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For the United States & Canada
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State Records

What is the process for confirming state records? I know that it is typically done by sending specimens to someone who can positively ID it and is an authority on the area in question, but is there a central entomological database or something by which entomologists "know" that an insect has been recorded from that area? I have encountered several state records(mostly leafhoppers identified by Dr. Hamilton), but I suppose they aren't official until specimens are acquired...

Basically: Are state records just known from a conglomeration of university and museum collections?



no centralized process, as far as i know, anywhere in the world
A few states may be more dedicated than others to the task of having their faunas catalogued –- as abbreviations like FSCA or INHS suggest -- but such degree of official involvement appears to be rather exceptional.
Country/state/province records get published as specimens are being discovered by experts in institutional and/or private collections. The understanding of faunas of great many groups is so sketchy that the experts wouldn’t even bother publishing state records.
You can see numerous examples in the Guide – comments like “Published records include Connecticut, Pennsylvania, and Virginia; I have seen specimens from Ohio and Michigan, so this photo from Iowa is not really a surprise.” The guy is too busy handling unnamed taxa, so he hardly will waste time to publish state records.
In the monumental Downie & Arnett(1) handbook, one will soon notice the prominent, almost prevasive presence of ‘IN’ sometimes representing the entire American Northeast –- because one of the authors spent a lifetime collecting beetles around his hometown in Indiana... and kinda got them all :)
New Jersey is small patch of land home to 8 mil humans, not exactly your terra incognita –- yet from what I see in the literature, I believe that my leisurely collecting small beetles would easily produce several dozen state records in a season.
A savvy collector of acalyptrate flies or parasitic wasps might come up with a hundred.
Marshall(2) tells a story of a grad student who collected his sphaerocerid flies (or was it Phoridae?) right on campus in Toronto (not your regular New Guinea, either) and amassed over 200 spp., including many new to science.
Of course, a new stat record among butterflies or odes might make headlines...

I agree with the above
and especially this comment:

"The understanding of faunas of great many groups is so sketchy that the experts wouldn’t even bother publishing state records."

For bees, new state records (including a few dozen for New Jersey) often appear first online on Discover Life maps (and Bugguide, of course, if that is the source) and then are published in print later only if it proves relevant or convenient to do so.

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