BDWA Search Help

You may find information on subjects of interest in many ways in this database, Biodiversity Database of the Washington, D.C., Area (BDWA).

Note: It is not necessary to capitalize or italicize words that you enter into the search boxes.


Species Name

If you know the genus name, species name, or both, please enter this name(s) into the correct search boxes found on the search page and press “Submit search.” For example, "Quercus stellata" will bring up the Post Oak; "stellata" will bring up both the Post Oak and Star Magnolia.

Limitations of this kind of search

This search will obtain pages on only organisms whose genus or species that BDWA “knows” at your search time. Also, because species can have more than one scientific name, you need to enter the scientific name(s) that BDWA uses to obtain the page(s) on your sought-after organisms.

Common name

Please type in the common name for an organism (for example, alga, dragonfly, rose, or squirrel) into the common-name search box and press “Submit search.” You may type in all or part of a common name to find the organism in question.

Limitations of this kind of search

Many organisms have more than one common name; therefore, you might have to try more than one of its common names to bring up your sought-after organisms.


Keyword searches are limited by what words, or phrases, that we have put into BDWA’s keyword lines. Commonly used keywords include bird, blue (and other colors), bush, crustacean, forb, fossil, insect, mammal, reptile, shrub, spider, tree; and some insect types; e.g., ant, bee, beetle, butterfly, cricket, flower fly, hover fly, moth, and wasp. The best way to obtain a full group of pages on a particular organism group (= taxon) is to search by taxonomic unit: genus, family, or class. For example if you want all of the ant pages on BDWA, search using family “Formicidae.”

Here are some examples of subjects, their “keywords” (in parentheses), and kinds of pages they will retrieve:

Arthropod specialists, 2003 interviews (2003i)
Arthropods, required taxa for Forest Ecology 355 (FEar)

Bees (bee with the “exact” button clicked)
Beetles (bee, without the “exact” button clicked)
Butterflies (butterfly)

Dyke Marsh Wildlife Preserve, Virginia (DMWP), many vistas and 100s of pages of organisms
Dyke Marsh Wildlife Preserve, Virginia, arthropod adventure hike of 7 September 2003 (DMWP030907)
Dyke Marsh Wildlife Preserve, Virginia, arthropods found in pitfall traps (DMWPPF), 100s of pages

Field trip, some of the organisms and places seen by Forest Ecology 355 (Feft)
Flower Flies (Please use “all fields search” and type in “Syrphidae in its window.)
Forbs, required taxa for Forest Ecology 355 (Fefo)
Forest, Lebanon State Forest, New York (Lebanon)

Garden, Bob’s Tropical Garden, Maryland (Bob)
Garden, Donald’s Ericaceous Garden, New York (Donald)
Garden, Edd’s Arthropod and Plant Garden, Maryland (Garden-1)
Garden, Pete’s Rhododendron Garden, Maryland (Rhododendron)

Information pages, reports of students of Forest Ecology 355 from 2002 (FE2002R), many pages
Insects, many pages (insect)
Insects, sunning behavior, Manistee National Forest, Michigan (sunning)

National Mall, Washington, D.C. (Mall)

Organisms, many images by Susan Hitch (Hitch)

Pine Barrens, New Jersey (Pine Barrens)

Red and reddish organisms (red) For example, “red” will bring up many pages of flowers that are not red, but have red, or reddish, forms (which might or might not be illustrated on BDWA). “Red” will bring up organisms that are reddish orange and reddish brown. BDWA’s color keywords, generally bring up the exact hue of the keyword color and similar colors. Just as “red” retrieves red and reddish things, “blue” retrieves blue and bluish things, and so forth.

Rock Creek Park, Washington, D.C., arthropod hike (RCP030627)

Wood Lilies, color variations and some arthropod visitors, Michigan, 1978 (Lilium)

All Fields Search

Using the “All Fields” window on the search page, can often give you the most pages for your particular search. You can use keywords or other words that you think might be on your pages of interest.


You can browse the Tree of Life or special topics (for example, Fossil Sites, Garden Sites, Museums, Nature Sites, Taxon Lists) by clicking on the “Browse Topics” button on BDWA’s homepage. The special topics are on a pull-down menu on the same page as the Tree of Life click line.

Tree of Life

Your using the click line “Tree of Life” allows you to explore all of the taxonomic groups on BDWA using Linnaean classification. Please click on the line “Organism Classification” on BDWA’s homepage if you need to know more about this classification. For example if you are browsing for mammals, you would click on Domain Eukarya, then Kingdom Animalia, Phylum Chordata, and Class Mammalia.

Limitations of this kind of search

This search is limited by our knowledge of the taxonomic names of organisms included in the BDWA.

Warning: If you click the "view all entries" button when you are in a higher taxonomic group, you may obtain a large number of images that takes a long time to download with your computer.

E.M.B., D.S.K.

October 2003

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