Ben Smith

Joined: Apr 5, 2017 Last Active: Jul 24, 2024 iNaturalist

My main field of research is parasitoid wasps. I have spent the most time with ichs and brachs but have also dabbled in several of the other groups. This research isn't particularly useful for sites like iNat where people want a species name on every specimen. It simply isn't possible to ID many parasitoids on images alone. Occasionally I may feel it is ok to put a best guess on an observation and I may not even always be able to tell you why. In such cases, it is likely I have looked at a thousand specimens of a particular species and the gestalt is burned into my brain. I generally error on the side of being vague rather than guess. However, if you see I have made a mistake, by all means point it out. I value accuracy over my dignity. With thousands of id's, I'm bound to make some mistakes.

I completed a masters degree at GWU in host plant - herbivore - parasitoid interactions
I have completed an internship and volunteered many hours at the NMNH sorting and identify wasps
I have volunteered over 1000 hours for the National Park Service in a citizen scientist entomology lab training volunteers as well as sorting and identifying specimens.

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