We have had several discussions on BugGuide (in the forums and on image comments) about the value of contributors providing specimens of photographed arthropods as "Photo-Vouchers" to experts willing to receive and identify said specimens.
A good discussion of Photo-Vouchering can be found here: http://bugguide.net/node/view/362417
Our previous discussions about this topic have indicated that there is interest in the BugGuide community for pursuing Photo-Vouchers and has resulted in several experts accepting specimens for this purpose. This thread will hopefully serve as a summary of current Photo-Vouchering opportunities, provide a place for discussion of new directions and opportunities, and help to recruit additional specialists willing to accept photo-vouchers for BugGuide.
Preserving specimens for vouchering:
Most athropod specimens should be preserved in alcohol. Isopropyl is satisfactory and easily obtained. Some researchers may prefer ethanol. Some insects should not be preserved in alcohol (such as some Tabanidae and Orthoptera) as the liquid can destory important hairs or bleach the color from the specimen.
Please email the voucher contact for specific instructions on preserving and shipping.
Current BugGuide Photo-Vouchers
+ Joseph DeSisto
+ Kevin Pfeiffer
+ Ken Schneider
- Spiders, California focus
+ Blaine Mathison
+ Ray Fisher
- Velvet mites and relatives (Parasitengona)
+ George Waldren
- Mutillidae, Scoliidae, Tiphiidae, Bradynobaenidae
+ Dave Smith
- Sawflies (Symphyta), Aulacidae, Evaniidae, Gasteruptiidae, Trigonalidae, Stephanidae
+ Zhiwei Liu
- Cynipidae (see Charley's comment below)
+ John Ascher
(AMNH) - Bees and wasps (care of Eli Wyman; contact John for details)
+ John Carr
- Diptera, mainly Tachinidae, Dolichopodidae, & midges
+ Richard Wilkerson
+ Christian Thompson
+ Bill Murphy
+ Allen Norrbom
- Acalyptrates, esp. Tephritidae (see notes below about preservation)
+ Peter Messer
+ Tim Loh
- Dytiscidae, Hydrophilidae, other aquatic beetles; northwestern Carabidae
+ Adam Brunke
- Staphylinidae (Staphylininae & Tachyporinae)
+ Joshua Basham
+ Blaine Mathison
- Elateridae, Throscidae
+ Brad Barnd
- Melolonthinae (Phyllophaga, Serica, Diplotaxis, etc.), Ptilodactyla
sp., miscellaneous Coleoptera/Diptera/Hymenoptera
+ Guy Hanley
- any Histeridae & Scarabaeidae, especially those found in dung & animal burrows; Glaresis
+ Andreas Herrmann
+ Michael Thomas
- Cerambycidae & misc. LBB (little brown beetles) from the Cucujoidea and Tenebrionoidea
+ Gareth Powell
- Nitidulidae, especially Carpophilus
- Fleas and cockroaches
+California - CDFA
- contact is Steve Gaimari
Additionally, there is the Insect and Mite Identification Service
run by the USDA-ARS, which may provide additional opportunities to have some difficult taxa identified.
Some topics for discussion:
- Are there others who photo-voucher that I've missed? I know there are some informal arrangements within the BugGuide community, but I've only included the ones that explicitly have expressed interest on their profile page.
- For those experts willing to help, are you interested in receiving vouchers for the long-term or perhaps just a short-term project?
- What other taxa are the BugGuide community interested in adding?
- Guidelines for photo-vouchering? This seems obvious to me (properly mounting and preserving specimens, eventual deposition of specimens into a research collection, making photo-vouchers available to other entomologists for scientific research) but maybe there is more?
It is of course a difficult task to find experts willing to undertake this kind of project. Many professional taxonomists are busy with their own work and will be unable to commit time.
I will keep this thread updated, listing both ongoing projects as well as shorter duration projects that will hopefully come to fruition. Anyone who is interested in starting a photo-voucher project, please post to this thread or contact me directly and I'll add your name and interest to the list.