Ups and downs of biological recording

in my time of recording wildife iv learned there is ups and downs of biological recording for county recorders and recording schemes. the ups is its helps map distribution and conservation statis of familys and species but the downs are not all species of wildlife are popular or some are more popular than others for a variety of reasons there not very colourful they look dull and boring or easy to overlook and pass by without noticeing. that and some still have lots of myths and misconceptions that suround them. another reason is some family and some species in certain types of familys can be challangeing to identify for instance although soms can be challangeing but still identifyed eventualy there are some that need a magnifying glass or a microscope to identify weather its male or female or have certain traits that can distinguish it from another species that is almost identical to another which can cause people to be less inclined to learn about them and want to record them exspecialy if they arnt good at identifying them or arnt exsperts on them and also some familys and species in certain familys can be less well known to most people than othet familys or species in that family which causes those to be under recorded like spiders and certain other under recorded familys or species in a family aswell which means county recorders and recording schemes dont have enough data for certain species or familys to make an acurate map of there conservation staus or distribution for conservation.

Indeed and there are some other issues too. For example at times it has been popular to just record a small subset of taxa and base conservation decisions on just those which is sometimes to the detriment of other taxa or the whole ecosystem.

Some groups, such as spiders, are much harder to get records accepted than, say, hoverflies.

Is that ( “spiders are hard to get accepted”) becuase the spiders are harder to identify than hoverflies,or because the people accepting the records have different standards to apply.

Good question.
Almost every record I’ve submitted has said ‘requires voucher specimen except from well-known recorders’ (or words to that effect). I’m sure that spiders are harder to get to species than many hoverflies but surely there are quite a few spiders that can be id’ed from photographs? Anyway, my spider VCR has agreed to look at some of my photos this winter, so we’ll see if I get any accepted!

As a non-specialist in either group, I’d say there are more hoverflies than spiders that can be identified at a glance. With most spiders I don’t bother with a key, just go straight to microscope examination of the palps of males or epigynes of females. Males are on the whole easier as the palps have more visible structures to consider, so best to only collect spiders that have boxing gloves. What books do you use for hoverflies and spiders?

I’m a complete novice on spiders - the only book I have is Britain’s Spiders which has lovely photos.
On hoverflies, I have Roger Morris’ Britain’s Hoverflies (second edition); Stubs and Falk and update; and also Hoverflies of Surrey by Morris (which is sometimes helpful in ruling out species that don’t occur in Surrey). I find the hoverflies FB group extremely helpful, too. But I’m only moderately good on hoverflies - at least I know some of the commoner species now.
Roger M verifies hoverfly records on iRecord virtually every day, so you get rapid feedback. I’ve never had any spiders verified on iRecord but I’ve recently made contact with our VCR who has offered to look at my photos when he has time.

My two main reasons for taking distribution maps (particularly NBN Atlas) with a pinch of salt are that for difficult groups the apparent distribution is basically the distribution of recorders (e.g. see the map for the very common springtail Entomobrya nivalis) and also that some counties and BRCs do not necessarily send their records to NBN Atlas even if they have been verified (e.g. beetle records I sent to Cambridgeshire RC!).

If you look at the BSBI database, nearly every plant appears commoner in Waterford and Wexford than in the rest of Ireland. I presume that this is a recording effort effect.

My reason for choosing this forum for my request for help is … it’s being read currently. So…
I want to post Ranunculus alpestris from Lech Austria.

It does not show up in the Add Observation: Identification drop down option.

The list for COL on iSpot Ranunculus | Species Dictionary | Global | iSpot Nature

does not show it.

But it is in COL here. Ranunculus alpestris L. | COL

Can someone explain?
p.s. I ‘live’ in Global on iSpot so that’s not the problem.

We have an old version of CoL on ispot but we are in the long process of trying to upload data to GBIF and update the version of CoL on ispot. We are in active discussions with both organisations at present (several emails over past few days).

Thank you. I was going to EDIT to add Gentiana purpurea L. to the request, Gentiana purpurea L. | COL
but I see now that it will happen in due course. I am stoic about this (what other approach is there?)

One interesting issue is that there is not a perfect match between CoL and GBIF taxonomy. They are supposed to be moving closer together but there is still a gap, hope to check shortly if any or how many of the iSpot taxa this affects.

more is that when you send a biological record to a recording scheme even if a Biological record is correct it still needs to be verified and then challangeing ones tend to be harder to get verified than just difucult species.

uncommon or Rare species also need to be verified regardless of weather you the one that made the observation have correctly identified it or not and depending on the species can also be hard to get verified.

i. record isnt the only recording scheme but recording schemes send identifications to i record or to the NBN atlas or add it to there own database.

however with i record in particular alot of records can go unverified for a long time or even stay unverified and never get verified at all. exspecialy with spiders. when I do spiders I send my observations to the spider recording scheme instead of i record so that they can add it to there of the reasons i record them is cause not only are they more interesting if you look closer and get to know them but cause they are an under recorded species most I send to the recorder get verified as correct and sent to there database

of course there are other species that are under recorded aswell. though there are of course probably other various things that can discourage people from recording certain species of Wildlife that may not nesaceeily of been memtioned aswell not just ones that have been memtioned.

I record a variety of Wildlife in my case. not everyone does nesaceeily though cause everyone is different

more other ups and downs of biological records I find also though is that records are kept safely in a database or atlas online but again thats online. online also has ups and downs which is why you should try not to rely too much on the internet to keep photos safe and so have a offline back up just in case. so they would need a back up if something were to hapoen one day otherwise all the data coukd be lost

another thing is that i record can have probloms with duplicate observations and so can be a problom and is a problom they have to deal wirh sometimes

another interesting thing to mention is that with maps of species distributions from biological records in surveys, and recording schemes and other things where people help like bird track or by counting or by other ways is that maps of species distributions can become outdated. last year the Grasshopper recording scheme aswell as spider recording scheme asked people to help contribute there records exspecialy since the correctly verified records sent will be put on the updated map of there distribution and any you dont send wont be put on it.
so maps of species distribution can become outdated over time and so need to be updated cause distributions can change over time.

but there are ups and downs to methods used in various schemes, surveys and methods in biological recording and so then theres also weather the maps will nesacerily be completely acurate even if they do get updated

theres different methods used to get an idea of distributions and theres weather the method people use to record species give the county recorders who use certain methods in recording schemes and surveys an acurate picture of species distribution

sometimes a species distribution cant even be displayed on a map cause theres not enough data to show it or its warned that it may not be acurate cause theres not enough data I wonder weather the methods and what types of methods are used to record can also afect the recording of species distributions exspecialy un popular or under recorded ones

If you look at iRecord, they now have a form for spiders which will go to the spider recording scheme.
But I have already sent my 2023 records to my VCR.

Iv noticed that Iv been looking at the map of species recorded on I record it was literally on the main page where you can sign in

Im looking for a place for Wildlife watching in Spain but Im going to try and see what places have the most records and what don’t and find out about the climates and Wildlife you can find I have also looked on Ebird and another recording scheme and interestingly on I record the whole of the UK is absolutely covered in records whereas Spain doesn’t have much records if any at all. I also looked on the nbn atlas and again lots of records for the UK but for Spain there was literally none in the NBN atlas

Birdingplaces |The free online guide to birding is good - and, in general, places that are good for birds are likely to have a good variety of other wildlife, too.
Hasta la vista!