On what basis are all of these Jerusalem Crickets able to be identified to species "Stenopelmatus fuscus"?

I was under the impression that Jerusalem Cricket identification was very complex with many undescribed species, but here on iNaturalist everybody seems to be a Jerusalem Cricket expert and we have 162 out of about 1000 individuals identified as the species Stenopelmatus fuscus. These individuals express a variety of different phenotypes, many of the photos are not that great, and most of the observations are research grade. What reference is everybody using to identify these? How does iNaturalist have hundreds of Stenopelmatus fuscus while BugGuide has zero? How is everybody ruling out similar species, especially in California where there are many species? I don't doubt that many of these observations are correctly identified, and looking through the top identifiers I do see names that I trust to make these sorts of designations. But I have to question many of the others, and the high number of research grade observations can only prompt the AI to determine that *any* Jerusalem Cricket must be Stenopelmatus fuscus, which is just not true.

So how are we able to recognize this species?

Posted by psyllidhipster psyllidhipster, January 13, 2018 19:47

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Stenopelmatus "fuscus" is the original species and all populations over North America were considered under this name, at one point. However, this is no longer the case. Early authors hinted at this being a species complex, and this appears to be the case. David Weissman (and possibly others) have started researching them, and it may be that there are at least 60 species under this name. There is no word on when the publication will come out, but it will take a while. We'll probably see the Gryllus revision before then.

Right now it is best to keep them all at genus, besides the very distinctive ones. The standard orange/brown-headed black-striped ones are identified only from the drumming patterns of the male (pers. comms.).

Posted by silversea_starsong almost 2 years ago (Flag)
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Thanks for the clarification James. I'll continue to leave mine to genus (unless I ever run into one of the more distinct ones) and I hope others follow suit. Unresolved species complexes are annoying but I think that's the best way to deal with them.

Posted by psyllidhipster almost 2 years ago (Flag)
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PS. since we follow BugGuide, all iNat observations of "S. fuscus" should be reverted to genus.

Posted by silversea_starsong almost 2 years ago (Flag)
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welcome to iNat. Love it, hate it.

Posted by lemurdillo almost 2 years ago (Flag)
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I don't know the taxonomic status of this particular critter, so I'm just speaking in general terms. If a taxonomic revision hasn't yet been published, then the names in the most recent published account still apply--regardless of anyone's suspicions or ongoing research or preliminary conclusions.

Posted by pfau_tarleton almost 2 years ago (Flag)
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@pfau_tarleton I used to argue this but this doesn't seem to happen anywhere, unless no research has been done yet.

Posted by silversea_starsong almost 2 years ago (Flag)
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Well, in that case, Sigmodon hispidus in the U.S. probably consists of two species (based on the genetic data I have--depending on how one defines species). So everyone needs to just use Sigmodon until I get the taxonomy change published! (true story, but just joking...but making a point). ;)
https://academic.oup.com/jmammal/article/88/2/351/832419

Posted by pfau_tarleton almost 2 years ago (Flag)

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