Monthly Archives: May 2010

BKL

It is now warm, so we entomologists head out in search of night dwelling critters.

Jeff gets ready for black-lighting

Jeff is our token hemimetabola worker, studying systematics, population genetics and song evolution of katydids. Very familiar with his organisms, Jeff will routinely recognize new species by song in the field, even in the parking lot of his apartment complex. In addition, Jeff is currently running the molecular unit in our lab.

Collecting with a sound recorder in one hand and kill jar in the other, Jeff’s collecting gives off an awesome professional vibe. He’ll later gut and mount his specimens that night, another sign of professionalism.

Black-lighting at a prairie in Kansas

Exams and fowl mushrooms

Firstly, congratulations to Steve for passing his orals and Martin for finishing up his dissertation! It’s nice to hear people doing well.

Steve takes a breather by collecting after successfully overcoming his oral exam

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I took a visiting student collecting a few days ago and came across a nice growth of chicken-of-the-woods, Laetiporus cincinnatus. I’ve eaten L. sulfureus before, which grow on trees, but L. cincinnatus grows at the base of the trees they parasitize and was to become a first consumption for me.

Apparently there are four cryptic species of this genus in North America and are ecologically rather distinct (as seems to be the story for many of our macro-fungi).

The fungus was too large for myself so I cut half for fellow fungiphile Zack.

Half the original size, Laetiporus cincinnatus is carefully rid of beetles that may be of potential interest, prior to culinary preparation

I kept it simple, the remaining fungus was sautéed in butter, of course after the specimen was examined for insects that may be of potential interest. It was very aromatic and the texture and taste combined was much more reminiscent of fowl, compared with L. sulphhreus. It was real tasty, I bet it’ll go well in a creamy pasta, like an Alfredo or something.

Ready to eat

Staphylinidae Meeting XXV

Meeting of the minds – I will be attending an annual staphylinid conference in Copenhagen. This is my first attendance and I will get the chance to meet familiar and new colleagues that all… well, work on staphylinids!

I will be presenting on some recent work on the Lomechusini of North America. There’s so much to cover that I will be narrowing my focus to what I consider to constitute the Drusilla-group of genera, a potentially monophyletic lineage within a broader contextual group that some call the subtribe Myrmedoniini.

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I encountered some issues with my new “Pella” species description. At least I caught the problem prior to it getting published.

Digging a hole to China

This just in, digging if you dig through the center of the Earth, you will NOT get to China, I repeat, you will not get to China. In fact, digging through the center of the Earth from any of the 48 contiguous states will get you to, drum roll, right smack dab in the Indian Ocean. Apparently the United States doesn’t have an antipode, lame.

What’s your countries antipode? Check it out!

Anecdotal evidence suggest that infants resemble their fathers in superficial cranial morphology. The adaptionist explanation is that fathers that recognize similar facial features in infants will maintain parental care.

Questionable, at best – but I must admit that family friends have mentioned, and even from a personal standpoint (from observing personal photographs from the past), I do resembled my father as a youth, and have converged towards a more maternal facial morphology.

Yo, mom, send me a photo of me of when I was young, I know you’re reading this blog!

Myrmecophiles confirm the existence of god.

On a different note, I’ve approximated that I’ve made about 110 permanent full body slide mounts this academic year.

I’ve been databasing my slides, since I arrived here at the University of Kansas, with a simple code of “KTE slide# XXX” where the “XXX” is replaced with successive numbers. Slides that have had a code given to them are then added to a spreedsheet then added to my awesome oldskool slide kabinet (with a “k” for Eric).

Databased permanent slides as would appear in my slide cabinet.

Databased slides as they would appear in one of the drawers of my fancy slide cabinet.

I have a lot that still needs databasing (ca. 80)… Although some of them are ptiliids, I’ve been obsessed with ptiliids lately. I may even have a new Micridium species from ant nests in Kansas!

My backlog - I feel as though "backlog" summerizes my entomological career...

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P.S. Rediscovered Amy Whinehouse, love the vintage sound of her recordings. In case you were interested, a great album to listen to when making dissections. Not to mention, her band for Back to Black is killer.

Things are happening in the world of hydrophilidology – click if you dare to see.

Meronera venestula, oblique lateral view of aedeagus with everted internal sac