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Information about the 2019 BugGuide Gathering in Louisiana, July 25-27

Discussion, insects and people from the 2018 gathering in Virginia, July 27-29

Photos of insects and people from the 2015 gathering in Wisconsin, July 10-12

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Photos of insects and people from the 2013 gathering in Arizona, July 25-28

Photos of insects and people from the 2012 gathering in Alabama

Photos of insects and people from the 2011 gathering in Iowa

Life Cycle postings

I would love to see more Life Cycle series posted like this:

If every member raised just one bug this summer.....

BTW, the contributor of this photo mentioned a link to a great Life Cycle site at:

Raising moth flies
Ashley Bradford raised some moth flies.

Her description here:

My summary of literature on the subject here:

According to the literature, they can also be raised in a human nose, though perhaps not all people have the right nasal chemistry.

Sabulodes aegrotata (moth)
This one now goes from egg to adult.

And some editor . . .
should go to that series, which has so many photos as to come near monopolizing the species page, and mark some of them as Unrepresentative. I included everything I thought might be useful to anyone, such as exuviae and leaf damage. Some of these photos don't show what any life stage looks like.

I unchecked "Representative" on some
Larval exuviae, including the head capsules; leaf with feeding damage and no larva on it; the glowing "red stripe" one; nests where caterpillar was barely visible (the latter, near-pupation images - there's an earlier one with webbing on a leaf, w/ caterpillar visible through it, that I left as "Representative"). One of the anal proleg shots is unchecked, but I left the clearer one to show the distinctive splayed position. Two of the "removing head capsule" ones are still representative, the other two aren't; the remaining ones show the caterpillar's head more clearly. And I didn't uncheck the pupal exuvia as it still shows the shape of the pupa.

I think that's it. If you disagree let me know.

How about these, too?
I'm not familiar with all the criteria for representativeness, but here are my thoughts. The "Hatching" image isn't much help for visitors, so it may not belong on the species page, either. The two images for Day 2 and the image for Day 3 are so alike as to be redundant; maybe uncheck two of these three. Day 8 has two similar images; if one of these turned up on the species page or in Browse, the other one wouldn't add information. There's more duplication later, in the fourth or fifth instar, where I posted more than one photo of the same stage to show how long after hatching it took to get there or the presence/absence of black spots on the head.

I don't see a reason to restore anything to representativeness that you unchecked.

. . . "images for Day 2 and the image for Day 3 are so alike as to be redundant". . . "wouldn't add information". . . "more duplication later".
This is why I was suggesting some frassing. Remember that additional images are supposed to "add value to the guide". You are the better judge as to what should be frassed when it comes to your own images.
I am a firm believer of streamlining things to make them more appealing to the viewer. Redundant images that add no information may frustrate the visitor and lead him to give up entirely rather than to keep checking the remaining images. Well chosen images have more impact than a superabundance of repetitive ones.
And I am not just talking about this particular series. Several people have mentioned a number of times how Bugguide would be a better guide if many repetitive images were frassed. It is just that frassing is very laborious and not a pleasant job; but good housecleaning at all levels would be very beneficial.

Erring on the side of thoroughness
I see what you mean, and yes, this is a very long series. For me, it's frustrating when a life-cycle series is too sketchy, perhaps just one larva photo, one pupa, one adult. One reason I hesitate to cut anything is that I don't know where instars divide. Ideally, there will be at least one photo of each instar. I was impressed by how fast the larvae's appearance changed during the first few days, so I recorded that. Similarly for the color changes before cocooning and pupation.

Leaf damage is presumably useful to gardeners and growers who wonder what's eating their plants.

Some pruning?
Maybe you could do like John Maxwell and carefully select what to frass. Sometimes he submits 8 images and then frasses 4 a few days later. Sooner or later an editor may frass half of the images in your series and you would prefer making your own choices about what to keep.

I've noticed that Mr. Maxwell submits several versions of the same view (eg., dorsal) and frasses some very soon. However, that's a different situation--those aren't life-cycle series. I recorded everything that marked a change in appearance or showed behavior that might interest someone besides me. For instance, the very young larvae were somewhat sociable, hanging in parallel and evenly spaced on one leaf, but later they separated and showed no more evidence of noticing one another. I would hope that such photos would stay in the series for viewers who wanted to track the development of this species. Besides, some of my comments refer to other photos in the series, as when I say that this or that adult is the specimen shown at an earlier stage in Photo ____. Removing Photo ____ would require finding those comments and changing them. So I hoped that deleting photos wouldn't be an issue. It's just that some of them aren't "representative" for the purpose of showing what a given life stage looks like.

..hopefully you are also a regular contributor to Marcie O'Connor's LifeCycle website. You could add a link in the series that is posted here in BugGuide -- which would take a viewer to Marcie's website with ALL of your photos included.

Working on Tiger Moth life cycle postings
but it'll be spring until any metamorphic changes happen to these guys. That's the problem with Arctiids, they take forever to complete a life cycle.

Cycloneda series
A life-cycle set for Cycloneda polita is up now.

The stages of egg hatch and the darkening of the pupa are especially well-done. It's hard to get across the "watching a Polaroid develop" effect of the pupa or adult coloring up, and very cool to see you do it!

Having been through the whole month-long process of aphid gathering, daily measuring, and photo editing myself, I really appreciate all your hard work. A transcontinental toast to you and your coccinellid charges!

Somehow the focus of this posting of Life Cycles has...
become focused on cropping and pixels. (Also very educational!) I'm trying to see if I can get the two topics separated.

I think the Life cycle postings are best served here in the Photo Focus Groups -- and the cropping posts would be best if placed in the Photography section.

Cycloneda done, help resizing photos?
I now have a set for Cycloneda, either munda or polita, from egg to adult. The photos of some stages are "meh" because the subjects were too small and sometimes lighting was inadequate; and because the series is long, posting all at regular size would hog bandwidth. Some life-cycle series include photos between regular size and thumbnail size. I'd like to make mine smaller, too. How is this done?

photo editing
At my office I have professional Photoshop, but I do most of the photography and editing at home, where I'm limited to the pathetic MS Paint (it comes standard on all Windows PCs).

A newer PC may come with have Microsoft Picture Editor, you can get at that by right-clicking the image file name, select "Open With...", and Picture Editor will be in the list of programs. It has options for brightness, color, flip/rotate, easy cropping, and red-eye removal. Not as flexible as Photoshop but infinitely better than Paint.

If all you have is Paint, you can't adjust brightness, contrast, etc., but you can crop and flip/rotate. It's adequate for a good-quality image and I used it for most of my series.

Cropping is ridiculously complicated, but good when you have a small insect and a lot of background. Open the image in Paint. On the tool palette, click on the rectangle made of dotted lines - this lets you select a rectangular area. Select the part of the photo you want, Ctrl+C for "Copy," open a new file, Ctrl+V for "Paste."

If the new file has a lot of white space around the pasted image, I hit "Undo" to remove the pasted image so it's back to just the white. One of the menus (2nd from right, I think) has sizing options; use the scaling option, not resize. Scale the white area down till it's the size of or smaller than the image. Then use Ctrl-V to paste the image again.

Thanks, but . . .
I have a MacBook. For cropping and brightness/saturation adjustments, I use Canon's software, which makes both of them easy. I routinely crop photos for bugguide, and the small ones end up big and very blurry when posted.

The Mac, running Leopard, has a program called Preview that may make it possible to keep a photo small. Does anyone know how to use Preview that way?

Full size - Whatever size the image was taken at or cropped to before submitting. If the submitted image is larger than 560 pixels, the full sized image is available to the submitter and editors/experts by clicking on the image. All other viewers will see the image at its reduced size of 560 pixels on the longest side.

Regular size - (if you are talking about the largest size that BugGuide will display an image without clicking on it) Any image posted that is larger than 560 pixels on the longest side will be reduced to a maximum size of 560 pixels on the longest side. Any image that is submitted smaller than 560 pixels will be shown at the submitted size.

Thumbnail size - 126 pixels maximum. Any image smaller than 126 pixels will not be "up scaled" to 126 pixels but rather will be shown at the actual size.

Now for an answer to your question as I understand it...

You see "photos between regular size (560 pixels maximum) and thumbnail size (126 pixels maximum)" and you would like to make your submitted images less than 560x560 also...

I don't have a Mac and I use a different program to edit my images (PC and Photoshop) but as I understand it, Macs are user friendly and designed for graphics so it should be simple and effective... Does your software give you the option of "resizing" an image? I would suggest that you crop your image and then try to change the size to something smaller than 560 pixels on both sides.

I would also like the opportunity to work with your recent Gulf Fritillary images in photoshop. If you email me the pictures as they came from the camera I will see if Photoshop can handle them better. Sometimes it is the software, sometimes it is the image itself...

"You see "photos between regular size (560 pixels maximum) and thumbnail size (126 pixels maximum)" and you would like to make your submitted images less than 560x560 also..."

I'd like to make them smaller without reducing the quality. They're fuzzy enough already. Fewer pixels means lower resolution. Some people's photos are so sharp and clear that I don't know how they do it within 560 pixels.

"Macs are user friendly and designed for graphics so it should be simple and effective... Does your software give you the option of "resizing" an image?"

Probably, but I don't know my way around it. I'm getting some help offline from another source.

"I would also like the opportunity to work with your recent Gulf Fritillary images in photoshop."

This may be a silk-purse/sow's-ear situation, but be my guest.

Editing For Size With Mac Preview
The only way to reduce the size of images without any risk of sacrificing quality is to crop. That means cutting out parts of the picture on the edges. I always crop my images so that the edge of the image is just a few pixels outside the edge of the subject. In Preview, this is done by switching to the Select tool, drawing a box around the subject, then selecting Crop. It's best to do this first so you don't waste time and system resources editing something you're going to get rid of.

Now comes the matter of changing resolution. Remember that what you see on the screen is a temporary copy of the original edited by the system to fit the size and other characteristics of the visible area on the screen. To see what you're really doing, you need to view your image in Actual Size mode: if you show it bigger than it really is, the system stretches it to fit, which will look blockier and/or fuzzier than it is. If you show it smaller, it will look sharper, but have less detail.

When you use the Adjust Size tool, you're changing the number of pixels the image is made up of. Reducing size means you're throwing away 1 out of every so-many pixels. To do this, the system has to use some kind of process to take a given number of pixels and replace it with a smaller number of pixels. It could do this by arbitrarily discarding every nth pixel, but I expect it actually analyzes a block of pixels and averages out the values to create a new block of pixels that is as close as possible to the original block, but with less detail.

If your image is out of focus, this isn't a problem, because you're only discarding details of what fuzziness looks like. Fuzzy images can be made to look sharper by reducing the size. It may take trial and error to throw away just enough information to sharpen the image without throwing away useful details. As long as you do it in Actual Size view, you can see when you make a mistake and correct it- the Undo command is definitely your friend here.

To recap: first crop out unnecessary space around the edges, then adjust the size to eliminate unnecessary fuzziness- but make sure you're doing it in Actual Size view so you can see what you're doing.

Re: editing
Chuck, cropping isn't a problem. I've been cropping images right along, close to the subject, using Canon's software. Then I adjust color and brightness if necessary (e.g., to restore what poor lighting conditions washed out), also in the Canon program. Then I save the cropped photo to the desktop or to a folder on the desktop. That version is what I submit as a bug image.

You write: "To see what you're really doing, you need to view your image in Actual Size mode: if you show it bigger than it really is, the system stretches it to fit." That's the trouble with some of my images, along with fuzziness in the original photos. I can't get a sharp picture of something very small. When I've cropped down to remove extraneous background, the remaining rectangle of photo expands to a standard size, which means a very fuzzy bug. For this reason, I want to submit smaller photos and have them stay small on the screen.

Canon's program has a sharpening tool, but I don't detect any sharpening, even at its maximum setting.

After poking around in Preview, I found the place for reducing a photo and changing its pixel count. Okay, that helps. I haven't yet tried submitting a small photo to see whether it stays small on a bugguide page.

Now that I've tried to give you and others a better idea of what I know how to do and what I don't know how to do, here's my current question. Using the Adjust Size tool in Preview, is it better to reduce the size all at once than to go down in steps? Suppose a cropped photo is 900 pixels wide and I try reducing it to 750 as a start. It still looks fuzzy, so I reduce the 750-pixel version to 600, which is good enough to use as the final version. Should I have instead gone back to 900 px and reduced that one to 600 so that the computer would resample the pixels once rather than twice, for a more faithful copy of the original?

BugGuide Only Goes By Pixels
The problem of smaller images expanding to fill the screen is probably due to Preview defaulting to Fit Screen view. When it's uploaded to BugGuide, a 280-pixel image is going to be half the size on the screen of a 560-pixel image.

The complication comes when your image is bigger than 560 pixels: BugGuide's software shrinks anything bigger down to 560 pixels in order to fit it on the screen. That means that a 1120-pixel image will show at the same size on the screen as a 560-pixel image.

What it doesn't mean is any kind of expanding- a smaller original image will just get shrunk less.

did you get my e-mail?
Let me know if my suggestion interests you. If not, no problem :-)

Pink Spotted Lady Beetle (Coleomegilla maculata)
This is not my best series - I didn't see the eggs, may have misidentified the instars, probably recorded an incorrect measurement, and the insect's development was interrupted when another larva tried to eat it in the prepupal stage.

But it's still a daily record of a single individual from egg hatch to adult (whatever the instars and measurements), so I'm posting it. Start with the egg hatch here:

Instars are correct now!
I did some research, found that I had indeed missed an instar, and have now corrected the information in all photo captions.

The possibly-incorrect measurement is still possibly incorrect, but I'm much happier w/ the overall accuracy of the series now.

Now take a look at the Info page.

Terrific, thank you!

Could you also add to the larva description that it's dark brown? (The "dark and alligator-like" line.) The color is distinctive, most other dark lady beetle larvae are black.

A few more
A moth
A beetle
A life cycle of sorts, a gall fly
Collected from this kind of galls along with several larvae and pupae that were also raised but haven't been sorted out yet. See comments under the last image.

two Red Admirals, Vanessa atalanta
Two very-differently-colored caterpillars found on the same day on the same plant (not a listed foodplant for Red Admiral - I thought I was getting Painted Ladies till today). I photographed them both at the same time as small caterpillars, big caterpillars, prepupae, pupae, and adults. There are thumbnail photo links between them at each stage. ("Compare its darker-colored relative, photographed at the same time...")

The darker-colored caterpillar starts here:

The brighter-colored caterpillar starts here:

14-spotted lady beetle, Propylea quatuordecimpunctata
Another lady beetle species that I captive-reared, with daily photos of a single individual from egg to adult. The larvae are distinctive, with a black and white pattern visible at egg hatch, remaining black and white in all larval instars and the pupa.

The sequence starts with this pale green egg:

I believe these are the first reliably-identified larval photos of the species on the Guide. Others are ID'd based on the presence of 14-spotted adults in the vicinity of the larva.

Great series

Harmonia axyridis - daily from egg to adult
The insect hatched from the circled egg in this picture; adult eclosed on Day 18. There is at least one photo of each day as a larva, plus the first and last day as a pupa and the moment of eclose.

H. axyridis is very common and there are many photos on the Guide, but I figured a daily record of larval development could be valuable. For one thing, I found it identifiable within 24 hours of egg hatch, very useful for early recognition of this introduced and sometimes unwelcome species!

Labidomera clivicollis (Swamp Milkweed Leaf Beetle)

Life Cycle web site
I'm the person who started the Life Cycle web site -
I'm really interested in getting more people to raise insects, and linking to more life cycle series. I started the site - with the help of MJ Hatfield - about 6 months ago because the information about insect life cycles seemed scattered in so many different places. We'd like to be a central place with links to as many life cycles as we can.
If you have life cycles you could share, or would let us link to, please let me know. We'd love to have more contributors!

Life cycles
This is a very important subject; that is why I mentioned adultocentrism recently. I just added one life cycle of a fly; I was surprised at how little effort it took after all. Last year I placed another fly life cycle.
I have a whole bunch of goldenrod galls. I am waiting for the adults to emerge; if I am lucky I will get them all: the gall making fly, the two parasitic wasps and the parasitic beetle. I will try to get larvae and pupae at some point too.
I also have a moth pupa waiting.
I followed your suggestion and added the words "Life cycle" to help with the search.

One in process

Hasn't emerged yet.

I've had mixed results doing this. Except for the black swallowtails (with a 95% success rate) I've had about a 50% success rate with these 'life cycle' shots. This summer I tried a syrphid fly with no success....and I'm hoping that the moths make it.

Care needed
Don't forget that simple things like touching some pupae can injure them (skin oils), and that position can make a difference too. If you remove something to image it, you should try to put it back exactly as it was, even to the angle it's resting at.

I have 2...
This one is finished...

and this one should be any day now...

Update :(
The bottom caterpillar never reached adult stage but the pupa might be identifiable.

yes it is.
Euxoa tesselata.

Well, we're on our way then :D
I've seen others type Life Cycle in the type or comments, so I've followed suit with those that I have posted. You might want to add it to yours. If you put 'life cycle' in the Search box, it does bring up a nice number of photos.

Recent submission
Before I found this 'Life Cycle Post' I submitted images of eggs, larva, pupae, and adult fungus gnats that were subsequently identified as Sciaridae. Should I move the images to another place? If yes, I would need instructions on how to.

Would someone know what newly hatched spiderlings feed on? I had a jumping spider with her offspring and put them outside because I could not feed them. Right now I have eggs sacks of cellar spiders in my basement. I would like to rear them but don't know how.

Suggestions will be appreciated.

Spiderling diet
What do they eat? It depends on what kind they are. Some kinds feed on one another before they leave the nest web or whatever kind of birthplace they have. I photographed a wolf spider carrying new hatchlings on her back and what was probably the same spider six days later, identified by locations of the bristles on her legs. The second photo shows fewer babies, but larger ones.

So many adult spiders are missing one leg that I wonder whether they lost it to a hungry sibling in infancy.

In some species, the mother shares her prey with the offspring. There are also vegetarian spiders. Some carnivorous spiders eat pollen or nectar in addition to prey.

That's interesting - thanks.

Creating a life cycle series with more than one specimen
Look at what I've done under the image here.

Lynette. I will try to do the same.

Gnat life cycle
Kalafati, Can I put your fungus gnat life cycle on my web site - We don't have any gnats, and it would be nice to fill in that gap a little. Check out the site and send me a note if you're interested.

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