Invasive Species Compendium

Detailed coverage of invasive species threatening livelihoods and the environment worldwide

Image Libraries:

The following image libraries have been chosen using the criteria listed below and are described in further detail at the bottom of this page

Bugwood network

USDA Plants Image Gallery

USDA ARS Photo Gallery

CalPhotos Photo Database


Image collections have been chosen for this list using the following criteria

Regions covered

Clearly stated geographic coverage; e.g. global, southeast Asia, Europe, USA, UK, etc.

Taxonomic orders covered

Clearly stated taxonomic coverage; e.g. plants, animals, diseases, pathogens

Authority and Credibility

Built for expert users and/or ‘peer reviewed’; maintained by internationally known and respected organisations or, acknowledged subject specialists.


Searchable using scientific (most important), common or vernacular names

Image quality

The websites listed have good sized, colour images of adequate resolution for most purposes that are viewable as thumbnails with larger images available for download.
In choosing an image, be aware that some may be scans from older transparencies and negatives, possibly unretouched and which often contain ‘noise’ such as dust and scratches, better quality imagery is obtained from high-quality compact digital cameras and D-SLRs, etc.

Copyright integrity

Clearly stated usage guidelines and/or contact points for copyright clearance.
e.g. “In the Public Domain”, “Please contact John Doe for further details” or Creative Commons License

Site Reliability


Selected sites

Bugwood Network

A very successful, well known and credible source of images. A nice clean looking website with easily accessed features; e.g. you can select from these categories - “Plants”, “Insects, “Pathogens” “Other Species” – common names and scientific names are then listed (alphabetically) – clicking on the name then reveals thumbnails in some but, apparently, not all cases. “The Source for Forest Health and Silviculture images”“The Source for Agricultural Integrated Pest Management Images” “The Source for Insect Images”

All of these sites are equally useful in their own right.

USDA Sites

An often complex ‘collection’ of sites.

Plants Image Gallery “40,000+ plant images"

“The PLANTS Gallery emphasizes photos and line drawings of U.S. plants but also contains many cultivated or foreign taxa.”

A complex front-end with numerous useful search criteria; e.g. scientific name; category, dicot, algae, etc; native status; duration, annual, perennial; etc.

ARS Photo Gallery

Searches can be rather ‘hit and miss’, sometimes with scientific names yielding no hits, whilst common names do.

e.g. ‘Apis mellifera’ yields just 1 image, but ‘Honey Bee’ yields 10.

e.g. ‘Erwinia amylovra’ yields 1 image, but ‘Fire Blight’ yields 9.

Overall, there can be high quality imagery on the USDA sites, although it can take some time to find it. High quality (300dpi) downloads are also possible.

Other sites

CalPhotos Photo Database

“CalPhotos is a collection of 220,851 photos of plants [120,000 plant images], animals, fossils, people, and landscapes from around the world. A variety of organizations and individuals have contributed photographs to CalPhotos. Please be aware that these various contributors maintain copyright and follow the usage guidelines provided with each image.”

A promising site, with a large collection of images and a useful set of search parameters. Use of scientific names over common names can yield some variation.

e.g. ‘Apis mellifera’ yields 58 images, but ‘Honey Bee’ yields 21.

e.g. ‘Erwinia amylovra’ yields no hits, nor did ‘Fire Blight’.

Little caption data appears to exist for images.

PaDIL - Pests and Diseases Image Library

“Offering high-quality colour diagnostic images and information on pests and diseases along with a number of comparative native species. PaDIL helps protect against invasive threats to Australia's economy, environment, human health and amenity.”

PaDIL’s primary aims:

“Production of high quality images showing primarily exotic targeted organisms of plant health concern to Australia.”

An extremely good site, with a large collection of images and hugely expanded since I first visited it. Search parameters include “Target Species”, “Regions of Interest” [inc. Europe], “Hosts”, etc.

PaDIL have made rapid and highly efficient inroads into the supply of diagnostic ‘ID’ images for invasive species and quarantine in Australia. The site now contains many images of specific ID characteristics for each species, often from nicely photographed, museum set specimens.

I seem to remember finding this site early in 2009; since then it has made huge numbers of images available and the coverage now seems to be all encompassing. e.g. Looking at “Europe & Northern Asia” reveals 41 pages of species coverage; 10 species per front page, with 3 images per species. Accessing the species ‘datasheet’ reveals another set of ID images specifically targeting the key-characters of the species.

Further information is contained within the “Plant Biosecurity Toolbox”

Use of scientific names over common names may yield some variation, although using “Erwinia amylovora” or “Fire Blight” as a test search revealed identical content.

Overall, an extremely good site, with a large collection of images and a useful set of search parameters.