SAP includes two interactive keys, one to adults and one to beetle, moth, and butterfly larvae. Clicking on the Keys link will take you to a page to help you decide which key you should use.
The interactive keys were designed using Lucid3 software and are quite different from traditional dichotomous keys. The user is recommended to consult the Best Practices on occasion to pick up new tips and tricks for using the interactive keys.
SAP is best viewed using the Mozilla Firefox web browser.
The Lucid3 key is a Java applet embedded in a web page. See the System Requirements page for full details on running the applet on your computer.
Note also that web pages such as fact sheets attached to items in Lucid3 keys may be considered pop-ups by certain browsers (such as Internet Explorer) when clicked on by users. If your browser blocks these pop-ups, you should allow pop-ups for this Lucid tool in your browser's Internet settings. Additionally, Internet Explorer may block "active content" on web pages or interactive keys. To allow active content in Internet Explorer, under Tools, Internet Options, Advanced tab, Security category, the box next to the setting "Allow active content to run in files on My Computer" should be checked. Additionally, certain settings under Tools, Internet Options, Security, Custom level, ActiveX controls and plug-ins, may need to be changed.
A Lucid key has four panels.
Because of the diverse nature of the taxa included in SAP, Lucid's available features of dependencies and scoping were used in the key. First, users are presented with features that can be used to help narrow in on which order(s) their specimen may belong to. As the Entities Remaining list becomes smaller, features only applicable to those particular groups will begin to appear in the Features Available panel. In this way, the user will not be distracted by features that may not apply to their particular specimen. There is also a feature called Major Pest Groups which allows users who know to which pest order their specimen belongs to go directly to the features that apply to that group.
Both the features and entities have been grouped into hierarchical trees for this tool. The entity trees make the tool particularly useful for training, as the user can follow the higher level taxonomy of their specimen and see which features may be shared between groups of arthropods.
Feature and entity trees can be expanded by clicking the "+" next to the grouping feature or entity. Feature states are selected by clicking once on the state name or image thumbnail. Clicking the state a second time deselects the state. As feature states are selected, the entities that do not have those features will be moved into the Entities Discarded panel.
All entities and some feature states are illustrated with drawings and/or photographs. Clicking on the image thumbnail (or image icon if thumbnails are not displayed) brings up a larger size image and gives the user access to the full image gallery for the feature state or entity, if available. All entities are also linked to HTML pages containing fact sheets for the taxon. Clicking the small grey page icon next to the entity thumbnail will open the fact sheet in a new browser window.
In the key itself, common language terms are used to help support use of the key by inexperienced individuals. However, in order to maximize their value and validity, some specialized entomological terminology appears in the fact sheets. A glossary with links from the fact sheets is provided to assist the user in understanding such terms. An illustrated glossary for insect anatomy is also included.
Multiple states of a feature may be selected. For instance, if a specimen has antennae that are both clubbed and elbowed, both states may be chosen. If unsure of the correct state, it is often better to try a different feature before selecting a state you are unsure about. For more hints on navigating the key, see the Best Practices page.