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National Moth Week photos of insects and people. Here's how to add your images.

Photos of insects and people from 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

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


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cite:750878
http://www.boldsystems.org/

site reliability
see Lis et al. (2016)
in those sections i've visited over the years errors of all sorts abound... at first (ca 2012-2014?) i tried to notify them, but got quickly discouraged: the errors were way too numerous, and the time spent emailig back n forth to correct each one was just prohibitive

 
yes and no
BOLD is an indispensable tool for me but I agree that it is not a reliable tool to be used blindly for identification. But that is not the purpose of BOLD and really, what tools exist which can be used blindly?

When I want to verify an ID, I typically go to the BOLD species page and access the "Published & Released Data" for which there is a button on all species pages for which published & released records exist. I did this just this morning for Telphusa latifasciella. There is only one BIN group which is a good sign. BIN roughly corresponds to species. Two or more BINs would indicate a high probability of identification error. I then select a specimen which looks like the moth I am trying to identify. The record details for the specimen shows the BIN number which links to the BIN page showing BIN data. It includes a link to BIN member records which can be individually viewed. Very often the BIN contains specimens identified as a different species. Typically this indicates misidentifications. The data includes the source for the identification. If the identifier is an expert, that expert can be contacted. Studying the descriptions for both species often gives a clue as to which is correct. There is also a button for a tree based on COI-5P. If there are two species named in the BIN but the samples for each fall into two separate branches, there is a good chance the BIN actually does hold two valid species. If the sample I select has a nearly complete sequence, I will do a search using the "Identification" tool to see the 99 nearest neighbors by barcode. If not nearly complete, I would check the next most similar specimen. The odds are high that those closest in the tree from other BINs are closely related and consequently the most likely species to be confused.

I don't expect BugGuide users to go through all this. However, using BOLD as a resource has value. If a user sees a specimen on BOLD which is similar to his/her submission, referencing that specimen I think is a good thing. Those more versed with using BOLD can then follow up.

Citation
For information on what BOLD is and how it is used, see "Resources" here which includes the following under "Citing Use of BOLD Systems":

Ratnasingham, S. & Hebert, P. D. N. (2007). BOLD: The Barcode of Life Data System (www.barcodinglife.org). Molecular Ecology Notes 7, 355-364. DOI: 10.1111/j.1471-8286.2006.01678.x

Ratnasingham S, Hebert PDN (2013) A DNA-Based Registry for All Animal Species: The Barcode Index Number (BIN) System. PLoS ONE 8(8): e66213. DOI:10.1371/journal.pone.0066213

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