How to use the key


How does the key work?

Carrion flies of Australia is a html-based interactive tool that allows identification of species known or suspected to breed in carrion. The key uses Lucid Player to allow users to select characters for chosen features. The advantage of such keys over others, such as traditional dichotomous keys, is that they allow the user to directly select the feature they wish to examine. This means that a user may consider features at any point during the identification process.
All features and characters have been photographed, and can be viewed by clicking on the thumbnails once in the Lucid player. Similarly, most of the species represented in the key have been photographed. Additionaly, fact sheets for each species can be viewed by clicking on the fact sheet icon next to the species' name in the Lucid Player. The factsheets provide notes on the species' biology, distribution and taxonomy, as well as a list of relevant literature. These fact sheets can also be viewed by clicking the fact sheets tab above. Links to the respective Australian Faunal Directory pages for each species has been provided in Lucid player. These pages provide additional information on synonyms and distributions for each species.
The key can be accessed by clicking here, or by clicking the "start key" tab on the home page.

Tips for fast identification

Use easy features first

Start the identification process by using features that you are confident in identifying correctly. You do not need to begin the identification process using the features in the order in which they are listed. You can choose any feature in any order. This also means that you may skip features that you don't feel comfortable with. You can also select multiple states if you arrive at a feature with three or more states, but you are unsure about which to select.

Use Lucid Player features

Lucid player has some inbuilt features that allow the user to select good identifying features as well as allowing redundant features to be ignored. By selecting the "find best feature" icon, the player will select the feature that will discard the most species. By using this tool during the identification process, features that might not result in discarding many species can be ignored. The "prune redundant features" feature can be used to remove any features that will not result in at least one species being discarded.

Finishing your identification

Ideally, your identification process will be finished when you get to a stage where there is a single species remaining. However, such an outcome might not be possible.  Often, a user may not be able to continue with an identification because they are no longer confident in identifying the remaining features, or the key cannot differentiate between species. At this point , the user should at least have a much shorter list of remaining taxa then they would have had otherwise.
Alternatively, a user may be left with no taxa remaining. This could occur because of incorrectly selecting one or more states. However, if after repeated checking, the problem persists, either the key might require refinement (in which case you may wish to contact J. F. Wallman), or your species is not included in the key.

Check your result

Once you have made an identification using the key, it may be useful to consult other literature to ensure you have made a correct identification. In particular, if the key is used to identify adults captured, but not bred from carrion, the identification might be flawed because this key only considers those species known or suspected to reproduce in this medium. Under such circumstances, the relevant published literature should also be consulted.