We’re in the process of imaging some of the student collections from last semester’s iteration of ENT 502. This is the foundational entomology class for graduate students, Insect Biodiversity and Evolution, which requires a fairly substantial collection as part of the grade. Students have written multiple times in their evaluations how useful it’d be to see collections from previous classes: the ranges of specimen numbers, morphospecies numbers, curation levels, labeling schemes, etc. What does a great collection look like? What are the common problems they should avoid?
The problem is… I usually end up breaking down the collections at the end of the semester, consolidating taxa and transferring worthy specimens (which is most of them!) into the research and teaching collections. I.e., I never seem to remember that I am supposed to save a good collection for future students to explore! GigaPan, we’ve realized recently, is a great solution to this dilemma. Here’s the first collection we imaged that didn’t have major stitching errors (or go directly to the drawer and vials):
This collection consisted of 315 insect specimens, all of which were databased (i.e., barcoded and digitized for taxon and collecting event) and many of which were determined below the family level (which is the minimum level required; each specimen gets a determination label). The vials were nicely topped off with ethanol, something many students forget to do. Overall I’d say this collection is a great model for future students to follow. More excellent collections coming up soon!
Our 1000th GigaPan!
I almost missed it, but our 1000th GigaPan drawer image went up late last week!
It ended up being a drawer of shore bug specimens (Hemiptera: Saldidae), which is pretty cool. Maybe we should have had some sort of GigaPan lottery – guess the taxon that is found in drawer 1000! You can find these insects pretty easily if you cruise along the edges of ponds and rivers and look at the sand. They’re typically predators of other arthropods one finds associated with water. BugGuide has a pretty decent set of images of these bugs in situ.