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entomology crowdsourcing

It’s Friday, your big day to waste time on the Internet! But this week, you can do so for a good cause: science.

The Calbug, a project from the Berkeley, Calif.-based Essig Museum of Entomology needs volunteers to type out insect and spider specimen records. Most of the records are for California-dwelling bugs, and each one takes about three minutes to type.

Plus, you get to look at really cool insect pics while you work. And you just might discover a new species while you’re at it.

Examples:

The project currently has thousands of images, labels, and ledgers from the Essig Museum’s collections as well as from individual biologists who maintain the collections. Notes for each image give details on where and when a species was found and can provide clues for important snippets of entomological history.

“We need you to help us transcribe that data and make it available for further use in biodiversity and conservation research,” said Essig reps on the project’s homepage. “Along the way, you will possibly be finding species that have never been observed anywhere else!”

(It’s true; more insects remain unrecorded than any other kind of animal.)

Image credit: Jolie O’Dell/Flickr

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