The US Department of Agriculture (USDA) established the ITP over 10 years ago. Its purpose – to develop digital identification aids and tools primarily for use by staff in the USDA Animal and Plant Inspection Service (APHIS). Since these tools are freely available on the web and as mobile apps (www.idtools.org), they can be used by other individuals and agencies involved in biosecurity, plant protection, taxonomy, and education, both within and beyond the USA.
Based in Fort Collins in Colorado, the ITP team responds to requests for improved diagnostic tools from various agencies within USDA; prepares proposals, seeks funding, contacts appropriate content experts, and provides overall management support for the development and deployment of the final product.
An early key, recently updated, is Flat Mites of the World – a tool designed to help identify any flat mite to genus, and in some cases to species, without the need for expertise in the taxonomic group.
Longicorn ID is intended to aid in the identification of cerambycoid or long-horned beetles to family, subfamily, or tribe. The site now includes over 10 keys, most of which are interactive, as well as fact sheets, and image gallery, references, and other informational pages.