22 de marzo de 2023

A review of the Waterlily Leafcutter Moth (Elophila obliteralis) in Florida 3/22/23

More accurately titled: "A hunt for Sufetula diminutalis records in Florida".

Prompted by observing a few examples of Sufetula diminutalis last night during an event the the UF Natural Area Teaching Lab in Gainesville, Florida, I wanted to go through the observations of a species that I consider to be very similar, the Waterlily Leafcutter Moth (Elophila obliteralis). Both species are relatively small and darkly colored with reduced patterning, and after minimal interaction I would describe their behavior at the light and resting posture to also be comparable.

The starting numbers were 711 (463 RG) observations of E. obliteralis in the state of Florida, with 226 of the total being my own observations. During this review I found 9 observations that I believe were incorrectly identified, those are as follows:

1 Crocidocnemis pellucidalis
1 Subfamily Glaphyriinae
2 Family Crambidae (possibly both are Penestola simplicialis)
1 Elophila nebulosalis
2 Elophila gyralis
1 Elophila tinealis
1 Sufetula diminutalis

Success! I did find a single Sufetula diminutalis observation hiding among Elophila obliteralis.

Worth noting is that the E. tinealis was my own, and I had also either previously agreed with or suggested 2 of the other incorrectly identified observations. Two observations were RG, the S. diminutalis and C. pellucidalis. All 9 incorrectly identified observations appear to be attracted to a light source, 3 are on a wall and 6 are on a sheet, which is surprising for some reason. I would have expected photos in a natural setting to be more likely to be incorrect, which is an interesting personal bias. This exercise does reaffirm the reality that common species are an excellent place to look for unusual ones, partly the fault of the Computer Vision, but also partly the fault of a system that in my opinion has incentivized the overidentification of observations (something I am actively trying to acknowledge with my own identification efforts).

Now for some math. Florida has just less than 10% of the global observations for E. obliteralis and had 1.3% incorrect, so if the ratios hold true there are likely ~90 of the remaining 7,000 E. obliteralis records that are incorrectly identified. There are only 35 records on iNat for S. diminutalis, of which Florida has 22.9% (8). I would wager that there are other S. diminutalis hiding in other common species throughout their range, and targeted efforts like this review could track those records down if there was ever a specific need to do so.

I am including a link to the found Sufetula diminutalis record, both to confirm the accuracy of my ID and the relative importance of a single observation for a species with so few observations. https://www.inaturalist.org/observations/53630209

I am also tagging a few people that I think will find this interesting and may have feedback, I am always eager to improve my knowledge and technique both as an observer and an identifier. @hughmcguinness @hanly @gcwarbler @d_kluza @b_gonzalez @mecopteron_bouillon @mako252 @jeffmci9 @annainok @matthewcock @perfectman

Publicado el 22 de marzo de 2023 a las 07:11 PM por smithsqrd smithsqrd | 1 comentario | Deja un comentario