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Bug identification QC

Acton, CA(Zone 8b)

My yard is full of 'bugs'. However, I am NOT an expert on identifying insects and arachnids, at least down the the species level. How can we get our 'bugs' identified accurately before entering them incorrectly into the system? With plants, there are enough 'experts' out there to catch most of our errors, but as this is not a bug site, I am not as certain this would be the case. Do we have enough bug experts? Who's our 'quality control'? For example, I have a lot of great Preying Mantis photos.. but just because I live in California, does that mean my mantids are California Mantids? I have no way of telling. I am not counting setae or mouth parts to distinguish this from a Carolina mantid. Or is there a difference worth worrying about? I see there are a lot of bugs being entered into the ID site. Maybe that would be a good way to go before entering them on this one?

Gold Hill, OR(Zone 7a)


Here are some links that I use to help id the vast array of bugs I find. Even the 'experts' have problems identifing down to species, but at least you can find out what genus they belong to.

What's That Bug website
Bugguide website
Enature website
Insect identification for the casual observer
Hope this will help id a few more 'bugs'


This message was edited Jul 31, 2006 8:19 AM

Benton, KY(Zone 7a)

I've got tons of bug images and there's quite a few that will just have to wait...I'm taking more pictures and storing them, but only entering the ones that I'm confident about.

I've been 'edited' a couple times so far, once with an incorrect order and another was a genus that I wasn't sure about. Kennedyh has been gracious enough to make the changes and fix my little mix ups...I'm confident in his expertise.

I have a couple of exellent bug guides, and that gets me in the hunt..then I use the sites that Scorpioangel mentioned, or just google images of the genus to see what's out there.

It will be a slow go getting everything i.d.'d when I get the 'for sures' entered....but I'm learning as I go...already learned bunches.

Lincoln, United Kingdom(Zone 8a)

palmbob I see you are having the same thoughts as I am.

We are relying seemingly solely on kennedyH, and while I'm confident he has the years of experience, plus relevant books for reference, we may just wear him out!

There are so many fields involved, and as you have said, just because you live in California it doesn't mean that a bug hasn't come from elsewhere.

Unusual weather conditions such as we are having this year here does raise certain questions, and knowledge of where the weather systems are coming from and how that can influence migration of bugs is important. My query relating to butterflies illustrates this.

Like you melody, I am doing a lot of research, but some images can be misleading, or some species are so similar it needs a discerning eye to differentiate.

I also felt the ID forum was not quite the right place for IDs and discussion on the peculiarities of bugs.

My feelings are that a separate ID and discussion forum would be beneficial to us who are unsure, and yes, even experts can slip up. We may slowly learn more, and sharing information can be a little like brainstorming, that is, wake up certain realisations.

If we all believed what has happened in the past will certainly happen in the future we would be stuck in a vacuum, evolution has a place in history and the present.

If we had a Forum dedicated to Bugs alone for ID and discussion, perhaps there would be more experts in these fields attracted to DG?

I know this is the case with a recently subscribed member in the Ginger forum, who is as good an expert as anyone will get in the field.

So please, anyone who thinks the same can we please have your views, either way will do, for or against, as long as we are not left floundering. I feel like I am just learning to swim and am a little insecure about it. I am doing my best!

Palm Bay, FL(Zone 9b)

We do have a forum called Garden Foes that I assumed would be helpful to ID bugs but my luck so far on that forum has been not so good.
Butterflies and Hummers is pretty decent to help id Butterflies and Moths.
The Identication forum has been helpful at times but that forum is used mostly for plants.

It would be so much more convenient to have one single forum totally dedicated to Bug Files ID.

Ken has definitely been a blessing as far as correcting mistakes. Not only does he correct the boo boos but he educates us along the way by explaining the reasons for the changes he makes.

Gold Hill, OR(Zone 7a)

Just adding ... for identification purposes Butterflies and Moths of North America

Why not just use this forum with a thread for identification .... just a thought ...


Lincoln, United Kingdom(Zone 8a)

Scorpio, that looks a good site. I have some for Britain and Europe which I check.

It would be a good idea to have a forum specifically for the purpose, and these links to go in a 'Sticky' at the top. I added some in the first discussions, but they can get lost.

I wonder should we/I/someone, request a forum as other new forums are requested as a thread on Daves Garden Discussion Forum, it may get more attention.

Title something like 'Bug ID and Discussion Forum'

Palm Bay, FL(Zone 9b)

I suggested it but for now we have to use the 3 forums already available to us.

Savantwadi, India

Is this tortoise beetle? Can I get details about it?

Thumbnail by aryamadhur
Lincoln, United Kingdom(Zone 8a)

Hi aryamadhur,

That's a strange looking beetle! We have a Bug Identification Forum, if you start a new thread at the bottom of the page with your picture included someone may be able to help you.

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