House of a thousand species

This is such a cool story and study that is near and dear to the hearts of a lot of iNat’rs. How many species are in your house?

My fav part:

When we showed photos of the house and described our survey methods to 157 professional ecologists - they, on average, guessed we’d find 200 species over the year.

Surprisingly, we found 1,150 species in our house and yard.

So why was the actual number of species present so high and why was the average professional Australian ecologist so wrong? The simple answer to both of those questions is insects!

Number of species across different groups of organisms from Rogers, Holden & Yong (2023).

I’m a bit curious why they didn’t observe more fungal species? 13 seems rather modest.

The house of a thousand species: The untapped potential of comprehensive biodiversity censuses of urban properties (paywalled article)


They likely forgot to open the fridge.


Reminds me of a nearby friend who has observed 800 or so species of moths in his yard over the last 10 or 15 years, in a rather ordinary part of New England.


They’re notoriously hard to ID, right?


This lovely post reminds me to create my own project for my current house and balcony. I wonder what spaces to include in it. The appartment building too? I find many things in the stairway and on the walls, panels and doors of the building itself. Any suggestions?


I’d include the whole apartment building — inside and out — and any adjacent yard.


Only 103 plants ?

PS I take it back - 103 plants - Wild by iNat’s definition!


My yard list in New Mexico is a dozen shy of 1800 total species for ~900 square meters of land and dwelling plus ~50 square meters of second floor space.

P.S. I’m not the only one

Comparing my list to the bar chart above in major categories:
Leps 406 sp (30 lower than study)
Diptera 184
Coleoptera 198
Hymenoptera 285
Hemiptera 209
Plantae 238
Arachnida 62 (1 lower than study)
Aves 67
Fungi 22


I’m not sure if this is the case here, but many folks yards simply lack the neccessary conditions for many obvious macrofungi to thrive. Either they’re missing the species that mychorrizal species would partner with, or they’re lacking the decaying matter neccessary for saprophytic species.

Or even, they just didn’t happen to catch the fungi fruiting.

Often in fungal ID groups, the same species are posted constantly in certain months, simply because they’re the most common urban species.


Including the yard inflates the number. I wonder how many species it would be if only the interior of the house was included?


If someone has access to the paper (I don’t): I’m curious about whether they count the tenant in ‘Mammalia’. And the tenant’s nasty diseases in e.g. ‘Fungi’, too.


I can get the paper through our university library’s subscription and they mention the full species list being available in supplemental data. However, I can’t find that list so I’m not sure what all is counted or not. The paper says they did not consider microbial species. They counted species “present in or on the property bounds, or identifiable from the property” and for plants it reads like a somewhat broader view of iNat’s definition of “wild” aka self-propagated or “reasonably established” as in having survived in the ground for at least a year and having naturally entered a flowering or fruiting cycle without human assistance.


There’s a project for that: never home alone


If you’re comfortable sharing what you see around where you live, you should! And if and when you do, you should consider adding your project to this umbrella grouping of people doing the same at their homes and properties:

I have 150 or so species documented but some people are in the thousands. It’s fun and global!


In our yard we have lichens growing on fences, tree trunks, ornamental rocks, and even a couple species on the sidewalk in front. Most haven’t been ID’d at all on iNat yet, but I feel like it’s possible just the expertise is too thinly spread.


Welll yeah, lichen are fungi as well but getting anywhere close to species with them is even harder than most agaricomycetes


I had wondered that, too.

Article title: in your house
Article contents: on our property


I remember adding some stuff to the Never Home Alone project after reading a blog post about it. I should check through my newer observations for additional things to add. Currently it has over 6,000 species that people have found in their homes worldwide, over 2,000 of them in North Carolina where this project originated.


They apparently did not bother to check for plant pathogens - they should’ve found dozens of (true and false) mildew and rust fungus species on both wild and ornamental plants. Plus all the other microfungi growing on living plant matter


I created the project and I messaged an admin of the umbrella project to add the project.

If anyone has any suggestions for the project’s parameters, please let me know. The current ones are the ones I came up with and @jnstuart’s suggestion. (I decided to not add any observations from tiny (cultivated) patches of nature created by the municipality. These patches are separated from the building by a curb on all four sides of the building.)