Species ID Tool FAQs

How do the SANBI IDentifyIt Tools work?

The SANBI IDentifyIt tools use LUCID software (www.lucidcentral.org ). LUCID keys “use a process of elimination where the user is presented with a series of choices that describe features of the object. By selecting those choices relevant to the specimen to be identified, those objects that do not match the selected choices are rejected. This allows the rapid elimination of large numbers of objects that the specimen cannot be. The process continues until only one object or a short list of objects remains, identifying the specimen or at least providing a short list of possible identities.”

Can I share Fact Sheets?

Yes you can share Fact Sheets. Once you have opened the Fact Sheet, click on the icon in the top right hand corner (insert icon). A dialogue box will open and you will be given the option to share the Fact Sheet via Email or Gmail. Select which option you would prefer. You will then be taken to a composed email where you will need to insert the email address. The Fact Sheet will be sent as a PDF.

Can I save a search?

Yes. In order to save a search, you will need to click on the icon in the top left hand corner (insert icon) next to ‘Features’.  A dropdown menu will show you various options including ‘Save a Search’. Here you will be able to click on the save icon (insert icon) in the top right corner in order to save your last session and the result. Save a Search is also where you will access your previous saved sessions.

Can I select more than one state at a time?

Yes, during an identification session, Lucid allows you to choose any question (i.e. a feature and its states) in its list at any time, but “stepping” through the key in a structured and sensible way will make your task of identification easier. E.g. if a bird has blue and green and red on it’s body, you may select all three colours.

What happens if none of the entities match my search?

It is important to go through the features and states you have selected to make sure that everything is correct. You can see which features you have selected by going through the tool or going into Features (top left hand corner) and selecting ‘Features selected’.

Please remember that at this point, the IDentifyIt-Species tool contains 140 species and may not include the species, part or derivative that you are looking at. More species will be added in the near future.

What if no taxa remain?

This will happen sooner or later in one of your Lucid sessions. If no taxa are listed in the Entities Remaining window, then it simply means that no taxa in the database match the selection of states you have made. Several explanations are possible, but some of the most common are:

  • You have made an error in one or more states that you have selected. This is the most likely error for any situation in which no taxa remain.
  • The taxon may be undescribed. In this case Lucid cannot identify the specimen because its features are not represented in the key’s data tables.
  • The key author may have made an error when constructing the key. This is unlikely, but it can happen. If, after carefully checking all the features and states and checking that the specimen you are attempting to identify would be expected to be included in the key, then a key construction error may be present. Whichever of the above situations is suspected, you must very carefully review your chosen features and determine which ones you are uncertain about. Try unselecting uncertain states one by one to see what effect each has. One or more taxa may move back into the Entities Remaining window. In difficult cases, you may need to “play” with the key, adding or deleting states progressively to try to find the best matching taxon.

What if several taxa remain?

Never assume that you will always end up with one taxon remaining. Some taxa in the key may be very hard to differentiate, except when using difficult or obscure features. Sometimes, after you have addressed all the features you may have a short list of taxa remaining instead of just one taxon. You are still much closer to an identification than you otherwise would have been. You may then have to carefully check the specimen against associated information (descriptions, images etc for the remaining taxa) or refer to more advanced or specialist reference sources.

I cannot narrow down my search

It is important that before beginning any new search that you click on the refresh button (insert icon) in the top right hand corner. If you do not do this, your previous selections will still be selected in the tool. See FAQ ‘What if several taxa remain’.

Where can I see all the selections that I have already made?

If you click on the (insert icon) next to ‘Features’ in the top left corner, a dropdown menu will show you various options from features available to and features you have selected to remaining entities. You will also find information about the IDentifyIt App, the restart option, the ‘History’ option which allows you to save a search and the ‘how to use this tool’ guide.