Monthly Archives: October 2009

My move out to Kansas has been a very positive experience so far, but I must admit, there is one aspect of this transition that I wholeheartedly dispise – I have to relearn my beer flora/fauna (plant and “animal” [yeast] parts are dead so is this a bad word choice?).

I am a big fan of stouts. The richer, deeper and more bitter it is the better. But, dark beers are all welcome. Let’s take a tour of some of my favorite dark beers from my Cornell days and what I’m learning to love here in Kansas.

This first post with those beers that I’ve come to love from my East Coast days:

Long Trail brewery (Vermont), Double Bag. A very dark ale, Double bag is rich and smooth, astonishing for a beer at 7.2 % alcohol. Inexpensive but not dirt cheep, a good everyday beer for beer lovers.

Otter Creek brewery (Vermont), Wolaver’s, Oatmeal Stout. Otter Creek has pushed pass the b.s. market of organic food products and has set a new, and those that are inteligent would say “more correct”, standard for organic foods. Wolaver’s Oatmeal Stout is organic, inexpenive and at a bold 5.9 % alcohol is a solid everyday stout.

Middle Ages brewery (New York), Blackheart Stout. I only used to get this beer at good old Chapter House of Ithaca, NY – shout out, I miss you J-San (a local band head)! Smooth with a kick.

Smuttynose brewery (New Hampshire), Robust Porter. Robust is right, that’s for sure. A deep and rich porter with a melting feel as it goes down. If I remember correctly I think it was a little pricey. With a hint of nuttiness, an awesome weekend afternoon beer.

Brooklyn brewery (New York), Brooklyn Black Chocolate Stout. A whopping 10.6 % alcohol content, this pricey beer is only for those that are out to enjoy a really good beer. An initial midtone of chocolate and coffee, this stout ends with a heavy, yet smooth after finish as it drains down your throat. A must for a fancy Saturday night.

Oh, and by the way, there is one famous stout that didn’t make it on this list… flip’n Guiness. I hate that stuff, super dry, flavorless and watery – so there.



I didn’t get the usual bustle of Monday morning emails. In fact I haven’t received anything since an email from Japan last night (does that count towards my Monday morning dose?).

One of two things are up: 1) the world is plotting against me; 2) the apocalypse has finally come but I wouldn’t know cause I haven’t opened the blinds yet.

Off to a test!

I was looking forward to collecting this weekend but the weather was not cooperative at all. Its been cloudy and chilly for a week now. It’s supposed be warmer tomorrow so maybe I’ll go then.


I have to start drawing soon. I need to get some pens put together.

I don’t like drawing. I like having them, I just don’t look forward to producing them. A day spent illustrating is far more tiring then a day spent running around. I think it’s mentally taxing.


I’m currently revising the genus Platyusa. This is a monospecific genus, currently included in it is Platyusa sonomae. Since arriving in Kansas, I’ve found four more new species.

Two of the new species are singletons, so I’m photographing them, before I dissect out their naughty and oral bits.

Platyusa new species 1
Platyusa new species 1

n. sp. 1 is directly responsible for triggering this revision. When I first saw n. sp. 1, I knew that it was something special. I couldn’t figure what genus it belong to until I saw sonomae from a recent FMNH loan.

Then I also noticed that there were sonomae in this FMNH loan that I had temporarily IDed as Pella – apologize.

Fool’n with the imaging system

It’s refreshing to come across genera that are easily diagnosable.

This is Aloconota, an athetine (maybe, haven’t looked at their naughty bits) that may be collected in debris in riparian areas. Aloconota are unique in having empodium (that elongate seta-like projection that grows between the “toes” or claws of the beetle) that are longer than the length of pretarsus, giving them the appearance of having three claws at low magnification.

So far I have not seen many in collections and I have never collected them myself. I don’t think they’re too widespread, they may be locally abundant.

Alconota species

Aloconota species

Specimen courtesy of Ken Karns collection.

I thunked today

When I practice taxonomy, not systematics, but purely the dealings with specimens and naming new taxa, I feel like an analogue guy stuck in a digital world.

Just a little thought I had, as I sit hear blasting Zappa off my computer, while I sort through a grass clipping sample.

Frank Zappa and The Mothers of Invention – Call Any Vegetable

I had my mom buy me a litter sifter and Winkler funnel from a Japanese distributor in Japan. They finally arrived today. I’m excited to try it out.

A nice pile of decaying grass clippings, on the way to my walk to downtown Lawrence, distracted me on the way to dinner yesterday. Maybe I’ll try the new goods on them fine clippings.

I got the latest issue of The Newsletter of the Staphylinidological Society of Japan. On this issue Yuji Katayama summarized the taxonomic status of Japanese tachyporines.


Cedius spinosus LeConte

Cedius spinosus LeConte

Another species of Cedius from Kansas. Cedius spinosus cooccur with C. zeigleri in nests of Aphaenogaster that are constructed in dry wood. C. zeigleri is quite large and is about 4 mm while C. spinosus is about 3 mm. The smaller spinosus is more common compared with the larger zeigleri. Maybe the two species, assuming they have very similar life histories, can perhaps coexist because of their differential boday sizes, allowing to them to specialize on specific prey size ranges. Such species community compositional studies have found that bod size can be an indicator of species compatibility. Plus, maybe big collembolans are rarer in ant nests, explaining why zeigleri would be less common.