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Photo guide
#1 Print Post
Posted on 02-06-2006 10:49
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Location: Sweden
Posts: 1996
Joined: 22.05.06

I'm a total newbie when it comes to identifying insects. I like to take photos of all kinds: insects, spiders etc. Would it be possible to write a simple photo guide, lets say for each family, on how to take photos to optimize the chance of it being identified? I learned for instance that it is important to get a good headshot to identify wasps. Perhaps it varies too much the way one identifies diptera that the best advice is - take pictures from as many angels as possible!? Problem is when you only get one shot ...

PS. I don't collect specimens. I only take photos. Hopefully I can contribute some reports with the help of my photos in the new report system for invertebrates that's suppose to come this summer (
Paul Beuk
#2 Print Post
Posted on 02-06-2006 11:08
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Location: Netherlands
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crex wrote:
the best advice is - take pictures from as many angels as possible!

I think you have hit the nail on the head. Especially for someone who does not ye know what it is, it is difficult to say what angle is best because diagnostic characters in different families are usually in different places. Visible wing venation in some groups is a must, in others it has relatively little (additional) value. Legs with setae can be extremely helpful but sometime the legs provide very few useful characters. In some groups you want to have dorsal views of the head, in others lateral views, and still others frontal views; and even then you sometimes not a single one of these will be sufficient. Even oblique views may have to be taken from different angles if dust patterns are involved, for example on the mesonotum or the abdomen.

And then there is something else to take into account: a specialist may look at completely different characters then a 'general dipterist'. For the specialist a single seta on a leg may suffice, where-as the general dipterist may only be able to idenify it using a key when he has dorsal shots (wing, mesonotum), frontal shots (face antennae) and finally lateral shots (legs). When I tell you to take these shots in that order (dorsal, frontal, lateral), we may never be able to identify it to species because the fly had long since departed after the first dorsal shot. If the opportunity had presented itself, you might hav taken the lateral shot first...

Still, this is all my opinion. I am sure other people will have different opinions, so, just ventilate them. Smile
Edited by Paul Beuk on 02-06-2006 11:08

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Paul Beuk on
Robert Nash
#3 Print Post
Posted on 02-06-2006 15:30

Location: Ulster Museum, Belfast, Ireland
Posts: 288
Joined: 11.11.05

Adrian Pont's (world specialist on Muscidae) note on Pegomyia bicolor emphasises Paul's point specialist may look at completely different characters then a 'general dipterist'.I did not know that "hind tibia. Two anterodorsals and two posterodorsals do not occur in combination like that in muscids" now we all do which shows how useful GrinGrin, Diptera.inf is. Adrian's second point "and this looks for all the world like a Pegomya" illustrates another point - some flies have a "jizz" ie. they are recognizable by characters not easily defined in the same way that a familiar human face can be recognized from a partial photo.A reference collection goes a long way to help since as Paul says using keys other than on specimens is very difficult. I endlessly repeat that systematic entomology is a very visual science and photos are assuming a very important role. Even if your fly cannot be identified it may illustrate some feature that will prove of great illustrative value in the morphological part of the glossary Am I right Paul?
Paul Beuk
#4 Print Post
Posted on 02-06-2006 15:48
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Location: Netherlands
Posts: 19037
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How can I say 'no' when part of what I wrote was with Adrian's comment in the back of my head, next to some other things you wrote to me earlier? Wink

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