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

We started using it for the salticids in the “undescribed salticidae of NZ” project. In most cases the key is the first observation number and for a couple of them we have descriptive keys (eg “Rock salticid” I think, I’ll double check that when on pc). I have been wanting to tidy it up by making them all descriptive keys, but it would take discussion with all interested parties to do so. Kate I think is working up to doing a revision, I think Shaun has an interest too… It’s been on the “above my pay grade” wish list for a while :)

As for splitting off to another field, that can happen too… We already have this one and Tony’s original one… “Observation group”. I know of situations where both can be utilised, eg to follow an individual as well as have it grouped with the similar unknowns. It could conceivably made into a “set of set fields”, eg “lifecycle study” and “year in the life of”, although these are starting to get into the realm of project level treatment.

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Actually, one of the more interesting uses I’ve seen it put to was following decomposition of an animal carcass, such as roadkill. That included both observations of the same organism and the varied organisms that became involved in the decomposition

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Thanks. That decomposition example is an excellent one for how we need this to have a broader use than just tracking the same individual through time.

I’m still needing some unambiguous way to indicate that it’s the same individual I’m making repeated observations of. Even for trees, it’s not always obvious from the location as mobile phone GPS can easily vary by 50 m or more between observations.

As an example of that, these cabbage trees are all the same individual tree. You wouldn’t guess it from the locations. I’ve been using the “similar observation set” field for these but I also need some way to saying why they’re similar.

I’ve been tempted to still make the “same individual” field, but I had a harder hunt through the fields for something similar and just found “Same specimen over time”. That serves the same function (although it’s not been well used yet). I’ll get into the habit of adding “Same specimen over time” when I’m making repeated observations of the same individual.

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I use the SOS field for both purposes. I started with tracking insect life cycles, and I just put a comment in the observations that the life cycle can be seen by clicking the SOS field. Frequently I will also list the dates/stages of the organism in each observation once it is complete. I like being able to just from one to the other, but also see images all together on one page. Here’s an example: https://www.inaturalist.org/observations/40808425.

I also use the SOS to track unknown species. Just last night I updated those names from an observation link to a phrase like “Cedar_Elm_Fuzzy_Galls”. Ex: https://www.inaturalist.org/observations/46914655

I also collect specimens on request and use the field to indicate that also. Makes them easier to find later. I guess I haven’t had an issue knowing why the observations are grouped. Maybe because I use the original observation as the “name” on same organisms over time, and a description for similar unknown/undescribed species.

BTW @kiwifergus - When you edit the name of the field, it still shows the name that was added by the original person. (I updated a link from user123 and it shows user123 added it. Not a big deal, just making you aware.)

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soz, I just noticed that tag just now! Yes, there is a known bug (or at least was, maybe it was fixed?) that mis-attributes changes to field values. Had me very confused for a long time!