Updated: Apr 24, 2020
If you are familiar with the iNaturalist app, you might have heard the term BioBlitz. If you aren't an iNaturalist enthusiast, you will be. We will definitely be dedicating a few posts to introducing and getting you hooked on what is basically Pokemon Go! in real life. This isn't a real BioBlitz, in which you take images, upload, and identify everything in a given area. Instead it is a casual survey of the critters that live in my backyard on a typical sunny day. Most of these animals are pretty straightforward and easily identified, and you probably see the same things when you walk outside. The great thing about iNaturalist is that if you don't know exactly what you are looking at, or you just want to know more about it, all you need is a decent picture. Example? There was a slug in my garden, and I have never really questioned how many types of slugs we have in Southern California. The slug I found has a species name and distinctive characteristics, but it never occurred to me to delve deeper.
By uploading the picture to iNaturalist and choosing the category "Gastropods," I learned quite a bit about this creature that I might never have known.
As it turns out, he/she (slugs are hermaphrodites) is a milky slug (Deroceras reticulatum)! From the page, I learned that it is also known as the "grey field slug" and "grey garden slug." They are air-breathing land slugs, an are INVASIVE agricultural pests brought over from North Africa and Europe. The good news for this fellow is that I care more about the wildlife that shares my garden than I do the crops that it yields.
What else did I find?
There was also this guy:
And what a surprise to run into this- you never know what you'll find in your own backyard!
This is Guppy, by the way.
She was out happily absorbing some sunshine between the recent and coming rainstorms.