Mosquitoes have been important vectors of human pathogens for thousands of years, the recent outbreak of Zika virus being the latest evidence of the continuing risk they present. To address the problem of identifying different mosquito species, taxonomists at the Walter Reed Biosystematics Unit (WRBU – http://wrbu.si.edu/), within the National Museum of Natural History (NMNH), Smithsonian Institution, have been working since the early 1960s to provide taxonomic information on the various genera and species of mosquito that transmit malaria, dengue and other pathogens.
The WRBU has focussed on building up, curating, and publishing on a mosquito collection, which is now the largest in the world, comprising over 1.5 million specimens. A primary role of the WRBU is to provide support for military personnel and others at the front line who require help in mosquito identification as part of vector-borne disease prevention. To this end, the Unit has been involved for some time in developing online computer-based identification keys for various regions of the world.
While some of these interactive, diagnostic matrix keys are still in development, many keys (>150) can be accessed from a Lucid Server via the WRBU website at – http://wrbu.si.edu/aors/aors_keys.html.
As shown in the following image, users can click on the geographic command (COM) area of concern for a list of keys appropriate to that region.
A recent development is the creation of Lucid Mobile Apps to enable easier access to the keys in the field. The first app is for Central American Malaria Vectors.
iOS App – Apple iTunes
Android – Google Play Store
Hal Cogger, one of Australia’s foremost reptile experts, has developed a Lucid key to 223 Australian snakes. It is expected to be published under the Lucid Mobile platform in the next couple of months.
This very popular and impressive key has now been released as an app.
Rainforest Plants of Australia – Rockhampton to Victoria, is based on the popular interactive computer key (distributed as a USB) of the same name. The app includes the full identification key to 1140 species, fact sheets for all species and features used in the key, introductory and reference sections and over 8,000 images.
Rainforest Plants of Australia – Rockhampton to Victoria available at Apple iTunes.
Rainforest Plants of Australia – Rockhampton to Victoria available at Google Play.
An illustrated, interactive key to the Australian heterobranch sea slug families.
The Australia heterobranch sea slugs not only have popular appeal among the public but they also hold scientific importance. NudiKey provides a simple, interactive tool to assist with their identification and an opportunity for users to become familiar with the external diagnostic characteristics found in this highly speciose group of gastropod molluscs. NudiKey summarises the essential characteristics of the epibenthic families and, using high quality photographs of living animals, comprises a comprehensively illustrated, user-friendly, interactive key.
Author: Matthew J. Nimbs
Funded by: Southern Cross University & National Marine Science Centre
The Pacific Pest and Pathogens App has been updated again to include an additional 30 taxa and fact sheets, many of these being pests and pathogens of vegetable crops found in the Papua New Guinea highlands. The App now covers 300 pests and diseases.
Authors: Grahame Jackson et al.
Funded by: ACIAR, the Australian Centre for International Agricultural Research.
Pacific Pests and Pathogens @ iTunes App Store
Pacific Pests and Pathogens @ Google Play Store
The MyCrop key Apps (Wheat, Barley, Oats, Canola and Pluses) have all been recently updated.
Traffic – the wildlife trade monitoring network and the South African National Biodiversity Institute SANBI have been working on two identification keys to help assist customs officials, law enforcement officers, border police and Environmental Management Inspectors (EMI’s) working against the illegal wildlife and plant trade. The following two “IDentifyIT – Species” keys help inspectors identify plant and wildlife parts. They are now preparing to make these keys available to the public – see below.
Cycad ID Tool – provides a practical, easy-to-use identification guide to South African Encephalartos species.
Species ID Tool – assists with the identification of South African TOPS and CITES-listed species, thereby enabling better regulation and monitoring of the local and international trade in these threatened and endangered species.
Authors: Tess Rayner et al.
Android & iOS: Coming Soon. Please check back later.
These key projects were a collaboration between the South African National Biodiversity Institute (SANBI) and TRAFFIC, the Wildlife Trade Monitoring Network, a strategic alliance of WWF – World Wide Fund for Nature and IUCN – The World Conservation Union. The project was sponsored by NORAD, SANBI and the Mazda Wildlife Fund.
We have been working with Dr Anders Hallan and Dr Winston Ponder from the Australian Museum over the past few months to ready this key for release.
The content for this key was developed in Fact Sheet Fusion, which used a customised template based on the responsive Html Bootstrap framework, enabling the content to be viewed across various screen sizes and devices.
A Lucid Mobile App is also a possibility for this key in the near future.
Authors: W.F. Ponder, A. Hallan, M. Shea and S.A. Clark
Prof Yoohan Song
Professor Yoohan Song – Emeritus Professor of Entomology in the Department of Applied Biology, Gyeongsang National University, Korea – is currently visiting Identic. Professor Song has a long association with the Identic team, having collaborated with us on several projects concerning CD/DVD on rice and Korean vegetable pest management. On this occasion Yoohan is working with us and with colleagues at the International Rice Research Institute (Philippines) to update the Rice Doctor diagnostic online key and apps for tropical rice and to discuss the development of a diagnostic key for temperate rice.
A new update to Fact Sheet fusion has just been released. This maintenance update adds a number of minor enhancements and bug fixes.
For more information on these Fact Sheet Fusion updates click here.
To purchase Fact Sheet Fusion click here.
For existing Fact Sheet Fusion v1 licence holders purchase the upgrade here.