I go to the beach a lot.
And I post to Instagram the things I see. The waves, the sand, sometimes: sea creatures.
On the morning of December 6th I came across a bunch of foodstuffs, and one unusual fish.
So unusual that when the photo was shared to Facebook, my angler cousin remarked that it was quite unusual and would be asking buddies what it was.
My pal Susan likewise was curious, and posted the photo to inaturalist.org. iNaturalist has a few goals:
- Keep Track
Record your encounters with other organisms and maintain life lists, all in the cloud.
- Create Useful Data
Help scientists and resource managers understand when and where organisms occur.
- Crowdsource Identifications
Connect with experts who can identify the organisms you observe.
- Become a Citizen Scientist
Find a project with a mission that interests you, or start your own.
- Learn About Nature
Build your knowledge by talking with other naturalists and helping others.
- Run a Bioblitz
Hold an event where people try to find as many species as possible.
That Crowdsource Identifications is the key one. And in about 2 days the “Crowd” of experts in ichthyology made a consensus: Specklefin Midshipman (Porichthys myriaster). Here’s the iNaturalist sighting page.
It’s a rare fish for the Mission Bay Jetty but not unheard of. It has a deeper range than most of the critters there though, having been spotted as deep as 126 meters (413 feet!) deep.