I met Jim Durbin in April when he was birding in Dauphin Island, Alabama, USA. Jim is a wildlife photographer and maintains websites documenting birds and insects of his state. I asked Jim about the Moth of Iowa web pages and here is what he sent. Liti
Moths of Iowa website – Guest post from Jim Durbin
While the site is primarily for Iowa insects, I have included records for specimens that I have collected while on trips to other states. When you click on a species, you will see a map of Iowa and specimens collected in Iowa will show up. Specimens from other states will show in the list of records. The graphs showing the timing of collecting/documenting show when the dates for the specimen records occur during the months of the year.
In recent years I have begun taking more photographs and collecting fewer specimens. I found that the photographs serve as a document for the specimen and I do not have to collect common species to document. I try to take pictures of the moths that show up on the sheet, crop them to 6 x 6 at 100 dpi, input into the database, label the picture with the specimen number, attach the picture to the specimen record in the database, and then upload the records to the website. I usually load the specimens into the database as moth genus unknown and then go back and identify the specimens, label the picture with the identification, and finally add the identification to the specimen in the database. With the number of specimens that I document in the summer, this allows me to kind of keep up and finish in the fall when I quit collecting. Using this method, I might document 300 specimens a
night but only collect 10 specimens. This method gives a better idea of what is being seen. Also when looking at the records, note the count number. Some records are for month totals and do not reflect individual specimen records. In some cases a species may show up in large numbers and adding a record for each individual does not seem necessary as long as a total count is available.
The site also contains records from 550 others that may be a single record or 10000. I have records from Bamona, Bugguide and Moth Photographer Group.
I also have pages showing how to collect, pin and store specimens.