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Praying Mantis (Stagomantis)

This charmer found a nice little space on our porch light last night.
Praying Mantis on porch light, Central Texas

common name Praying Mantis (or Praying Mantid)
domain Eukaryota
kingdom Animalia
phylum Arthropoda
class Insecta; subclass Pterygota; infraclass Neoptera
order superorder Dictyoptera; order Mantodea
family Mantidae; subfamily Stagomantinae
genus Cyanocitta
species unknown
location Central Texas
IUCN status Not tracked
Extremely local species are itemized species seen at our homes: on the actual property, or in the air above it. (Across the street doesn’t count!) I began by itemizing species seen at our house in Copperas Cove, Texas, and later expanded the project to include our home in Renton, Washington.

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Yellow Houseplant Mushrooms (Leucocoprinus birnbaumii)

These appeared in one of my mother’s flower pots a day after we had our first rain in months. They grew rapidly.
 

Leucocoprinus birnbaumii, a common mushroom

Post-storm yellow mushrooms | Flickr – Photo Sharing!.

Leucocoprinus birnbaumii, day 2

common name Yellow Houseplant Mushroom
domain Eukaryota
kingdom Fungi
phylum Basidiomycota
class Agaricomycetes
order Agaricales
family Agaricaceae
genus Leucocoprinus
species birnbaumii
location Central Texas
IUCN status Not tracked
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Field guide entry, Alex O’Neal

Taxonomy

genus, species: Homo sapiens*     family: Hominidae     order: Primates     class: Mammalia     phylum: Chordata     kingdom: Animalia

Shape

identification aide for field guide entry, Alex O'Neal

Field marks

  • Brown-black hair; occasionally red
  • Red shoes (shade varies, but color is constant)
  • Backpack, laptop, books

Description

IUCN Status: Least concern.

Alex can be seen in the wild in the Austin area, working on her laptop to optimize user experience wherever she can. Occasionally she leaves off work to forage for books or good food, or play with her dog.

Alex shares den space with her philosopher husband and various members of species Canis lupus familiaris and Felis catus.

Range

Green areas are previous or existing habitats; dark teal areas are Alex’s known range.

Range, habitat for Alex O'Neal

Welcome to the alexfiles, the personal site of Alex O’Neal (that’s me!). I’m a user experience architect, with expertise in information architecture and usability, SEO (search) and semantic design, front-end web development, taxonomies (a hobby since 1988), cognitive science, and of course visual information design. Here you will find essays, artwork, poetry, jewelry, reviews, photographs, Freudian dream interpretation, local fauna, and much more.

Since 1999, alexfiles.com has been my primary channel for online self-expression, but there are other places I contribute or participate regularly. Some include:


*Species definition sapiens occasionally in question.

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Steller’s Jay (Cyanocitta stelleri)

Frequent visitors to our home in Washington.
Two Steller's Jays enjoying seed

common name Steller’s Jay
domain Eukaryota
kingdom Animalia
phylum Chordata; subphylum Vertebrata
class Aves
order Passiformes
family Corvidae
genus Cyanocitta
species stelleri
location Renton, Washington
IUCN status Least concern
Extremely local species are itemized species seen at our homes: on the actual property, or in the air above it. (Across the street doesn’t count!) I began by itemizing species seen at our house in Copperas Cove, Texas, and later expanded the project to include our home in Renton, Washington.

aside

Julia Rubiner of Editorial Emergency wrote a great follow-up to her article, Stop Abbreviation Abuse Now! (to which I replied ). It’s a nice article, and not just because Rubiner called me her “favorite taxonomist” in it ;–)

Read Call-back: My Epic Fail Failure.

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Northern Flicker

common name Northern Flicker
domain Eukaryota
kingdom Animalia
phylum Chordata; subphylum Vertebrata
class Aves
order Piciformes
family Picidae
genus Colaptes
species auratus
location Renton, Washington
IUCN status Least concern
Extremely local species are itemized species seen at our homes: on the actual property, or in the air above it. (Across the street doesn’t count!) I began by itemizing species seen at our house in Copperas Cove, Texas, and later expanded the project to include our home in Renton, Washington.

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You can’t see it clearly in this photo, but this snake is just finishing off what I think was an earthworm.
Lined Snake

common name Lined Snake
domain Eukaryota
kingdom Animalia
phylum Chordata; subphylum Vertebrata
class Reptilia, subclass Diapsida
order Squamata, suborder Serpentes
family Columbidae
genus Tropidoclonion
species lineatum
location Central Texas
IUCN status Least concern
Extremely local species are itemized species seen at our homes: on the actual property, or in the air above it. (Across the street doesn’t count!) I began by itemizing species seen at our house in Copperas Cove, Texas, and later expanded the project to include our home in Renton, Washington.

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The pampas grass provides a glorious border between our lawn and the neighbor’s.
Pampas Grass

common name Pampas Grass
domain Eukaryota
kingdom Plantae; subkingdom Tracheobionta
phylum Spermatophyta; subphylum Magnoliophyta
class Liliopsida
order Poales
family Poaceae
genus Cortaderia
species selioana
location Central Texas
IUCN status Not evaluated
Extremely local species are itemized species seen at our homes: on the actual property, or in the air above it. (Across the street doesn’t count!) I began by itemizing species seen at our house in Copperas Cove, Texas, and later expanded the project to include our home in Renton, Washington.

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Mediterranean Gecko (Hemidactylus turcicus)

This young lizard was about 2.5″ long, hiding from the noonday sun under a flowerpot when I disturbed him. He or she was kind enough to wait on the wall while I got my camera.
Mediterranean Gecko

common name Mediterranean Gecko
domain Eukaryota
kingdom Animalia
phylum Chordata; subphylum Vertebrata
class Reptilia, subclass Diapsida
order Squamata, suborder Sauria, infraorder Gekkota
family Gekkonidae
genus Hemidactylus
species turcicus, subspecies turcicus
location Central Texas
IUCN status Least concern
Extremely local species are itemized species seen at our homes: on the actual property, or in the air above it. (Across the street doesn’t count!) I began by itemizing species seen at our house in Copperas Cove, Texas, and later expanded the project to include our home in Renton, Washington.

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Gulf Coast Toad (Bufo valliceps)

You can’t see it clearly in this photo, but this snake is just finishing off what I think was an earthworm.
Gulf Coast Toad

common name Gulf Coast Toad
domain Eukaryota
kingdom Animalia
phylum Chordata; subphylum Vertebrata
class Amphibia
order Anura
family Bufonidae
genus Bufo; synonym Incilius
species valliceps
location Central Texas
IUCN status Least concern
Extremely local species are itemized species seen at our homes: on the actual property, or in the air above it. (Across the street doesn’t count!) I began by itemizing species seen at our house in Copperas Cove, Texas, and later expanded the project to include our home in Renton, Washington.

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Carolina Chickadee

common name Carolina Chickadee
domain Eukaryota
kingdom Animalia
phylum Chordata; subphylum Vertebrata
class Aves
order Passiformes
family Paridae
genus Poecile
species carolinensis
location Central Texas
IUCN status Least concern
Extremely local species are itemized species seen at our homes: on the actual property, or in the air above it. (Across the street doesn’t count!) I began by itemizing species seen at our house in Copperas Cove, Texas, and later expanded the project to include our home in Renton, Washington.

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We are told that the crape myrtle in our front yard is as old as the house, which was built in 1965. It’s a large, well-established, beautiful plant, taller than the roof, and I completely adore it.

Crape myrtles were introduced into North America in South Carolina, back in 1790, and have been tremendously successful. The genus originated in East and Southeast Asia.

Crape myrtle

common name Crape Myrtle
domain Eukaryota
kingdom Plantae; subkingdom Tracheobionta
phylum Spermatophyta; subphylum Magnoliaphyta
class Magnoliopsida; subclass Rosidae
order Myrtales
family Lythraceae
genus Lagerstroemia
species indica
location Central Texas
IUCN status Not evaluated
Extremely local species are itemized species seen at our homes: on the actual property, or in the air above it. (Across the street doesn’t count!) I began by itemizing species seen at our house in Copperas Cove, Texas, and later expanded the project to include our home in Renton, Washington.

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My mother gave me a pot with several flowering plants in it, but it wasn’t until one of them died back a little from the heat that I discovered this struggling charmer growing beneath it.
Begonia

common name Begonia
domain Eukaryota
kingdom Plantae; subkingdom Tracheobionta
phylum Spermatophyta; subphylum Magnoliaphyta
class Magnoliopsida
order Cucurbitales
family Begoniaceae
genus Begonia
species n.a.; garden hybrid
location Central Texas
IUCN status Not evaluated
Extremely local species are itemized species seen at our homes: on the actual property, or in the air above it. (Across the street doesn’t count!) I began by itemizing species seen at our house in Copperas Cove, Texas, and later expanded the project to include our home in Renton, Washington.

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Yellow-headed blackbird (Xanthocephalus xanthocephalus)

We were surprised one day to see a flock of yellow and black birds descend on the feeders in the front yard. They appeared late in the afternoon and were gone that evening; this is the only sighting I’ve had of these birds in the area.

Male, female, and immature birds can be seen below. These are the only yellow-headed birds with a black body in North America, although there is an extremely similar bird, the Yellow-hooded Blackbird of South America, Agelaius icterocephalus.

Yellow-headed blackbird

An adult female
Female Yellow-headed blackbird

common name Yellow-headed blackbird
domain Eukaryota
kingdom Animalia
phylum Chordata; subphylum Vertebrata
class Aves
order Passiformes
family Icteridae
genus Xanthocephalus
species xanthocephalus
location Central Texas
IUCN status Least concern
Extremely local species are itemized species seen at our homes: on the actual property, or in the air above it. (Across the street doesn’t count!) I began by itemizing species seen at our house in Copperas Cove, Texas, and later expanded the project to include our home in Renton, Washington.

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The male of the species. Cardinals were named after the Roman Catholic ecclesiastical officials of the same name.
Cardinal

The female of the species.
Female cardinal in bath

common name Cardinal
domain Eukaryota
kingdom Animalia
phylum Chordata; subphylum Vertebrata
class Aves
order Passiformes
family Cardinalidae
genus Cardinalis
species cardinalis
location Central Texas
IUCN status Least concern
Extremely local species are itemized species seen at our homes: on the actual property, or in the air above it. (Across the street doesn’t count!) I began by itemizing species seen at our house in Copperas Cove, Texas, and later expanded the project to include our home in Renton, Washington.

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Blue jay (Cyanocitta cristata)

Blue Jay

common name Blue Jay
domain Eukaryota
kingdom Animalia
phylum Chordata; subphylum Vertebrata
class Aves
order Passiformes
family Corvidae
genus Cyanocitta
species cristata
location Central Texas
IUCN status Least concern
Extremely local species are itemized species seen at our homes: on the actual property, or in the air above it. (Across the street doesn’t count!) I began by itemizing species seen at our house in Copperas Cove, Texas, and later expanded the project to include our home in Renton, Washington.

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Pecan Tree (Carya illinoinensis)

Our pecan actually springs from a naturally seeded contribution from our neighbor’s pecan. When nuts appear, the squirrels have endless fun.
Pecan Tree

common name Pecan Tree
domain Eukaryota
kingdom Plantae; subkingdom Tracheobionta
phylum Spermatophyta; subphylum Magnoliaphyta
class Magnoliopsida
order Fagales
family Juglandaceae
genus Carya
species illinoinensis
location Central Texas
IUCN status Not evaluated
Extremely local species are itemized species seen at our homes: on the actual property, or in the air above it. (Across the street doesn’t count!) I began by itemizing species seen at our house in Copperas Cove, Texas, and later expanded the project to include our home in Renton, Washington.