Re: Strategies for finding resources to insects on the internet

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On 30/3/2003, Rob Sandelin wrote:

>I tend to just use google but maybe there are some search terms or
>strategies I am not aware of.

For the whitefly databases, I used "whitefly taxonomy" and it popped
right up.  For the moth, I tried looking for pictures of generic hawk
moths and sphinx moths because I couldn't remember what they looked
like, which led to the Macromoths thing, then it was a matter of
goggling (not googling) at one picture after another until I found Zale
lunata and scared the cats by shouting Eureka.  Then googling for Zale
images found the Caterpillars.  I can't tell you which, or how many,
search phrases didn't turn up anything useful.  It's kind of hit and
miss, and I forget the misses faster than the hits.

But you can't find what isn't there, and I think most groups of
invertebrates just aren't well represented yet.  The Illinois
flower-visiting site was done by an individual who was willing to scan
or type in, and organize (and update the scientific names) the data
from a book from the 40s? and add other sources about the local
butterflies.  But there aren't all that many regions that have had
someone willing to do extensive surveys of every bee and wasp that
visits lots of flowers, so even if someone is willing to do the data
entry, there may not be much data to enter :-(.  It seems easiest to
find information about agricultural pests and pollinators, and after
that, the charismatic groups.  A lot of good stuff is 'hidden' in real
databases, too, which google and the like can't index.  So it's worth
using 'database' as a search term.

The web is convenient, and works well pretty often, so it's hard to
remember that it's still not nearly up to the standards of a good
library.  Last year when I had the wasp-mimicking longhorned beetle, I
had no luck on google finding my 'wasp'.  It was an entomologist on
usenet (sci.bio.entomology.misc) who pointed out that it was a
longhorned beetle not a wasp, and even given that, I still couldn't
find anything on google other than some south american species.  But
Arnett's _American Insects_ had exactly what I was looking for.  It's
pricey ($100), but it covers a lot of ground, the sketches are good for
flipping through, and there are references to the literature.  I wish
that it was available in an electronic version, even if not free on the
web.  It's hard to beat full-text search.  Besides, that darned book is
heavy!

There seems to be a push to get bibliographies on line, which is a good
start, and a big undertaking on its own.  Before a library trip, it's
worth hunting out biliographies which are more useful than the library
electronic replacement for those lovely old card catalogs, which had so
much information that got tossed because it was too much trouble to
enter it, sigh.

There's bibliography for Sphecidae:
<http://www.calacademy.org/research/entomology/Entomology%20Resources/Hymenoptera/sphecidae/index.html>
has a link to the pdf file.  It's 438 pages, with sparse annotations.
:-)


>Also, I am looking for a checklist of common insects of the Pacific
>Northwest if anybody knows of such a thing pass it my way. (ideally a
>checklist of Snohomish County insects, but I will probably have to create
>that resource myself, in about 10 years or so)

I haven't found much.  There are checklists for butterflies and
dragonflies <http://www.ups.edu/biology/museum/WAODSurvey.html> and
<http://www.ent.orst.edu/ore_dfly/>, but I haven't found a bee list
yet, and those are presumably pretty well studied.  But I haven't
looked at the library...

Some compilation sites that look like they have interesting stuff
including a few links to checklists, a few local:

UW Libraries list of zoological resources:
<http://www.lib.washington.edu/subject/zoology/dr/eltxt.html>

King County Dept of Natural Resources and Parks links of interest:
<http://dnr.metrokc.gov/WTD/library/internet.htm#environment>
then scroll down to Animal Resources

Biosis Insecta page:
<http://www.biosis.org.uk/zrdocs/zoolinfo/grp_ins.htm>

Biology Browser (a subdivision of Biosis):
<http://www.biologybrowser.org/>

Bugwood Network:
<http://www.bugwood.org/>

which leads to:

Insect Images (you have to register to get full access):
<http://www.insectimages.org/>

and

Invasive Species Images:
<http://www.invasive.org/>

And this looks like fun--Natureserve Explorer:
<http://www.natureserve.org/explorer/>

That ought to keep us off the streets for a day or two!  (I already
can't remember how I got to these things, other than scan and click,
scan and click.  sorry...)
-- 
Allyn Weaks    allyn@tardigrade.net   Seattle, WA  Sunset zone 5
Pacific NW Native Wildlife Gardening: http://www.tardigrade.org/natives/
"The benefit of even limited monopolies is too doubtful, to be opposed
to that of their general suppression."  Thomas Jefferson


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