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Search feature?

Benton, KY(Zone 7a)

This may be in the plans for the future, but a search feature might be nice as the BugFiles are starting to get quite a few entries.

Lots of folks don't know what bug they have to start with. Maybe a drop-down list of some of the common families might be helpful. Sort of like PlantFiles where you can search the Daylilies, Tomatoes, Iris, or Peppers.

Maybe the bugs can be similar. Search for Butterfilies, Moths, Beetles or Bees....or whatever categories .

Just a basic drop-down using common names like PlantFiles...the average gardener is looking for an i.d..and dividing the search up might make it more useful to them. If they are looking for a butterfly i.d., then we can rule out the spiders and the dragonflies.

It may help bring in users who are not aware of the existance of BugFiles...or DG....Just think what PlantFiles did for us...

I wouldn't know exactly how to divide the categories up, but someone here will...and I think it would make for a nice enhancement of the feature.

NW Qtr, AR(Zone 6a)

Perhaps Ken/Dave, etc. .. may could arrange/implement some type of bare bones 'cross-reference' system associated, also.

- Magpye

Lincoln, United Kingdom(Zone 8a)

I had similar thoughts Melody. My concern is that all these pictures are just going into a jumbled lot which gives no way of sorting a butterfly from a beetle.

Anyone wanting to find say a butterfly will have no real way of doing it, most common names don't include it. That's why I started off by putting the word 'butterfly' after the common name.

If someone knows the common or scientific name and just wants to see what it looks like for ID purposes that's fine, but not many people know either if they don't know what they have.

I agree that it might turn up more in a search engine and attract more people. I feel that most of the pics going into BugFiles are just lost, and those of us who take the trouble to ID them and put them in it would feel it is more worthwhile if an easier way of searching categories was available.

Murfreesboro, TN(Zone 7a)

I realize this has languished, and we would definitely need to hear from Ken and Dave if it's feasible; between them, they've got the best handle on BugFiles.

For argument's sake, what categories would we include? (This is always a bit of a puzzler, as we found with PlantFiles), but my guess would be broad categories, such as:

Butterflies (Moths here, or separate?)
Dragonflies (& Damselflies)
Grasshoppers (Crickets here, or separate?)
Mosquitos (?)
Praying Mantids
Stick Insects
Wasps (unless they belong with bees for this purpose.)

Another site categorized them as follows:
ants, bees, sawflies, wasps, and allies
beetles and weevils
bugs, cicadas, aphids and scale insects
butterflies, moths, and skippers
damselfies and dragonflies
grasshoppers, katydids, crickets
lacewings, antlions and others
silverfish, firebrats

Churchill, Victoria, Australia(Zone 10a)

I have been giving a lot of thought as to how to improve the search of the BugFiles. It needs a search that goes straight to groups easily recognised by the user.
That means providing common names for the major groups
My suggestion is that we scrap the list of genera on the BugFiles homepage. This is getting rather long and unwieldy now with 1947 entries so far.
In its place provide a list of Orders, but include a common name for each Order eg.
Hymenoptera Bees, Wasps and Ants

I would suggest that this list be displayed with each order having an image of one representative of the order alongside it.
Selecting the order would then expand out into a list of families (present in the database) within the order and here again where possible a common name for the family should be attached as well and again an image of one species from each family.

Selecting a family would expand into a list of genera within the family (here common names are hard to come by and might be omitted), but again a sample image from a species in the genus should be displayed.
Then a genus can be selected and all species within the genus should be displayed, with one image of each species for which images are available. There should be an option here of displaying only species that have images.

To work this system we would need to maintain a list of approved orders and approved families within each order and adminstrators would have to approve the addition of any new Order or Family.
I would undertake to provide lists of the Orders and their Families that are already in the database and add common names to each as far as I am able. I would also select representative images for display to illustrate each order and subsequently each family.

At the genus level I think a selection of the first available image in the genus would suffice.

I attach an image of a table showing the Orders currently in the Database with suggested Common Names for each.

There might be good reason to split a few Orders. eg The Butterflies could be separated from the Moths, with specific Lepidopteran families designated as Butterflies and all the rest counted as Moths. Similarly, the Hymenoptera might be separated into three groups, Bees, Wasps and Ants, again with specific families tied to each.

Thumbnail by kennedyh
Churchill, Victoria, Australia(Zone 10a)

Further to my suggested portal for entry into BugFiles, I have prepared a mockup of the first few lines of the table of Orders, which might look like this:

Thumbnail by kennedyh
Churchill, Victoria, Australia(Zone 10a)

and then if one selected the Flies or Diptera, it should expand out into a table of families that would start like this:

Thumbnail by kennedyh
Murfreesboro, TN(Zone 7a)

The photos would be nice - it'll be up to Dave to determine if it's do-able. But I'm relatively sure it would be easy enough to create a simple table with the orders (as hyperlinks to the families beneath each order) and cross-referenced to a list of common names.

As new orders are added, you would need to add a common name for them - that would be the extent of the maintenance required, I think.

Would this begin on the main BugFiles homepage? As in, the "Table of Orders" would show up toward the top of the BugFiles page?



As an aside to this project, you now have the ability to change the order of photos by clicking on "Change photo order" on the bug profile page. The images will then show in the order you give, and the lowest numbered image will be used as that bug's thumbnail in any browsing pages.

Moreover, this is the vehicle we will use in the feature we're creating here. Once you click on an order, the system will decide which thumbnail to use by looking for the lowest numbered thumbnails of all bugs in the family you choose.

If you'd rather manually choose which thumbnail to use for each family, I can set it up that way but it might mean more work for you... Let me know which you prefer!


Churchill, Victoria, Australia(Zone 10a)

Yes, I think this Table of Orders should begin on the main BugFiles homepage. I suggest that it replaces the list of genera that currently appears there.

Dave, the system you suggest for selecting the image displayed is good, but I feel that at the level of the Order and perhaps also at the Family level, the image shown needs to be a typical one and for that reason, I suggested that the images be pre-selected. I am prepared to manually choose which thumbnail to use for each order and each family. When expanded to the next level the genus, it becomes too big a task for manual selection, so for tables of genera or ultimately tables of species, selecting the lowest numbered image seems the best way to go.
I don't think the task of maintaining the selections for families and orders will be that big and I will happily undertake it.


That sounds good. So, we will have the images for order and family manually selected (I'll create a mechanism for this).

Now, am I also correct that you wish to manually create the actual table for the "Table of Orders" and also the Families?


Churchill, Victoria, Australia(Zone 10a)

I am not sure what you mean by my manually creating the tables.
The actual tables as they appear would need to have each entrie clickable to progress further down the hierarchy and perhaps the thumbnails should also be clickable, going to the full-size image.
I am assuming that there would need to be behind the scenes tables maintained corresponding to the spread sheet that I sent you.
I would be prepared to manually maintain these tables, adding new Orders when trhey were requested and adding new families to existing orders as well. I would also need to be able to add selected image selectrions for families or orders not already illustrated and occasionally change the image displayed is a more typical one is added to the database.

That's what I had in mind. I see having to maintain the tables manually, mostly because they are not consistent with the data that we have (for example, some orders are split up, like Dictyoptera). I can't think of a way to automatically split those up for us.

Rest assured, however, that maintaining it will be fairly easy.


Does that work for you? If so, let me know and I'll make the tool.

Churchill, Victoria, Australia(Zone 10a)

Yes Dave that sounds great

Great - I'll see what I can do!


It's finished!! I have created the tool and preloaded it with the data in the spreadsheet you sent me earlier.

You can see it via the BF homepage.

At the very bottom of the BF homepage you will also see a link that says: "Administer the Browse Tool." and that's where you will add new families and orders.

Take a look and let me know what you think!


Murfreesboro, TN(Zone 7a)

The drill-down from orders into families works fine - but the families' drill-down didn't work. Here's an example of damselflies (Calopterygidae): http://davesgarden.com/bf/browse/order.php?bid=224 if I click on either common or scientific name, I get this error message: http://davesgarden.com/bf/b/Odonata%20(part%201)/Calopterygidae/none/none/genus/0/

However, if I click on the picture, then click my way back to the family name, there are several entries: http://davesgarden.com/bf/b/Odonata/Calopterygidae/none/none/genus/0/

Good report! This is fixed.


Churchill, Victoria, Australia(Zone 10a)

Dave, that is looking terrific.

Two thoughts for improvement however.

1. I see you have listed the Orders in alphabetical order. This is necessary to a large extent, but it means that for example the various orders of molluscs (3 so far) are widely spread in a long list and would make searching for a snail somewhat awkward. I think it would be useful if there was a grouping by class/phylum as I arranged my table, so that all Insect orders were grouped together first, then all arachnid orders, with additional groupings for centipedes, millipedes, crustaceans, molluscs and flatworms and maybe later the segmented worms (earthworms and leeches).

2. When the family is selected, you go straight to a full list of species. This works well, but the list is already pretty long in some cases, for example the Nymphalidae, the brush-footed butterflies already has 207 butterflies listed over 11 pages http://davesgarden.com/bf/b/Lepidoptera/Nymphalidae/none/none/genus/0/
Would it be possible to include an intermediate stage, so that selecting a Family resulted in a display of Genera belonging to that family, showing an image for the first illustrated species in the genus. This would reduce the initial display of Nymphalidae to about 83 entries over 5 pages, Clicking on a genus would then display all the species in the genus.

I have tried out "Administer the Browse Tool." without success.

I attempted to add to the Order Acari, the family:
Spider Mites
Image 2483.

It took me through the process, but when I clicked on "Add this order" it reported that it was adding a family to the family Trombiculidae, which is the last family already in the Acari.
And I can find no sign of the new family in the listing.

There are also one or two other management features needed. I need to be able to add an image to an order or a family which is so far not illustrated ( I have a couple of examples waiting to be added). It would also be desirable that I be able to change which image is displayed for an Order or Family, as an image more typical for the group gets added to BugFiles. For example the Eriophyidae or Gall Mites are currently illustrated by an image of the damage they cause and hopefully one day we will get an actual image of a gall mite (tiny as they are)! I have one example to test this on too as for the family Rhopalidae, the Scentless Plant Bugs, the current best image is of a group of bugs of mixed instars, whereas we now have a good clear image of a single adult bug that bettere illustrates the family.


This message was edited Mar 7, 2007 9:14 PM

Benton, KY(Zone 7a)

I like it!

Murfreesboro, TN(Zone 7a)

A few other order/family drill-downs that don't seem to be working yet:

Aranaea: http://davesgarden.com/bf/browse/order.php?bid=266

Hymenoptera (part 2) http://davesgarden.com/bf/browse/order.php?bid=132

Unless I missed one, I think the rest of them work just fine.

Churchill, Victoria, Australia(Zone 10a)

Dave, can I take you back to the problems with the index into the BugFiles.

It is basically working well, and getting plenty of use, but there are a few problems.

Firstly problems with the existing data (mostly from errors in my original table).

1. The Order Araneae for the spiders, was mispelled in my table as Aranaea.
This is built into the table and although the first level works and shows all the families in the Araneae, none of them can be expanded, because the expansion is using the incorrect name Aranaea, whereas all the data in the database has the order stored correctly as Araneae.

2. In the Order Coleoptera, the name of one family in the index is mispelled. Oedermeridae, should be spelled Oedemeridae. At present, no bugs are found, but with the correct spelling there are two bugs listed for this family: http://davesgarden.com/bf/adv_search.php?searcher%5Bcommon%5D=&searcher%5Bbugorder%5D=&searcher%5Bfamily%5D=Oedemeridae&searcher%5Bgenus%5D=&searcher%5Bspecies%5D=&Search=Search

3. In Hymenoptera (part 2) the family Achilidae is in the wrong order. It needs moving to Homoptera as Achilidae Planthoppers, with no image so far. There are 2 bugs in this family in the database: http://davesgarden.com/bf/adv_search.php?searcher%5Bcommon%5D=&searcher%5Bbugorder%5D=Homoptera&searcher%5Bfamily%5D=Achilidae&searcher%5Bgenus%5D=&searcher%5Bspecies%5D=&Search=Search

4. In Lepidoptera (part 2), the Moths, Saturnidae is mispelled and needs changing to Saturniidae. With the correct spelling this family shows 30 bugs: http://davesgarden.com/bf/adv_search.php?searcher%5Bcommon%5D=&searcher%5Bbugorder%5D=&searcher%5Bfamily%5D=Saturniidae&searcher%5Bgenus%5D=&searcher%5Bspecies%5D=&Search=Search

5. In Scorpiones, the illustration shown for the family Scorpionidae, should be removed. The illustration is of a species that has been moved to the family Urodacidae: http://davesgarden.com/bf/adv_search.php?searcher%5Bcommon%5D=&searcher%5Bbugorder%5D=&searcher%5Bfamily%5D=Urodacidae&searcher%5Bgenus%5D=&searcher%5Bspecies%5D=&Search=Search
a family which I will add when the tool is working properly.
The only species in BugFiles from the Scorpionidae has no illustration so far.

Moving on to the "Administer the Browse Tool."you have provided for adding families to the index. As I mention above I tried to use it by adding to the Order Acari, the family:
Spider Mites
Image 2483.
and there was no sign of the new family being added to the Acari.
Today I tried the same addition again and I got an interesting result. It brought up this page: http://davesgarden.com/bf/browse/admin/add_family.php
which shows that the previous addition did work, but instead of adding the family to the Order Acari, it was added to the Order "Trombiculidae", which is NOT an order, but is the last family in the list of families in the order Acari. There are now two copies of this new family stored in an inaccessible spot as families within another family.
Any chance of fixing this? I have quite a number of families waiting to be added to the index.

I have just successfully used the tool to add a new order and in this case where I was adding a new family to an order with no previous families, the addition of a family worked correctly, so that the
Order : Systellommatophora of Land Slugs has been added and the
Family: Veronicellidae of Leatherleaf Slugs has been added within that Order.

The other need I have for the tools, is the means of amending existing table entries. Most importantly to add an image number as soon as one becomes available to either an Order or a Family. There also cases where I would like to be able to amend the image number as an image has arrived in BugFiles which better illustrates the Order or Family concerned.
There is also a need to be able to edit the names, particularly the Common Name as there are cases where I have found a common name, where one was lacking originally.



I apologize for the delay on this. I have now finished adding Editing capabilities to the administration tool:


Under each latin name, click on Edit to edit the latin, common and imageid.

Also, it works by clicking on the "Add families" link - each family listed will have an edit link.

Please take a look and let me know what else needs done.


Churchill, Victoria, Australia(Zone 10a)

Thanks Dave! The edit works fine and I have been able to fix 4 of the 5 errors I listed above.

The fifth one I can't fix. There is one family that I placed in the wrong order and your tool provides no means of moving a family to a different order. This perhaps is too rare to need a tool, so perhaps you could simply make the change yourself.

The family in question is Achilidae which I incorrectly placed in Hymenoptera (part 2). Could you please move it to Homoptera as Achilidae.

Once it is moved I can make any other adjustments that are needed.

The other problem that still remains is that I cannot add a family to an order, unless it is the first family in a new order. I have three times now tried to add to the Order Acari, the family:
Spider Mites
Image 2483.
The result is that it adds it not to the Order Acari, but treats the last family in that order as the order to which to add the new family, so we get this page: http://davesgarden.com/bf/browse/admin/add_family.php
showing that the new family has now been added 3 times to the supposed order "Trombiculidae", which is not an order, but a family within the Acari.

Can you please fix the add a family, so that it works correctly and adds to the selected order?

Could you also please delete these three incorrect additions, although they don't matter much as they are completely inaccessible.

Thanks again



I moved Achilidae to Homptera.

Also, I fixed the "Add a family" area so it should now work flawlessly. I also deleted those three incorrect additions. Let me know how this goes and if you need anything else!


Churchill, Victoria, Australia(Zone 10a)

Thanks Dave, that is terrific! It all works well now and I have been able to complete all my updates and added an extra 8 familes for which we now have examples in Bugfiles.


Churchill, Victoria, Australia(Zone 10a)

Dave, there is one further change that would be really useful. Could we make iot a requirement for any new entry, that the Order and Family match existing entries, that is match one of the families in the index that is now well established. This would correspond to the need for genus and family to be in the approved list for PlantFiles, but I don't think we should go as far as to maintain a Genus list as yet.

Anyone wanting to add a new Order and or Family, would have to put in a request to this forum and one of the BF Admins would have to add it to the index, before the entry could be made.

This would make keeping track of the new families as they occur much easier and would avoid the occasional entry of bugs without an Order or Family,


Hi Ken,

No problemo. I'll try my best to get this feature created tomorrow!


Murfreesboro, TN(Zone 7a)

Ken, I'm sure you'll find (as we did in PlantFiles) that having a checklist really cuts down on typos, errors and duplicates.

The downside is it's a hassle for the experienced members to have to ask - and wait - for a new name to be added, but it sure helps keep the databases cleaner.


I haven't forgotten about this...


Hi Ken,

It is finished! Now, when someone goes to add a bug, the system will check the existing entries to make sure that the order and family are already present in another entry. If not, it will stop them and tell them to post in this forum.


Churchill, Victoria, Australia(Zone 10a)

Thanks Dave, that's great and will make life a little bit easier,


Happy to do it! :)

Churchill, Victoria, Australia(Zone 10a)

The feature to check the existing entries to make sure that the order and family are already present in another entry has just had its first full trial.

barksy tried to add a snail in the family Spiraxidae and duly got the message

The order ("Stylommatophora") and family ("Spiraxidae") are not familiar to us. Before you can add this bug, you'll need to post the details to the BugFiles forum.

She then posted to the Bug Identification Forum and I checked its validity and then added the fanily Spiraxidae to the order Stylommatophora in the index.
This did NOT however enable the species to be added.
What do I have to do to authorise the addition of a species in a family (or even order) that is not already represented in BugFiles. There will certainly be a number of additional families to be added as the years go by and even a few more orders to be added.

By the way could you adjust the message to specify the "BugFiles How-to's" Forum, rather than just the BugFiles Forum,


Hi Ken,

There is no "good list" that you can add something to approve a order and family. The way to do it is that if the order and family aren't present, then you or another admin will need to add it yourself as a bug, and from then on any entries into that order and family will go automatically.

So, in this case you would get the details from barksy and then add the bug to the database, and then let barksy know the hyperlink to the entry where they can then post pictures and details, etc.


Churchill, Victoria, Australia(Zone 10a)

dave, I tried to add it myself, but got the same error message as barksy did


Ahh, that would be a problem. :) I've updated it so that now admins can add it. Please do try again.


Churchill, Victoria, Australia(Zone 10a)

Thanks Dave, I have now been able to add the snail in the new family,


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