Identification, Images, & Information
For Insects, Spiders & Their Kin
For the United States & Canada
Clickable Guide
Moths Butterflies Flies Caterpillars Flies Dragonflies Flies Mantids Cockroaches Bees and Wasps Walkingsticks Earwigs Ants Termites Hoppers and Kin Hoppers and Kin Beetles True Bugs Fleas Grasshoppers and Kin Ticks Spiders Scorpions Centipedes Millipedes

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Contributing to the Guide?

I've been around BugGuide for a few years now, I've learned to take much better pictures than my camera wants to let me, I've started my own bug picture website (aimed at grownup kids like me who think bugs are neat), but I am hopelessly ignorant when it comes to identifying bugs.

I'm not presuming to be capable of offering help that the BugGuide could use, but I am interested in getting that much better.

Are there any tips on how to be "less useless" when submitting pictures to the guide? Is there any kind of FAQ that intermediate-level amateurs like me could use to be more helpful? For example, in the past week I have learned that you have to take a picture of a wasp's face so the expert can tell if it's a queen, and Keith Bayless says to get pictures of the "anal region of the wing" for him to be able to confidently ID fannia canicularis.

I don't know where, or even specifically what, the anal region of the wing is, so I realize that the appropriate response might well be, "Umm, call us when you've got your entomology degree, kid." You might already have all the help you need and just need the eager-but-inept to stay out of your way. I take absolutely no offense if you do. I'm just realizing that I'm submitting pictures at or near guide quality, and would love to be able to help if I can.

There was some discussion previously
on "what to focus on" when taking bug photos but I can't remember what it said, and couldn't find the article just now.

Top, side, and front shots are a good idea with any and every bug you shoot. Try to shoot at right-angles to the surface, to get as much of the subject as possible in focus.

Beyond that, it depends a lot on what type of bug you're dealing with. Every conceivable microscopic part of an insect's body has been used (and IS used) in identification keys for distinguishing similar species, so the number of possible body parts to concentrate on is unlimited.

The hope is that eventually a detailed description will be added to the Info page of each species at BugGuide, along with an account of exactly how that species differs from its look-alike(s). When that day comes, we'll all be able to know exactly what to focus on when shooting any particular bug. In the meantime, I just continue to shoot first and ask questions later.

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