What is your Favorite Lifer from this week?

Highly eventful week with 31 new species in New Mexico. My favorite was this Euteliidae moth (it is Moth Week after all) Marathyssa minus by Elliott Gordon · iNaturalist

Two honorable mentions:

  1. This vespid-mimic spider wasp on a hike yesterday Subspecies Poecilopompilus algidus willistoni from Cibola National Forest, Alburquerque, NM, US · iNaturalist
  2. This wedge-shaped beetle isn’t a lifer, but still special since it’s only the second time I’ve seen this species Ripiphorus neomexicanus by Elliott Gordon · iNaturalist

I had a very surprising one this week – what I thought was a pretty common groundcherry turned out to be the MUCH rarer Carpenter’s Groundcherry (13 total obs on iNat, first in my parish/county), listed as vulnerable in the U.S.


It has since been fenced off a bit to try to protect it from our local weed eaters :)


Not super rare but in my backyard in NJ a few days ago I suddenly noticed this sizable, beautiful fly (Taeniaptera trivittata) just chilling on a leaf. They let me take as many pictures as I liked as close as I liked, just moving their arms in the funny way Micropezids do.


I also saw a very similar species, Rainieria antennaepes, in a backyard in Connecticut just weeks earlier! But they are not congeneric, maybe that makes it even cooler.

Fun fact, this fly is apparently an ant mimic; the white portions of the wing are meant to create the impression that the black portion of the wing is the abdomen.

I still don’t know what these flies do when they wave their arms up and down, would appreciate any insight!


Yup, I have mistaken them by ants.

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Today is Thursday August 4th. Yesterday afternoon I was in Central Park with @alfanova and I got to see and photograph three lifers:

One was Black-crowned Night-herons, Nycticorax nycticorax (there were two of them, one on each side of the Park)

One was a Green-legged Orb-weaver spider Mangora maculata in the woodland, but out of focus I’m afraid. It is a new iNat record for Manhattan and maybe only two obs in the whole of NYC.

And one was a little robber fly, a gnat ogre with no common name, Holcocephala calva, also in the woodland.


Wooahh, recently I had that species as a lifer too in West Mexico!!


And a few days ago, I had another lifer: Taenipoda obscura (a cool lubber grasshopper)


This lifer (whatever it turns out to be) was the only sort of attractive night moth I’ve gotten.



A fine beast!

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Yeah! It looks so wild at first but there’s some sort of elegance in them. And don’t forget the bright pink hindwings!

Sounds super cool!

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I see it has an impressive range map!

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In every continent except Australia!

I’m new to birding, so I would say the belted kingfisher I saw was my favorite! Though I saw a scissor-tailed flycatcher in Shenandoah National Park about a month ago, which was amazing!


This gorgeous dragonfly was a perfect way to cap off the week.


My favorite this week was also a dragonfly https://www.inaturalist.org/observations/129315423


As a relative noobie still (2+ months) just about everything I have put up so far is a ‘lifer’. But I still have a lot of ‘waiting for ID’ submissions out of those.

Including, one from July 4, that I’m going to play the noobie card and share with this thread today anyways because it just got ID’d this week.

And what makes it special is that my guess was confirmed by a real experienced ID’er because–she was super-excited to learn that just a couple days ago she had become the SECOND observer for this species iNat debut in the Canadian list! (Her discovery led her to ID mine when she was checking.)

Which makes me the first!

I have to say, I remember the nervousness I felt suggesting my species guess when posting it originally after I learned that it had never been listed in iNat Canada before. I mean, I must have made a rookie mistake, right?

Beginner’s luck all the way. And it’s funny, when I exchanged some comments with her I learned that like me, her first reaction on noticing this beetle was that it was a wasp. I think it’s possibly a mild mimic, of sorts.

Another strange coincidence? This is one of the first shots I took with my newly acquired Olympus Tg-5. I had literally got it the day before this shot.

Canadian ladies and Canadian gentlemen, please welcome, from Grimsby, Ontario…
Neoclytus mucronatus!



It’s not mild, many cerambicids are wasp mimics.)


Thanks, I meant “mild” in respect to it’s level of mimicry under observer scrutiny. Certainly not as convincing as many of the hover flies, for example. But I was still very impressed with what this beetle pulled off with the imitation ‘tools’ that were available.

A fly’s eye is anatomically and physically much closer to a wasp’s, but this beetle achieved some great coloring matching with the faux eye spots and even those yellow ‘specular highlights’.


I traveled up to the State of Washington for a family wedding this past weekend. Before the wedding, I did some iNatting and found these three-spined sticklebacks – already at Research Grade. I won’t reiterate my extensive notes here; they are easy enough to see on the observation itself.