Identification sprees

Something that I do occasionally is look through my own observations and pick a species that I'm confident identifying. Then I "View All" observations of that species and, well, view all of them in grid view and identify those that aren't research grade. You have to be careful to ensure that there aren't similar species that you're unaware of outside your own geographic area of familiarity (you can restrict the area if you wish). You can also filter by "Needs ID", but I prefer to view all of them to ensure there aren't any misidentifications.

In less than 10 minutes, I verified all 160 observations of swift feather-legged flies and made them research grade (not counting one's that were not already identified by at least one person).

Now, someone needs to move out to Genus and tackle the one's that have only been identified to that level:
http://www.inaturalist.org/observations?locale=en&place_id=any&subview=grid&taxon_id=129353

I'm not sure what to make of the European Trichopoda. I read that T. pennipes was introduced to Europe to control a pest, but several of them have totally black abdomens (in contrast to orange which is seen invariably on BG in the U.S.:
http://www.inaturalist.org/observations?locale=en&nelat=56.02807957743282&nelng=40.66596815362573&place_id=any&subview=grid&swlat=19.236846926760606&swlng=-27.888719346374273&taxon_id=129353

http://bugguide.net/node/view/13284/bgimage?from=120

Posted by pfau_tarleton pfau_tarleton, August 06, 2017 22:34

Comments

I do this too! In fact, just tonight I went through to ID some Armyworm moths and mark the larvae. @nanofishology has gotten me into looking at the Life Stage charts. As I learn about something new, I test it out by going through the existing iNat observations. If I'm comfortable in the distinctions, I'll ID them and often comment about what I learned. It's a good way to learn to spot differences, if you are certain you are looking at all the possibilities in the first place. GMTA!

Posted by kimberlietx almost 5 years ago (Flag)

PS. I'm no help at all on the feather-legged flies.

Posted by kimberlietx almost 5 years ago (Flag)

Yeah, I was doing that with assassins today. I've been trying to make a point of doing IDs in addition to adding ridiculous numbers of observations. It's hard to do it "right," through. The people who don't know as much or are new to the site often keep things either "unknown" or "insects", so I try to go through those and ID as best as I can. I think as the userbase of iNat becomes more general, we'll get more and more observations that need help just getting to order (let alone family or genus). It's hard knowing where to focus!

Feather-legged flies: very fashionable! I approve! Can't wait to meet one!

Posted by nanofishology almost 5 years ago (Flag)

Yes, yes, yes, yes, yes. This is magnificent when folks do this. @alisonnorthup has been doing this a lot lately as well, and I sooo appreciate it. I have goofed on so many ID's -- it's wonderful that folks come back and double/triple/quadruple check!

All natural history collections are like this too -- mis-ID's are corrected eventually, I think. :)

Posted by sambiology almost 5 years ago (Flag)

Funny you mention that Sam, I just examined some shrew museum specimens and noticed on many of the tags that the name had been crossed out and corrected and then someone later crossed out that one and corrected it.

There's definitely benefits of focusing on one species at a time as you get to see the variation among individuals and the diagnostic characters get fixed more firmly in the mind--vs. randomly identifying observations as they appear on the feed. But I'm not saying one should do only one or the other! Just that one benefits me more personally than the other. Plus corrections and overlooked observations can be taken care of with this approach.

Posted by pfau_tarleton almost 5 years ago (Flag)

When I worked in the herbarium at BRIT, some specimens had multiple annotations of corrections and re-corrections and de-corrections. It was actually kinda funny to watch the 'discussions' on some specimens by different botanists that had different species concepts.

Also, that's exactly what the visiting botanists would do in the herbarium -- they would lay out ALL of the specimens of a certain species, see differences and group specimens into those differences. I know @nathantaylor7583 does this frequently with the Euphorbia spp.!

Posted by sambiology almost 5 years ago (Flag)

One thing I love about rearing is I get to know species very intimately. I live, breathe, and sleep tawny emperors. Turns out one of the field marks used to distinguish tawny from hackberry emperors is wrong--even the bugguide main page says the broken bar on the forewing will tell you which species you have, and that is definitely not true. It seems between 1/3 and 1/2 of my adults have at least one bar that is broken. Their personalities are totally different too--which is weird to say for a bug, but I've raised both and the hackberry emperors are nervous and flighty, the tawnies are fairly tame and also really not that smart.

Needless to say I've been going through Asterocampa and fixing IDs left and right.

Posted by nanofishology almost 5 years ago (Flag)

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