Timema Discovery Project


How can you participate?



(Please make sure you have read the previous page first!)

For those of you collecting specimens, please try to do as follows: (1) you'll need a number of small portable containers of some sort, and we recommend one of two general types: SMALL ZIP-SEALING BAGGIES are probably the easiest, cheapest, and most universally accessible, while some of you may have access to SMALL PLASTIC VIALS; in either case, you'll also want very small pieces of TISSUE PAPER to put into these containers along with the timemas. (2) you'll need a PENCIL and PAPER for sample labels. (3) you'll need some way to obtain GEOREFERENCED coordinates (a GPS unit, or Google Earth). (4) you will need a FREEZER. (5) you'll need a small, STURDY BOX for mailing. Some of you may own entomological collecting equipment (nets, vials, etc.), but these guidelines are written assuming that most potential participants do not.

Once you're properly equipped, just keep your eyes peeled for timemas on the trees and shrubs. If you find a plant with timemas on it, they won't generally react to your presence, though they might drop off the plant when you try to grab them, so be prepared for evasive maneuvers like this; having an insect net you can hold underneath them as an insurance policy can be very helpful if they're feeling jumpy, and you may need to strike the vegetation with a stick to get them to drop, if they're NOT jumpy. You'll also need to use two containers: the first container for the timemas themselves, plus a small piece of paper with the DATE, LOCATION, and a SAMPLE NUMBER written on it in PENCIL (never use ink), and a small piece of tissue paper, and the second container for a small snippet of plant material, with the exact same label as the timemas, especially the sample number! If the plant sample and Timema sample don't have the same sample number, there won't be any way to know which plants go with which timemas! You can make up your own code system, but please be consistent (e.g., if your name is Jane Smith, and you collect on April 14th, your sample numbers for that day might be "JS-14APR2018-01", "JS-14APR2018-02", "JS-14APR2018-03", etc.).

IMPORTANT: once you have pairs of containers securely closed, with the labels, keep them out of direct sunlight (and preferably cool) until you can put them in a freezer.

If there are more timemas in the area, then, as noted elsewhere, remove NO MORE than 3 pairs of mating male and female timemas that you find on any single individual plant, and remove timemas from NO MORE than 2 or 3 individual plants of the same plant species, if the plants are within roughly a quarter mile of one another. In any one given location, you will almost never encounter more than one or two Timema species, so following these protocols you will almost never have more than 8-12 or so pairs of samples from one place. As soon as you have time to do so, it is essential to obtain georeferenced coordinates for the samples from each locality, and include a piece of paper with those coordinates written in pencil in each container. Coordinates should either be fully in Degrees/Minutes/Seconds (e.g. 33°45'22"N, 117°28'43"W) or fully in decimal (to six decimal places; e.g. 33.970085, -117.325594). Those of you with handheld GPS units might be able to obtain coordinates at the same time you collect the samples, but even if not, if you have a good memory and use Google Earth right after you return from your trip, you should be able to come very close.

IMPORTANT: if you are uncertain about your accuracy, please write an estimate of your maximum error radius (100 yards, half a mile, a mile), as you see fit.

Once the samples all have the necessary labels, keep the plant samples dry, and put the timemas in the freezer. Leave them in the freezer for at least three days before putting them in a small box for shipping. Do not open the containers, or let them sit out for more than a day after removing them from the freezer; let them reach room temperature gradually, then make sure the shipping container has enough loose packing material (crumpled paper, packing peanuts) to prevent damage from excessive bouncing or pressure, and package them up promptly. The mailing label should be addressed as follows:

Dr. Doug Yanega
Dept. of Entomology
Univ. of California
Riverside, CA 92521-0314

Plus a label or clearly-written note on the outside of the package:

FRAGILE--dead insects for scientific study--no commercial value

That's pretty easy, pretty straightforward, and incredibly helpful!

For those of you submitting photos, please do your absolute best to give accurate georeference data and the exact date with all images. E-mails with attached images can be sent to dyanega@ucr.edu, but we would request that additional copies of the same images be submitted to the BugGuide.net website, as well. To contribute images there, you will need to become a subscriber, so CLICK HERE for instructions.



Realistically, most contributors will receive nothing more tangible than a public acknowledgment of their contributions here on this website. Most of the reward is simply knowing that you have done your part in a larger project; a project that has broad impact on the field of biology, as can be seen from the variety of research papers the affiliated scientists have already produced, and will continue to produce over time. That being said, we do not rule out the potential to more explicitly acknowledge individuals whose contributions represent significant discoveries. The most extreme such circumstance is the chance (a small chance, to be sure, but entirely possible) that one or more contributors may discover a new species, and have that new species named after them. Several of the existing species were given names honoring the people who discovered them, so there is certainly precedent for this!


Content last updated March 2018