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The Society for the study of flies (Diptera)

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#1 2017-03-09 23:34:12

Rainieria
Committee
Name: Darwyn Sumner
Registered: 2008-02-20
Posts: 308

Encyclopedia of Life

Quote from EOL:

flies are of little direct benefit to man

One issue arising from the testing of the NBN Atlas is that of the summaries that NBN are using for the various groups of Diptera taxa.
Understandably, they've chosen to link to a single source - Encyclopedia of Life at http://eol.org/pages/421/overview
Two of us already have issues with the entries there - as they would appear on our UK Atlas and be read by anyone exploring there.
For Micropezidae the entry is as follows:

Adult micropezids (Stilt Flies) often live on foliage or tree trunks in forested areas and some are attracted to fresh mammal dung. Males of the wingless Badisis ambulans McAlpine run on flowering branches of Astartea (Myrtaceae) with the ants that they mimic. Larvae are little known but some live in underground plant parts or decaying wood. Those of Badisis ambulans live in the pitchers of the insectivorous plant Cephalotus in south-western Australia.

The item was submitted by Michael Jefferies almost 5 years ago, he's a bee-fly enthusiast and one could make guess as to which continent he lives on.
I have issues with this antipodean take on this description of the Family in a UK/European context and have submitted a response to the NBN Atlas team accordingly (it's in its testing phase so these are legitimate observations rather than random grumbles)
Not just me. Michael Ackland raised similar issues with the Anthomyiidae entry. I'll leave it to him to say more if he wishes but I think we are both homing in on a single concept to describe these entries - "cobblers"
Databases such as these are ignorable when they have no direct connection to us but someone has now made that connection through the forthcoming NBN Atlas and anyone visiting it and being presented with these overviews.
Please check the entries in EOL to your group and let me know what you think.


Darwyn Sumner
DF Bulletin Editor, Scheme Organiser: Stilt & Stalk Flies

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#2 2017-03-13 13:05:23

Michael Ackland
DF Members
Name: Michael Ackland
Registered: 2008-06-14
Posts: 180

Re: Encyclopedia of Life

I checked again with the Atlas and received different results, equally incorrect. I entered 'Anthomyiidae' and then 'species'. Then 'Pegomya' and received 88 records (about 48 British species). In the list of species I clicked Pegomya rufipes. This listed, after the name, 'Palustriella commutata var. falcata (no author).  I clicked on this and got this species with the author (Brid.) ochyra.

Further search showed that this species was a plant belonging to the Bryophyta. As far as I know it is nothing to do with Pegomya rufipes which feeds on fungi.

A second attempt for Botanophila fonsecai included several other flies not in Anthomyiidae but named after Fonseca. Also some other species of Botanophila including appendiculata (Mall., 1929). This is a Nearctic species, and Bembidion quadrimaculatum was included as an accepted name for appendiculata. I believe Bembidion is a carabid beetle!

As they say on Euronews, "No comment"

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#3 2017-03-13 18:05:31

Rainieria
Committee
Name: Darwyn Sumner
Registered: 2008-02-20
Posts: 308

Re: Encyclopedia of Life

It's good that someone else is checking out the Atlas during this test phase.
The concerns you list seem to be mostly to do with the "species dictionary". For Diptera we should be pretty good with this, we've got Chris Raper in our ranks and he's got overall responsibility for the dictionaries (though I do recollect reading somewhere that he's busy all over the range of flora and fauna, prioritising in different areas at different time) and he liaises closely with Peter Chandler to the best of my knowledge.
The Gateway as was and the Atlas now use the same dictionaries as that in Recorder 6. Observations of similar nature to yours are commonplace in many areas. Because of the use of the dictionaries in R6 many of these kind of problems arise from R6 users and they tend to use the NBN Forum to register such issues.  There's a whole section entitled UK species inventory / dictionary at http://forums.nbn.org.uk/viewforum.php?id=16 where you'll see many postings from people who you might know (Steve McWilliams of Lancashire is a regular there for example). I guess the list there finishes up as Chris Raper's work schedule somehow.
I believe there are also mechanisms for downloading the current dictionary for use in your own spreadsheets (I haven't done that but I suspect others do), really useful if you reckon your bit is good (which mine is, though I'd love to see it extended to Europe) but not so much if it's not right.
That's probably the best place to raise species dictionary issues.


Darwyn Sumner
DF Bulletin Editor, Scheme Organiser: Stilt & Stalk Flies

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