Identifying the diets of insectivorous vertebrates:

A photographic reference guide of invertebrate parts

About the collection


This collection of photographs was designed to be used as a reference guide and tool to aid invertebrate identification for diet (scat and stomach) analysis of insectivorous vertebrates. Photographs within the collection can be browsed by either taxon (e.g. ant (Hymenoptera)) or body part (e.g. mandible).

Invertebrates are eaten by all orders of terrestrial vertebrates and represent the sole diet for a large number of species. Knowing the diets of these taxa is fundamental to understanding their resource needs and ecology more broadly. This photographic reference collection, the first of its kind, is designed to facilitate the study of these insectivores, and its use for research and teaching purposes is encouraged.

Invertebrate samples were collected opportunistically using pitfall traps in central Australian hummock grass habitats and thus are more representative of ground-dwelling rather than flying invertebrates. Samples were preserved in ethanol prior to photographing. Photographs were taken of body parts representative of those that come through in scat/stomach samples; microscopic identification of these parts is a standard technique for looking at the diets of insectivorous animals.

Photographs were taken with a Leica M205 C optics carrier (trinocular tube 50%, Mseries; universal microscope carrier AX; objective planapo 1.0x, Mseries; Cmount adapter 0,63x) equipped with an LED ring light (Leica LED5000 RL80/40) and Leica DFC450 digital camera. Photographs of the multiple layers (stacks) of each specimen were combined using image processing software (CombineZP) to create a single image.

Citing the collection: If you use this reference collection in preparing a research paper, grant proposal, or other publication, we would appreciate your acknowledgement of it by citing it in the references. Here is a suggested bibliography entry:

Bytheway, J.P. and Dickman, C.R. (2014) Identifying the diets of insectivorous vertebrates: a photographic reference guide of invertebrate parts. Desert Ecology Research Group, School of Biological Sciences, University of Sydney, Sydney, Australia. Doi: 10.4227/11/54405D08E80E4


CC2Identifying the diets of insectivorous vertebrates: a photographic reference guide of invertebrate parts by Bytheway, J.P. and Dickman, C.R. is licensed under a Creative Common Attribution-NonCommercial-NoDerivatives 4.0 International License.