What is your Favorite Lifer from this week?

One of my favorite things about inatting is finding something new! So here I ask what is your favorite species you’ve seen that was new to you this week? Personally mine has to be either the Phantom Orchids I found, or the aphids I found on them! I want this to be a fun thread of everyone’s exciting finds hopefully with people posting their new faves each week!

The Orchid
https://www.inaturalist.org/observations/84338577
The Aphids
https://www.inaturalist.org/observations/84324634
https://www.inaturalist.org/observations/84325056

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I am about 95% sure of this one. So far I’ve had positive responses from the experts that I’ve sent this to.
Anthophora bomboides
https://www.inaturalist.org/observations/83212515
I’ve been going back to that patch of flowers about daily taking more pictures. Never seen one before and I had to do a bit of digging to figure out what it was.

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It was within the last week instead of this week, but it’s this Anthomyia illocata root-maggot fly I happened to see on a walk.

It really made me stop and consider what else I’ve been missing just because they’re so small. Personally I’ve never seen a black-and-white fly with red eyes before, and the only reason I saw it was because I was walking close to a fence and there was this little colorful speck I happened to notice. It was only about a quarter of the size of my fingernail and it barely sat still for a photo, but I’m glad I got my pictures.

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I found Ustilentyloma brefeldii, a smut fungus that infects various grasses
https://www.inaturalist.org/observations/83963966

Apparently, this is also the first observation of any fungus from this genus on inaturalist.

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not sure on the id, but ive definitely never seen this wasp before! I like its fancy antennae. there are so many neat wasp species.
https://www.inaturalist.org/observations/84341475

edited to add: it got IDed as Cryptanura spinaria! first inat observation of this species in Illinois, it looks like, so im even more excited now :)

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I find that impressive. Is the microscopy so obvious (how do you identify it? Comparing what you see with pictures in books?) or did you have to do something specific (no idea, I suppose I’m thinking of something like growing it on some substrate at a given temperature and humidity) to narrow it down?

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Mine it’s a large larva of a salamander. I think it’s a tiger salamander because the larva was at least 5 inches (13 cm) long. It was very difficult and frustrating to photograph because the water was not crystal clear, the animal was very wary and would not swim where the water was shallower, more transparent and without reflections. One little movement of my body would trigger its flight response. It would hide in the muddy bottom or under a rock. I had never seen such a large salamander larva before. Initially I thought it was a fish. It was fascinating to read that the pretty adult tiger salamander spends most of its life underground. At the same time, it was disconcerting to read that it has a 50% chance to breed more than once in its lifetime and that fishermen used it a lot as a bait and some people keep it as a pet. Are they bred in captivity?

https://www.inaturalist.org/observations/84075539

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Calico pennant dragonfly in NE Ohio

What made this extra special was that it landed close by on a small plant. The wind started blowing and bent the stem the dragon was perched on. I couldn’t focus my camera in it. The wind stopped. The dragonfly stayed put, and I got a few photos.

https://www.inaturalist.org/observations/84333887

I just started chasing dragonflies and damselflies last year when everything shut down. So, this was a special one for me.

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This week we are getting up to 35C with tons of horseflies flying around you, so I’m staying at home identifying, the only lifer I got was Lesser Purple Emperor, so it doesn’t count, but last week I got two lifers I really like, it’s Limnophila pictipennis and Dictenidia bimaculata, both should be common but underrepresented on iNat!

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California Quail:
https://www.inaturalist.org/observations/84232611

These were so common when I was a child. I was pretty excited to see this flock, this week. But, except for the sentinel, they all scattered into the brush before I got my camera out.

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https://www.inaturalist.org/observations/83769413

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For me it was this Smooth Spider Beetle:

https://www.inaturalist.org/observations/83866205

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My favorite lifer from this week was a Magnolia Green Jumping Spider:
https://www.inaturalist.org/observations/84099432

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Oh, and I got ~a ton~ of Lifers (if I understand this means it is my first obs of a species) in the time since since June 12 for the Snapshot Cal Coast 2021 project. Though I’ve been to this beach a hundred times, I felt giddy like a kid in a candy store looking at little things that are usually just part of the background!

Ochre star
Caspian tern
Many little critters and seaweeds!!!

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Calico Pennants are gorgeous, great one!

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I’m always a fan of ochre stars! I love the purple ones especially.

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I’ve had a pretty productive week liferwise, as I visited Nashville’s Cedar Glades.
Tennessee Purple Coneflower was one of the coolest plants, being found in only a handful of central Tennessee counties.
https://www.inaturalist.org/observations/84191655
I also do a lot of mothing and had an antlion show up last night
https://www.inaturalist.org/observations/84268293
Today I got Polymnia johnbeckii after getting my alignment fixed (my frequent roadtrips are hard on a used car!), but I have yet to upload that.

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OK, so I love when I find something when I haven’t really been looking. I took my little nephew and niece to the school playground, and they wanted to run around the track. As I was walking the track watching them, I looked over the fence and discovered a butterfly I haven’t seen before, a Bronze Copper:

https://www.inaturalist.org/observations/83701601

This is the same field in which I found my first American Copper and which also provides a home to B. terricola (which I also found accidentally here this week, though I have seen it before) and B. fervidus. I’m starting to think the field is a little magical ;)

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I just got back from Birding in Nome Alaska this week, and I saw a Stejneger’s Scoter (A very rare bird in North America) which was pretty cool.

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I found my first case-bearing beetle larva last week, which I had been looking for a few years.

And this was my first cotton candy slime mold (I think) from 10 days ago, which just looks so cool and out-of-this-world!!

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