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Fall Fund Drive

Condense Heteroptera?

I find it rather tiresome to have to scroll through 40 families of Heteroptera. Thus, I propose it be condensed via infraordinal taxonomy. I.e.:

Enicocephalomorpha (Enicocephalidae)
Dipsocoromorpha (Ceratocombidae)
Gerromorpha (Hebridae, Mesoveliidae, Hydrometridae, Veliidae, Gerridae)
Nepomorpha (Belastomatidae, Nepidae Gelastocoridae, Corixidae, Naucoridae, Notonectidae, Pleidae)
Leptopodomorpha (Lptopodidae: NOT IN GUIDE)
Cimicomorpha (Reduviidae, Miridae, Tingidae, Nabidae, Anthocoridae, Cimicidae)
Pentatomomorpha (Everything else)

It might also be useful to split the Pentatomomorpha into superfamily (especially with Lygaeidae being broken up)

Aradoidea (Aradidae)
Pentatomoidea (Acanthosomatidae, Cydnidae, Pentatomidae, Scutellaridae)
Lygeoidea (Berytidae, & the lygeoids)
Piesmatoidea (Piesmatidae: NOT IN GUIDE)
Pyrrocoroidea (Largidae, Pyrrocoridae)
Coreoidea (Alydidae, Coreidae, Rhopalidae)

This should make it easier for amateurs to recognize similar taxa and emphasizes the uniquness of Enicocephalidae & Ceratocombidae...

... having said that, I'd probably screw this up if I tried it.. so if there aren't any major objections could one of our other editors do this :)

After pages and pages of argument, here's the result:

Joe did some things that just about everybody else found too hasty and/or wrong. Joe feels compelled to defend at least some of them, which causes others to contest his assertions, which causes him to defend them, etc., ad nauseam.

Now that Joe is no longer an editor, he can't do any of the things we objected to in the first place. Now that we have a list of the things he did that need to be fixed, there's really no point in discussing the matter further- all it does is generate ill will and make visitors uncomfortable.

I may be just one of 60-plus editors, but I would suggest to John that we should make notes of the information we need and delete the whole topic.

Heteroptera has been restored
to a list of 40 families, and higher classification info has been added to the Guide page.

I don't think it's wise to "delete the whole topic" lest history repeat itself and we end up rehashing everything.

new development
I was planning to wait two more days for additional comments/activities, and if none were forthcoming, was going to suggest that Joe reverse the changes he made to Heteroptera (in accordance with the wishes of multiple members who opposed the changes).

However, I just now noticed that Joe is no longer an editor, and therefore cannot make further changes. So I volunteer to return things to the way they were last week, and also propose to add higher classification info and links to the Heteroptera page, as mentioned in earlier comments.

I agree
This whole affair has gotten way out of hand, so it's probably better to put things back and let everything cool down.

There's also the matter of Joe's actions re: "Adalbert's Colorado Images", which will have to be resolved before everything goes over the edge in 30 days. I think, also, that some of the new guide pages Joe created as part of that project might need to be reexamined, since some seem to based on accepting Adelbert's IDs with the assumption that John Ascher or Eric Eaton would have objected if they were wrong.

Finding the changes shouldn't be too hard, since all of the images involved will have the phrase "Moved from Adalbert's Colorado Images" in a comment attached to them. The problem is just the sheer number of things to look at.

I've unfrassed a number of the images on the principal that an issue that's taken years without a consensus shouldn't be forced to resolution in 30 days- though some undoubtedly deserve oblivion. I'll probably do more, but I'm starting to get cross-eyed.

wise words from Chuck
"This whole affair has gotten way out of hand"

I agree

"some of the new guide pages Joe created as part of that project might need to be reexamined"

or better yet deleted

"some seem to based on accepting Adelbert's IDs with the assumption that John Ascher or Eric Eaton would have objected if they were wrong."

This was an incorrect assumption. Some of the IDs may or may not be correct. I can't and don't have time to refute them all but making a guide page for unverified IDs of usually poor images seems like a bad idea.

"an issue that's taken years without a consensus"

My suggestions:

-Keep all the decent field shot photos of wild insects on flowers
-Consider frassing many of the low-res, ill-lit images of dead bees in petri dishes
-Don't believe any of the IDs and don't create guide pages based on them!

I for one am certainly in fav
I for one am certainly in favor of frassing the Adalbert images, as you suggest. I hope now that you've weighed in on this that some action will be taken. I'll be happy to track down the pages I created for deletion, as I created them only as a stopgap towards eliminating the Adelbert folder.

I did not suggest or endorse frassing all of his images
I cannot possibly see why you thought it useful to add taxa to bugguide and then create species pages for Adalbert's images if your goal was to delete his entire folder.

Please do delete the invalid taxa and erroneous species pages.

Here are the guide pages I created. Since I cannot delete these myself someone else will have to take on this project. Just to clarify for whomever does this, you are in favor of frassing Adelbert's images of dead specimens and saving his images of live specimens? This would include all the images listed below and most everything in 'Adelberts Colorado Images'.

Thanks for weighing in on this, as yours is likely the only voice that could help resolve this issue.

Perdita kiowi
Andrena accepta
Andrena anograe
Andrena carlini
Andrena frigida
Andrena helianthi
Andrena lewisii
Andrena melanochroa
Andrena mentzeliae
Andrena perarmata
Andrena sieverti

Augochlorella striata
Agapostemon angelicum
Evylaeus inconditus
Evylaeus ovaliceps
Evylaeus supranitens
Lasioglossum sisymbrii
Lasioglossum trizonatum
Sphecodes eustictus
Sphecodes sophiae
Sphecodes nitidissimus
Chloralictus {Genus}

Coelioxys sayi {created by someone else based on Adelbert's ID}
Coelioxys funeraria
Megachile perihirta {tentatively IDed by Dr. Ascher}
Megachile brevis
Megachile melanophaea
Megachile giliae
Megachile fortis
Megachile townsendiana
Megachile frigida
Megachile parallela
Stelis lateralis
Osmia cobaltina
Osmia brevis
Osmia calla
Osmia nanula
Hoplitis pilosifrons
Hoplitis albifrons
Heriades carinata

Ceratina nanula
Melissodes grindeliae
Melissodes menuachus
Melissodes agilis
Diadasia australis
Svastra atripes
Svastra obliqua
Bombus centralis
Bombus flavifrons
Bombus frigidus
Bombus nevadensis
Bombus appositus
Bombus mixtus
Bombus balteatus
Nomada modesta
Nomada sayi
Nomada scita
Nomada zebrata
Oreopasites scituli
Epeolus americanus

Colletes nigrifrons
Colletes kinkaidi
Colletes petalostemonis
Colletes salicicola
Hylaeus mesillae
Hylaeus modestus

it is a lot of unnecessary work for someone
to deal with all of those pages

"you are in favor of frassing Adelbert's images of dead specimens and saving his images of live specimens?"

Its not that simple. In general his images of live specimens are more valuable in my opinion, and many of his images of dead specimens are very poor, but I don't think they should all be deleted, especially without consulting other editors.

Please be sure not to unmove
Please be sure not to unmove pics that WERE identified by the experts, as that would be a bit silly :) ...

and one final heteropteran thought, how about at least ordering phylogenetically (like has been done with the insect orders)

new statements
Hi Joe,

I´m happy you engage yourself in buguide, first to tell. I also agree that it would be a pity to reduce the educational value of this site.

My position on higher classification is ambigous. Concerning taxonomy, you´ll always have to keep in mind that the only taxa EXISTING are species - and every grouping of them is something scientists have undertaken either to order that mass of species in a way that facilitates orientation, understanding of phylogenetical relationships, or both. Not always both, the targets may conflict - in this case, scientific reason has to dominate pragmacy (e.g. legless lizards not being classified as snakes)

Taxonomic LEVELS are completely arbitrary! You don´t believe?
Then just imagine that us, gorilla, and baboon were insects, and the way taxonomy would treat us then. I think it is safe to postulate, that evolutionary distance between these mammals is less than most tribe or subfamily distinctions in Pterygota. So, in case question only is about taxonomic rank, I prefer to leave debate on it for others, and to follow pragmacy - whether, e.g. Scarab subtaxa are regarded as tribes, subfamilies, or families is nothing I worry about, as long the whole group stays united.

To reach taxonomic uniformity is a nice task, but I guess one not to be realized. Not only in bugguide. Too much different opinions, too much forth-and-back, too much taxa based on questionable characters! And never ranking will be accepted, that is based on evolutionary distance, even in case you have the best arguments. Just synonymize Pan, Pongo and Gorilla with Homo, and try to get this published . . .

Chuck´s proposal to include any such stuff into a newly edited info page is fine - I really admire the one on Coleoptera!

You wrote a sentence, implications of which I worry about:

"Roy was against it as well, but admittedly I gave that opinion less consideration than the others based on his self-professsed status as "less than an amateur"

Its the amateurs (of variable degree), bugguide is for, and by which contributions mainly the site grows! I think, an amateurs´ statement should be given MORE consideration, in this case.
One reason of bugguide (and for me, besides fun, the most important to take part) is to propagate interest in "creepy crawlers". Today beginners are the entomologists of tomorrow, and every measure that may disencourage them we´ll have to think over.

I agree wholeheartedly with everything you said... especially regarding uniformity... it's really quite silly how some groups (moth superfamilies, acalyptrata families) have been split ad nauseum to the detriment of most everyone.

But I would like to clarify my words on Roy, as I may not have presented my point clearly on that... namely, that if we catered this site solely to the most neophytic of amateur entomologists we wouldn't include any taxonomy outside of order/family/genus/species... but for large groups (like heteroptera) this is clearly not the best course of action... we've already set this precedent with groups like coleoptera & Diptera, which often are broken down to tribal level... and while Roy isn't likely to appreciate the difference between Lebiini and Harpalini, many of us do and greatly benefit from this organization.

I personally don't know every familial placement in heteroptera, but having that information readily apparent (and not just blurbed in the info page) greatly helps in facilitating an increase in knowledge... of course no taxa above species level is ever uniform, but they do represent important monophyletic groups, and disseminating information about these is just as vital a goal for this site as any other.

Hope to hear from more on this. Cheers, Joe :)

A Compromise
Keep the actual flat family structure, but arrange the families in a special way:
  • Create a guide for the higher taxon, but as a No Taxon with a title like this: "Superfamily Lygaeoidea (For Information Only).
  • On the info page for that guide, have a list of its subtaxa with links and representative thumbnails, like the Coleoptera page
  • Reorder the families so that each of these special guide pages is followed by the families that belong to it. The BugGuide system sees them all as children of the same parent taxon, but to the eye the superfamily entry followed by family entries will be recognizable as one unit (at least in Tree View).
The drawbacks have to do with this system's informal nature: since the families are only next to the superfamily rather than under it in the taxonomic tree, the superfamily won't show up on the system-generated tree displays on pages "below" it on the tree, and I'm not sure how it would look in Browse or Image View.
We'll also have to figure out what to do when people post images to these dummy guides. And then, there's always the posibility of our nice system being alphabetized into oblivion, as recently happened to the Pterygota node.
On balance, though, I think it should be an improvement.

This seems like a taxonomic m
This seems like a taxonomic middleman that would make the list of taxa that much more long/unwieldy... the only arguments against a phylogenetic approach that I've heard so far is that it's unfamiliar... surely we are not incapable of learning a few extra names.

Remember that this is a site for the general public. The problem isn't just about learning the extra names, it's about not having the families visible. That's like having a dictionary with the entries arranged by etymological origin: "Taxonomy"? Look in the chapter under latinized Greek. "Approach"? Look in the chapter under Old French.

I took the initiative and tweaked the taxonomy... I followed Boris' suggestion and refrained from creating higher-level taxa for monofamilial groups... but contrary to Boris I kept the Infraorder Cimicomorpha, mostly because the hodgepodge of families seemed out of place among the neat, concise infraorders around them...

I hope this isn't too controversial a change to the guide... I would have liked to have heard from more of our experts on this... if there is a horrendous outcry over the change I will put everything back to the ole status quo... but I urge all the heteropteran minded folks to give this new classification a try... compared to the dipteran/coleopteran/moth taxa this isn't that hard to wrap one's brain around.

Cheers, Joe.

Four people disagreed
with your proposal in just over 24 hours, yet you made the unwanted changes anyway.

Could it be that because John and Jane Balaban, Roy Sigafus, and I are not "experts", our opinions don't count?

Say it aint so, Joe.

By my count it was John/Jane
By my count it was John/Jane & Robin against... Boris for (but with modifications)... Chuck for some form of organization... and me for it of course

That's 3 for some change, 2 against... Roy was against it as well, but admittedly I gave that opinion less consideration than the others based on his self-professsed status as "less than an amateur"; I would presume he has just as much difficulty with families as superfamiies.

I'm actually a bit suprised you're so against this change, for, correct me if I'm wrong, but are you not the one who added the Superfamily pages to Acalyptrata... surely those are far more arbitrary and unnecessary than what I've suggested.

Anywho, I'd like to hear more opinions on this matter (from experts and non). It can always be changed back if the bugguide community objects.

Please change it back
Your reckless additions, deletions, and changes are not helpful and have caused people a lot of unnecessary frustration.

There's definitely a problem
with BugGuide's organizational structure when the non-entomologists it was intended for are confused by it.

Analogy: an online shopper visits "Supermarket A" and finds the Fruit section divided into, say, "Arborealmorphs" (tree fruits), "Arborealmorphettes" (shrub fruits), "Vinosomatiformes" (vine fruits), and "Annualioides" (herbaceous fruits). Apples and oranges aren't visible until the correct subcategory is selected, and the remainder of "Supermarket A" is similarly arranged. The shopper then visits "Supermarket B" and sees an alphabetical list of 50 fruits in the Fruit section.

For the benefit of the majority of users, I think BugGuide should strive to be more like "Supermarket B" above.

I added superfamily pages to Acalyptratae this February because the superfamily Tephritoidea was already there (created by Richard Leung in March 2005) and I hoped that the additions would be less confusing/more uniform than the pre-existing mix of families and superfamilies on the same level. However, in March the Balabans mentioned simplifying the Myriapoda section, and it struck me as a good idea that could be applied to other sections as well. So I now agree with you that my addition of superfamilies to Acalyptratae was unnecessary. I'll be removing the pages soon, returning things to the way they were prior to February.

Selective counting
"3 for some change" doesn't mean 3 for your change. Please understand that this is a community, which means that it runs by consensus, not a simple majority (which of course ignores the other 50 or so editors and who knows how many contributors who haven't weighed in). I've had many suggestions die from lack of interest before being accepted later, or take far longer than I think they should to be adopted. That's just the nature of the beast.

If anyone can make a change without waiting for a consensus, we run the risk of "churn" from changing first to one thing, then the next, until everything gets muddled.

Condense Heteroptera?
As, possibly, even less than an amateur, I must go with J&J's position on this. None of the terms Joe proposes have ANY recognition with me. While they may, in fact, be the 'next greatest evolution in taxonomy', they are to me some obscure gobbly-gook which no one I am ever likely to encounter (including (maybe) most Bug_Guide contributors) will ever recognise.

'Help me' and I am with you -- confuse me (further) and I have no reason to support your (well intentioned) efforts at clarification.

status quo OK with me
I agree with the statement by Boris that "Whoever is interested in higher classifications, may consult other sources." and I also agree with J&J that "...we are fine with Heteroptera as it is, and actually wish more of the large insect groups looked like this..."

The information you've supplied above could be placed on the Info page of Heteroptera for the benefit of those who want to know what groups the families fit into. But I'm against adding yet another level of complexity to the Guide when it would hinder navigation (and it certainly would, as already explained by J&J using the Diptera example). I prefer the way things are now.

"...we are fine with Heteropt
"...we are fine with Heteroptera as it is, and actually wish more of the large insect groups looked like this..."

This raises the question of taxonomic uniformity on this site... we have orders like Coleoptera & Diptera that are organized with a thorough cladistics approach (albeit paraphyletic in Diptera)... then there are groups like Lepidoptera that utilize higher level classifications without any organization to it... and lastly, groups like Heteroptera and "wasps" which sadly remain completely unorganized... as an educational resource, this seems completely unacceptable

There are places to draw a line in the taxonomic sand, but we shouldn't advocate sacrificing useful phylogenetic information for the sake of convienence. I don't think it's asking too much of our community to learn a handful of easily recognized higher level taxa and make an extra click on them.

we should help the community to learn
not force them to learn by requiring them travel through complex taxonomic pathways on their way towards their real goal: identifying the bug

my opinion
We may think about something half-way, pragmatic:

I would support the grouping of Pentatomoidea and the aquatic -morpha, because it will help amateurs to get an idea of their characteristics.

I´d also support the grouping of Lygaeoidea, not for the same reason, but because the splitting of "Lygaeidae" is not followed world wide, and is relatively recent - so a grouping will help in comparison with other resources.

Useful might be a grouping of Coreoidea+Pyrrhocoroidea, because it may prevent mixing up with Lygaeoidea, and make comparison between the groups easier.

I would object any other groupings, because I see no use in them in the frame of bugguide. Whoever is interested in higher classifications, may consult other sources.
Some classifications (e.g. Tingidae with Cimicomorpha) are far from being obvious, and to install superfamily levels for single families is needless here, and does not facilitate browsing at all!

That sounds like it would wor
That sounds like it would work well enough... my only other suggestion would be to place the Enicocephalidae and Ceratocombidae at the top of the new list to emphasize their uniqueness. If you're up to the task of making these changes, go for it. :)

Just to give voice to the loyal opposition --
We actually find it much easier to glance through the 40 families! In general, we know which family we are looking for, but don't have a clue what infraorder those families might be in. If the infraorders are listed, when we click on taxonomy, we will see a bunch of long words, none of which will carry any information for us. Our choice will then be to click on view all, which will show us all hundreds of pages in the suborder, or we can just forget it and go back to search -- if we know how to spell the name of the family we're looking for!

That being said, we trust the judgement of the other top editors here at BugGuide. If they agree with your proposal, then go for it. We will just stop using the taxonomy tree in one more order, as we have already stopped using it in Diptera, for example. But please don't make these moves till you hear from some of the other editors.

We just wanted to say that we are fine with Heteroptera as it is, and actually wish more of the large insect groups looked like this, instead of those layers and layers between the order and the family and between the family and the genus.

See a similar request from us on Moths here

The Loyal Opposition
Chalk up two more emphatic votes for the Loyal Opposition.

Gayle Strickland
Jeanell Strickland

you have my vote

About ready to surrender.
This kind of thing makes me sorely tempted to wash my hands of Bugguide altogether. Glad a long weekend is coming:-)

the higher level heteropteran
the higher level heteropteran classification is actually pretty easy to grasp compared to other orders... all the aquatic families are in either nepo/gerromorpha... and almost everything else is in either pentatomo/cimicomorpha...

... and one of the main advantages I see in this is lumping together the lygeoids... I hate having to scan that long list of families for the half dozen or so families that all look similar

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