Using the field "Similar Observation Set" for linking observations of lepidoptera when raising on


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I created a field for linking observations where you don’t want a full on project to do so. It is perfect for linking observations of different stages of a lifecycle when raising on lepidoptera, for instance… also for linking observations that look to be the same unknown taxa.

As an example, three observations for a caterpillar I found and raised on…

Notice all three observations have a field called “Similar observation set” and the value is set to 16545226, which is the observation number for the larva (first obs), which is easily obtained in a chrome browser by double clicking on the number in the url and using ctrl-c to copy it. Of course, there was a bit of time between each obs, so I wrote the number on the container it was raised in, so I would remember to link each subsequent observation.

To view all three obs in a search result you just left click on the field name and select “Observations with this field and value”:


Notice that it initially only brings up one observation in the search result, being the first one. This is because I made the other two observations “captive” because they were technically captive from that point on. To bring them into the query result in this example, one more step is needed, which is to change the query to include captive observations, which is done by de-selecting “verifiable” on the left hand side of the Filters box:

You can see the extra two obs added to the query have casual against them. It took me a while to figure out why only some of my obs would work with this linking method!

In this first pic above, you can see the field description I gave it, back when I created this field for linking similar observations. We were seeing a salticid popping up in obs, we all knew it as “undescribed tree jumper”, and my intention with this field was to use that informal nick-name as the linking value. I soon after stumbled on the use for situations like the raising on, or where you go back and get follow up obs for trees to get different stages (leaf emergence, flower buds, flowers, fruit, fall-leaf colour and so on)… any situation where you might like to link together a group of observations without going to the full on project way of grouping them!

If the name of the field doesn’t gel with you, you can create your own with similar functionality, as every field can be accessed with that Field/Value choice when clicking on the field name. Once you use a field, it appears in the shortlist of fields that appear when you next go to add a field, so using it is really easy. Our using the obs number is just a quick and dirty way to get a unique number to use for a specific set of observations.

Once you have built the set, you can share a link to the query that groups them… like this one for a tailed forest spider as she laid a series of eggsacs: You’ll notice that again the linking field value was the first obs number, but if a descriptive field value is used then the url for the query effectively would carry it’s own description of what it is!

Have a play with the field and let me know if you have difficulties, and especially if you find other interesting uses for it!


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