At least, that's what I think most times I find a new type of arthropod that I haven't seen yet in Lizzie's vacuum samples. She got me started on sorting her bug samples by morphospecies by first going through them and meticulous scanning and collecting them from the trays. I find it rather like a "Where's Waldo?" book, but much more complex and more miniscule. Here are some pictures to illustrate this process:
Just keep searching, just keep searching, just keep searching searching searching...
Bug of interest has been found!
Naturally, this is repeated many times over and it is more eyestraining than looking for herbivory on the shrub samples through the microscope, but I find it much more enjoyable. The only problem with this is that I end up spending too much time on each sample bag combing through the litter for bugs that are sometimes <1 mm large and often in a contorted shape. I am hoping to figure out a tempo for how I look for these critters soon so I can become more efficient at searching and memorizing their features. I also hope to be able to take pictures and make some sort of comprehensive pictionary of these insects, but we'll see how time will work out. There's effectively 1.5 weeks left until finals week, got to get cracking!