ITP is part of the United States Department of Agriculture (USDA) Animal and Plant Health Inspection Service (APHIS) Plant Protection and Quarantine (PPQ) division.

Our goal

The Identification Technology Program (ITP) supports PPQ in its mission to safeguard U.S. agriculture and natural resources against the entry, establishment, and spread of economically and environmentally significant pests and facilitate the safe trade of agricultural products. Efficient and accurate pest identification is essential to our nation’s efforts to safeguard our natural and agricultural resources. ITP strives to keep PPQ’s digital identification resources current through the delivery of a variety of products that support screening and identification of invasive insects, mites, snails and slugs, diseases, and weeds.
Please note that the findings and conclusions in this website have not been formally disseminated by the U.S. Department of Agriculture and should not be construed to represent agency determination or policy.

What we do

ITP delivers innovative, scientifically valid, digital diagnostic resources to assist the people responsible for screening and identifying taxa that pose a risk to U.S. agriculture, natural resources, and our trading partners. We develop multimedia electronic diagnostic aids, keys, tools, and molecular diagnostics in collaboration with taxonomic experts from around the country and around the world. We also provide training and technical support, both to our expert contributors, helping them develop high quality products, and to our users, helping them maximize the value of all our products offer.

Identification support

ID tool websites, mobile apps, and CAPS screening aids

ID tools: Built around a matrix-based Lucid key and corresponding fact sheets, ITP’s ID tools offer a wealth of information for PPQ and a variety of other users who need to screen for or identify plant pests and diseases. Tools are authored by taxonomic experts and are either taxon-based or commodity-based. They may also include image galleries, glossaries, references, and other customized identification support and background information.
Mobile apps: Many of the Lucid keys from ITP's tools are also available as mobile apps. Keys designed for use at ports of entry and in field surveys are offered as Lucid Mobile apps for use on hand-held devices with or without internet access. Lucid Mobile apps include the key, images, and fact sheets from the tools, as well as some supporting material. Currently, all of ITP’s apps are in Lucid Mobile format, but ITP hopes to expand app offerings in the future. ITP’s Lucid Mobile apps are available for both iOS and Android operating systems.
CAPS screening aids: ITP develops PDF-format screening aids to support the Cooperative Agricultural Pest Survey (CAPS) community. Screening aids are intended to be used by persons screening traps for CAPS target pests, and each aid includes background information on the pest, basic sorting, level 1 and level 2 screening, keys, references, and detailed photos of targets, non-targets, and diagnostic characters. ITP's screening aids use a standardized format designed to be clear, thorough, and user-friendly. Many of our screening aids are available in both print-quality high-resolution and quick-downloading low resolution versions.

Find a tool website, mobile app, or screening aid PDF

Bugwood ITP Node

Each ITP ID tool includes hundreds or thousands of high-quality images produced by taxon experts. The Bugwood ITP Node is the easiest way to gain access to these images for re-use in a variety of ways. All original images from each tool are uploaded via a customized backend (IDpic) to the ITP Node on bugwood.org, where this growing collection of tens of thousands of images is easily accessible.

Visit ITP Node

imageID

imageID is a searchable online collection of high-quality images of plant pest taxa of concern to PPQ. imageID is specifically designed to support PPQ identifiers by serving as a central image repository where image collections from individual ports and various other sources can be viewed by all PPQ identifiers. imageID also includes some interception data, maximizing it's value for PPQ identifiers, but limiting access. Access to imageID is currently restricted to USDA APHIS PPQ.
The morphology diagrams and taxonomic training videos that were once only available through imageID are now available here at idtools.org. Stay tuned for many more improvements and upgrades to ITP's services for PPQ identifiers.

Contact ITP about imageID

IDaids

ITP maintains an ongoing collection of IDaids: websites and web-based tools that support identification of plant pests of concern to PPQ. Each IDaid is thoroughly reviewed and evaluated to ensure it has value and is from a reputable source. This collection of over 5,000 vetted IDaids includes both web- and app-based image galleries, keys, fact sheets, screening aids, pest alerts, molecular identification tools, and more. All groups of plant pests are represented. You can Search IDaids by scientific or common name and filter by keyword.
ITP's IDaid data (descriptive information and links to the IDaids) are available for use in websites and other media by plant regulatory organizations and government agencies that share PPQ's plant protection goals. Contact ITP about using IDaid data.

Search IDaids

Data collection

Fact Sheet Manager

Fact Sheet Manager (FSM) is a web-based application that helps ITP bridge the gap between taxonomic expertise and the internet. FSM is the interface that allows taxon experts to easily upload text and images for their tool's fact sheets into ITP’s online database. Data are pulled into the fact sheets, as well as the glossary, references, and image gallery, and are displayed on the web in real time. FSM facilitates collaboration among authors and allows edits and corrections to be made on the fly, a huge benefit both during the development process and also for post-release updates. FSM has allowed ITP to better standardize tool development and increase the quality of tool content.

IDpic

IDpic is another ITP product used to disseminate taxonomic knowledge, allowing for easy access to the thousands of high-quality image collections from ITP's ID tools. IDpic is the image contributor interface for the Bugwood ITP node, where tool authors upload their images and associated data, such as specimen records, taxon information, descriptions, etc.

Access to FSM and IDpic is currently limited to tool authors and contributors.

ITP Molecular Laboratory

Molecular diagnostics

The ITP Molecular Laboratory designs and develops taxon-specific assays to detect and diagnose economically important insects, especially Lepidoptera. Molecular diagnostics developed in the ITP Molecular Lab support PPQ’s mission of safeguarding U.S. agriculture by strengthening pest exclusion at ports-of-entry and allowing for more efficient and accurate identification of both targets and non-targets encountered in domestic pest management programs.
The ITP Molecular Lab also coordinates OWB diagnostics development for PPQ and centralized OWB trap screening for CAPS. Other ongoing projects include the development of rapid molecular diagnostics for top priority AQI targets, digital PCR assays capable of screening entire trap samples of various insect pests, and improving identification methods for intercepted larvae for NIS using molecular data.

Identification tool support

The ITP Molecular Laboratory directly supports ITP through the use of molecular diagnostics to identify or verify identifications of taxa included in ITP’s various identification tools and screening aids. In some instances molecular sequences, such as DNA barcodes, are incorporated directly into an ID tool to allow for users to verify identifications using molecular data.

Our team

We are located in Fort Collins, Colorado in the PPQ Science & Technology Fort Collins Laboratory.

Amanda Redford: identification tools, mobile apps, Fact Sheet Manager, IDpic, and imageID

Todd Gilligan, PhD: ITP molecular diagnostic lab, screening aids, and imageID

Julia Scher (stationed at the Sacramento Lab): IDaids, identification tools, and mobile apps

Allan Smith-Pardo, PhD (stationed at the Sacramento Lab): identification tools, morphometrics

Richard Zink, PhD: Fort Collins Lab Director