Why are there about 4x as many observations of invertebrates as plants in the middle of summer

Why are there about 4x as many observations of invertebrates as plants in the middle of summer. Plants are relatively easy to photograph whereas inverts often are very tricky to photograph well. Is it because everyone knows most of the plants so does not bother to put them on ispot?

More invertebrates than there are plants?? Possibly things that move about are more interesting than static things…I don’t think everyone does know most of the plants - there are more out there than you think there are: I’ve been botanising since I was about 5, and seriously for the past 30 years, and still see around 20 new taxa every year and dozens more ‘rarely seen’ things

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As a generalisation:
In my case, it’s a combination of novelty and ease of photography. I’m at the stage where identifying new species of plant isn’t easy (in terms of believing that they’re new to me, and therefore worth looking at more closely): whereas potentially new invertebrates are perhaps easier to spot.
It’s also the case that - with equipment at the low-to-mid price range - birds and many plants are hard to photograph adequately. Birds are usually too far off, plants tend to fool the camera focussing. Combine this with age and stiffness, it’s less likely that I’m going to kneel or lie down (especially in the wet, tick-ridden fens) to take shots. The very useful fully-tilting camera screens are less common on equipment in my price range.

I thought that I was hitting a wall these last few years, but I’ve done a bit better for novel plant taxa this year. Getting to different areas/habitats would help. I noticed some differences in flora when I went over the the East Midlands last Thursday - apart from adding Cerastium arvense and Cornus mas to my life list, there were plants which I could count records on the fingers of one hand, such as Lactuca virosa or Byronia dioica which were quite common.

There are also species that are very abundant some years but much less so others, Silaum silaus has been very common on some of our meadow survey sites this year for example.

odd for a perennial…maybe it had a really good year 5 or so years back - or perhaps grasses suppressed a little by dry weather this spring so that the Silaum plants are more obvious.

On some sites grasses have been suppressed by last year’s drought - this year the dog walking area next to the allotments has large chunks of ground covered by Geranium molle and Rumex acetosella, rather than grasses.

Did that area have yellow rattle to eat the grasses, on some of our long-term monitoring sites the rattle has eaten the grasses in certain areas and now the vegetation is sparse with dicots mainly.

No yellow rattle there. The grass turned completely brown last summer.

It might amount to the same thing with the grasses being much reduced

For me, as a newcomer, after birding a bit over the years and then now becoming interested in being more “pan-species”. I was very excited to start photographing insects in the UK. I can go back to a spot 50 metres from me and regularly find new species of insect. This doesn’t happen with botany. Shooting static species is less fun!

I have also been using this site for identification before recording on iRecord. iRecord seems to have more active experts in invertebrates than anything else in my home county. This gives me added incentive to shoot them.

I also read that invertebrates are under-recorded in general, so feel like I am contributing more by recording them.

I wonder what the balance is for iNaturalist. I have also started using that as I am abroad in my other home country at the moment. In this country at least, insect identification is very inactive and its much easier to ID botany, so I am uploading more botany there…

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I know what you mean about going from one species group to another and discovering new things all the time even within a small area. I’ve just been looking at some of the iSpot data and some 10km squares have over 1800 taxa (not the same as species as not everything ID’s to species level), so you can clearly keep seeing new things if you look across many groups of organisms.

A while back there was a challenge to record 1000 species in 1 year in a 1 km^2 square. (You’d need to be able to identify micromoths and beetles to meet it.)

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I always wonder how far those moths come from to the moth trap, are they actually living in that 1km square or just happen to be passing through.

There have been some studies on this, if I have the time I will try to dig them out for you (although having some time during field season is unusual). My recollection is that traps tend not to attract things from very far, perhaps less than 100m.

The recommendation when setting up light traps is to space them over 100m apart as closer than that they interfere with each others catch, which again suggests around 50m attraction radius is typical.

They will still catch things that are just passing through (a light trap record does not prove a species is resident on a site) but I don’t think there is much to suggest they are pulling in things that would not be wandering through anyway.

Whereas assembling to pheromones might draw stuff in. I’m told that a virgin female emperor moth can draw in males from up the 2km away.

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Interesting challenge to reach 1000 in 1km square! This is a good goal. I might try and see how close I can get to this :slight_smile: