“My break time is the time for iNat! ;-)”: Observation of the Week, July 10, 2018

Our Observation of the Week is this Clown Stink Bug, seen in South Korea by @wongun!

Sometimes iNaturalist users ask us, or members of our Google Group, if they should take down observations which no one has identified to a family, or genus, or species level. I always tell them you never know who might come along and be able to identify their observation at a later date, and the reason I say this is because of users like wongun.

The insect order Heteroptera, also known as “true bugs,” contains tens of thousands of species and, for a long time on iNaturalist, it would be tough to get IDs on many observations of Heteropterans. Then one day last year I saw that all of a sudden a new user named wongun had started adding identifications, at least to family and genus level and sometimes to species, to many of my languishing bug observations. Others were experiencing the same thing, and it was a great feeling to see some of your older observations get some attention. It’s kind of magical when a stranger halfway across the world helps you learn just a little bit more about what you had observed. And we almost missed having him as an iNaturalist member.

“I accidentally found iNat [while] searching for something,” recalls WonGun Kim.

I used to upload my photos to a local site, but once or at most a few times for each species. Recently, I needed data on when and where I found the species, and I thought iNat was a suitable place...After beginning iNat, I have been studying Heteroptera from over the world for identifying other observations, and such activity in iNat made my knowledge on the Heteroptera broader and more systematic.

In just over a year, WonGun has become an invaluable member of the iNaturalist community, adding nearly thirty thousand identifications to other users’ observations - an incredible number for a difficult taxonomic group. It’s this kind of dedication and generosity that makes iNaturalist run.

And how does he find time to make all of these IDs? Simple: “My break time is the time for iNat! ;-)”

In what has become a common theme among Observation of the Week users, WonGun says he was interested in nature as a child, but that interest until he procured a camera.

Although I was born and grown in the city, I often went to and stayed with my grandparents in the outlands. I learned the names of the plants from my grandfather, a farmer. But I lost my interest in nature after my family lived together in the city. My interest in nature began again about ten years ago due to the development of the digital camera. I began to take photos of flowers and plants, and then my interest moved to the insects. Now, I am mainly interested in true bugs, particularly in the plant bugs.

He was in the field with a colleague and it was his colleague who caught the stunning Clown Stink Bug at the top of the page. “[This] beautiful species has two color forms and is very common in Korea,” he says.

The Clown Stink Bug belongs to the family Scutelleridae, which are also known as “jewel bugs”. While not true Stink Bugs (family Pentatomidae), they can emit an unpleasant odor when threatened, much like their relatives. And like other true bugs they have tubular mouthparts, which they use for feeding on the saps and juices of plants. The Clown Stink Bug’s remarkable iridescence is caused by structures in its exoskeleton which refract and scatter the light. Awesome.

Not only a photographer, WonGun has also written some papers on Korean Heteroptera and is the second author of an illustrated guide to terrestrial Heteroptera of Korea, containing around 490 species. It will be published in a few days.

- by Tony Iwane


- Check out more Clown Stink Bug observations on iNaturalist, which show off both color forms of this species as well as the quite different-looking nymphs!

Sweet footage of a Clown Stink Bug walking around and doing its thing.

Posted by tiwane tiwane, July 10, 2018 11:26 PM

Comments

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The expertise of iNat users such as WonGun makes this such a valuable site. Sincere thanks for your time and help.

Posted by nyoni-pete 7 days ago (Flag)
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WonGun has helped me on many occasions (as have others) which is great. It is much appreciated. Thank you!

Posted by kkeivit 7 days ago (Flag)
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Imagine how much better we could understand the world, if everyone took a break-time to ID or help document the world around them. Inspiring stuff, thank you for sharing.

Posted by ianns 7 days ago (Flag)
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I too have often received the blessing of your knowledge, WonGun. In return here is the blessing of our gratitude and admiration.

Posted by ellen5 7 days ago (Flag)
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Thank you so much Wongun for identifying the heteroptera I find here in Botswana.I really do appreciate all your IDs and am learning so much from you.

Posted by botswanabugs 7 days ago (Flag)
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Wonderful story, photograph and links. Thanks.

Posted by edwardrooks 6 days ago (Flag)
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Awesome bug and awesome contributor!!

Posted by gcwarbler 6 days ago (Flag)
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Beautiful! Great story!

Posted by sgrannum 6 days ago (Flag)
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Great article and I have to give @wongun a big thank you for all the identification and suggestion he made on my observation!! I wish your upcoming true bug book become a great success!! A friend from Hong Kong! :-)

Posted by sunnetchan 6 days ago (Flag)
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great profile and many thanks for the IDs

Posted by budak 6 days ago (Flag)
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My thanks too. @wongun has helped me on so many occasions. I often mention him as an example of what is so great about iNaturalist.

Posted by dhobern 6 days ago (Flag)
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Fantastic photo! I am new to iNaturalist and find it an amazing learning tool.

Posted by berthapi2 6 days ago (Flag)
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@wongun has helped me a great deal, and I am very grateful!

Posted by susanhewitt 6 days ago (Flag)
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Great observation and many thanks to @wongun for helping ID my observations and making me learn a bit more about true bugs.

Posted by sohkamyung 6 days ago (Flag)
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@wongun a sido indispensable y de gran valía para el conocimiento de las chinches de Paco’s Reserva de Flora y Fauna. Ni la barrera del idioma ni la distancia impiden entrelazar la Ciencia Ciudadana en iNAT.

Posted by francisco3 6 days ago (Flag)
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Every time I see a mirid, I think "Oh, I hope @wongun will see this!" :) So many thanks for all of the time and energy and knowledge that you share with us all, WonGun!

Posted by sambiology 6 days ago (Flag)
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This is a great profile. We need many more specialists in our midst, and this highlights the need for more publicity to get the word out about iNaturalist (tell your friends! give presentations to niche groups!) The value of passionate specialists, whether in biological groups or regional areas, is invaluable. It also shows the need for specialists to begin replicating themselves through training. @wongun can only reach so many people in his spare time, but if people like him find others who are interested, we can increase the knowledge base!

Posted by taitsougstad 6 days ago (Flag)
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Commendations for you efforts @wongun ! So cool :)

Posted by danabrown 6 days ago (Flag)
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Whenever my oldest grandson brings any bug to "photograph and upload to iNeto" (a pum we created mixing up Nat and Neto = grandson in Portuguese), I tell him "let's see if Wongun has a clue". Beautiful. Thank you so much @wongun.

Posted by douglas-u-oliveira 6 days ago (Flag)
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Wongun is a dedicated champion. I love iNat. It is a really personal tool and yet totally community and connected. As a generalist, I learn something every day and I am in awe of the specialists who are available 24/7 to help ID and support and motivate the community. Wongun really epitomizes the soul of iNaturalist!

Posted by daojames 6 days ago (Flag)

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