The Ants and Bees: or AB See of Citizen Science

"I have had a look at iNaturalist to see what South African bee species are recorded - am I right that there are only 9 species: Apis mellifera, Xylocopa caffra, X. flavorufa, Megachile maxillosa, Halictus jucundus (which I believe is now Seladonia), Amegilla atrocincta, Xylocopa capensis, Xylocopa nigrita, Megachile felina. There is Plebeina hildebrandt - but it has only been recorded in Namibia so far.
I see that ants feature much more than bees (and wasps) - how many ant species would you say are recorded on iNaturalist SA so far?"

That is not quite a fair comparison on several grounds. Let us expand to southern Africa and look at the details:
See Ants:
See Bees:


Bees: 1,486 observations 43 species 117 identifiers 200 Observers
Ants: 2,836 observations 176 species 115 identifiers 220 Observers

So Ants have twice as many observations. But the same number of identifiers and observers. The big difference is the identifications and the enthusiasm of those making the IDs (shown: more than 200 IDs). (to see this click on the “Identifiers” tab on the pages above)

1 peterslingsby 2,755
2 rjpretor 907
3 tonyrebelo 449
4 meldem 342
5 alexdreyer 276
6 colin25 202
1 rjpretor 726
2 johnascher 524
3 tonyrebelo 368
4 colin25 218

That is all it takes: 1 champion! Someone willing to adopt a group and run with it and get everyone excited and all cued up. Apart from this champion there is not much different between the two.
But what does help is someone willing to make IDs to species level:

Rank of identifications
Observations (taxa):

Level of ID: Ants Bees
Family 90 (1) 133 (6)
Tribe 44 (6) 129 (12)
Genus 551 (22) 381 (23)
Species 2228 (176) 849 (28)

So: 79% of ants are identified to species, and 57% of bees!

Bees: Top 5 (but > 10 obs):
Apis mellifera: 583
Xylocopa caffra: 93
Xylocopa flavorufa: 73
Halictus (Seladonia): 18
Ants: (> 100 obs)
Camponotis niveosetosus: 188
Camponotis fulvopilosus: 154
Lepisota capensis: 125
Crematogaster peringuei: 124
Anoplolepis custodiens: 122

So – the Honeybees accounts for 69% of bee observations, and only 4 species have 10 or more observations.
But ants have 5 species with more than 100 observations, and 46 species with ten or more observations

So that is the difference: the ants have the more charismatic identifiers and identifications (and they don’t fly away).

The solution is simple. We need a Bee Champion on iNaturalist for the region!

Publicado el octubre 15, 2018 09:39 MAÑANA por tonyrebelo tonyrebelo


Oh. There is another difference - but that is largely due to the Champion. All the common ants have Common Names (see the above species pages). Very few of the bees have a name that people can relate to.
That is a result of the champion of course. And he wrote of field guide.

But note: the book did not come first: it came from the interaction between the champ and the citizen scientists!!!

Publicado por tonyrebelo hace casi 6 años
Publicado por dianastuder hace casi 6 años

You right about them not flying away. Some things are more difficult to observe than others. Bees also move in 3 dimensions, while ants only move in 2, so it is more difficult to get an in-focus photo of bees.

Publicado por andrewgillespie hace más de 5 años

Come visit the Cape, where in summer EVERYTHING moves in 3 dimensions at about 120km per hour ...
Either that or it is too hot to photograph

Publicado por tonyrebelo hace más de 5 años

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