iNat curation

At our recent mothing night I was discussing curation of moth pages on iNaturalist. Since I've spent quite a bit of time on iNat, specifically on the moth pages, I've started dabbling with the community curation tools.

Here's what I've learned:

1. You can add names! Occasionally I'll end up identifying one of my observations as a species that has very few observations on iNaturalist and just lists the genus and species as the name, while other sources (bugguide or my field guide) list a "common name" for the moth. It's pretty easy to add a common name. Simply go to the species page, scroll down to the bottom of the taxonomy section and click on "Add a name." If you're adding a common name, you'll want to select "English" as the language. Voila! I just did this for the Cream-winged Bird-dropping Moth, which previously just said Tarache lactipennis. (By the way "pennis" means "wings" in Latin. I assume "lacti" means "milk.")

2. Select/reorder species photos! Sometimes there aren't any photos displayed for a species, or the photo isn't very good, or there is just one photo for a species with a lot of variation. There are a lot of reasons that maybe the photos displayed aren't the most helpful for quick comparisons. You can change this! Again, go to the species page, then click on Curation>Edit photos on the right side of the page, about half way down. You can drag photos from the left panel to the right and/or reorder the photos already on the right side. Whenever I do this I select the absolute best photo (photo quality and crisp specimen) as the first (default) photo, then try to select some other photos that show off the variety of markings or poses for the species.

3. Flag for curation. I have only had one instance to use this feature. I was looking through our Moths of Oklahoma project and noticed one record for a Tawny Shoulder (Agrotis subterranea) that looked a lot like a species I was familiar with, Subterranean Dart (Feltia subterranea). I clicked on the species page for Tawny Shoulder and found that there were only a handful of observations of the species and there wasn't an obvious visible difference from Subterranean Dart. After commenting on the observation we realized these were the same species and needed to be consolidated. I checked bugguide and there was no Agrotis subterranea. I used the Curation>Flag for curation tool and provided a short description of the issue. It didn't take long for one of the iNat taxonomy curators to respond, saying that a moth taxonomist, Lafontaine, had moved this species from Agrotis to Feltia in 2004 and that he would get it fixed in iNaturalist.

I don't suspect I'll be using that 3rd feature very often, but you never know. The first two are very handy and, when used with care, can be beneficial to all iNaturalist moth-ers.

Posted by zdufran zdufran, June 27, 2018 22:04



Thank you for helping improve the site!!

Posted by bouteloua about 2 years ago (Flag)

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