02 de mayo de 2024

iNat Year 2024 - goals and monthly recaps (-April)

So I have decided on this year's iNaturalist goals.

  1. First and foremost continue my streak which started on 30th Dec 2020. Since I don't work so much and I also don't have any international flights scheduled, it's just a matter of perseverance. If I don't find time during the day, I can always do my nightly moth-walk of about 1,5 h.
  2. Make a photo book at the end of the year. I started this in 2014 and it's growing into a nice collection. For that I should find at least 100 new-for-me animal species. Or at least 100 which haven't been featured in another book. Since the book of 2022 is about 2 months house-sitting in France (150 species) and 2023 about 3 weeks travelling the length of Germany (150 species, on which I am still working), there are quite a lot that don't yet appear in any book.
  3. I would really like to find 100 species of animals on thistles, from snails munching on the leaves, to butterflies and bees on the flowers, beetles laying eggs into the stems, finches eating the seeds, spiders building their web between the leaves etc. If I will be able to identify the species of thistle, that's enough botany for me.
  4. Secretly I am also counting the number of animal species seen in this year, since I didn't manage to find 1000 animals last year and only just made it over 1000 in total.
    I just changed the order so that the new month is in the beginning.

April highlights
Those insects which could be titled "50 shades of grey" were all new for me in April. 7 of them I found during my nightly moth-walk, where I now have a fixed route with the best lit facades.
Aethiessa floralis (Scarabaeidae) was found in Fuente de Piedra on the 6th. During a moth-round on the 14th I spotted this tiny Shiny Spider Beetle Mezium affine (Ptinindae). The night of the 17th brought me this Plumed Fan-Foot Pechipogo plumigeralis (Erebidae). A lacewing that could be identified as Pseudomallada genei was found on the night of the 20th. On the 22nd I found a new member of the large genus of Idaea, the Portland Ribbon Wave Idaea degeneraria (Geometridae) and this Long-legged China-Mark Dolicharthria punctalis (Crambidae) (which I just realised is not new). On the next day I went to the local pine forest and saw the planthoppers Tettigometra impressifrons (Tettigometridae) on thistles! The night of the 26th brought me a "punkish" Antirhinum Brocade Calophasia platyptera (Noctuidae). On the 28th I went on a day-trip to Córdoba and included a bit of colour with this hoverfly Ceriana vespiformis (Syrphidae). The highlight of the month has to be the moth on the right, because it was not only new for me, but also an iNatFirst! Meanwhile there are two more observations by me and two by someone else, so it can't be that rare. Cleonymia pectinicornis (Noctuidae).

But I also have to show some nice birds.
The Whiskered Tern Chlidonias hybrida (Laridae) was seen in Fuente de Piedra. The next two photos show drakes trying to impress their females: White-headed Ducks Oxyura leucocephala from the Guadalhorce-mouth in Málaga and a pair of Marbled Ducks Marmaronetta angustirostris in Fuente de Piedra. The next two photos are herons - the Squacco Heron Ardeola ralloides is from Fuengirola and the Black-crowned Night Heron Nycticorax nycticorax from Córdoba. The woodchat shrike Lanius senator was seen in Málaga.

Spring started really slowly and we haven't reached "Spanish" temperatures yet. But I managed to reduce last month's backlog and am now at 388 RG animal species.

March highlights
Steatoda paykulliana (Theridiidae) is nothing new, but one of the nicest coloured and patterned individuals I have ever seen. I found it in Jimena de la Frontera in the kitchen sink and caught it in a cup. What a great start to the day! On the same day I found this Chelotrupes sp. (Geotrupidae), which has inspired me to start a project about "Beetles with horns". On the 15th I made a day trip to the coast, collected some shells and came across this dead hermit crab Dardanus arrosor (Diogenidae). The following day brought me two lifers in my patio Crocistethus waltlianus (Cydnidae) and Cordicomus instabilis (Anthicidae). On the next day I could observe this couple of the very common Colias croceus (Pieridae). You usually never see them with open wings, so for me the mating rejection was a really lucky occurrence! The last three pictures are lifers from a day trip to Loja (province Granada) on the 23rd. Phragmatobia fuliginosa (Erebidae), Melanopsis praemorsa (Melanopsidae) and Trigonidium cicindeloides (Trigonidiidae). The hoopoe Upupa epops (Upupidae) I observed for quite a while in Jimena de la Frontera, while it found some snacks on the floor. Then for just a moment, it raised its hood! Never seen before, I thought it had something to do with social behaviour but there was no one else. Maybe it was excited about the food or afraid about the vultures circling overhead - anyway a memorable experience!
The last week of March was characterised by more or less constant rain - very unusual for Andalusia and very unwelcome because it was Semana Santa and all processions had to be cancelled. I just managed to keep up my streak and achieved only 276 RG animal species until the 31st.

February highlights
Cassida deflorata (Chrysomelidae) as larva, pupa and adult - on thistle; Abrostola triplasia (Noctuidae) new for me in my hometown; on the 18th I went for a day trip to the Bay of Cádiz and saw Afruca tangeri West African Fiddler Crabs - they only occur on the Atlantic coast from West Africa to the Algarve; as well as Numenius arquata (Scolopacidae) and Phoenicopterus roseus (Phoenicopteridae), not new, but I don't often get a photo in flight. From 29.2. to 3.3. I stayed with a friend in Jimena de la Frontera (Cádiz province). On the first night I did a moth-walk and found this new Horisme scorteata (Geometridae). The Red-legged Partridge Alectoris rufa is also from the Bay of Cádiz.
The number of RG animal species until the end of February is 196.

January highlights

Perigune narbonea (Geometridae); gall of wasp Andricus quercustozae (Cynipidae); Cisticola juncidis (Cisticolidae) is not new, but I think a really cute photo; of Dicranopalpus caudatus (Phalangiidae)I have to show two photos, because I find the forked pedipalps really fascinating; Conostethus venustus (Miridae) on thistle :-); Deroceras reticulatum (Agriolimacidae); Menemerus taeniatus (Salticidae); Chesias rufata (Geometridae). All of those species I found walking around Antequera. The wigeon Mareca penelope (Anatidae) I spotted on a day trip to the Guadalhorce-mouth in Málaga. This day and another trip to Fuente de Piedra provided all of the usual avian suspects (except cranes) and this new duck.
The number of RG animals species for January is 103.

Publicado el 02 de mayo de 2024 a las 07:52 PM por susanne-kasimir susanne-kasimir | 16 comentarios | Deja un comentario

19 de marzo de 2024

Raising of a butterfly (Pieris rapae)

23.2.24 In the vegetable drawer of the fridge I found a caterpillar. It must have come out of the cauliflower. I put it in a box with holes ( when I raised young swifts I had to buy a lot of crickets, which came in clear plastic boxes with holes. I kept them just in case...) and gave it a bit of cauliflower leaf.

25.2.24 It has attached itself to the lid of the box.

27.2.24 Now it has pupated.

I kept the box first in the storeroom, a room next to the kitchen which is open to the patio, so always cold. When we got a really cold spell at the beginning of March, I brought it into the kitchen. It is not heated anyway and cooler than outside when the sun is shining, but not as cold at night. I checked on my inhabitant daily, but didn't see any changes.

17.3.24 The pupa had changed colour and looked darker, I feared it had died.

19.3.24 What a surprise! The butterfly has hatched! It kept sitting on the pupa and didn't move.
I opened the box and took some photos.
I put the lid with the butterfly into the patio, where eventually the sun would shine in. Then I had breakfast. When I checked again, it was gone.
So, I didn't observe any of the stages, neither the making of the pupa nor the hatching or the flying off and anyway it is one of the most common species, sometimes even considered a pest, but I am still happy!

Publicado el 19 de marzo de 2024 a las 07:59 PM por susanne-kasimir susanne-kasimir | 3 comentarios | Deja un comentario

06 de marzo de 2024

New project: Beetles with horns

Since I especially like beetles with horns and since I realised they are distributed at least across two families, I've decided to set up a traditional project to get an idea of the number of species and variability of the horns.
Please contribute

Publicado el 06 de marzo de 2024 a las 05:51 PM por susanne-kasimir susanne-kasimir | 0 comentarios | Deja un comentario

12 de enero de 2024

Difference between Henosepilachna argus and H. angusticollis (Coccinellidae)

There is a lot of confusion about the status of those two beetles. Since I have now seen them both, I think I am able to separate them.
Henosepilachna angusticollis is the species I see here regularly - more or less daily and all year round.
Henosepilachna angusticollisEcballium elaterium
It lives (exclusively?) on squirting cucumber (Ecballium elaterium)
It has a pointed end and to me it seems it is paler and has slightly smaller spots than H. argus.

Henosepilachna argus lives on Bryonia sp, here on Bryonia cretica.
Henosepilachna argusBryonia cretica
It is more rounded, a bit redder and has slightly larger spots.


Publicado el 12 de enero de 2024 a las 08:13 PM por susanne-kasimir susanne-kasimir | 1 comentario | Deja un comentario

23 de noviembre de 2023

1000-species-challenge 2023 - finished!

On my moth walk last night I found a lifer, which I identified as Chrysodeixis chalcites and which was confirmed shortly after by @einheit21 . This was # 1000!
First of all a big thank you to all 588 identifiers, without which of course this challenge wouldn't have been possible!

Here are the statistics (in brackets the numbers of the 1st September)
Mammals: 10 (9)
Birds: 170 (165)
Reptiles: 10 (10)
Amphibians: 3 (3)
Actinopterygii: 33 (32)
Elasmobranchii: 1 (1)
Tunicata: 1 (1)

-> Chordata: 228

Hymenoptera: 33 (29)
Diptera: 16 (12)
Hemiptera: 62 (58)
Lepidoptera: 224 (150)
Coleoptera: 104 (96
Orthoptera: 9 (7)
Odonata: 24 (20)
Blattodea: 3 (2)
Mantodea: 5 (4)
Neuroptera: 3 (3)
Embioptera: 1 (0)
Archaeognatha: 1 (1)

-> Insects: 485

Mollusca: 51 (32)
Polychaeta: 2 (2)
Arachnida: 34 (28)
Crustacea: 16 (14)
Myriapoda: 2 (1)
Cnidaria: 7 (7)
Echinodermata: 3 (3)
Porifera: 1 (1)

-> Animals total: 829

Fungi: 5 (5)
Plantae: 162 (146)
Bacteria: 1 (1)
Chromista: 2 (2)
Protozoa: 1 (1)

I won’t be able to take on a new challenge like 1000 animals or 1000 species of Spain, but I’ll continue the year and see where I stand on New Year’s Eve.
Recently especially my nightly moths walks have been really successful and I wonder how many more new moths I can find.

Publicado el 23 de noviembre de 2023 a las 12:26 PM por susanne-kasimir susanne-kasimir | 1 observación | 6 comentarios | Deja un comentario

02 de noviembre de 2023

1000-species-challenge 2023 - October update

The squirrel was busy and so I can proudly present 954 species now. Now it does seem possible to reach my goal. There are still some species with "needs ID" of which I am sure, which haven't been confirmed yet.
Since I mainly made nightly walks in October, most of the new species are moths. And there are still lifer moths!
I fear I will be running out of new moths soon though, so will have to find another diverse group.
Some October highlights:

Publicado el 02 de noviembre de 2023 a las 12:17 AM por susanne-kasimir susanne-kasimir | 7 observaciones | 0 comentarios | Deja un comentario

04 de octubre de 2023

1000-species-challenge 2023 - update

So today, 4th October, I am at 890 species; there are 89 days left in the year and 110 species to find. I can only comment this with a German saying which is translated into something like this:" Tediously the squirrel gathers its food." (Mühsam ernährt sich das Eichhörnchen).
I have realised that the best option to find something new are moths, so I am doing nightly walks around town and look at lit facades. Here is last night's favourite: Cymbalophora pudica.
The squirrel survives and I hope I will also reach my goal.

Publicado el 04 de octubre de 2023 a las 09:08 AM por susanne-kasimir susanne-kasimir | 1 observación | 4 comentarios | Deja un comentario

01 de septiembre de 2023

1000-species-challenge 2023

I was challenged by @ogeukord to participate in his challenge of finding 1000 species which are identified to species with RG-label. At first I said, oh no, I don't want to - especially since I would also have to care about plants - but, yes, of course I am looking at my numbers. So high time to make it official. ;-)
Especially since he has already reached his goal and is now aspiring for 1000 beasts.

I have so far reached 850 species, which means I still have to find more than one per day for the rest of the year.
In May I was in Germany for three weeks, which has boosted my list, but since I came back it has been extremely dry and hot. That means that some of the early summer (insect) species had already disappeared, but also I didn't find as much as usual since I didn't make 10 h/ 15 km hikes. What is nicely reflected in my list is the weekly trip to the beach with snorkelling.
Here is an overview:
Mammals: 9
Birds: 165
Reptiles: 10
Amphibians: 3
Actinopterygii: 32
Elasmobranchii: 1
Tunicata: 1

-> Chordata: 221

Mollusca: 32
Polychaeta: 2
Arachnida: 28
Crustacea: 14
Myriapoda: 1
Hymenoptera: 29
Diptera: 12
Hemiptera: 58
Lepidoptera: 150
Coleoptera: 96
Orthoptera: 7
Odonata: 20
other insects (Blattodea, Mantodea, Neuroptera, Archaeognatha): 9

-> insects: 381

Cnidaria: 7
Echinodermata: 3
Porifera: 1

-> animals total: 695

Fungi: 5
Plantae: 146
others (Bacteria, Chromista, Protozoa): 4
Here is the link to the RG species:

And if you want to help me reach my goal, here are the observations that still need ID:

Publicado el 01 de septiembre de 2023 a las 10:34 AM por susanne-kasimir susanne-kasimir | 2 comentarios | Deja un comentario

08 de marzo de 2023

(Un)identified Caterpillars on Brassicaceae: Evergestis isatidalis

I have recently seen a lot of caterpillars of the same species that I can't identify and will collect all the observations here.

2023/02/25: I found a nest of caterpillars in a web spun around the flower heads of some Brassicaceae:

2023/02/25: This is the foodplant, where the caterpillars were found.

2023/02/25: another plant, which I believe is the same species, flowering

2023/03/01: Photos during the day of caterpillars inside their nest

2023/03/07: I saw bigger caterpillars on the same plants at night, one was hanging from a silk thread (as a means of hiding from me)

I think I can safely assume that it is Evergestis isatidalis, since I've seen these photos:
The plant has meanwhile been identified as Sinapis alba

Publicado el 08 de marzo de 2023 a las 10:52 AM por susanne-kasimir susanne-kasimir | 0 comentarios | Deja un comentario

06 de octubre de 2022

How to identify the four large Mantodea-species of Spain

Family Mantidae
Mantis religiosa

Family Mantidae
Sphodromantis viridis

Family Eremiaphilidae
Iris oratoria

Can be mainly identified by the absence of characteristic features (no spots in armpits, no line through eye, no white spot on wing)

Family Empusidae
Empusa pennata

It is so different that it can’t be mistaken for anything else. (There is the very similar Empusa fasciata in the Eastern Mediterranean, but in Spain it is unique.)
Female - with threadlike antennae
Male - with pennate antennae

The same as PDF with photos: https://www.icloud.com/iclouddrive/0b4hxyyA8TK64zF7STmfZck8w#Mantodea-pdf

Publicado el 06 de octubre de 2022 a las 09:11 PM por susanne-kasimir susanne-kasimir | 0 comentarios | Deja un comentario