A Bugguide Orientation

Most of the identifications on the fauna page were either confirmed by, or made by, bugguide.net.

Bugguide provides "Identification, Images, & Information For Insects, Spiders & Their Kin For the United States & Canada". It's a community-driven effort: registered users (anyone can register) upload images to the site, and then other members comment on identification. Users who have been given the status of Editor can both comment on an image and move images to their proper place in the guide, based on the best identification an editor can provide given their expertise and the detail visible in the photo(s). (Editors are assigned Editor status based on either an educational entomology background, or on a recognized expertise within the community.)

As an example of the process, here's one of the first photos I posted on bugguide:

(Every time images are moved in the guide, the system creates a "Moved" comment showing who moved the images and from where they moved them.)

In this case the editor was able to determine the species of bee from my pictures: Colletes inaequalis. But that's not always the case. For this submission, for example, I submitted my image to the Spiders section of the guide and used the title "Thanatus formicinus?" as my guess of the species of spider. First an editor moved the image from "Spiders" to "Running Crab Spiders" because he knew the spider was a Running Crab Spider (but wasn't sure about any more than that), and then another editor moved the image from "Running Crab Spiders" to the genus Thanatus, which is where the image is currently placed in the guide. On her last move she also commented that a more specific id was unlikely because from my picture alone she can't distinguish between similar looking species also found in Wisconsin.

How can you tell that Thanatus is a genus? One way is to click on the "Info" tab, which takes you to the general information page for wherever you currently are in the guide - in this case the title of the info page tells you "Genus - Thanatus". On the Info page you can also see that there are "7 species in bugguide's range" - if you wanted to see which of those species bugguide covers, you could then click on the "Browse" tab, which shows all of the guide pages immediately below Thanatus. In this case Thanatus is a genus, so Browse shows all of the species of Thanatus in the guide - three species are represented as of this writing. As users submit images of more species, new Thanatus species pages will be created and then will show up when browsing under Thanatus.

Other information you can view from the submission page: