Μάρτιος 21, 2024

WPT vs RES

Hats off to Matthew Bettelheim for organizing and pulling together this succinct flyer that lays out the basic ID characteristics of native Western Pond Turtles compared to Common Pond Slider. This is great for learning the basics of western pond turtle ID. It won’t help you ID all the odd non-native turtles released in California, but it will help ID the most common non-native turtle: pond sliders or red-eared slider. This is openly shared with the goal of education leading to correct identification of our native special status species versus potentially competitive non-natives, which then may help with conservation and management efforts. Matthew is graciously hosting this from his website as a jpg image poster and a PDF, along with his sage advice on iNat or WordPress.



This was a team effort resulting from many discussions of awkward turtles and revelations between Matthew, Rachel, and I, with helpful line drawings from Annie. Thanks everyone!

One of the most tricky look-a-likes to western pond turtles are melanistic sliders. For a deep dive on melanistic sliders, check out Lovich et al. 1990 chapter titled The Development and Significance of Melanism in the Slider Turtle.

Posted on Μάρτιος 21, 2024 1258 ΠΜ by cnddb_brian cnddb_brian | 0σχόλια | Αφήστε ένα σχόλιο

Ιανουάριος 02, 2024

California towhee subspecies

California towhees are largely sedentary, non-migratory. Several people appear to be IDing incorrectly to subspecies presumably based on common name, i.e. Northern California Towhee (bogus).

Oberholser, H. C. 1919 Description of a New Subspecies of Pipilo Fuscus. Condor 21(5):210-211. https://sora.unm.edu/node/96240

Grinnell & Swarth. 1926. Systematic review of the Pacific coast brown towhees. Univ. of Calif. Publications Zoology https://www.biodiversitylibrary.org/item/93394#page/543/mode/1up

Grinnell & Miller. 1944. A Distributional List of the Birds of California. Pacific Coast Avifauna 11. Museum of Vertebrate Zoology, University of California. https://sora.unm.edu/node/122

Paynter, R. A., Jr. 1970. Subfamily Emberizinae. Pages 3-214 in Check-list of birds of the world. [p175] https://www.biodiversitylibrary.org/item/50593#page/191/mode/1up Cited as primary reference for subspecies by Pyle 1997.

Pyle, P. [at ppyle] 1997. Identification Guide to North American Birds. Part I. Slate Creek Press, Bolinas, CA, USA. (note: a second edition was published in 2020 which I have not seen: https://www.inaturalist.org/observations/142990418)

Benedict et al. 2020. California Towhee (Melozone crissalis'), version 1.0. In Birds of the World (A. F. Poole, Editor). Cornell Lab of Ornithology, Ithaca, NY, USA. https://doi.Org/10.2173/bow.caltow.01

Posted on Ιανουάριος 02, 2024 0328 ΠΜ by cnddb_brian cnddb_brian | 0σχόλια | Αφήστε ένα σχόλιο

Gray fox subspecies

Just some basic info. I doubt it's really necessary to ID gray fox to subspecies, and I wouldn't recommend it unless you've really familiarized yourself with the background literature.

Hall 1981. The mammals of North America. 2nd ed. John Wiley and Sons, New York. [I have this in my office.] Review https://doi.org/10.2307/1380295

Grinnell, Dixon, & Linsdale. 1937. Fur-bearing mammals of California: their natural history, systematic status, and relations to man. UC Berkeley Museum of Vertebrate Zoology. [I have this in my office.] https://search.worldcat.org/formats-editions/1836075

Miller & Kellogg. 1955. USNM Bulletin 205 List of North American Recent Mammals. USNM Bulletin 205:689 https://www.biodiversitylibrary.org/page/7670612#page/705/mode/1up

Reding et al. 2021. Mitochondrial Genomes of the United States Distribution of Gray Fox...Front. Ecol. Evol. 9:666800 https://doi.org/10.3389/fevo.2021.666800

ASM Mammalian Species account, https://doi.org/10.2307/3503957

Posted on Ιανουάριος 02, 2024 1229 ΠΜ by cnddb_brian cnddb_brian | 0σχόλια | Αφήστε ένα σχόλιο

Δεκέμβριος 18, 2023

douglasii vs. beecheyi

The Douglas ground squirrel (O. douglasii) is now being recognized as it's own species separate from California ground squirrel (O. beecheyi).

PDF explainer, https://drive.google.com/file/d/1zaKja9z-rN6tgsJ8dkYy-DQm8YMkcyyo/view?usp=drive_link

The biogeographic split is essentially the San Francisco Bay/Delta, the Sacramento River north to Butte Creek, and generally the area of Butte Creek up toward Lake Almanor. Apparently both species may occur at the north end of Lake Alamanor.

So, north of the San Francisco Bay, west of the Sacramento River, and west of Butte Creek (inclusive of Chico) up through northern California, Oregon, and part of Washington is O. douglasii.

Douglas ground squirrel typically (but not always) have a very dark, triangular patch in the middle of the back:
https://www.inaturalist.org/observations/33233311
https://www.inaturalist.org/observations/192025357
https://www.inaturalist.org/observations/191798961
https://www.inaturalist.org/observations/193557796
https://www.inaturalist.org/observations/185386149
https://www.inaturalist.org/observations/185386151
https://www.inaturalist.org/observations/85297891

Posted on Δεκέμβριος 18, 2023 1051 ΜΜ by cnddb_brian cnddb_brian | 0σχόλια | Αφήστε ένα σχόλιο

Ιούνιος 30, 2023

Turtle Resources

There should really be only one freshwater turtle in California. However, many other turtles from the eastern US and elswhere end up in California, typically originating as pets, but end up in the wild. These resources may help ID some turtles that are otherwise rarely seen in California.

Peterson Field Guide
Conant and Collins. 1998. A field guide to reptiles and amphibians, eastern and central North America, 3rd edition (Peterson Field Guide Series). GoogleBooks (plates only, no species accounts): https://books.google.com/books?id=32Rm7c-v_McC&newbks=1&newbks_redir=0&lpg=PP1&dq=fieldguide%20to%20eastern%20reptiles%20and%20amphibians&pg=PA40#v=onepage&q&f=true



Turtles of the World
Hosted by Naturalis Biodiversity Center. I believe this is an internet version and update of Ernst & Barbour 1989 and Ernst et al. 2000.
https://turtles.linnaeus.naturalis.nl/linnaeus_ng/app/views/introduction/topic.php?id=3290&epi=11
This should teach you everything you need to know about turtles. The website is a bit odd to navigate; sometimes you need to click and expand the “Menu” to navigate to other sections. Navigation was the primary issue; you can’t just turn the page and get to the next section. It has detailed species accounts and subspecies. It has a key that is very helpful. By moving through the key, it tells you which species you’ve eliminated and which species remain, both with links to those species; as well as a decision path that you’ve taken up to that point. Beware of older taxonomy and nomenclature. When you are on a species account page, note that there is a sub menu for Description, Classification, Nomenclature, Literature, and Media (photos).

Examples:
Western pond turtle (Clemmys [~ Emys, Actinemys] marmorata) https://turtles.linnaeus.naturalis.nl/linnaeus_ng/app/views/species/taxon.php?id=8095
Common slider (Trachemys scripta) https://turtles.linnaeus.naturalis.nl/linnaeus_ng/app/views/species/taxon.php?id=8103&epi=11
Painted turtle (Chrysemys picta) https://turtles.linnaeus.naturalis.nl/linnaeus_ng/app/views/species/taxon.php?id=8102&epi=11



Catalogue of American Amphibians and Reptiles https://repositories.lib.utexas.edu/handle/2152/44116 (these can also be found on Internet Archive) (taxonomy may be old; the accounts may be dated).

Trachemys, https://repositories.lib.utexas.edu/handle/2152/45343
Trachemys scripta, https://repositories.lib.utexas.edu/handle/2152/45332
Clemmys marmorata (aka WPT), https://repositories.lib.utexas.edu/handle/2152/45027
Chrysemys, https://repositories.lib.utexas.edu/handle/2152/45335 (taxonomy may be old)
Pseudemys, https://repositories.lib.utexas.edu/handle/2152/45310 (taxonomy may be old)

Posted on Ιούνιος 30, 2023 0442 ΠΜ by cnddb_brian cnddb_brian | 2σχόλια | Αφήστε ένα σχόλιο

Ιανουάριος 28, 2023

Separating Sagebrush Sparrow and Bell's Sparrow

Looks difficult.
Peter Pyle 2013, https://www.sibleyguides.com/wp-content/uploads/On-separating-Sagebrush-and-Bells-Sparrows.pdf

Sagebrush Sparrow (A. nevadensis, formerly A. belli nevadensis) was elevated to species by AOU in 2013 from Bell's Sparrow (A. belli) and its subordinate subspecies, A. b. canescens (near A. nevadensis), A. b. belli, A. b. cinerea, and A. b. clementae.

It appears that A. nevadensis and A. b. canescens may be most difficult to separate in winter when the ranges of worn individuals overlap.

Posted on Ιανουάριος 28, 2023 0133 ΠΜ by cnddb_brian cnddb_brian | 0σχόλια | Αφήστε ένα σχόλιο

Μάρτιος 23, 2022

My collection of behavior .gifs

1) Displaying hooded mergansers (these got to make everyone smile)
https://www.inaturalist.org/observations/102106648

2) American dipper hide & seek foraging
https://www.inaturalist.org/observations/65676809

3) Newts eating a Jerusalem cricket
https://www.inaturalist.org/observations/109225726

Male northern harrier finishing off a meal
https://www.inaturalist.org/observations/67940827
Peregrine falcon eating a coot
https://www.inaturalist.org/observations/18313599
Octopus squirming over coral
https://www.inaturalist.org/observations/18313599
Moorish Idols swimming in Hawaii
https://www.inaturalist.org/observations/18532429
Fairy shrimp locomotion
https://www.inaturalist.org/observations/84931092
Singing tree frog
https://www.inaturalist.org/observations/103637227
Horsehair worms looking looking for a host
https://www.inaturalist.org/observations/108703541
https://www.inaturalist.org/observations/108703540
American dipper foraging
https://www.inaturalist.org/observations/19353597
Dragonfly ovipositing (?)
https://www.inaturalist.org/observations/29765462
Hairy woodpecker working a burned-up tree
https://www.inaturalist.org/observations/67983171

Posted on Μάρτιος 23, 2022 1259 ΠΜ by cnddb_brian cnddb_brian

Μάρτιος 18, 2022

Why no one really knows what name to use for tree frogs in California

Note: on 2/7/2024 iNaturalist updated the Pseudacris taxonomy synonymizing P. sierra and P. hypochondrica back into P. regilla. Therefore, there's primarily only one treefrog throughout the state, P. regilla, in addition to P. cadaverina in the south coast area.

* Pseudacris *

The most common frog in California is the tree frog (also known as a chorus frog); heard and seen across 80% of California - somewhat absent from the Mojave Desert. An article published in 2006 (Recuero et al. 2006) interested in studying the genetics of tree frogs on the Baja California Pennisula in Mexico ended up having a much greater geographic impact. The paper ends up splitting what was once considered a widely distributed single species (Pseudacris regilla) into the the following 3 species:
*Pseudacris regilla
*Pseudacris sierrae (a correction after they originally published it as P. pacifica)
*Pseudacris hypochondriaca
-and naming 2 subspecies:
*Pseudacris hypochondriaca hypochondriaca
*Pseudacris hypochondriaca curta

The issue in California is trying to separate the 3 newly proposed species. The authors provided no key to differentiate them and made no reference to geographic boundaries or contact zones to help understand their range (their few sampling locations were hundreds of miles apart). They state [and I add the correct names]: "[Pseudacris sierra (Jameson et al., 1966) stat. nov.] corresponds to the populations ranging from Central California to Montana. Populations from the northwest should be regarded as [Pseudacris regilla (Baird and Girard, 1852)]. Southern populations, from Nevada and southern California to the Cape region in Baja California, would take the name Pseudacris hypochondriaca (Hallowell, 1854) stat. nov., with two divergent subspecies, P. h. hypochondriaca from the Vizcaíno desert to the north and P. h. curta (Cope, 1867) distributed south of the Vizcaíno Desert to the southern tip of [Baja California Peninsula]."

Gary Nafis of CaliforniaHerps.com does a good job displaying a proposed ranges based on the very few sampled specimens by Recuero et al. (2006), but this is still one person's interpretation, and even notes that some folks don't believe P. regilla occurs in NW California (http://www.californiaherps.com/frogs/pages/p.sierra.html).

Other folks are skeptical of the split. Barrow et al. (2014) studied nuclear and mitochondrial DNA and concluded, "Our results, though limited in geographic scope, do not support the species designations suggested by Recuero et al. (2006) for mtDNA lineages of the P. regilla complex." Stebbins and McGinnis (2018), the most recent edition of the famous Peterson Field Guide series, states, "...some herpetologists believe that no obvious differences exist among the proposed new species groups, and that additional studies are needed. We concur with this view." Currently (March 2022), the Society for the Study of Amphibians and Reptiles (SSAR), the keepers of the names for North America (taxonomy & nomenclature), still have the 3 proposed species list in their database, hence it appearing on iNaturalist, but also note under the P. hypochondriaca record, "Barrow et al. (2014) suggested that the distinction of P. hypochondriaca and P. sierra, drawn on the basis of mtDNA, was not supported by nuDNA analysis. This suggests that this taxon will ultimately be included in the synonymy of Pseudacris regilla."

Therefore, this conundrum is still unresolved, frustrating field biologist across California.

Barrow, L. et al. 2014. Species tree estimation of North American chorus frogs (Hylidae: Pseudacris) with parallel tagged amplicon sequencing. Molecular Phylogenetics and Evolution 75:78-90.
https://citeseerx.ist.psu.edu/viewdoc/download?doi=10.1.1.655.1289&rep=rep1&type=pdf
https://pubmed.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/24583020/

Recuero, E. et al. 2006. Phylogeography of Pseudacris regilla (Anura: Hylidae) in western North America, with a proposal for a new taxonomic rearrangement. Molecular Phylogentics and Evolution 39:293-304.
http://www.cetpo.upol.cz/files/lib/26/739/recuero2006b.pdf
https://pubmed.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/16627190/

Recuero, E. et al. 2006. Corrigendum to "Phylogeography of Pseudacris regilla (Anura: Hylidae) in western North America, with a proposal for a new taxonomic rearrangement." Molecular Phylogentics and Evolution 41:511.
https://citeseerx.ist.psu.edu/viewdoc/download?doi=10.1.1.545.9298&rep=rep1&type=pdf
https://www.sciencedirect.com/science/article/pii/S1055790306003071

Stebbins, R. C. and S. McGinnis. 2018. Peterson Field Guide to Western Reptiles and Amphibians. https://peterson-field-guides.harpercollins.com/product?isbn=9781328715500

Society for the Study of Amphibians and Reptiles (SSAR). [Accessed 17 Mar 2022]. SSAR Species Names Database. https://ssarherps.org/publications/north-american-checklist/

Posted on Μάρτιος 18, 2022 0121 ΜΜ by cnddb_brian cnddb_brian

Φεβρουάριος 02, 2022

Primary Literature

A brief list of primary literature references relating to California wildlife species I frequently see on iNaturalist; primarily regarding distribution.

* Identification issues of Plestiodon, skinks *
Information on identifying Western Skink and Gilbert's Skink.
Shedd, J. (@jdshedd) and J. Richmond (@jqrichmond). 2013. Conserved ontogeny of color pattern leads to the misdiagnosis of scincid lizards of the Plestiodon skiltonianus species complex. Herpetological Review 44(3):417-420. https://www.researchgate.net/publication/269103271_Conserved_ontogeny_of_color_pattern_leads_to_the_misdiagnosis_of_scincid_lizards_of_the_Plestiodon_skiltonianus_species_complex

* New Anniella species, legless lizards *
In 2013 an article was published that split former Anniella pulchra in to 5 new species concepts:
Anniella pulchra
Anniella alexanderae
Anniella grinnelli
Anniella campi
Anniella stebbinsi
Papenfuss, T. and J. Parham (@jamesparham). 2013. Four new species of California legless lizards.
Brevoria 536:1-17. https://www.biodiversitylibrary.org/item/152056#page/1/mode/1up

* Taricha (Sierra newt/Calif newt contact zone) *
In 2007 Shawn Kuchta published his findings on the genetics of the Taricha (Pacific newts) contact zone near the Kaweah River drainage near Sequoia NP.

Kuchta, S. 2007. Contact zones and species limits: hybridization between lineages of the California newt, Taricha torosa, in the southern Sierra Nevada. Herpetologica 63(3):332-350.
JSTOR https://www.jstor.org/stable/4497967
BioOne https://doi.org/10.1655/0018-0831(2007)63[332:CZASLH]2.0.CO;2
ResearchGate https://www.researchgate.net/publication/228338785_Contact_zones_and_species_limits_Hybridization_between_lineages_of_the_California_Newt_Taricha_torosa_in_the_southern_Sierra_Nevada

* Dicamptodon *
Dicamptodon ensatus split from Dicamptodon tenebrosus by David Good in 1989 (vicinity of MEN/SON county line, Fish Rock/Anchor Bay). However, Nussbaum's (1976) excellent monograph on Dicamptodon is often indirectly referenced in field guides for distinguishing D. ensatus from D. tenebrosus though he did not suggest elevating D. ensatus to species level but previously separated D. copei.

Nussbaum, R. 1976. Geographic variation and systematics of salamanders of the genus Dicamptodon Strauch (Ambystomatidae). Miscellaneous Publications of the Museum of Zoology, University of Michigan 149:1-49.
Available https://deepblue.lib.umich.edu/handle/2027.42/56393
PDF https://deepblue.lib.umich.edu/bitstream/handle/2027.42/56393/MP149.pdf

Good, D. 1989. Hybridization and cryptic species in Dicamptodon (Caudata: Dicamptodontidae). Evolution 43(4):728-744.
Available https://onlinelibrary.wiley.com/doi/abs/10.1111/j.1558-5646.1989.tb05172.x
PDF https://onlinelibrary.wiley.com/doi/epdf/10.1111/j.1558-5646.1989.tb05172.x

* Pseudacris *
The most common frog in California is the tree frog (also known as a chorus frog); heard and seen across 80% of California - absent from the Mojave Desert. An article published in 2006 (Recuero et al. 2006) interested in studying the genetics of tree frogs on the Baja California Pennisula in Mexico ended up having a much greater geographic impact. The paper ends up splitting what was once considered a widely distributed single species (Pseudacris regilla) into the the following 3 species:
*Pseudacris regilla
*Pseudacris sierrae (a correction after they originally published it as P. pacifica)
*Pseudacris hypochondriaca
-and naming 2 subspecies:
*Pseudacris hypochondriaca hypochondriaca
*Pseudacris hypochondriaca curta

The issue in California is trying to separate the 3 newly proposed species. The authors provided no key to differentiate them and made no reference to geographic boundaries or contact zones to help understand their range (their few sampling locations were hundreds of miles apart). They state [and I add the correct names]: "[Pseudacris sierra (Jameson et al., 1966) stat. nov.] corresponds to the populations ranging from Central California to Montana. Populations from the northwest should be regarded as [Pseudacris regilla (Baird and Girard, 1852)]. Southern populations, from Nevada and southern California to the Cape region in Baja California, would take the name Pseudacris hypochondriaca (Hallowell, 1854) stat. nov., with two divergent subspecies, P. h. hypochondriaca from the Vizcaíno desert to the north and P. h. curta (Cope, 1867) distributed south of the Vizcaíno Desert to the southern tip of [Baja California Peninsula]."

Gary Nafis of CaliforniaHerps.com does a good job displaying a proposed ranges based on the very few sampled specimens by Recuero et al. (2006), but this is still one person's interpretation, and even notes that some folks don't believe P. regilla occurs in NW California (http://www.californiaherps.com/frogs/pages/p.sierra.html).

Other folks are skeptical of the split. Barrow et al. (2014) studied nuclear and mitochondrial DNA and concluded, "Our results, though limited in geographic scope, do not support the species designations suggested by Recuero et al. (2006) for mtDNA lineages of the P. regilla complex." Stebbins and McGinnis (2018), the most recent edition of the famous Peterson Field Guide series, states, "...some herpetologists believe that no obvious differences exist among the proposed new species groups, and that additional studies are needed. We concur with this view." Currently (March 2022), the Society for the Study of Amphibians and Reptiles (SSAR), the keepers of the names for North American (taxonomy & nomenclature), still have the 3 proposed species list in their database, hence it appearing on iNaturalist, but also note under the P. hypochondriaca record, "Barrow et al. (2014) suggested that the distinction of P. hypochondriaca and P. sierra, drawn on the basis of mtDNA, was not supported by nuDNA analysis. This suggests that this taxon will ultimately be included in the synonymy of Pseudacris regilla."

Therefore, this conundrum is still unresolved, frustrating field biologist across California.

Barrow, L. et al. 2014. Species tree estimation of North American chorus frogs (Hylidae: Pseudacris) with parallel tagged amplicon sequencing. Molecular Phylogenetics and Evolution 75:78-90.
https://citeseerx.ist.psu.edu/viewdoc/download?doi=10.1.1.655.1289&rep=rep1&type=pdf
https://pubmed.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/24583020/

Recuero, E. et al. 2006. Phylogeography of Pseudacris regilla (Anura: Hylidae) in western North America, with a proposal for a new taxonomic rearrangement. Molecular Phylogentics and Evolution 39:293-304.
http://www.cetpo.upol.cz/files/lib/26/739/recuero2006b.pdf
https://pubmed.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/16627190/

Recuero, E. et al. 2006. Corrigendum to "Phylogeography of Pseudacris regilla (Anura: Hylidae) in western North America, with a proposal for a new taxonomic rearrangement." Molecular Phylogentics and Evolution 41:511.
https://citeseerx.ist.psu.edu/viewdoc/download?doi=10.1.1.545.9298&rep=rep1&type=pdf
https://www.sciencedirect.com/science/article/pii/S1055790306003071

Stebbins, R. C. and S. McGinnis. 2018. Peterson Field Guide to Western Reptiles and Amphibians. https://peterson-field-guides.harpercollins.com/product?isbn=9781328715500

Society for the Study of Amphibians and Reptiles (SSAR). [Accessed 17 Mar 2022]. SSAR Species Names Database. https://ssarherps.org/publications/north-american-checklist/

Posted on Φεβρουάριος 02, 2022 0312 ΜΜ by cnddb_brian cnddb_brian

Αύγουστος 11, 2021

Brachycybe millipedes

This is really a note-to-self to help find this info at a later time:

Thanks to comments from Angie Macias (@herebespiders11, West Virginia University) and Xavier Zahnle (@zahnlexj, University of California, Davis). What species of Brachycybe are in the NorCal area and how to tell apart.

Brachycybe producta https://www.inaturalist.org/taxa/154895-Brachycybe-producta
https://www.inaturalist.org/observations/37805397
"The two species in the area are B. rosea and B. producta, this one is B. producta by color pattern and body width."
"No problem! iNat is pretty good for showing the diversity of the Andrognathidae (this millipede family) in CA. Some genera to flip through are Brachycybe, Gosodesmus, Ischnocybe, and Mitocybe. In California, the Brachycybe species are B. producta (throughout the state), B. rosea (northern CA, primarily in the Sierras), and B. picta (very rare, known only from Marin and Mendocino Counties)."
~AMacias
Other observation https://www.inaturalist.org/observations/18909630

Brachycybe rosea https://www.inaturalist.org/taxa/84435-Brachycybe-rosea
https://www.inaturalist.org/observations/67942093 (both species in photo)
"You found both Sierra Nevada species! The B. producta in this picture are tawny orange with the bolder dark stripe and have a notch behind the side-plates (paranota) of each segment. B. rosea are reddish- or pinkish-orange and have smooth paranota. I'm ID'ing this record as B. rosea because you have another record of B. producta nearby."
"Glad I can help! The populations of both species tend to mingle a lot in the foothills above Sacramento, but when you see the two right next to each other the differences become super obvious."
~XZahnle

Brachycybe picta https://www.inaturalist.org/taxa/154914-Brachycybe-picta
"...B. picta (very rare, known only from Marin and Mendocino Counties)"
~AMacias

Posted on Αύγουστος 11, 2021 0201 ΜΜ by cnddb_brian cnddb_brian