Interactions bee-flowers

I have a doubt if it is possible to make connections between records to show interactions.

is it possible to make a connection between observations, of a bee id in a flower and the flower id related to this bee id. Or of a parasite over a host, a bug sucking a plant, a primate eating a fruit, etc…
Currently, I saw that is it only possible to have independent ids in distinct records.



Yes, you can’t add multiple IDs of different species to the same observation (each observation is for one taxon), but you can add this info in other ways. You can make two observations for the same photo, for instance, and designate one for each different species (like flower and pollinator). You can then include the link to the matching observation in the description of each.

There are also some observation fields that you can use to provide this info. You can see existing ones here to check if any would meet the type of info you are thinking about:


as noted, one ID per observation, but the photo can be used for multiple observations

there are quite a few projects that use specific fields to track interactions, here is a pollinator example from North America:

digging down, here is an observation in that and several other related projects

given the use of a prescribed field (“Nectar plant”), the observation also shows up in an external database that tracks interactions


There are posts about it

he big problem looming over this whole feature is that observation fields are a bad way to model interactions. Since they represent a totally uncontrolled vocabulary, they’re rife with synonymous fields, so it’s hard interpret situations where, for example, there are both eats and preys on interactions, e.g. . What’s the difference? Why are both supported?

How can we get this higher up the “desired” list of features?
Both the New Zealanders and southern Africans have projects dealing with this.
Ours is visible at

Basically, we record only the active interaction (i.e. “a eats b”, not “b is eaten by a” - the latter just being the reciprocal of the first), although user pressure has resulted in us adding a passive field for the reciprocal observation, given that observations fields link only one way, so that these observations do not display their hosts) as:

Visiting flowers:
Attached to:
Associated with:
& the passive

Note that in each case the field value is the url of the interacting observation. Unfortunately we cannot use this is a query to summarize the interactions.
We can ask
“What flowers does the Cape Sugarbird Visit?” -
but we will only see the bird, and not the flowers, even though all the urls to the flowers are in the field - see: .

In over 5 years of using this “set” of interactions, we have never had a request to add additional interactions (e.g. Eating = preys on = killing to eat - i.e. “killing for fun” has not cropped up), although it would be nice to have a hierarchical dictionary of interactions (e.g. visiting a flower > pollinating a flower (> for nectar, pollen, oil, gum)/robbing a flower/, etc.

Just a request for - is that it is searchable/filterable and displayed in explore/observations - species view in descending order (and perhaps also taxonomic order?).

Oh: these may tickle you?
(Note that one chilli bush has over 500 interactions! - )

thanks for the links these could help me with figuring out good flowers for pollinators

glad that you found a way to use the info

generally, finding a local source for native plants is the best way to support pollinators, there is a thread broadly on this topic

1 Like

If you duplicate the observation it will be the same photo and by pressing ‘i’ you see all connections to the photo without specifying the kind or type of the relation

1 Like

Yes, that’s probably the best way to do these. I found there is no way to merge two different observations using the same picture later, so it is best to plan ahead and create one observation with one of the IDs, e.g. for the flower, and then duplicate it for the second ID, e.g. the bee. With duplicated observations, you can get links to all the observations that were duplicated from it by clicking the info button on the picture. However, a lot of people don’t know this so I usually add a note along the lines “this observation is for the flower; for the bee please see…” and add the URL for the duplicated one. That prevents people from adding bee IDs where you want the plant identified and vice versa.

1 Like

Tysm for helping

This topic was automatically closed 60 days after the last reply. New replies are no longer allowed.