Several (well, thousands of) insect species induce galls in plants. For many, this is where they reside for most of their life cycle, only emerging briefly to mate and lay eggs.
Should the main photo associated with these insect taxa be:
- A photo of the insect itself?
pro: emphasizes that the taxon is, in fact, referring to the insect, not the host plant
con: often not the form of evidence most frequently encountered, especially when seeing the free-flying insect itself is a rare occurrence.
- A photo of its characteristic gall?
pros: often the form of evidence of the insect most frequently encountered by iNaturalists
cons: seems to confuse many casual users, who click on it thinking it is the scientific name of the plant (which they may or may not realize is galled)
Rhopalomyia solidaginis is a fly that makes galls in the apical buds of goldenrods, common late-summer wildflowers in my region. These galls look like tufts of many narrow leaves at the top of the stalk. Maybe due to overzealous identifications in the past, the CV now aggressively suggests “Rhopalomyia solidaginis” for photos of a great diversity of leaf-clusters on diverse plant species. Casual users of the site frequently select this suggestion, even for un-galled plants, seemingly unaware that they are selecting a species of fly, not a species of plant. I think the photo might be partly to blame, which shows the characteristic gall formed by this fly. The actual adult flies themselves are rarely encountered. You basically have to rear them yourself if you want to photograph them.