specimens examined lists, again

Bruce Neill bneill at LCLARK.EDU
Fri Aug 4 16:06:39 CDT 1995

At 9:24 8/3/95, Robin Panza wrote:
>Gary Noonan pointed out that, for entomologists, listing can be impractical
>because of the lack of individual ID numbers on so many specimens.  Perhaps he
>and other entomologists could follow the practice I've seen in ornithological
>papers, of listing localities and quantities, rather than individual specimen
>ID numbers.  eg:  COLUMBIA:  Sautata, 3m/3f; Jaraquiel, 1m/5f.  PANAMA:
>Darien, 4m/5f/3?.
>Certainly, it would be nice to have in hand the ID numbers to be able to
>request the same individuals for another study, but, as Noonan has pointed out,
>that can be impractical, from his standpoint as well as the amount of space (on
>paper or electronically) and time (to type up, in either medium).  At least,
>using the above notation, others can judge (a) whether your sample sizes are
>believable, and (b) whether the geographic distribution of samples is
>believable.  With the above information, I can always write to the author and
>ask for more information about some of the specimens, if I want to examine
>Robin Panza                       panzar at clp2.clpgh.org
>Section of Birds
>Carnegie Museum of Natural History

Perhaps this response will demonstrate my naivete with respect to
entomological collections, and if so, please educate me.  In the marine
invertebrates with which I work, specimens are curated by lots.  The data
recorded for lots includes the collector, locality, number of specimens,
and any other field data that might be pertinent (e.g., depth, host, etc.).
Why can't entomological collections be curated by lots and the specimens
examined be identified by lot numbers?  Individual specimens might not be
easily identified, but the population that was examined is.

Bruce Neill
Department of Biology
Lewis & Clark College

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