I have been using iNaturalist for about a month now. I have also read a lot of posts on IDs, especially subspecies. Part of how I provide explanations for my IDs has been shaped by other posts on the Forum. However, I am not sure if there is a post which states how detailed should one go when providing an explanation for IDs.
I know that it is controversial to identify subspecies for some people, and it is even more controversial to do so based only on geographic location or different appearance. As I stated in my first topic…
I also use Wikipedia, NatureServe Explorer, BOLD Systems, and any other credible academic papers/sources to help with identifications. Usually, I cite the aforementioned sources along with reasoning for the identification. I even state sometimes when I am unsure, “I am not an expert on X, so I could be wrong on this identification." Each of these sources has different important information, whether it is geographic data, morphologic data with pictures, or even both.
For instance, here is what I posted for identifying Biston betularia cognataria, or the North Amercian Peppered Moth.
This is a male Biston betularia cognataria morpha typica. Males have narrower thoraxes than females, and they have bushier antenna. In contrast to other similar looking moth species, the Peppered Moth does not have as many bold latitudinal lines, nor does it have prominent edge scalloped spots. The range of this subspecies is only North America (Müller, Bernd, et. all. “Ennominae II: (Boarmiini, Gnophini, additions to previous volumes).” Google Books , BRILL, pp. 306, 2019, https://books.google.com/books?id=lS2hDwAAQBAJ&pg=PA304&lpg=PA304&dq=Amphidasis+cognataria&source=bl&ots=vcji5QPrkY&sig=ACfU3U06TEG2nJSo7oOAAWZ2xl3juXUEig&hl=en&sa=X&ved=2ahUKEwjGwYvT_OHrAhVGCM0KHfCVAtUQ6AEwEnoECAgQAQ#v=onepage&q=Amphidasis%20cognataria&f=false. Accessed 7 September 2020). Upon being compared to the nominate European subspecies B. b. betularia , the American subspecies is darker and has more pronounced lateral lines, producing a unique “Cookies-and-Cream swirl” effect. Additionally, this specimen may be the bright morph since the spotting wing pattern is discernible on a light-colored wing background.
Based on what I have read on the forum, this appears to be a very detailed, albeit, wordy explanation. It incorporates both geographic information, morphological information/sex/morph, and a cited source. Do you think I should change the way I write my explanations so that people are able to understand them better, i.e. making it shorter, break into separate posts? And do you think I should link any genomic/phylogenetic analysis to make it more convincing/complete? I have made a BLAST phylogenetic tree that outlines the evolutionary relationships between geographic regions of the world. It was arduous to do since NCBI does not have an option to filter sequences by country/geographic region. I also have the list of the Descriptions table from the BLAST search.
While I only posted for one of my descriptions of an ID, how do you think detailed explanations for IDs should be handled in general?