Subject: Assisting in Assassin Bug IDs
April 24, 2013 8:43 am
Greetings from another Dan the Bugman,
I’m interested in offering my services in assassin bug identification. I’m not sure what your process typically entails, but if you would be willing to forward me ID requests for reduviid-ish images, I would be happy to take the identification as far as I am able. I am trying to gain a wider exposure to this group, especially in the Old World, something my role as a Contributing Editor at BugGuide.net can only take so far; thus, I think this arrangement would be mutually beneficial.
Looking forward to your response.
Signature: Daniel R. Swanson
I am thrilled at your offer. Please feel free to look at any Assassin Bugs in the archives and provide identifications or comments. I will be sure to contact you in the future with any new postings that are difficult.
Glad I can be of assistance and excited for what the archives might hold. I will probably just start at the oldest page and slowly and periodically work through them to the most recent (although I tend to really enjoy this type of thing so it may go quicker than anticipated). That plan brings up some questions, mostly relating to North American fauna. Do want me to comment on most images? For example:
1) if you’ve concluded an image is a species of Zelus, but I can tell you its Z. renardii, would you like a comment?
2) if you’ve stated, “I think” or “I’m pretty sure it’s species ZZZ”, would you like me to confirm that?
3) do all my comments go through you? If I say “no, this is not a reduviid, it’s a nabid” will you see it? For that matter, is the average contributor still linked to their image, i.e. will they see my ID?
4) the oldest image is a teneral (and added shot, nymphal) wheel bug. At the time, that ID wasn’t offered, I’m guessing because you’ve obviously grown and know a lot more species now than when you started. Should I still offer up an ID for things you know now and have IDed a lot on your site but didn’t at the time?
I will certainly correct wrong identifications, and I do not plan to comment on correct identifications backed by reasonable confidence (e.g. wheel bugs or masked hunter nymphs) or posts without images. Unless you prefer I do, I probably will not provide references or citations (e.g. keys, descriptions) relating to my identification (in many cases, there are none except my own notes), although I may include various details, e.g. subfamilial ranking; geographic distribution; “10 species in southeast Asia” so the contributor knows a species ID is unlikely. I think too I will simply sign my comments as “drswanny” if that’s fine by you. That will keep my BugGuide handle associated and further cultivate my association with reduviid identifications in the online community.
Thanks again for this opportunity,
We like to think of our site as a nice chatty place and that that is one of its charms. For that reason, we have decided to post this conversation and we will illustrate it with the first Assassin Bug you identified for us. Upon a first read, I believe the answer to all of your questions is “yes” but we will go through them systematically.
1) Yes, please identify any common genera identifications to the species level, including all Zelus.
2) Yes, when our answers are not definite, by all means confirm any general responses.
3) Yes, I approve all comments, but after one comment is approved, the subsequent ones generally go live automatically. I try to read and approve all comments except SPAM. The person who submitted an image for posting is not linked to their posting, however if they supply a comment, we believe as long as the email address submitted is accurate, the querant will be notified of all subsequent comments. The querant will only see your comment if they revisit the site or if they have previously supplied a comment to the original posting.
4) Yes, please identify old posts. I knew very little in 1999 when one identification request a month was considered frequent mail. Alas, I do not visit the archives much. That is pretty much water under the bridge and there isn’t even enough time to read and respond to all submissions now, especially in the summer months.
Any anecdotal information is greatly appreciated.