I have recently returned from a trip to Madagascar with a film student friend, who took many digital pictures and some films, of many insects and ther wildlife there, we need help identifying species, especially the moths we saw,
I am not sure if this is the right place to be for this,as we are talking about a lot of difficult material (to identify) and some very good quality photographs.
I was wondering if the museum would be interested in them for a future exhibition on Madagascar and its wildlife, perhaps ?
Can only attach avery small sample,as I am not sure how to attach a folder,or if this is indeed possible ? Plenty more if you are interested and can suggest how I can send them to you ?
You are of course correct in saying that this sort of material can be 'difficult' to ID.
You obviously want a 'useful' ID, but what level of detail (sp. / ssp. / f. and male/female) or reliability, I can't discern.
You have quite a lot of photos to ID.
Reliable ID of many species requires more than one photo, to see specific discriminating characters.
Because of those factors, I suggest you contact the Angela Marmont Centre directly, and take guidance from them. I must point out that, although the NaturePlus forum does cater for non-UK materials, its focus is the UK (hence the full title 'The Angela Marmont Centre for UK Biodiversity'). However, the NHM itself has staff with wider experience, and it may turn out that one/some of those folks can help you - either directly or by referring you to a local/domain expert.
For now, quick comments on your photos:
- mantis nymph
- vespoid, probably vespid wasp
- possible hemipteran
You may be lucky and get good IDs from one of the many and varied experts that look-in on this forum.
But if not, good luck.
thanks for your rapid response, I realised that this site is mainly for UK species, but wasn't sure how to contact the Natural History Museum and was trying to find a way to do it. We have little trouble identifying most UK species, as the books and web sites such as UK moths and Butterflies are a great help here, but the same is not available for Madagascar.
We need to identify to the species level for 2 reasons, 1. My friend is giving a talk about Madagascar and the species we saw, to the Bournemouth Natural Science Society in January 2014.
2. We are trying to find out the species names to send to our friends, who are guides at the National Parks in Antisibe Madagascar, so that they can create a list of species that are there, for study and to help preserve the remaining Rainforest.
Most tourists visit the sites briefly and are mainly interested in the Lemurs and Chamaeleons, but when pointed out to them, they also find the insects fascinating, which would keep them there longer and bring in more money for the projects !
I will keep trying to make a contact at the museum as I think it is really important to get them as much help in Madagascar as possible, to try to preserve the dwindling Rainforest that is left !
I applaud your aims and intentions.
What you need is somebody like Jeremy Holloway, but for Madagascar.
Jeremy has spent decades studying the moths of Borneo and Indonesia.
He and I grew up on the same estate, but it has been a long time since we were in touch, so I don't have an email or other contact details for him.
However, when you contact the NHM, if they can't find a suitable expect for Madagascar, ask them if they can find contact info for Jeremy Daniel Holloway. (You could also point out that Jeremy is a contributor to the NHM's HOSTS database.) With his network of contacts and long term research into moths, I feel he may be able to point you in a useful direction.
FYI, some of his work on the moths of Borneo is online
Best of luck,
Mark, if you email me at firstname.lastname@example.org we can discuss options there.
Mike, if you do so also I will put you in touch with Jeremy, who is still a frequent visitor to the Lepidoptera section, a Scientific Associate in fact.
Stuart, You're a gentleman, thank you // Mike
thanks for that, but I have sent at least 2 e-mails back to your link and I can only assume you didn't get them, I tried using the e-mail here and from my own outlook express, but I can only assume you got neither of them as I had no reply ? I'm not a youngster, so computers do seem to confuse me sometimes !
I also tried to send more pictures and they would not send at all as attachments !
I will try to ask the questions here that I was trying to e-mail you.
1. Does the NHM have a reasonably larger insect collection from Madagascar ?
2. Has it been catalogued and digitally photographed ?
3. If so is it possible to access on line, for research/identification purposes ?
4. Presuming that the digitisation has not taken place, and it is taking us an age at the Bournemouth Natural Science Society to do so with our collections and we have only 200,000 or so specimens ! Then would it be at all possible to arrange a visit to view the madagascar collections for Identification/research purposes ?
Since I first started to try to contact you I have found a site for African moths from the Oxford museum which may be of some help, so if it is too difficult with the NHM, I will try to manage with their material ?
( Chair of Entomology at the BNSS)