Hey guys! A funny situation, my Christmas tree is absolutely covered in aphids that I’ve spent the last few months looking for! (Adelges sp.).
I just have a question before I upload them! I know the original collection place of said tree, but the observation/collection date and which I’d use is confusing me. Would i put the observation date down for the 22nd, the day the tree was cut down, or would I put the date down for today, the 27th, as that’s when I originally noticed the aphids?
Imo, since it is an “observation”, it should be the day you observed them, namely the 27th.
But maybe we should also consider the 24th, which is the day that Santa, having known you had been searching for them for months, came down your chimney and placed them on your tree.
It would be the date the specimen was collected from its habitat, so the date the tree was taken out of nature and brought to your house
Ok, I will cede this one to the experts, namely the ones who routinely observe the insects.
Based on the discussions linked below, you could upload them with the time and place you found them (in your house), as long as no human intended to move the aphids out of the tree’s original location or to move them into your house.
I would suggest using the date you actually observed the specimens as the safest/that which makes the most sense with the location at your house.
Many of the observations that “backdate” observations to a previous collection date do so because the organisms were observed and intentionally collected at that date, but the observers weren’t able to take pics (or high enough quality pics) at the time.
In this case, it sounds like you did not observe the aphids when the tree was collected. iNat is primarily about recording interactions between observers and nature and so your first knowing interaction would have first happened on the 27th.
There are some potential issues with giving a date of the 22nd and tree cutting location. For instance, is it possible that the aphids were eggs or overwintering on the tree when it was cut down (presumably outside and maybe cold?). The eggs may then have hatched when brought into a warmer interior. I am not an aphid expert, but this scenario seems plausible at least. If you make the observation for the 22nd and at the cutting location, this would indicate that active aphids were present there and at that time, perhaps at a different life stage than what they actually were, which would be incorrect data. For this reason, I would suggest making the date/location your house, though the aphids would still be wild (as they were unintentional hitchhikers).
If you do choose to make the date the 22nd, the location should definitely be where the tree was cut however. Regardless, I would leave a note/comment explaining since this will help IDers and others to understand the situation and give an explanation for an interesting observation!