I recently came accross a nice, basic field guide to the identification of venomous and medically important invertebrates (and I love how they didn’t call everything “insects” or “bugs”). Apparently this is a document written for military personell to help them identify insects that may cause problems.
Of course, I’ve noticed that a little information can be much more damaging, especially when it comes to which insects might kill you, than no information at all. You haven’t lived until you’ve dealt with a paniced football player convinced he’s going to die of a brown reculse bite. (He had a container with a cute little garden spider, and what looked like a mosquito bite on his arm). I’m all for getting the information out there, but most people won’t listen enough to get full disclosure. I prefer the “if you don’t know, don’t poke it” method of public education, but I understand where the armed services is coming from with this document.
That being said, this field guide is pretty good. It lists pretty much all the dangerous invertebrates in the entire world, though, which seems a bit too much to me. What soldier is going to remember every single dangerous bug? I’d personally give them an abriviated field guide including those insects in the area where they are stationed, and leaving out the stuff only found in the deepest jungles on the other side of the globe. But that’s just me.
I also liked that they included cockroaches on the list. One of the reasons? The presence of cockroaches may hurt moral. Dangerous indeed!
Alright, I’m done mildly making fun of the document. Overall it was pretty good, and I sure am going to keep it to look over a few more times. Enjoy!