Category Archives: Field Entomology

It’s over

Earlier this week I submitted the final grades for field entomology, and yesterday I got paid – hurray! Part of me is sad the experience is over, but I’m excited for the fall semester to start.

Being in charge of a class myself presented many challenges, but was incredibly rewarding. Their final exams included some really thoughtful answers, and their insect collections were, for the most part, quite impressive. I am grateful for the cooperation and enthusiasm of all the students in the class. I will be seeing a few of them next week when general entomology starts, I’m glad I didn’t scare them off!

Just look at all those troublemakers.

One week isn’t really enough time to decompress and then prepare for another semester of teaching… but I guess that’s what I have to do. I’m not taking any classes but will be going to a few seminars and meetings, working on a couple projects, TAing the general entomology lab, doing research, and studying for my general exam. It’s a good thing I like being busy.

National Moth Week

My blogging has been delinquent – I never got around to talking about National Moth Week last week!

The very first National Moth Week was July 23-29, celebrated by gatherings all over the country. This map shows just how popular this event was, and there were probably even more gatherings not officially registered.

The week is designed to allow more public participation in entomology, and to raise awareness of moths and other night-time denizens. It really is amazing what you can see at a blacklighting sheet at night – it’s like a whole new world.

So of course, our lab organized an event. About 20 people attended, ranging from seasoned scientists to enthusiastic amateur naturalists. I brought along a few students from my field entomology class, and they were able to catch a lot of great specimens for their collections. Overall the night was a lot of fun, and a big success. Next year I will try to plan an even bigger and more elaborate outing.

We had two lights set up, and went on a few excursions into the darkness with our headlamps as well.

Here is one of the mercury vapor light set-ups.

The infamous Bug Girl joined us as well! She brought a bucket-full of goodies, included a massive plastic caterpillar and the best bug goggles ever (picture by Ben G.). I haven’t worn the goggles to class yet, but I probably will. It’s a good look for me, right?

A cute little moth who joined us (and probably ended up in a killing jar).

We got some caterpillars too! This is one that I am studying, Acronicta increta.

And these pictures are just for fun – we saw a lot of predation! Especially by spiders. Here are a few spiders chowing down on insects:

(Second photo by Ben G.)

I am already excited for moth week next year!

Field Entomology

I’ve got some blacklighting stories to share, but I have been busy preparing for teaching Field Entomology! It’s a 6 week course, my first time creating my own curriculum from scratch. There are no real guidelines, so I have done some research on how other people have done field entomology classes, and mixed in my own ideas. I created all of the assignments myself.

First day is today… we’ll see how it goes!

Ryerson Lab

Functional Morphology, Sensory Biology, Behavior, Biomechanics

I spell it nature

Trying to make sense of the world through science and language.