Along with its ease of use, one of the strengths of iNaturalist is the ability to create projects which create new views of existing data – at times leading to fascinating new insights. One such project is Thomas Mesaglio’s First Known Photographs of Living Specimens – showcasing the first known photographs of a species anywhere..
Looking further – there are 9 first known photographs on the Budawang Coast, all 9 are insects. And all captured on film by south coast photographer Phil Warburton, an amateur naturalist now studying entomology.
One of these sightings is a striking hover fly feeding on a Pomaderris discolor bush near Batemans Bay:
- Phil was not sure what it was when he spotted it feeding on a Pomaderris bush in 2022.
- Overnight iNaturalist curator and author Reiner Richter identified the species looking at specimen records in the Atlas of Living Australia.
- Within less than a week California-based expert Dr Martin Hauser confirmed Reiner’s ID, and in between many interesting comments from other experts.
Phil’s observation extended the known range of this insect by 300km southwards – it was previously only known from a handful of specimens from Brisbane to Sydney, This may possibly be a rare species – but it certainly is a rare photograph of a rarely-sighted creature. We now know a little more about this elusive hover fly.