Diario del proyecto Southern African Butterflies

10 de junio de 2023

Help our specialists with IDs.

The problem with iNaturalist is that two plus (or 67% of) identifications are need for research grade.
Now that is great, but sometimes the identifiers actually know exactly what the are identifying, and iNat does not differentiate between experts and novices.
We do have some specialists on iNaturalist. Perhaps you may want to make supportive IDs. You will need to be above novice level, but most of our specialists leave explanatory notes when there are issues, making agreeing with their identifications a little easier.

Our southern African active Butterfly specialists are:

@cabintom - Thomas Desloges - DRC : 59k lepidoptera IDs in Africa
assist with cabintom's identifications

@nicovr - Nico Vromant - Zambia : 27k lepidoptera IDs in Africa
assist with nicovr's identifications

@beetledude - Riaan Stals - South Africa : 11k lepidoptera IDs in Africa
assist with beetledude's identifications

@andrewmorton - Andrew Morton - regional chairman of Lepsoc Africa for WC. (South Africa) : 11k lepidoptera IDs in Africa
assist with andrewmorton's identifications

@stevewoodhall - Steve Woodhall - South Africa : 8k lepidoptera IDs in Africa
assist with stevewoodhall's identifications

@traianbertau : 8k lepidoptera IDs in Africa
assist with traianbertau's identifications

@konrad_k - Konrad Kałużyński - Poland : 6k lepidoptera IDs in Africa
assist with konrad_k's identifications

We do have many other specialists, but by their sheer volume, these tend to get to all the observations that need attention sooner or later. If you know of any Butterfly specialists who you feel should be added here, please tell us below.

Not all species are identifiable. There are some groups that can only be identified in some areas to Generic level or to "complex" - please help support these IDs here if you are familiar with these taxa.

Publicado el 10 de junio de 2023 20:10 por tonyrebelo tonyrebelo | 7 comentarios | Deja un comentario

Summary Statistics June 2023

57,239 South Africa
2,921 Zimbabwe
2,031 Namibia
1,886 Mozambqiue
1,743 Botswana
1,652 Eswatini
33 Lesotho

Species recorded (677)
563 Africa
255 Mozambqiue
246 Zimbabwe
202 Eswatini
149 Botswana
133 Namibia
17 Lesotho

67,461 Observations by 5,129 observers of 677 species

Imagos: 32,547
Larvae: 2,278 see them
Pupae: 494 see them
Eggs 51 see them

Visiting flowers: 2,407 see them
Eating: 388 see them

134,330 identifications by 1,837 identifiers.

Top ~20 species (over 700 records):

2453 Vanessa cardui Painted Lady
2253 Acraea horta Garden Acraea
2234 Danaus chrysippus Plain Tiger Butterfly
2199 Papilio demodocus Citrus Swallowtail

1501 Zizeeria knysna Sooty Blue
1413 Mylothris agathina Eastern Dotted Border
1321 Junonia hierta Yellow Pansy
1149 Dira clytus Cape Autumn Widow
1119 Belenois aurota Pioneer White
1113 Junonia oenone Dark Blue Pansy
1024 Bicyclus safitza Common Bush Brown

966 Belenois creona African Caper
948 Precis archesia Garden Commodore
858 Acraea serena Small Orange Acraea
849 Junonia natalica Natal Pansy
846 Hypolimnas misippus Common Diadem
830 Pieris brassicae Cabbage White

774 Pontia helice Meadow White
721 Eurema brigitta Broad-bordered Grass Yellow
719 Catopsilia florella African Migrant

Top ~10 observers (over 600 observations):

1 bushboy 2,331
2 magdastlucia 2,237
3 colin25 2,050
4 peters5001 1,837
5 suncana 1,293
6 phil183 1,266
7 tonyrebelo 1,038
8 stevewoodhall 938
9 bartwursten 716
10 shauns 693
11 peter_erb 636
12 timmcclurg 620

Top species recorders (over 150 species):

1 mr_fab 222
2 lourense31 208
3 bartwursten 207
4 magdastlucia 180
5 phil183 176
6 richard_johnstone 173
7 steveball 172
8 erwinsieben 155
9 stevewoodhall 155
10 suncana 154

Top identifiers (over 3,000 Identifications):

1 cabintom 28,068
2 colin25 19,457
3 nicovr 13,879
4 beetledude 6,499
5 phil183 6,435
6 andrewmorton 6,351
7 stevewoodhall 6,347
8 traianbertau 4,284
9 konrad_k 3,855
10 surfinbird 3,561
11 tonyrebelo 3,035

Publicado el 10 de junio de 2023 17:42 por tonyrebelo tonyrebelo | 0 comentarios | Deja un comentario

16 de febrero de 2023

Identifying butterflies to genus level

Hi All,

I've just joined the Project after chatting to Tony Rebelo. I've been doing more and more identifications since last year's City Nature Challenge (CNC), and the Great Southern Bioblitz (GSB). This year I was 'volunteered' (read - press ganged like Lepsoc used to do to people!) by Suvarna Parbhoo to champion the eThekwini 2023 CNC. To make identifications easier and quicker to do I 'followed' South Africa as a place, and chose 'Taxon' = Papilionoidea. I now get daily emails whenever someone uploads a butterfly in SA. Wow there are a lot.

One thing I've noticed that can slow things down is difficult-to-identify species. Some are just plain impossible, like Leptotes pirithous-babaulti-jeanneli-brevidentatus. iNaturalist has helped here by creating a 'species complex' called 'Complex Leptotes pirithous (Common Blue Complex)' (https://www.inaturalist.org/observations?taxon_id=1068886) that we can use to confirm it to this level. 'Research Grade' can be forced at this level when identifying by going to the bottom of the data quality assessment and ticking the 'No, it's as good as it can be' box under 'Based on the evidence, can the Community Taxon still be confirmed or improved?'

The Leptotes complex is not the only group of butterflies that can give problems. Some of them, like the Borbo Swifts, get as far as a genus level identification then stick there. For those, I suggest we find the best expert on them and ask them to 'Follow' the genus and do IDs as they crop up. If you can't get past the genus, don't worry. Tag someone like Andy Mayer or Johan Greyling.

Other genera can defy even the most expert identifiers, and 'stick' at the genus ID forever. But a Species Complex won't work, because some members of the genus CAN be told apart. I've recently seen some very worn lycaenids, which are clearly Deudorix from the hindwing tail and anal lobe, but only the underside has been photographed and the uploader didn't even get a look at the upperside, let alone get a photo. And the underside markings have been worn down to grey smudges. I suggest that these should be left at 'genus = Deudorix', and we can tick the 'No, it's as good as it can be' box so at least a genus level ID is Research grade. The same might go for seriously worn Aloeides, where wings-open shots are rare and the hindwings become simply a brown mush.

Which brings me to a real challenge - Afrogegenes. Here we have three taxa, A. letterstedti, A. ocra and A. hottentota. The females are like Leptotes - only worse. The authors of the paper describing the new genus (and raising A.ocra to species status) admit that they are impossible to distinguish at the genitalic level. And no DNA work was done. The separation of A.ocra from the rest was done on what some believe to be shaky grounds (a single specimen and no DNA) and the degree of yellow on a male upperside is extremely variable and doesn't necessarily confirm that it's A. ocra and not A. letterstedti. The only butterfly in this genus that can be identified without any doubt is the upperside of a male Afrogegenes hottentota, from the conspicuous black forewing upperside sex brand. The undersides of the three species are of no help because they all look the same.

We can't ask iNaturalist to create a Community Taxon called 'Complex Afrogegenes letterstedti (Brown Dodger Complex)' because that would not be helpful for genuine Afrogegenes hottentota records. So what to do?

I suggest we only have two identification taxa. 'Afrogegenes hottentota' for an unambiguous male upperside, and 'Genus = Afrogegenes' for everything else. If it's a female or an underside only we can force Research Grade using the 'No, it's as good as it can be' box, otherwise for male uppersides just leave it as it is for the day when the genus is finally resolved.

I should add that we should take care when ticking that box and only do so when it's absolutely clear that no improvement on the Community Taxon is possible. Tony told me that it misbehaves if you say it cannot be ID’d further and then someone else does ID It further...

Your thoughts please...

Publicado el 16 de febrero de 2023 15:22 por stevewoodhall stevewoodhall | 0 comentarios | Deja un comentario

Summary Statistics 2 Feb 2022

Species recorded (662)
551 South Africa
242 Mozambqiue
241 Zimbabwe
196 Eswatini
145 Botswana
132 Namibia
15 Lesotho

57,310 Observations by 4,490 observers of 662 species

Imagos: 28,100
Larvae: 1,918 see them
Pupae: 430 see them
Eggs 46 see them

Visiting flowers: 2,285 see them
Eating: 373 see them

112,993 identifications by 1,672 identifiers.

Top ~20 species (over 500 records):

2279 Vanessa cardui Painted Lady
2095 Acraea horta Garden Acraea
1932 Papilio demodocus Citrus Swallowtail
1863 Danaus chrysippus Plain Tiger Butterfly
1252 Zizeeria knysna Sooty Blue

1171 Junonia hierta Yellow Pansy
1169 Mylothris agathina Eastern Dotted Border
1024 Belenois aurota Pioneer White

898 Dira clytus Cape Autumn Widow
863 Junonia oenone Dark Blue Pansy
849 Precis archesia Garden Commodore
824 Belenois creona African Caper
824 Bicyclus safitza Common Bush Brown

751 Pieris brassicae Cabbage White
750 Hypolimnas misippus Common Diadem
704 Pontia helice Meadow White
645 Catopsilia florella African Migrant
635 Junonia natalica Natal Pansy

567 Lampides boeticus Pea Blue
566 Eurema brigitta Broad-bordered Grass Yellow
558 Cacyreus marshalli Common Geranium-Bronze
527 Cassionympha cassius Rainforest Brown
526 Acraea serena Small Orange Acraea
503 Belenois gidica African Veined White

Top ~10 observers (over 500 observations):

1 bushboy 2,231
2 magdastlucia 2,134
3 colin25 1,977
4 peters5001 1,771
5 phil183 1,224
6 suncana 1,048
7 tonyrebelo 1,000
8 shauns 656
9 bartwursten 637
10 peter_erb 601
11 nicky 560
12 mr_fab 543

Top species recorders (over 150 species):

1 mr_fab 218
2 lourense31 196
3 bartwursten 193
4 phil183 174
5 magdastlucia 174
6 steveball 161

Top identifiers (over 2,000 Identifications):

1 cabintom 28,026
2 colin25 17,638
3 nicovr 13,876
4 beetledude 6,340
5 andrewmorton 5,623
6 phil183 5,575
7 surfinbird 3,005
8 tonyrebelo 2,990
9 simontonge 2,782
10 stevewoodhall 2,274
11 alanhorstmann 2,108

Publicado el 16 de febrero de 2023 06:53 por tonyrebelo tonyrebelo | 0 comentarios | Deja un comentario