Accurate species counts

I am trying to accurately assess how many unique species of Lepidoptera I’ve seen in my home state. When I filter my observations by:

  1. My state—931 species
  2. My state & RG—830 species

However, my project, “Moths of West Virginia, U.S.A” shows me having 879 species (butterflies excluded from project). Add the 30 species of butterfly I’ve seen and I get 909.

Why does are the “Your Observations” and my project totals different, please?
What is the best way to get an accurate number of species?
If I knew how to isolate the non-RG observations, I could manually sort through them for obviously unique observations. (I have tried to flag each new species in my photo software, but could have missed some.) However, using “Needs ID” as a filter gives me over 400 species, so obviously, that doesn’t mean what I thought it meant.

Or, should I use some already published paper checklist of Leps and just count manually?

Just call me,

Confused in WV

I think the project leaderboard count includes only a count of species that you’ve identified to the species level, while the overall project species count includes unique genera/families/etc. for which you’ve submitted observations above the species level as “species”. For example, I’ve submitted 117 West Virginia moth species at the species level, so my number on the project leaderboard says 117. But I’ve also submitted an Agonopterix and a Cochylichroa that are sitting at the genus level (and I’ve not submitted any species-level observations in those genera), so those bump my “species count” under Your Observations to 119 for the project. Presumably you have a couple dozen genera or families for which you’ve not submitted anything ID’d to species level, but for which you have submitted higher-taxon observations.


See the thread linked below:

When you open your species page for the project, you get your expected number of 901.

1 Like

Thanks, Paul.
So the Observations already include unique genus level observations?
Do you track your total species confirmed AND your identifiably unique observations that can only be confirmed to genus? If so, how do you track them?

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