is, and the community of species it is among, is also likely to help. For animals, plants, or fungi, with obligate relationships with other species, such as parasites, it is more important to know the other species it is with, in, or on. Similarly, all animal species have a limited range of what other species they can eat. For example, many caterpillar species can only eat one kind of plant, and all caterpillar species have at least some limited range of "host" plants that they can eat.

Naturally, with plants, and fungi, the more one knows about the natural growing conditions of each species in one's area, and the species communities each species is a member of, the more the information about surrounding species will be useful in determining what the subject species growing with them is. For fungi, if you know plant species it may be growing in, or with, that can be very helpful. If it is growing in wood, and you know the species of wood that can help, if you don't know the species of wood, but still know whether it is of a broad-leafed tree, or if it is coniferous, indicating which often helps. The same is true for plants growing on coniferous, or broad-leafed, "nurse logs". One moss specialist I know does a great job of always including, in his "Notes" section, a short note on what the moss is growing on. This may be partly because mosses are sometimes classified by what they will grow on, and those who study mosses are more likely to understand the importance of knowledge of what the moss grows on.

My older brother / nature mentor liked to say "Habitat!, Habitat!, Habitat!" to emphasize that the first thing you want to note for an ID of a species is what habitat it is in. Then you don't have to worry about knowing how to distinguish a "Short-billed Marsh Wren" (now called a "Sedge Wren") from a "Long-billed Marsh Wren" (now just called a "Marsh Wren") if it is in an actual marsh, where the only "marsh wren" you would ever find would be the one we had called the " 'Long-billed' Marsh Wren".

While iNaturalist asks that observation photos always include the observed species, some photos can be taken at angles, and distances, to give some idea of the larger habitat there, and the other species it is with, without making the observed species hard to see. Another advantage of including views from further away than the best distance to see one individual, is that the way multiple individuals grow together, or gather together, can be a key to recognizing a species.

The essence of identifying a species is the process of narrowing down the possible species, using one potential distinguishing feature after another, and habitat, much like range, is generally one of the best features that can be used as we start to narrow down the possible choices for the species we are seeing!

Publicado el octubre 8, 2021 06:40 TARDE por stewartwechsler stewartwechsler | 1 observación | 12 comentarios | Deja un comentario