Friday, May 13, 2011

A whole new world, a new fantastic point of view

It has taken about 2.5 months, but at long last, all vacuum sampled and frozen arthropods from Lizzie’s collection have been processed! There are a few minor tasks that I have left to do with them, such as comparing vouchers, but that will most likely be done in a short bit. 

Now, to say that I didn’t recognize the arthropods until more than halfway through the samples is an understatement. I had to re-familiarize myself at each sorting session what the types of arthropod were, and that in itself took a long time to become acquainted with. After many sessions of bug identification frustration, I finally decided that I was going to go and capture these bugs on camera and store them on my laptop when I sort through the rest of the samples. Here are a few pictures of some of the arthropods I caught on camera:
This is a one of a kind bug I found in the samples, though I'm not really sure what it is.
This is one of the many auchenorrhynchas (what a mouthful) that I saw while sorting. What a beauty.
There were many flies in the samples, this one I labeled as 'diptrs' for red stripes.
This one is my favorite since it reminds me of the alien from the movie, 'Aliens'.
I made note to take pictures of them from as many sides as possible, since I couldn’t be sure whether or not if a single picture was enough to help me identify future samples. As it is, I feel like my pictures, which made identifying arthropods much easier later on, are not as clear as they could be since they do not capture all the details on the insect bodies. I would also have trouble with the light on the microscope and in how I centered the camera lens on the microscope lens, since it required multiple minute tweakings of both camera and microscope lenses. I ended up zooming my camera lens to the max and the microscope to 3x the magnification and then centering the camera lens on the microscope lens before I found a middle point where I was satisfied with the quality of the photos.

But doing so did help me match up bugs closely, or at least, better than I did before. Now that Lizzie is back, and brought with her her vouchers of these little guys, I can match up my vouchers with hers and see how to better create a system for identification. Ta da!

Happy Friday everyone, and happy Sun God!

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