Best practice: Animals riding in/on vehicles

A couple of examples:

*You notice after you begin driving that a katydid has been clinging to your windshield. It hangs onto the glass for several miles before flying away.
*While driving, you notice a spider lowering itself near your face.

What location do you assign to these?


Location is discussed here and probably some other topics if you search for location.
Easy answer: if you didn’t intend to move the animal, you can observe it at any point of your way with correct time.


As I usually drive with the windows closed, I record the insects inside the vehicle from the location where I parked it before or the location where I parked it with the doors open.


I suppose if I knew within a few miles where it got into/onto the car, I’d put down a few miles as the accuracy. And a larger range if I didn’t even know that.


If you notice it in your car, you can assing the location to where you observe them. This is technically correct and if the insect is able to travel with you that much, most probably it is able to disperse up to this distance anyway. Unless it’s a few hundred kilometers.

1 Like

If I know where it got in the car, I use that location. If not, I use the location where I opened a door or window and let it out.


I personally think its best to assign the location to wherever you immediately found it. Because if you assign the location to wherever the vehicle started at, that might not actually be entirely correct. It might have been from someplace else. And could have hitched a ride at some point while the vehicle was moving, rather than when it was stationary. You never know. But that’s just my personal preference, and if you’re sure it came from a certain place, you can do whatever you think is correct.


I seriously thought you were going to ask “What’s the best way to take a photograph without getting in a wreck?” Apparently, though, you have no trouble with that particular dilemma, and were just worried about where to mark the location, lol!


I have a similar issue when I find a tick after I’ve been hiking. I don’t worry too much about where I center the observation, but I crank up the uncertainty to reflect my travels.


Lol I don’t take photos while operating a motor vehicle!

1 Like

I was wondering why someone’s pet coming along with them to field studies would be riding on rather than secured inside the vehicle xD i was prepared to come in and give my ‘dogs should be crated or in secure safety harness while in a moving vehicle’ lecture!


Two years ago I moved a beehive full of Apis Mellifera to my new home in Santa Barbara. About 5 bees hadn’t made it home to the hive before I shut it into the U-Haul truck the evening before the move. During the drive one bee somehow found its way into the cab (all windows shut) and the rest rode on the back of the truck for about 4 hours on the 75mph freeway drive. Amazing!

I wouldn’t alter the location in most cases. With the example of bugs that you picked up it doesn’t matter what the location is, because they’re essentially dispersing themselves. That has research value. Now you if you picked up a shell from the beach and brought it home to photograph then the location should be where you collected it, because it didn’t move there on its own.


This thread reminds me of when I was stationed in Hawaii. I was driving one day – in the city – and suddenly a gecko jumped from somewhere onto the outside of my windshield. I hope it wasn’t trying to help me save on car insurance!


This topic was automatically closed 60 days after the last reply. New replies are no longer allowed.