Explore the world of the wasps with our Curator Gavin Broad

For all of you who have been helping us transcribe the specimen labels of the Chalcids – our slide-mounted parasitoid wasps, we thought you might enjoy learning about these fascinating creatures, and other members of the wasp family. Gavin Broad, who is Curator of Hymenoptera at the Natural History Museum did an #NHM_Live on Facebook last night (a weekly broadcast). Do watch the recording to find out why wasps are so undeserving of their bad reputation and that some even make honey.

And the winner is…

CalBug Leaf-cutter Bees! Late last week we asked which expedition would finish first Arkansas Dendrology: Part 7 or CalBug Leaf-cutter Bees 3. The Leaf-cutter Bees finished first by one day. More importantly, we beat the estimated time to completion (ETC) for both of these expeditions by over a week.

Thanks to all that helped and a special mention to @am.zooni,@maggiej, @QuantumSpaceGoat and a WordPress user named ilke for all the transcriptions and Talk participation.

The CalBug folks are working up a new expedition that will be posted very soon. For those looking for more plants from Arkansas U.S.A. we still have the Herbaceous Plants of the Ouachita Mountains expedition.

— The NfN Team

Finishing race?

We noticed today that two of our current expeditions are ~80% complete with an estimated time to completion (ETC) of 11 days. They are Arkansas Dendrology: Part 7 and CalBug Leaf-cutter Bees 3.

They aren’t directly comparable since Arkansas Dendrology: Part 7 has fewer overall images, but we wondered if our transcribers might want throw their weight behind one or the other? So which do you prefer red oaks or bees? Maybe you like them both. Try out a few and follow along on the Statistics page to see how things unfold.


The NfN Team


New expedition: Ferns and Fern Allies of Tennessee

We’re proud to introduce the maiden expedition of the larger “Digitizing the Herbarium Collections of Tennessee” project. The first expedition is a sneak peak into: the University of Tennessee and University of Tennessee at Chattanooga collections, and we’re starting with the Ferns and their allies! It is called Ferns and Fern Allies of Tennessee, Part 1.

Tennessee is centrally located in a geologically and botanically diverse region of the United States, making it critically important to understanding eastern North American biogeography and floristics. Our state spans ecologically variable environments from mountains to barrens to the Mississippi River floodplains. Due to a complicated evolutionary history, Tennessee is a botanical crossroads for floristic elements from the Gulf Coastal Plain, the eastern temperate forests, and the Midwestern prairies. We have created this expedition to begin the process of databasing ALL of Tennessee’s herbarium specimens into the modern digital arena.

Please, join us as we introduce these historic collections to the information age!


@calebadampowell and @joeyshaw, The University of Tennessee at Chattanooga


Changes to Completed Expeditions Page

We recently made some changes to the completed expedition page. We had so many expeditions on the page that it became hard to visually sort through them. We see this as a great sign of the effort and activity that has been taking place on the site!

You can now view the all completed expeditions sorted by date or select by a specific group type (e.g., Plants). We also now show the date that the expedition was completed as well the number of images and length of time that it took to complete.

We hope you like the changes and let us know what you think.

— The NfN Team

2nd Expedition of Spectacular Underwing Moths

We have a new expedition of Spectacular Underwing Moths! There are many new species of strikingly beautiful moths that were not in the first expedition. The goal of the project is to look at the distribution of underwing moths over the last 100 + years. These are data needed to understand how distributions might have changed over time, and we can only know by transcribing specimen labels that are pinned to each specimen from the Florida Museum of Natural History’s McGuire Center.


Photo by Larry Reeves

It’s important to remember that you will be looking at two images per moth, dorsal and ventral (upper and under side). The reason for this is because there has been important information on the back of labels. So be sure to check both images! While checking both images, look at the amazing patterns and colors of the moth! Most people think that moths are drab, but some, like underwings, are beautiful! Obtaining these data from both sides of the label is very important for research and conservation of these beautiful moths, so please help!

First moth expedition complete

Thank you citizen scientists for helping complete the first expedition digitizing the spectacular underwing moths! With over 600 images, its remarkable that this expedition was completed in just about 1 week. Thank you for taking the time to help. With this information, researchers can begin to examine their distribution changes, changes in host plants, and impact of climate change during the last century.

Be on the look out for the next underwing moth expedition coming very soon. The next expedition will have many new species. Maybe you will notice the differences!

-Stacey Huber (@huberlstacey) McGuire Center for Lepidoptera & Biodiversity, Florida Museum of Natural History

%d bloggers like this: