Stictocephala issue

Stictocephala alta and bisonia are apparently two different species, as is correctly reflected by the iNat-taxonomy. So no need to flag the taxon.
However, as until recently only St. alta was available to select, the large majority of observations at species level are of St. alta (500 in US, 300 in Europe) vs. only a dozen of St. bisonia.

See e.g. discussion here:

Here is the problem: at least in Europe all observations should be IDed as St. bisonia, and I guess that would be the case for most US observations as well. So would a taxon swap have been a better solution?

I don’t know how well the two species can be separated by photos, but as of know, a lot of effort would need to be taken to ‘correct’ for all those observations.

Any suggestions how to tackle this?

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My 2 cents – if even a small part of the current observations are correctly identified as S. alta, a swap would not be a good idea, since it would end up intentionally misidentifying the correct S. alta observations as S. bisonia.

The only other way to avoid manually adding corrective IDs on all the other observations would be an atlased taxon split. The results would depend on how geographically separable the two taxa are (by standard administrative units). If they have mostly separate geographic ranges (especially the correctly identified S. alta observations), this would be the most efficient approach. But if there is a lot of overlap, all the observations in the area of overlap will get kicked up to genus level, and still need to be manually re-identified to species.

I think you just have to assess which approach would cause the least disruption and go with it.


@jdmore I was wondering about the photo ID potential of the two species exactly because of what you considered: that there are true S. alta IDs among them. So, if that amount would be small, and an expert would aim to go through them, then maybe it would be easier to revert the few ‘true’ S. alta observations then the other way round. Maybe some hopper expert will join the discussion? @nomolosx @hopperdude215


Sorry I’m late to the party. Yes, this is an issue where Kyle or I will have to go through the individual observations and correct them, at least for the U.S. This will be a large undertaking (we’ve done similar things before such as with Graphocephala), but before we do it we will need to develop an understanding of the species (the true appearance of S. alta is not entirely clear) and have time, which will be unlikely any time soon. I made the new species page instead of a swap for now as I feel like it’s the least disruptive option for the time being. I echo what @jdmore says. Treehopper taxonomy as a whole is still quite messy on iNat; perhaps Kyle and I will be able to address these things in the winter (I am mostly unfamiliar with the family at the moment other than the things we’ve already gone through). All in all, this is something we will likely address at some point as we work through ID’s and taxonomy corrections.