Identification, Images, & Information
For Insects, Spiders & Their Kin
For the United States & Canada
Clickable Guide
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Upcoming Events

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

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

Photos of insects and people from the 2014 gathering in Virginia, June 4-7.

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

Photos from the 2010 Workshop in Grinnell, Iowa

Photos from the 2009 gathering in Washington

Web Site Problem Reports and Suggestions

Use this thread to report a problem found while using this web site or if you have a suggestion for improvement.


Search button returns totally blank page
The search button returns nothing but a blank page. I haven't seen this behavior before today. Thanks!

Mac OS X 10.6.8
Firefox 48.0.2

Limitations of the search function
If you use a word like beetle or wasp, there are so many entries that the search function gets overwhelmed and yields nothing. Try something else. You may also use Google (With a more powerful search system). Add to your search to narrow it down to just Bugguide images.

Search button returns totally blank page
Got it. Thank you!

The biting moths
Censure or editing is a little insulting. I have had this problem for months and have used advice from experts on herbs and natural use of oils and epsoms salts. The shampoo can be researched that is why a web site was provided. Any person should check with their pharmacist or doctor beforing trying any treatment, hello common sense. I am diabetic and know the hazards of certain seemingly harmless products, however, anyone wanting to remove one of these very painful pests will go to the pharmacy and waste money on some product full of chemicals more harmful than what I suggested. By the way I have tried just about everything and it turned out the most simple remedies are the safest. Pharmacists will know what natural medicines will or will not mix with any medications you are currently tacking. I asked mine about the epsom salts due to my diabetes....I was told as long as I do not soak in it like a bath and just an arm or portion of my body I would be fine. Knowledge is power...Instead of witholding valuable info others may be interested in, why didn't you just add a disclaimer and impress the importance of seeking out all remedies provided with your doctor first so you are not held responsible. Three months ago, I would have done just that and maybe it would have saved me some valuable money and painful experiences. My doctors also advised to take 1000 mg of garlic. Apparently insects don't like people who taste like it. Now I am doing biopsy's of moths that my skin grew over because I could not get it off. Little use of true "doctors" advice wasn't given, just somebody who tried a more natural approach when chemicals were useless. Let the public decide they have the right to know where to start and who to ask at the very least. That shampoo is great by the way, my three dogs are healing and I don't look at them and feel helpless like the vet did. Give people credit for being a little smarter than you give them credit for. I did. From now on I will just keep my mouth shut. I have been looking for people who have been experiencing the same frustration and helplessness I have. Apparently they are here but able to share or provide important and useful info to each other. Why be here if you can't?

Image uploading
I am brand new to this site and just getting started taking pics.
Last night I successfully uploaded and sent two pics and was so pleased to get such rapid response with an ID. I had a friend show me how to downsize the photo's. I tried it today, got a pic of a blister
beetle down to less than 30Kb, but continued to get the red cue "image too large to upload". I do not know how to make the image
any smaller. Any suggestions? I use a Canon Reble xsi w/Tamaron 90mm
macro. Cmptr is using Windows Vista w/standard photo program. What is the image size limit for uploading for future reference?

30 kb is easily uploaded, so there must be something
wrong with the file you are trying to load. We would suggest starting over with the original image, cropping it down till the bug fills the crop, save the new crop with a new name you are not likely to confuse and try to load once again. A 2000X3000 5 Megabyte image is not likely to load, but we would bet 1 megabyte images do. Make sure there is not something hidden in the image or its data. It should be fine. We were wondering if your browser was just timing out, but that can't happen with 30K. Keep us posted.

Certain Plants...
Hey Troy,

Have you thought about adding images of Goldenrod or Queen Anne's Lace in a "habitat" section? I mention this only because SO MANY great shots have been taken on certain wildflowers and it might be cool to click the (more common) plant names to see what else may be found there...just a thought...

I am prompted to ponder standards of picture quality by several recent submissions. One submitter is apparently a student who wants quick answers to specimen IDs for their school insect collection. I don't want to discourage anybody, but I also don't know that we want to open the door to "abuse" of our site and our experts. The questionable insect fragment found in the instant coffee can is REALLY stretching my patience. That is something that should be taken up by quality control in the office of the coffee manufacturer, or by some government health official, NOT by us. I would encourage everyone here NOT to respond to queries like that. It could even be a liability issue if the person submitting the image is intent on filing a lawsuit somewhere.

Loading of images
Is it just me having problems with the loading of images lately? After logging in, the first few images are loaded without any problem but when continuing my explorations I end up with pages for ever trying to load the images. No definite moment when the problems start, sometimes on the second image, sometimes after more than 10.

When that happens, it also affects the loading of images in other websites. It only happens on Windows PC's with Internet Explorer 6 (two different Windows versions [98SE and XP Pro]). The only way to get rid of the 'image block' is restarting the browser. Until about a week ago I did not have this problem. There is no problem on the Mac, though.


No problems here
I haven't noticed any problems, Paul. I normally use IE6 on Windows XP.

That's bizarre that restarting the browser resolves the issue. That suggests a browser problem. An obvious question is what changed a week ago? Did you upgrade the browser? To my knowledge, nothing has changed here in the server environment.

No upgrade what so ever
I have not upgraded anything, especially since I have experienced the problem on two different system. I was just wondering if the site uses scripts or anything that may have changed. It could be that it is something solely to do with my own behaviour. If no one has any problems it must be. So, this was the way to check. One thing I can think of is clicking the link in the update messages I receive (using Popcorn). I will experiment a little with that.

Thanks for the reply anyway.


I guess Popcorn is to blame
I have been trying several option and I guess Popcorn is to blame. Opening a page from the message contents box in Popcorn lead me to IE alright and opens the page. Further browsing may or may not be interrupted later. It may have to do with the load Popcorn already carried before going to the Bugguide site. Sometimes Popcorn also freezes when clicking on a link in the message contents box.

Sorry if I gave you all a scare.



Searching with plurals
Would it be possible and/or practical for searches to automatically include the plural form of the search strings? I've noticed that relevant guide pages often fail to show up in searches if the search term is not in plural form. For example, the string "spider wasp" will fail to bring up the "spider wasps" guide page, and similarly, someone searching for "crane fly" will not pull up the "crane flies" guide page in the results. Is there, for instance, some way that a search for "fly" could automatically include a search for "flies"?

I wrote my old web site search to work that way. The code I started with for this site already had search functionality and didn't provide that.

I was so surprised at the time that I remember trying google to see how it worked. To my surprise it doesn't do that either. So I figured it must not be too big a deal.

What the search here does provide though is wildcard searching. You could search for "crane fl*" to get both.

I just added that to my wish list along with lots of other little tweaks to the search functionality.

Speaking of search, I've always wondered why my search for "how to know the spiders" doesn't pull up the book by that exact title (I keep doing that search when looking for its node number for citing). I end up having to search on "kaston" instead.

I'll check into it
When I'm doing other search work I'll look into that mystery as well.

Search Bug
FYI, I get a 404 Not Found page if I try to search a phrase with a period in it.

Yes, I noticed that too
I just need to urlencode the search terms. I put that on my list of things to fix next round.

HOME and GUIDE main pages
Hey Troy,

As I've mentioned many times, I love being a part of this site and really enjoy the company of the other enthusiasts involved. I've learned so much in the last year!

Being a visual person, your main pages for both HOME and GUIDE are really text-heavy with no imagery at all...and it's somewhat overwhelming to a first-time visitor. Perhaps some sample photographs (with links) to color it up a bit? Or, better yet, screen shots with arrows SHOWING how the guide pages work...that might make it more inviting.

Another thought: How about quick icons that can be checked off when submitting images (like you have for the MALE, FEMALE, ADULT, etc) that indicate say...HERBIVOROUS, CARNIVOROUS, POSIONOUS, NON-POSIONOUS...again, this info is quick to digest, and is inviting to the also may help categorize pages into PESTS, POSIONOUS, NON-NATIVE (imported) SPECIES, BENEFICIAL, etc...

Hey just my 2 cents, I know your a busy guy:)

Good suggestions
I've noted the same thing, but wasn't quite sure what to put there. I agree that some small explanatory pics might help.

Top Ten "Mystery Bugs?"
I'm wondering if we might want to include a feature of the "top ten" mystery critters that people inquire about. My own list, from my experiences here and through would include: house centipede, giant ichneumon, Jerusalem cricket, camel cricket, horntail woodwasp, dobsonfly, stag beetle, fisher spider, black and yellow Argiope, Phidippus jumping spider, cicada killer, pseudoscorpion. Ok, so that's twelve:-) Anyway, I think a shortcut for really perplexing critters would be of immediate use for random visitors. Just a thought, like Troy doesn't have enough to entertain!

Already on the list
I'll be changing the ID Request page to include links to a page with those and perhaps a few more.

What would be really good in the meantime would be to get some more good pics of the dangerous spiders. That way the page could say, if your spider doesn't resemble one of these, it's not dangerous, since that's all many people care to know.

We have some widow pics, but I don't think we have any recluse pics. Anybody have any to submit?

Trouble with editing pages
There is a problem that needs fixing. I accidentally clicked on "edit" while looking at this page: (Florida duskywing), and then I noticed that the page figures as contributed by me and not by Alan Chin-Lee as it should be. I certainly didn't click "enter" or anything else, so this shouldn't have hapenned. I hope that it is easy to fix.

That was a problem
That I fixed a week or so ago. Did this just happen?

I changed that one back to Alan.

Nothing should get changed unless you actually submit. Just clicking edit doesn't change anything. Maybe you clicked edit today but had edited it previously before I fixed the problem?

I really wanna believe this isn't an outstanding problem :). It is probably the worst kind of problem so if you're convinced it is still happening I'll disable editing by anyone other than the owner until I resolve it.

Re: editing
No, it hapenned a few days ago and I only noticed it today. So it must be that it is working OK now. I haven't checked it, though.

"ID request" request
This may not be feasible, or reasonable, given the structure of all that code, but it would be nice...

Any way to have an image filed under both "id request" and in a particular category? For instance, I've got lots of syrphid photos that I can't identify even to genus. I know the family, however, and who knows when some will get identified. It would be really great, and save clean-up work, if I could post the images under Syrphidae, but then just turn on an "id request" attribute for the image. When the thing gets id'd, I, or some other editor could turn off that attribute and move the photo. If no id is made for some time, the photo is still in the correct family, at least.

Feasible? Reasonable? (Of course, I'm perfectly happy with the current system--this is an idea that might make things easier.)

Patrick Coin
Durham, North Carolina

Neat idea
My first thought was why didn't I think of that. Then Eric comes along and makes a good point.

I see pros and cons either way but I lean toward leaving things as is for the short term.

Everything whether in the guide or not is open to comments and revision. I already see experts in particular areas making passes through the guide and helping out.

Assuming an image is more specifically identified, there'd be work to move it around anyway, whether from id request or from another spot in the guide.

My thinking is that id request should be used to get things in front of people and try to narrow it down. Once we get as close as we think we can given our limited resources, we can move it to the best place in the guide. If and when an expert comes along they'll probably head to their area of expertise and hopefully comment where revisions should be made.

On the other hand, I do see value in focusing attention on things that need work in the guide.

The alternatives are not mutually exclusive. We could still have "id request" as it exists today and still allow people to mark guide images as needing further id. I'll keep your suggestion in mind as I consider other changes.

Good idea
I like this idea. This might also be a good way for our more specialized bug people to review only the ID requests they are interested in or are knowledgeable about. That would require being able to filter on only the group(s) of bugs they want to see the ID Requests for.

Clickable Guide
I was wondering if you could add a link to order Hemiptera or to stink bugs in the clickable guide, just to make it a little more complete :)

You're not the first to ask for that...
So I spent a few hours tonight reworking the clickable guide a bit.

I removed some redundant beetle and hopper images and made some things point a bit higher up in the guide. I added a few things that weren't in there before (walkingstick, flea, earwig).

The best I could do for true bugs in the time I had was that water bug. Maybe I can come up with something else the next time I change it. We could lose some of the wasp and fly images in favor of other things.

Just FYI, I bought a font that contained those images. I'm no graphic artist and we may need some volunteers to come up with some images that match the theme for things we don't have there yet.

I'm glad to hear people actually use the clickable guide. I had wondered since I usually just search for things instead.

Art sources--hemiptera
Troy, I've got several old public domain (pre 1921 guarantees that) publications with engravings of insects that you could. I'll look for a more "typical" hemipteran. There are also some clip art collections around that might be suitable.

Looking at my copy of Comstock, Insect Life (1897), I have a Coreid and a Pentatomid. I'd vote for the stink bug--distinctive outline. Both will probably do well for true bugs as an "icon". I'll try to scan it in the next couple of days and e-mail you a gif.

Anything else you need, let me know, I'll look for it.

Patrick Coin
Durham, North Carolina

Clip art
I have a clip art book that actually has what appears to be a squash bug. It may not exactly match the style of the clickable guide icons, but I'll scan it and email it to you, Troy.

Taxonomy pages
Would it be possible to clean up some of the pages? For instance if I go to "bee" I find about a dozen flies, several wasps and a few other creatures that don't belong there, same thing with "wasps", there are some moths (wasp moths), etc.
I don't want to make more work for Troy, I am just as grateful as everybody else for the wonderful job and the invaluable web site. Perhaps I could help doing that task, after all I am a biologist and can handle a thing like that judiciously if given that role.

Leave as is, here is why....
If indeed the "bee" page brings up other orders of insects that MIMIC bees, I think that could be highly educational. I'd be in favor of leaving it as is if there is some explicit sentence that says the images below include bee mimics. Just my two cents:-)

We need help
Thanks for the offer to help, Beatriz. I just changed your role to a contributing editor.

You can do much more now, but there are still limitations that require me to do things. You can move around images and create new guide pages, but you can't move around existing guide pages. I'm working on changing that.

I didn't see what you saw with bees. There is currently no separate tree for bees... the various families all just hang off of hymenoptera. So wasps families will be mixed in as well, but you should see no flies there. If you search that's a bit different. You'll get a mix when you do that, because search doesn't follow the taxonomy and is just term based (if someone mentions bee on a fly post it comes up).

Check the forums for a few posts regarding what contributing editors can and should do and then send me email or post a forum topic if you have any questions.

Re: we need help
Thank you for making me a contributing editor. I'll see what I can do. Now I undestand the reason why there are flies, etc. in the bees section when I am doing a search. I have been checking the taxonomy pages and they look pretty good so far. Very incomplete, naturally; do you have any idea of the enormity of this project? Oh, but it must be such fun!

How about size
as a field on the submission form. With so much macro and even microscopic shots being posted, it would be nice to have some indication whether it's a teeny creature or a big one.

How about a way to "Subscribe
How about a way to "Subscribe" to the Forum itself so that you are notified any time a new topic is posted?

I like being able to subscribe to individual forum topics, but may miss new topics when they are posted. The alternative is to check by hand every day, but sometimes the Forum is in the doldrums, with few new topics being posted.


Stephen Cresswell
Buckhannon, WV

On the list
I'll add that to my list and look into what's involved. Probably not too difficult. I want to revise the subscription stuff at some point anyway.

Similar Species
Here's another idea: the guide pages should have a "similar species" field (or indicate the best place to put it in one of the current fields). In it, I'd like to see links to the similar species and notes on how the two species differ.

Similar species--comments
Good idea. Currently, I try to put that in the "identification" field. I write in links to other pages when I get the chance. I just paste in old-fashioned html links. (I keep a text editor open while working to store little bits of text like that.)

That's a whole design issue--when to add more fields for specific things and when to keep things more "free-form". I don't have any strong ideas on that. Currently, I think there are plenty of fields on the guide pages, but that could be a valuable addition--I'll leave that up to Troy's design judgment.

Patrick Coin
Durham, North Carolina

Recycling Bin
I'd like to see a new folder (node?) called the "Recycling Bin" or similar. This would be a place to move images that are tagged for eventual deletion. Some of the ID Request images are not of suitable quality for permanent inclusion in the guide, and have served their purpose to the poster in terms of determining what the bug was. Editors could move these images out of the ID Request node to the Recycling Bin, where they could be (automatically?) deleted after say 30 days. Moving images to this area would both clean up the ID Request node and also provide one last chance for site users to determine if the images should remain.

Any thoughts? Easy to implement?

Probably not too difficult
That's a good idea. It provides a way for the poster to still see comments for awhile but clears it out of ID Request. Probably half a day's work or less. I like it.

I'm also struggling with some way to get back to items that I know need work. Some things get identified or get noted as misidentified and need to be reworked (e.g. new guide pages created, moved, etc.). Something like a way to tag things as "needs work". Then editors could work through them without fear of stuff getting lost in the shuffle. Things in "ID Request" don't worry me because I know I'll look through all of those eventually, but there's stuff in the guide that I may not even notice. Maybe something anyone could mark but only editors can clear. Then there would be a list somewhere of everything that "needs work".

I'm hoping to make a pass through my "to do" list real soon and implement a lot of stuff that will help editors to help me by giving them more power. Things like moving guide pages, editing other people's images, etc.

"needs work" kludge
Sounds like great ideas. In terms of the "needs work", I just add a unique string in the Remarks field. This is "Guide TBA--PC". Then I can just do a search on this string and it pulls up the stuff I mean to get back to. I sometimes make notes to myself on what needs to be done. Sorry, it is not very aesthetic, but with so many guides, I don't have any other way to make such notes.

Of course, a dedicated field, button, etc. Would be nice. If such a field were only visible to the author and/or editors, that would be spiffy. Something like an "author's notes" field--not visible when somebody else views or prints the guide, but visible to author and/or editor. Just an idea, putting a unique string in the Remarks field works just fine, it is just not very pretty.

Patrick Coin
Durham, North Carolina

Good idea, Patrick,
which I will copy. Not that I have written enough guide pages to need it yet, but maybe some day.

Also, thanks for introducing me to a new word (kludge)!

Hi Troy
It mite be a smidgeon of an improvement if "All files" were selected when browsing for an image to post, rather than "HTML files":)


Which browser
I have IE 6.0, Netscape 7.1, Firefox 0.8, and Opera 7.23. I tried all of them and "All files" was selected. Which browser are you using?

Netscape 4.5
I just upgraded to Opera 7.54. It was long overdue.
Thanks, John

Ah, Netscape 4.x, the bane of webmasters everywhere. :)

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