M. proscarabaeus *not in U.S.*

Please do not suggest Meloe proscarabaeus on any observation in North America. This mostly goes for Meloes but I have seen this species ID on various other beetles. Meloe proscarabaeus is found strictly in Europe - Asia. There are no known observations and records of Meloe proscarabeus in the U.S. Identifying beetles as such means they show up on the taxon page map as well as send the information to GBIF (Global Information Biodiversity Facility) if two people agree.

Some constructive ways to correctly identify your/somebody else’s specimen:

I am making a guide for the Meloidae of the state of Virginia which represents the Eastern USA taxa . I will attach the link. I am also making a guide to the entirety of the Meloidae of the USA; I will attach the link here too.

I can attach a link to a PDF of the paper/monograph “The Bionomics of Blister Beetles in the Genus Meloe” (Pinto and Selander). This has a full catalog of species and range maps, descriptions, etc. This may help.

For staff reading this, you may want to make it so that violaceus and proscarabaeus no longer show up at the top of the suggestions. Perhaps by making it so that “native” comes first rather than “introduced”? As pointed out in the comments, Seek seems to be the cause of most of these misIDed beetles, therefore maybe implement the range restriction referred to there?

Thanks.

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From the iNat community guidelines.

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This sounds very frustrating for you: you know this species is not in North America but people keep identifying it as present there. You are spending time to create order by correcting these identification but maybe you’d like to have other people help create order? Or use your time in other ways?

Is the problem that computer vision suggests this species or that there is a similar species confusing observers? Or some other reason?

What strategies can people use in the present that are actionable? In other words, it can be hard to not do something but easier to do something. For example, it’s harder to not use Computer Vision for identification help because we still don’t know what to do. But it might be actionable to use a key you created or reference a link to. Does that make sense?

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Every identifier that specializes in a specific taxa for a region likely has their own reoccurring misidentifications they have to deal with. It’s frustrating, but also that’s just the way it is.

For me, it is Eurasian Moorhen in North America instead of Common Gallinule. Most of these are computer vision adds since iNat prompts a species name before it prompts a location when uploading an observation. But a few of them are due to old field guides listing the scientific name Gallinula chloropus in North America which the Eurasian Moorhen kept after the species were split in 2011. Dusky Moorhen is another common one, but I suspect that one can be blamed purely on the computer vision. I also get a lot of Eurasian Coots in North America instead of American Coots.

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There are probably a hundred species of fungi that are still listed in guidebooks under the EU taxon that pop up on a daily basis in NA because folks just don’t know there is proper NA name for it.

It would be nice if iNaturalist had a small flag or message pop up when users try to use EU-only taxa for observations within NA. I feel like I’ve seen past forum posts with similar sentiments. Introduced species can throw a wrench in the works here, however. For example, Strobilurus esculentus is a species of mushroom on Norway spruce cones that is EU-only, BUT it has been introduced in NA along with the spruce trees. How would you set a strict rule for this? How would this geo-gating be potentially problematic?

Forums are much better used for constructive suggestions and discussions rather than specific grievances that aren’t necessarily relevant to everyone.

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Yeah, it’s annoying, but this sort of situation is extremely common all over the place.

It’d suggest not getting so bent out of shape over it and not to assume that it’s your role in life to correct those mistakes in identification.

In North America there is Meloe americanus, which looks quite similar to Meloe proscarabaeus, and as the users of iNat are international, it’s not surprising that mistakes would be made.

Also, to make an example of why not to get so annoyed about corrections, it’s Meloe proscarabaeus, not, as you wrote, “Meloe proscarabeus”. No-one is flipping tables over about that.

Mistakes happen. With low-to-zero stakes issues like this don’t let it get to you.

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Looks like there aren’t any left in the US right now. Hopefully it won’t be too common an issue. I suspect people ID by common name in a case like this, rather than check to see if their species is different.

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It looks like you’ve only corrected two, unless a substantial number of people have corrected their IDs on their observations? I don’t know of a way to search by withdrawn IDs.

https://www.inaturalist.org/observations?ident_taxon_id=82109&ident_user_id=silaseckhardt&place_id=97394&subview=map

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It is actually much better than it used to be. Once the staff incorporated the option to only suggest species nearby, the number of North America observations dropped significantly. There used to be 30 a day, so I would check the species (and M. violaceus) regularly. Now it is probably 2-3 a week, not counting the ones that other people push back.

Most of them now seem to originate from Seek, which might not have the range exclusion yet.

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Here are the ones I have corrected. The map lights up! https://www.inaturalist.org/observations?ident_taxon_id=82109&ident_user_id=malisaspring&place_id=97394&subview=map

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A large portion of users never visit this forum, so this isn’t very efficient. I would actually say that what would be good would be that computer vision should simply refuse to suggest species if location is not set. But this would require in depth discussion and would probably not be implemented soon anyway given that there are so many other things the developer are working on with limited resources.

The location restriction is already implemented on iNaturalist, but people can opt out, and Seek does not seem to currently do location based IDs.

So a Seek user clicks the suggested ID, and then it will start suggesting to iNat users close to where that seek user was unless someone goes through and pushes back on the IDs regularly.

The problem is smaller than it used to be at least, but hopefully staff will update the Seek app to also include location suggestions as well.

It is very annoying. FYI I am not trying to get bent out of shape about this… I agree that it isn’t my role in life but as I state in the now-edited original post this info goes to GBIF and I have seen even some research grades of this species, wuold like to correct them, on top of the fact that I am trying to get more experience with the family.

This kind of thing is frustrating! Thanks for cleaning up the map and making resources that will help people get the identification right – when they notice, which they often don’t.

I see it with Stereum ostrea in the US a lot since it was called that for ages but now DNA evidence backs the original species split (long history of back and forth from what I remember from Sarah D.'s presentation) anyway…that mostly sorts itself at least in my area by correctly IDing them all -including old RG S ostrea - with others as well working on it, knocking it back to genus or getting it fully corrected if users were still active, that makes it not be suggested from nearby and gets the word out. In a way I enjoy it…because it’s a special interest taxa of mine and so I am now going through pages to ID to species in eastern NA (western has a few species I’m not as familiar with so I try to stay out of those states so I don’t mess something up). Probably your best bet is to do similar…and then like others who have interest in helping too see if they will help :)

I’ve only gotten one weird reply in hundreds of ID’s. Usually people are happy to learn! If you get tired of “saying same thing over and over” write out a lil note about it that is general, and you can even add a line at the end “feel free to tag me if you have questions” or something. Copy/Paste!

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