Taxonomical Databases in Entomology

Hannu Saarenmaa roimse at pnfi.forestry.ca
Fri Sep 24 18:41:09 EST 1993


A couple of weeks ago I posted a question here, where are the entomological
online databases in internet?  Silence.  A few phone calls have confirmed
me that entomologists are not particularly active in using computer networks.

As the world biodiversity is rapidly disappearing, and insects make up to
60% of all the species, it would sound to me logical that an international
effort of compiling all that knowledge into an easily accessible system
is already in operation.  Such efforts have been made with plants.  Also there
is lots to learn of the way information on the human genome etc is distributed
throughout the world.

A concrete problem: for me, planning a trip to e.g. to South America to collect
moths is mindboggling, because the material would remain undetermined for years
and take trips to various museums to compare the specimens.

A concrete solution: make the check lists of Insecta available in internet.
This can be done quickly.  Maybe one server site for each global 
biogeographical region.  Step two:  Produce taxonomical descriptions of taxa 
little by little with DELTA (Description Language for Taxonomy).  Include 
scanned video imagery.   Step three:   Make notes of host organisms, biotopes, 
life cycle, and distribution where available.

Information on insects in a global scale is overwhelming and erroneous.  But
waiting it to be complete is not a strategy that works.  

Let me know, if I am making silly or ignorant comments.

Hannu Saarenmaa



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