You saw it first on the Budawang Coast!

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.

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Odyneromyia iridescens, first photographed in the wild by Phil Warburton near Batemans Bay.
Odyneromyia iridescens had previously not been recorded south of Sydney. Data for the Atlas of Living Australia.