Possible way to learn how to identify species from technical guides

On a spreadsheet or some other software you can divide the area into three sections for each species. The first area is an area for an image, this is optional but can be helpful. The second area is for species description. The third area is left blank so you can fill in the definitions of terms and maybe draw in the features from the species description. Then you print it out (unless you have a large tablet), and get to work changing text descriptions into something you can visualize.

I think this technique could be useful for lichens, aquatic plants, and other areas.

I am trying it out now, although I am starting with a checklist of fruticose lichens on trees. My checklist is currently six species plus four more to watch out for on parts farther afield. Of the six species I expect in my area, two are only described in text in my copy of Lichens of the North Woods.

I choose this group for study because it is the most accessible of the lichens in the winter. If my technique is successful I will go after the foliose tree lichens next.


Is it possible to see an example?


what do you mean for “technical guides”?

Might try this with mantid species. I would probably add a section for range as well. How are you organizing it at large? Continent? Countries?

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Good idea! Also the plan of focusing on a limited number of species.

I have a notebook where I write out technical descriptions, putting in parentheses the definitions of terms. Helps me learn the terms, too. Problem is, species are scattered at random through the notebook, so it’s not very useful. Your sheets would be a great resource [off to put together sheets on the local narrow-leaved asters].

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Here are some technical guides:

Lichens of Ottawa

To use them successful, you need to decode the text descriptions as the pictures, if available, may not give you enough info. I also consider field guides that only have a dichotomous key, even if illustrated, to be technical, as more often than not have a vocabulary of its own.

The lichen portal at top has near complete species coverage (for USA and Canada), whereas most of the few popular field guides to lichens in USA and Canada have incomplete species coverage for the areas they cover.

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Ok, now I see. Usually we call them “manuals”.
Regarding plants, manuals are made of taxonomic keys and descriptions of species and one can use them in order to learn how to identify species just observing biodiversity and using both keys and descriptions

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