The Okanagana Citizen Science Project's Journal

August 06, 2020

Contributors Continued

It's been a great season so far with many people contributing specimens to the project

The two stand-out finds of the season are from @easmeds who is part of our research team and went out and found Okanagana arctostaphylae after a sighting was posted on iNaturalist

On the other side of the continent @jamiehunter found O. noveboracensis (another incredibly rare Okanagana) in Ontario where it is restricted to a small area around the Niagara region.

Other contributions and contributors since my last update!

O. canadensis @fmgee
O. canescens (tentative) @alice_abela
O. catalina (a major find) @emshaph
O. occidentalis @fmgee
O. tristis @alice_abela
O. vanduzeei (?) @birdernaturalist
And more great unknowns: @mnishiguchi @birdernaturalist

Posted on August 06, 2020 00:43 by willc-t willc-t | 0 comments | Leave a comment

August 01, 2020

The curious case of Okanagana arctostaphylae

It started with a post.
Innocent enough; a red cicada on white netting. Except it really wasn't. This was Okanagana arctostaphylae and it was the first time it had been seen since it was described by Van Duzee in 1915, 105 years ago. The question then became, were there more? @easmeds set out to find them and find them he did!

That they had remained undiscovered for so long is in part a testament to their superior camouflage and in part to people not looking for them. Part of that was due to it having been so long since they were seen, but it highlights the importance of always keeping an open mind and an open eye.

Thanks to the specimens taken we now have a DNA sample to figure out what the evolutionary relationship of O. arctostaphylae is. Is it really related to O. opacipennis like Davis thought when he described the latter as a subspecies in 1926? Or is it something else entirely?

Posted on August 01, 2020 23:27 by willc-t willc-t | 2 comments | Leave a comment

July 15, 2020

Type Localities - Why They are Important

Every species described was first described from a specimen collected at a specific location - the Type Locality. This specimen is known as the Holotype. Over the years some Holotypes are lost and with them their collecting data, including the type location, or it was never recorded. But by and large this information is known. Just as the Holotype is the individual that represents the entire species, the Type Locality is the place where a scientist knows a specimen collected is in fact the species as originally described.

When doing a revision of a group, particularly a DNA-based phylogentic revision, having specimens from the Type Locality is incredibly important. It allows us to be sure that what we collected is in fact what we think it is and not a very similar individual. We have managed to collect a good number of specimens from type localities, which are referred to a Type Specimens. Others have come from the people at iNaturalist. By receiving specimens from people across the country we get material from areas we would never get to (or never get to at the right time).

Okanagana arboraria from Davis
O. catalina from Catalina Island (collected with a permit)
O. formosa (from Cedar Springs, Utah)
O. ornata (from Shasta, CA)
O. utahensis (from Cedar Springs, Utah)

All of these are from the type locality or very close. We have a number of others that are within 100km or less of the Type locality which is pretty darn good. It's virtually impossible to get type material for every species even when we target them, but what we have gotten is incredibly important for our research.

Posted on July 15, 2020 10:52 by willc-t willc-t | 0 comments | Leave a comment

July 05, 2020

Past Contributors

O. arboraria (type) - @linak, @catchang (recording)
O. bella - @drjakuna
O. formosa (type) - @drjakuna
O. fratercula - @drjakuna, @joeeggy30
O. gibbera - @drjakuna
O. hesperia - @jenny109, @rlsanders
O. lurida - @rachtile
O. magnifica - @ameeds
O. noveboracensis (type)- @upupa-epops (recordings)
O. ornata (type) - @richardwasson
O. rimosa @brandonwoo
O. rubrovenosa @catchang (recording)
O. synodica - @rlsanders
O. tristis @mnishiguchi, @birdernaturalist
O. uncinata - @silversea_starsong
O. utahensis (type) - @drjakuna
O. vanduzeei - @drjakuna
O. viridis - @rlsanders
The great unknowns (for now): @kmosbruger, @silversea_starsong, @mnishiguchi

Posted on July 05, 2020 22:24 by willc-t willc-t | 0 comments | Leave a comment