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Photos / Sounds

What

Winged and Once-winged Insects Subclass Pterygota

Observer

arbonius

Date

September 16, 2019 11:28 AM PDT

Description

The 5 photos in this observation show larval pitfall traps from 3 sites within the "location circle" viewable by zooming-in on the accompanying map. For a sense of scale, my thumbnail appears in the 5th photo...it's 17 mm long. The pits varied between a few millimeters up to about 15 mm in diameter.

My best hypothesis is that the pitfall traps here were mostly made by "wormlions", i.e. diptera of the genus Vermileo. But some (perhaps many, or even all) may be pits of antlions (i.e. Neuroptera of the family Myrmeleontidae). Since I'm not sure, I placed these under the lowest rank taxon on iNat containing both of those taxa.

Note that sometimes, if you're lucky, you'll actually be able to see the linear outline of a Vermileo larva (covered in the surrounding dust) lying partially exposed across the bottom of the pit...as in Alice's observation here. An antlion, on the other hand, will often have it's narrower, minutely bristly, and apically somewhat curved jaws spread wide open (at almost 180°) and held perfectly still...waiting to snap at a hapless prey to fall in.

Or, if you happen to find an ant nearby, you can try to drop it in a pit and see if you can discern whether a worm-like larva attempts to stab and/or wrap around the ant's body or legs...vs. if instead a pair of antlion jaws starts snapping at the ant and then trying pull it backwards under the sand. In Alice's observation here you can see a portion of the wormlion's body wrapping around the leg at lower left of the full-size image (click that image to fully enlarge). But unfortunately I wasn't able to unequivocally tack down whether the occupants were worm- or ant-lions.

Note that two dead ladybird beetles can be seen on the ground in the first image. One of them was barely moving a leg when I first saw it. But I'm not sure if it had fallen into a pit and been injected with "venom" by the resident worm- or ant-lion...or whether it was already expiring on its own from "old age". It seemed rather large for the larval pit occupants to handle, and I saw other weak and dying lady-bird beetles elsewhere in the area far from pit traps.

Photos / Sounds

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What

Rim Lichens Genus Lecanora

Observer

arbonius

Date

May 8, 2018 06:30 PM PDT

Description

I've been fascinated for years by these gray to very pale pastel-green crustose lichens which often form patches and lateral bands on the trunks of Coast Live Oaks (Quercus agrifolia) in frequently foggy parts of the CA Coast Ranges. (If you click the photo twice, the full-size image shows fairly good detail.) Sometimes the greenish-gray bands alternate with subtly mauve bands, and there are scattered black lichen "spots" [I don't know if the black spots are some sort of fruiting bodies or what...but they look very "disconnected" from one another, as if they're either erupting from beneath the gray-green and purplish thalli or produced by (or parasitic on?) them].

I initially noticed this "lichen pattern" on Coast Live Oaks, and presumed it constituted a coherent & consistent cluster of lichen species associated specifically with the bark of Quercus agrifolia. But I now think that was likely a neophyte's naive misconception...lichen are much more taxonomically diverse than I realized, and the nuances distinguishing taxa are quite subtle. I've since seen a similar "lichen pattern" on the bark of Toyon (Heteromeles arbutifolia), and it may be present on other trees & shrubs. And there may be many other "lichen patterns" on Coast Live Oak that involve all sorts of combinations of species.

Photos / Sounds

What

Scorpionweeds Genus Phacelia

Observer

arbonius

Date

July 15, 2010 12:20 PM PDT

Photos / Sounds

Observer

arbonius

Date

May 9, 2019 11:54 AM PDT

Description

Agrostis lacuna-vernalis?

Photos / Sounds

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What

Grasses Family Poaceae

Observer

arbonius

Date

May 9, 2019 03:31 PM PDT

Description

Perhaps Deschampsia danthonioides?

Photos / Sounds

What

Star Gilia Gilia stellata

Observer

arbonius

Date

March 29, 2017 11:30 AM PDT

Description

Goes to genus Gilia rather than Saltugilia in the Jepson eFlora Polemoniaceae key from "inflorescence glands long-stalked, diam < stalk (hair)". [Note: Click the photos twice to view large images where infl. glands can be discerned.]

In the Jepson eFlora Gilia key the lack of an in-focus view of the leaf hairs here prompted me to go "both ways" at couplet 10, yielding candidates G. stellata (immediately) or G. scopularum (after a number of ensuing key breaks). The latter is described as having "corolla tube purple, throat < tube, yellow" and the former "corolla 6--10 mm, funnel-shaped, tube included or +/- exserted, throat yellow with purple spots, lobes pink or white". So G. stellata seemed better here.

I also checked the Gilia key in Munz...where from (among other characters): pollen blue; corolla funnelform; no arachnoid hairs; infl. open; plants scapose; and fruit capsules ovoid...one arrives at a terminal couplet between (surprise!) the same two species: stellata and scopularum. The relevant break there (since, again, leaf hairs are not visible in my photos) was: "corolla tube included in the calyx" for stellata vs. corolla tube well-exserted for scopularum. This break again pointed to G. stellata.

Cross-referencing with Tom Chester's Gilia of San Diego County web page reinforced the putative ID of G. stellata.

Photos / Sounds

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Observer

arbonius

Date

January 26, 2018 12:51 PM PST

Description

I think the orange filamentous algae is Trentepohlia, from an earlier suggestion of @catchang regarding similar looking items in an previous post.

Don't know whether the shiny black entity is a gelatinous lichen or a(n unlichenized) fungus.

Fungi

Photos / Sounds

What

Fungi Including Lichens Kingdom Fungi

Observer

arbonius

Date

February 13, 2018 02:24 PM PST

Description

Intriguing lichen garden on rock outcrop of a moist, shaded, north-facing road bank.

I think I see at least two species each here for all three of the main lichen forms: fruticose, foliose, and crustose forms.

Photos / Sounds

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What

Tube Lichens Genus Hypogymnia

Observer

arbonius

Date

February 13, 2018

Description

On dead twig that appeared to have fallen from a douglas fir. Looks like it's disintegrating (at least the apothecia do).

I attempted to key this from the photo using "Lichens of California" by Hale & Cole(1988). I ended up with genus Hypogymnia.

Photos / Sounds

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What

Pelt Lichens Genus Peltigera

Observer

arbonius

Date

February 13, 2018

Description

Found on bark of douglas fir.

I attempted to key this from the photo using "Lichens of California" by Hale & Cole(1988). I ended up with genus Peltigera.

Photos / Sounds

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What

Pixie Cup Lichens Genus Cladonia

Observer

arbonius

Date

February 25, 2018

Photos / Sounds

What

Ruffle Lichens Genus Parmotrema

Observer

arbonius

Date

February 14, 2018

Description

Growing on trunk of a Eucalyptus tree. In the 2nd image here, I think there's some Cladonia near the center...and a paler brown thallus, which I'm quite curious about (I'm wondering whether it's perhaps a senescent or dead & discolored piece of the same Parmotrema elsewhere in the image?).

Fungi

Photos / Sounds

What

Fungi Including Lichens Kingdom Fungi

Observer

arbonius

Date

February 14, 2018

Description

More crustose lichen...2nd image is enlarged detail of upper left edge from the 1st image.

Fungi

Photos / Sounds

What

Fungi Including Lichens Kingdom Fungi

Observer

arbonius

Date

February 14, 2018

Description

Mosaic of crustose lichen taxa on boulder (shoe gives scale). The 2nd and 3rd images here are details of areas about a foot above the shoe (and a bit to the right).

Fungi

Photos / Sounds

What

Fungi Including Lichens Kingdom Fungi

Observer

arbonius

Date

February 14, 2018

Description

Three lichen taxa. Gray-green foliose rosette on left, putative Xanthoparmelia, yellow at middle and orange at left unidentified crustose taxa.

Photos / Sounds

What

Rock Shield Lichens Genus Xanthoparmelia

Observer

arbonius

Date

February 14, 2018

Description

Found on rock embankment (rock type = graywacke?). I'm thinking this is likely Xanthoparmelia...perhaps X. cumberlandia ?

Image showing the road bank habitat image can be seen here.

Fungi

Photos / Sounds

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What

Fungi Including Lichens Kingdom Fungi

Observer

arbonius

Date

February 14, 2018

Description

Best guess at the rock substrate is graywacke. Mosaics of many different lichen species. The largest most conspicuous rosettes look like Xanthoparmelia, perhaps species X. cumberlandia ? See this iNat post.

Camera pack provides scale. Some of the Xanthoparmelia rosettes are quite large...I wonder how old they are?

Photos / Sounds

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Observer

arbonius

Date

January 26, 2018 12:27 PM PST

Description

Growing on tree bark (perhaps an oak, don't recall for sure).

Didn't catch an ID for this one from fellow California Lichen Society field trip members...it looks similar to the image of Xanthoria polycarpa at this link, but I suspect a mere likeness may not be sufficient grounds for a decent ID with this "new-to-me" and seemingly quite subtle class of things called lichens!

Photos / Sounds

What

Blistered Jelly Lichen Collema nigrescens

Observer

arbonius

Date

January 26, 2018 12:37 PM PST

Description

The black lichen at center with the "tubular gummy bear" gestalt is Collema nigrescens. Growing on tree bark (don't remember exactly, but believe it was a willow or an oak). Found & identified by Tom Carlberg of the Calfornia Lichen Society...thanks, Tom :-)

(Curious about the green leafy lichen on lower border, and orange filamentous stuff at upper right?)

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