Kent and Medway Biological Records Centre

Digital Photography

1. Introduction

A biological record is information on the location and status of habitats and species. Biological records are used by planners, local authorities, ecological consultants and conservation organisations, so it's important to provide accurate information.

Species identification is not easy, but using photography (particularly digital) can make some identifications easier. It is particularly useful for flying species who, if you see at a glance you'd never remember all the features you wanted to look for. Taking a photograph you can view the species later (in the comfort of your own home) and zoom in on the features you need to see in order to make an accurate determination.

The difference between two very similar looking species could be that one is extremely common and one on the verge of extinction! Not only is a photograph a record in itself, a good photograph can pick up the minute differences between very similar species.
2 Spot LadybirdsDid you know that the two-spot ladybird can vary in colour and number of spots? By collecting photos from across the county, we can improve our image database to highlight both the similarities and differences amongst species. This photograph shows mating 2-Spot Ladybirds (Adalia 2-punctata © Lee Manning)
This would create two very different scenarios with regards to a planning application for example. Situations like this is where digital photography can be incredibly useful.

Photography, in particular digital photography, can be an invaluable aid to identification. And from a Records Centre point of view give your records validity. If you see a rare butterfly for instance (particularly one of the blues which can be easily confused with other very similar species) your record is likely to be viewed in higher regard if you have a photo to prove it.