Common Name problem (Longhorn Beetle)

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Giles King-Salter
Common Name problem (Longhorn Beetle)

I've just run a search under 'Explore All Records' for Pyrrhidium sanguineum and it returns a lot of erroneous results, including other longhorn beetles, bugs and a wasp. It seems that the filter is picking up any records labelled with the common name 'Longhorn Beetle' rather than restricting the search to the scientific name only.

 

The second question is why has Pyrrhidium sanguineum been given the common name 'Longhorn Beetle', when this should refer to the whole of the Cerambycidae? It's an extremely bad and confusing name choice. An alternative name in use is 'Welsh Oak Longhorn Beetle', which at least has the advantage of being unique although it doesn't seem very appropriate for a species distributed across three continents. Even within the UK it seems misleading for a species that is becoming more widespread in England.

iRecord support
Naming

Thanks for highlighting this. I agree with you that it would be better not to use "Longhorn Beetle" as the English name for Pyrrhidium sanguineum, and I will liaise with Chris Raper at the UK Species Inventory to get that sorted out.

Can you let me know how you ran the search? I've just gone to Explore - All records, opened up the "Create a filter" settings, and in the "What" box I've added Pyrrhidium sanguineum as the species. The result is that I see 58 records of Pyrrhidium sanguineum, not all of which are confirmed but I'm not seeing other beetles, bugs and wasps.

Thanks,

Martin

Giles King-Salter
Hi Martin,

Hi Martin,

Thanks for the reply. I did send a similar message to the NHM as well.

I've just tried the search again - Explore All Records for England & Wales in the last 10 years returns 48 results. I put Pyrrhidium sanguineum in the 'What' section under 'Species or higher taxa'. Out of the first 10 records, I think only 1 (by Roger Plant) is genuine - others are different beetles (I think all longhorns), plus a wasp (8016320) and what looks like a Western Conifer Seed Bug (8004020 - this one's even been verified).

I get exactly the same result with just 'Pyrrhidium' in the search box.

Best wishes,

Giles

Barry Walter
Re: Longhorn Beetles

Just to add another data point.

Searching Explore All Records - with [What] Pyrrhidium sanguineum; [When] blank; [Quality] all records) - I get 63 records total with 27 having photos. I agree that 8004020 is a Western Confier Seed Bug, and I'm slightly shocked that this has been accepted as correct, given that it has a fairly clear photo. I also see a mixed bag of other Longhorn Beetles (mainly Leptura quadrifasciata and Rutpela maculata), an Ichneumon Wasp, plus various other bugs and beetles. Perhaps most of these records were originally entered as simply "Longhorn Beetle", and only later became erroneously associated with Pyrrhidium sanguineum?

I wonder what all this implies about the accepted records which don't have photos? Are they really all Pyrrhidium sanguineum, or should some of them be just "Longhorn Beetle" (i.e. Cerambycidae)?

I think this is an area where sites which use community identification have a huge advantage over irecord. Mistakes like this could be quickly corrected by more experienced recorders before the verifiers get to see them.

 

Giles King-Salter
Hi Barry,

Hi Barry,

Checking the record entry form, if you start typing Longhorn Beetle in the species box it comes up with 'Longhorn Beetle [Pyrrhidium sanguineum]' as the top choice. If you select this (or tab to the next box) it displays 'Longhorn Beetle' but it's obviously linked to Pyrrhidium sanguineum. I agree with you that probably all the incorrect records were originally entered as Longhorn Beetle - it seems very unlikely that any of these species would intentionally have been entered as Pyrrhidium sanguineum.

I notice what looks like a similar problem with typing the name 'Wasp' in the species box - this defaults to Vespula vulgaris.

Barry Walter
Re: Longhorn Beetles

Hello Giles

I think I can see another aspect to the problem. For obviously wrong records with photos, the ones showing Name As Entered: "Longhorn Beetle" seem to be from irecord general data, whereas the ones showing Name As Entered: "Pyrrhidium sanguineum" are from the irecord app. So I suspect something extra is being lost in translation for the latter case.

From what I can see, the similar problem with "Wasp" doesn't seem to be as bad. There aren't any obviously wrong IDs (i.e. they all at least appear to be Vespinae). However, I still can't see how it can be a good idea to default to Vespula vulgaris, given how easy it is is misdentify vespids in photos.

iRecord support
Follow-up

Thanks for the additional feedback. We will get the "Longhorn" name transferred to family level as soon as we can (which I see is what UKSI have already done).

The crowd-sourcing point is an interesting one, and I agree it can work well for species that are reasonably widely known to people. An element of crowd-sourcing is possible in iRecord, in that anyone can add a comment to a record, and the comment should then get notified to the original recorder and to the verifier if one has been involved.

I also agree about other English names such as "Wasp" and we will try to address these as they come to light.

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