Symbiota Collections of Arthropods Network (SCAN): A Data Portal Built to Visualize, Manipulate, and Export Species Occurrences

Cotinis mutabilis
Cotinis mutabilis. Image by: Michael Gatzios.
Pyrrharctia isabella
Pyrrharctia isabella. Image by: Steve Jurvetson. Courtesy of: Wikipedia.
Polyphylla decemlineata
Polyphylla decemlineata. Image by: Muséum de Toulouse.
Papilio cresphontes
Papilio cresphontes. Image by: Christer Johansson.
Pyrrharctia isabella
Pyrrharctia isabella. Image by: IronChris. Courtesy of: Wikipedia.
Periplaneta americana
Periplaneta americana. Image by: Gary Alpert. Courtesy of: Wikipedia.
The Symbiota Collections of Arthropods Network (SCAN) grew from the Southwest Collections of Arthropods Network TCN (Thematic Collections Network) funded by the National Science Foundation. The data portal houses arthropod occurrence records from the original Southwest Collections of Arthropods Network as well as an ever-growing number of collections. These additional collections are drawn from a much wider selection of geographic locations and arthropod taxa. We expect that eventually SCAN will include data for all arthropod taxa and from anywhere in North America. SCAN is built on Symbiota, a web-based collections database system that is used for other taxonomic data portals, including (Symbiota Portals).
Important features of all Symbiota databases include:
  1. Easy web-based data entry.
  2. Download entire datasets in two clicks.
  3. Map georeferenced records in two clicks.
  4. Upload high-resolution images & create species profile pages.
  5. Design custom species lists for any locality at multiple scales.
  6. Develop educational games with data.
  7. Create taxonomic keys.
The key organizational feature is that each museum or project is listed as a separate collection, so that one database group does not interfere with another. End users can select all “collections”, or just a subset. We are incorporating Filtered Push to enhance the capacity of far-flung experts to contribute identifications and annotations of data that may be shared across the network.
This website is the central data portal for SCAN; all other project information can be found at, including How-To-Guides and network updates. Our database is currently focused on ground-dwelling arthropods, but our goal is to expand to any arthropod group. SCAN will promote a North American Arthropod Database and more focused thematic data portals for specific taxa (e.g., weevils) and geographically-delineated portals.
The National Science Foundation
This project made possible by National Science Foundation Award EF 1207371