My first journal post ...

2022-08-21: Given my introversion, writing journal posts about myself and my iNatting "exploits" seem really awkward. But since I'm stuck in a hotel room in Orlando with a loudly snoring co-worker/roommate for the next five nights, here goes...

A week ago, one of my two birding/iNatting friends -- there's that introversion again! -- birded/iNatted Aripeka Sandhills Preserve in northwestern Pasco County. It's my single favorite spot in Florida (I have visited more than 200 times), and even though it is only 200 acres in size, it has a nice diversity of habitats. Birdwise, it's hit or miss during migration and is usually painfully slow from late June through mid-August. Since I have discovered iNaturalist, I have another reason to get out. I know birds like the back of my hand, but am pretty bad when it comes to all other taxa (although hairstreaks, robber flies, and tiger beetles are cool. Skippers, on the other hand, can go away.). Anyway, I have set a goal of documenting as many taxa at Aripeka Sandhills Preserve as possible -- and within reason; you won't see me sitting on the ground examining grasses with a lupe! I was photographing one of the butterfly peas since I now know that at least two species are found in the preserve: Butterfly Pea (Centrosema virginianum) and Pineland Butterfly Pea (C. arenicola).

When I got home and examined my digital images, I noticed that I had photographed a beetle on the Butterfly Pea flower (this has happened to me many times). I iNatted the beetle, letting iNat's artificial intelligence identify it for me. It came up with an ID of Four-spotted Collops (Collops quadrimaculatus), which I accepted. After getting no hits on the identification, I looked into the species and found that there is as yet no record in Inaturalist from Florida. The ID does look sound (my photo is blurry and the insect's head is only partly visible), so I'm waiting for somebody to RG my sighting. (According to Bug Guide, Four-spotted Collops is known from Florida, but rarely). I have tagged the top two identifiers of the species in hopes that either or both of them will chime in with an identification. So far, nothing. But stay tuned.

https://www.inaturalist.org/observations/131623687

By the way, even though iNat-recommended bird identifications from Florida of Pacific Duck x Mallard hybrids or of Eurasian Moorhens drive me batty, overall, I am very impressed with iNat's machine learning skills. Many times, iNat's recommended ID is the correct one.

UPDATE: two iNatters came through and RGed my bug. It is not a Four-spotted Collops as I thought, but the very-similar-in-appearance Tetraonyx quadrimaculata, which I guess has no English name. It is not the first record from iNat in Florida, but it is only the third Florida record. Plus, it is the southernmost record, plus it is just the eighth record worldwide in iNat! So, it is even rarer than the Four-spotted Collops. Thanks to @granticadubia and @nicholasrocha for their identifications.

Posted by billpranty billpranty, August 22, 2022 01:26

Comments

A beetle photo-bombing your Butterfly Pea flower! Sounds like typical beetle behavior . Good to hear that you have a confidence in the species identifications generated by iNat. As an entry-level naturalist, I have found it to be an excellent educational tool as I learn my taxa.

Posted by phil86315 3 months ago (Flag)

I'll keep an eye out here on the Myakka river. Agreeing with phil86315 that INaturalist is a useful learning tool.

Posted by suzanc 3 months ago (Flag)

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