Surprising things you have learned on iNaturalist / the forum

That there are so many nice people here with whom I can share my love of plants and insects! A lot of this happened in the iNaturalist Discord server this spring. The March of the Ants BioBlitz there really launched me from just bugs to botany and mycology, and into using iNat every single day.

I started the year with 1,000 obs. approaching 7,500 now!

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Completely new to me! It feels wrong to say but the affected creatures look… lovely? (Blue is my favorite color.)

This is likely a silly question but I think everyone here fully knows I am rather an idiot, no new cards shown, so here goes: is there any chance that same virus (or associated) is responsible for the occasional blue lobster?

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Almost everything I’ve learned about nature comes from iNat. One that comes to mind is that I had no idea we had centipedes in the eastern US before iNat. I thought the only centipedes we had in the states were the huge Scolopendra centipedes in the desert southwest. It was certainly a surprise finding some Lithobius centipedes in my yard!

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I think the most surprising thing for me personally at least is seeing observations of species or genera that are outside the range stated in publications.

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That Mallards would be the most observed species in the world.

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https://www.inaturalist.org/observations/65795011

And a research article from James Douch
https://www.sciencedirect.com/science/article/abs/pii/S0022201121000860?via%3Dihub

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Me too. When I moved to North Queensland I started logging the frogs I found around (and sometimes in) my house. I think I’m up to about 13 species just in my own backyard! This had a flow on effect to the type of garden I maintained. I planted more natives, then the butterflies and the birds came - never been so blessed with beauty! iNat was a significant factor in my joy of wildlife. Next thing I know I’m out at the local conservation area every other weekend with my camera - 85 bird species there… never ends! :)

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Crustaceans such as lobsters have blue blood. This is because their red (blue?) bllod cells use copper to capture oxygen, unlike vertebrates like us (and amphibians, birds and other mammals who use iron as an oxygen carrier). Because copper compounds are blue and our iron based ones are red, a blue lobster might be the equivalent of a human who is red in the face, from exercise or maybe embarassment.

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From my understanding of it, it’s a genetic variant causing some lobsters to be blue.

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Welcome to the forum @joswan12!

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Same, with slime molds for me too. Now in “preretirement” as a teacher (I’ve announced for May), people ask me about retirement activities and get a “slime mold research” type answer. ;)

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Yes, I read about the Isopod Iridescent Virus on iNat and vaguely remembered finding a bluish woodlouse a year or two earlier. After much searching I found the photos and added the observation. Since then I have found several more, all in my backyard.

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I have learned a few things about photography equipment. I made purchases partly based on what I learned here.

I also learned about what to carry when I am out. I think the forum topic is, “What’s in my Field Bag?”

I always check the New topic posts and scroll through the Unread ones.

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A lot of things. More than I can put in one post. My favourite was this though:

I’ve observed one species of weevil this year that I found particularly interesting: Curculio vicentinus.
Once someone identified my observation as such, I saw that it had very few observations on the map, so out of curiosity, I googled. Apparently C. vicentinus exclusively develops in the galls of Pediaspis aceris on sycamore maples that have previously been parasitised and modified by the inquiline wasp Dichatomus acerinus.

The level of specialisation just blew my mind.

Another thing I really enjoyed was finding out about the different forms of the Harlequin Ladybird (Harmonia axyridis). :D

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That the little red mites seen on the Nicophorus sp. (burying beetles) are not parasitic, but rather hitchhikers to the next dead body. Macabre, but still, oh so cool!

Thanks to all who share their knowledge and passions. Pam

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Ive learned an ~astonishing~ amount of fascinating stuff on these forums. :upside_down_face: Sort of unfortunately , what keeps coming to mind today is the darker side of mallards mentioned in this topic:

What have you ruined…

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All lobster shells contain some blue pigment - that’s why they appear brown. Blue lobsters are mutated to produce too much blue pigment. Lobster blood isn’t visible through the shell :)

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there are wild elk in pennsylvania.

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Welcome to the forum!

Yup, that’s what I have read online. Lobster blood does appear to be blue when oxygenized, though

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Thanks, long time lurker lol!

My grandfather is a lobster fisherman, so it’s of special interest :)

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