Questions looking to find the name of a specific organism. Please include as much information as possible on location/habitat, size/characteristics and behavior. Ideally, you should provide images.
Species Identification questions get better answers if they include...
- One or more clear Photos.
- A Location where the specimen was found (city/region and/or habitat).
- An approximate Size (or photo indicating size).
- Additional useful info (e.g., behavior, time of day/year, etc...)
- Indication of prior research performed by the asker.
- A tag for a specific taxanomic group (e.g., botany, entomology, arachnology, ornithology, ichthyology, etc...)
Some tag specific hints:
botany: try to include photo of leaf, stem/trunk, and flower/fruit. All are often needed for accurate ID.
mycology: please include photo of top and bottom of mushrooms!
Please take a look here for more hints.
In-general; Identification is the process of determining the 'identity' or nature of a certain given object, out of a set of all known objects.
Identification is a part of Taxonomy. Taxonomy is the science of arranging informations into groups and subroups on the basis of logic. In biology, taxonomy means the science of classifying the organisms according to teir evolutionary distance.
Taxonomy in biology, have main 4 pillars (4-types of works), abbreviated as a mnemonic DINC , whose full form is description, identification, nomenclature and classification.
In biology, identification of a specimen means, determining the identity of that specimen out of a set of known organisms (which may be a museum or a herbarium an information-repertory or a database etc). Identification could be done upto a certain level or rank. Such as upto family-rank ('family-identification'), upto genus-rank ('Genus-identification'), upto species rank (species identification) etc.
The term 'identification' is applicable only-when we have the object's record in the world's knowledge base. But if it a new discovery; then 'identification' or 'determining the identity'. does not apply. Then we can do its documentation. However still we can identify the upper-ranks of the specimen.
To easily express or mention-about an organism of a certain identity, we use 'name' or 'identifiers'. On scientific-context it is the binomial scientific-name. After finish the identification we ends at the name or identifier for that organism. (However the name or identifier is not the 'identity' of the organism, but it is a short-cut or link to access the organism's identity within the knowledge base.
According to the group-of-organism, the identification could be animal-identification, plant identification, fungus identification, bacteria identification etc. Fossil-specimens too, are identified out of the knowledge-base for records of other fossil and present-day specimens.
To identify an organism; we need look observable- 'characters' (variables) and 'character-states' (possible values of that variable). as simple example; 'colour' is a character. 'red' or 'green' or 'yellow' etc are different states of that character. or if branching-pattern is a character, then racemose or cymose branching patterns are 2 character states for it. A character could be macroscopic or microscopic or biochemical or molecular or behavioral etc.
The logical steps or algorithms required as tool for identification, are termed as identification keys. An identification key may be printed, or may be computerised. Even in case of identifying manually; we use some-or some key consciously or sub-consciously.
Before asking an identification question, Please include as much information as possible on habitat (esp. where in the world you found the organism) and behavior, and ideally provide images. Please take a look here to get a basic idea.