[Taxacom] De-extinction & Rhachistia aldabrae

Stephen Thorpe stephen_thorpe at yahoo.co.nz
Thu Oct 23 21:26:29 CDT 2014

Yes, Bob, but you are a rare type of scientist who is not under pressure from an employer or focused on finding funding

On Fri, 24/10/14, Bob Mesibov <mesibov at southcom.com.au> wrote:

 Subject: Re: [Taxacom] De-extinction & Rhachistia aldabrae
 To: "TAXACOM" <taxacom at mailman.nhm.ku.edu>
 Received: Friday, 24 October, 2014, 3:21 PM
 I support Ken's working definition of
 citizen science as 'adding value to a hobby'.
 Over the past ca 10 years I've been contacted directly by
 many Australian 'nature hobbyists' who've grabbed images of
 a bug and who want to know what it is. Most of these queries
 have been about millipedes, but in the past week or so I
 IDed a lepidopteran larva (the imager thought it was a
 millipede) and a larva of a local Perga sawfly (Hymenoptera:
 For me, there are 2 trends over the 10 years that are pretty
 obvious. The first is that the number of queries and the
 number of my new contacts have been growing steadily. The
 second is that the quality of the images has been increasing
 spectacularly to the point where IDs to millipede genus are
 the norm, and IDs to species aren't always out of the
 These are direct contacts rather than via social media, but
 they have demonstrable value. My contacts get value added to
 their hobby from my IDs and my pointers to online
 information about the subjects of the images. They also like
 the idea that if they find something interesting, they can
 get a quick and friendly response from me or other
 specialists - this makes the hobbyists feel connected to a
 community that takes their bug subjects seriously, as they
 As a specialist I get even more from these exchanges than
 the hobbyists: eyeballs, cameras (and sometimes collecting
 vials) in places I'm unlikely to get to, locality records
 for known species and genera, tantalising images of things
 I've never seen before and can't ID, and stunningly
 beautiful close-ups of live millipedes I've only known from
 pickled specimens.
 I'm struggling to see a downside to any of this.
 Dr Robert Mesibov
 Honorary Research Associate
 Queen Victoria Museum and Art Gallery, and
 School of Land and Food, University of Tasmania
 Home contact:
 PO Box 101, Penguin, Tasmania, Australia 7316
 (03) 64371195; 61 3 64371195
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