Identifying Formae on My Own Insect Observations

As “Forma” or any other rank below subspecies for animals isn’t officially accepted by IUZN, I can understand if people don’t want to identify to that level. Since I found out about this, I wouldn’t ID other people’s observations to form if they haven’t already.

However, what is the best way to identify observations where the observer has identified the “correct” form already?
Does it contaminate the data for researchers in some way if a form reaches research grade?

I have a few observations of Harlequin Ladybugs (Harmonia axyridis) that I kind of want to keep at form for the simple selfish reason that I can easily see which forms I have observed, but the people identifying them most quickly keep it at H. axyridis and the other identifiers follow suit.

I’m definitely not accusing them of anything, and I mean, they technically are more correct than I am.

What would you do in this situation?

1 Like

you could use a custom tag for each Forma - searching for each tag will generate a list of the observations that have it, and they cant be removed or over-ridden EDIT: in the event someone else ends up using an identical tag, you can filter your search to only your own observations, or add them to a project


Anyway, I don’t really understand how Computer Vision works, but I suppose for a machine it would easily recognize a form of Harmonia axyridis.

Thank you, I’ll do that. :)
Ideally, I’d want them in to show up in the dynamic life list, but I guess it doesn’t make too much of a difference.

1 Like

Currently, CV only recognises H. axyridis and doesn’t suggest any of the forms. You habe to add them manually, but they do exist on iNat.

I saw a paper once where they listed the different ones and ever since I identified my own observations to form (and some by others before I learned it wasn’t IUZN supported). They are quite easy to tell apart.
(f. succinea is red with (usually 19) or without black dots, f. spectabilis is black with 4 red spots, f. conspicua is black with 2 red dots, f. axyridis is black with many red spots (12, I think), the other three are very rare)

Are people disagreeing with the form or just adding non-disagreeing IDs at species level? If the latter, I believe the taxon displayed at the top of the observation should be the more specific ID.

Infraspecific IDs are treated a bit idiosyncratically-- if the subspecies/form ID is the first ID, it will be displayed; if it is a refining ID, it will be displayed as the species until there is another subspecies/form ID.

1 Like

(or until I add a ‘supporting ssp’ ID - since iNat skips the ssp Needs ID step)

You are right. Weirdly, sometimes they are disagreeing and sometimes not (even though I am quite certain that I’ve identified the correct form on all my observations)
I have two obs displayed as “H. axyridis f. succinea”, but the rest are all at species level for one of the two reasons you mentioned (disagreeing species level ID, or me adding the forma ID later).

(By the way, I think it is kinda weird that infraspecies names sometimes get displayed on RG-observations where the infraspecies rank itself hasn’t fulfilled RG requirements, but I guess it’s lucky for me in this case, haha)