Ento-musings from the University of Kentucky Department of Entomology

Tuesday, December 30, 2014

An Overview of Archostematan Beetles

Some years ago, I had the privilege of attending an entomology/forestry camp provided by the University of Kentucky near Jabez, KY. Aside from learning the "racist" system for distinguishing white vs. red oaks and collecting my first mantidfly (Dicromantispa sayi), I also happened upon a specimen of the beetle Tenomerga cinerea, a member of the Cupedidae. In North America, these are the most commonly encountered examples of the suborder Archostemata: which, despite being less diverse than most other beetle suborders, display enough variety to justify an overview

Wednesday, August 6, 2014

Armadillo Ants and Odd Moths

Now that I have reached something of a respite from the terrors of my summer class, I can take the time to post links to the two most recent offerings on my personal blog (Life, et al.). The first summarizes our knowledge of a tiny subfamily of rare ants (the Agroecomyrmecinae) which have received the epithet of "armadillo", owing to a most distinctive habitus: as with most rare ants, this knowledge is frustratingly scant.

The second was inspired by my collecting a nondescript grayish moth on the Ohio State University's main campus; it was trapped within the set of double doors leading into my favored cafeteria, which create an aerial suction that ensnares insectile flyers-by. I subsequently identified this moth as Fulgoraecia exigua, the caterpillars of which are noted for their peculiar custom of feeding on planthopper innards. As a result, I set out to post some information not just on F. exigua but concerning their strange family (the Epipyropidae) as a whole.  

Saturday, March 15, 2014

It's About Time March Became Earwig Appreciation Month

St. Helena, an island in the South Atlantic located roughly over 1,200 miles distant from the nearest major landmass (Africa) and 810 from the nearest fellow isle (Ascension) is better known than most places of comparable remoteness: mainly since it served as the place of Napoleon Bonaparte's final exile and eventual death.

As far as I am concerned, the island's principal claim to fame would be the sole home of the world's largest earwig (84 millimeters long including forceps): Labidura herculeana, has not been seen since 1967 and is thus very likely extinct, probably due to the introduction of invasive predators. (Of course.) Construction of the St. Helena International Airport (which commenced in 2012) is no doubt swiftly extirpating whatever population may remain.

This sad event only draws attention to the lack of respect that earwigs (order Dermaptera) commonly receive from Earth's only sentient species. Although it is too late to save the St. Helena giant earwig, I have volunteered to remedy this dearth of appreciation for dermapterans by creating a blog post on their murky evolutionary history (in lieu of petitioning that March be designated Earwig Appreciation Month).

Beware the Ides of March...