PamBarrett's picture

Beetle (added via Android)

Observed: 30th May 2013 By: PamBarrett
Photo 1
Description:
Identifications
Species interactions

No interactions present.

Comments

Jonathan's picture

Looks like this was feeding

Looks like this was feeding on spear thistle. If you have a nice picture of the plant from which it can be identified, why not add it as an interaction. This tells you how to do it: http://www.ispot.org.uk/help-interactions

Jonathan
University of Edinburgh and Biodiversity Observatory (OU)

chrisbrooks's picture

Interactions

Hi Jonathan, it is my belief that interactions should be used where there is a genuine relationship between two species. I have seen these Froghoppers on Comfrey, various grasses and nettles to name but a few. I do not believe that these form an interaction. I believe the larvae do feed on a certain root stock, not sure which but that would be an interaction. I am open to persuasion and am only expressing my opinion. Regards Chris.

Joe Botting's picture

Agree - it's a polyphage

You're right, Chris, these will feed on all manner of things. If it's green and juicy, it'll do. I've not come across any specific root-feeding association, either, but I may be wrong on that - the nymphs are rarely seen and still quite poorly understood, I believe.

I'd leave it without an interaction in this case, or you'll have to add several hundred species... ;o)

chrisbrooks's picture

Roots

Hi Joe, I have to admit it was only something in the back of my mind which I thought I had read about the roots, not really sure on that one either. Regards Chris

Jonathan's picture

Fair point, but then most

Fair point, but then most flower-visiting insects are very catholic too, but the interaction is of scientific interest. I would say that its well worth having records of all the plants that a polyphagous insect visits, precisely because its polyphagous. Why bias data towards recording only mono- or oligophagous relationships? At what point would you stop recording new hosts for an oligophagous species? So, record everything. Always a good idea in my experience.

Jonathan
University of Edinburgh and Biodiversity Observatory (OU)

Joe Botting's picture

Interesting perspective,

Interesting perspective, Jonathan... I guess my problem with this is that until we have a reasonably comprehensive number of food-plants recorded for a species, it will give the impression that there are only a few associations - and that these associations are therefore meaningful. If I saw a website that said this species was associated with thistles and nettles, I'd think, "hang on...". So, I get what you're saying, but to me the word 'association' implies that there is a real relationship - that the insect has *chosen* that plant to feed on, rather than it just being entirely random. I agree completely with the 'record everything' principle... I'm just not sure that giving it as an association rather than just noting it in the comments is a good idea.

Perhaps it's worth starting a discussion about this in the forums?

Jonathan's picture

The problem with just noting

The problem with just noting it in comments is that the information in comments cannot be recovered and is not systematically recorded. If you use the interactions function, the data are captured and can then be filtered and processed. That is the stage at which to decide what it means. Not before it has even been recorded.

Jonathan
University of Edinburgh and Biodiversity Observatory (OU)

Joe Botting's picture

Ah, fair enough...

In that case, I'll have to agree - I assumed the core observation details (and comments) would be exported and be systematically recorded as well. If not, then yes, I guess adding an association is the only way to go. As long as everyone concerned realises that 'association' on iSpot means a specific case rather than a generality, then no problem. It's good to get this sorted out. :o)

Joe