“Dungers and Chafers – a Trip to South Africa”

Those of you who enjoy field trip accounts should check out the December 2008 issue of SCARABS. The lead article – authored by your’s truly – is a scarabcentric travelogue of an insect collecting trip I took to South Africa several years ago. Scarabs?!, you say? Well, even though I focus on bups, ‘bycids, and tigers (some would argue that actually demonstrates lack of focus), I never pass on the opportunity to collect “cool” insects of all types when traveling somewhere as “exotic” as Africa – and scarabs are definitely cool! Still, I did manage to sneak past the editors a few words and pictures about buprestids, one of the more impressive of which I offer here as further enticement. You can also read about heart attacks, flying Tonka trucks, and evil minions.

Photos: (above) me standing next to a termite mound near the Waterberg, Northern Province (photo by Chuck Bellamy); (left) Evides pubiventris (family Buprestidae, tribe Evidiini) suns itself on high terminal foliage of Lannea discolor (family Anacardiaceae), Waterberg, Northern Province.

Superior Scribbler Award

Huckleberry at Huckleberry Days recently honored me with a Superior Scribbler Award. Huckleberry maintains an excellent blog about “Biodiversity, conservation, natural history and more, mostly in British Columbia, Canada, mostly in the Fraser River Delta, but sometimes not…” I enjoy their richly illustrated posts, often highlighting invasive plants and the impacts they’ve had on natural communities in the Delta. I am pleased to have made their list of selections and thank Huckleberry for the consideration.

Superior Scribbler award
The Scholastic Scribe, originator of The Award, provides some rules that come with this award:

  1. Each Superior Scribbler must in turn pass The Award on to 5 most-deserving Bloggy Friends.
  2. Each Superior Scribbler must link to the author and the name of the blog from whom he/she has received The Award.
  3. Each Superior Scribbler must display The Award on his/her blog and link to this post, which explains The Award.
  4. Each Blogger who wins The Superior Scribbler Award must visit this post and add his/her name to the Mr. Linky List. That way, we’ll be able to keep up-to-date on everyone who receives This Prestigious Honor!
  5. Each Superior Scribbler must post these rules on his/her blog.

Items 2-5 are now satisfied; however, the requirement to nominate five other blogs has me a bit stumped. Not that I don’t think there are five that are deserving – quite the contrary, there are many other blogs that I enjoy, though often for different reasons. Some provide a quick, humorous quip, while others offer comprehensive insight on technical subjects. Some provide timely updates on items in the news, while others offer captivating glimpses into some personal journey or mission. Some emphasize photos, others emphasize prose. What they all have in common is that they possess some unique and, to me, interesting perspective on natural history. One only needs to look at my fairly long blog roll to see which I find interesting enough to follow on a regular basis. Since many of these are already very well known and popular, an award from little ol’ me hardly seems necessary. As a result, I have decided to bend the “5 blogs” rule and, instead, highlight just one blog that, for me, really stands out for its combination of interesting subject matter, impassioned writing, and lovely photographs. That blog is Ozark Highlands of Missouri, by the talented Allison Vaughn. A native of Louisiana and college classics major, Allison found her way to my beloved Ozark Highlands after a brief stint in Missouri’s Southeast Lowlands. Her blog’s subheading, “Musings on Missouri’s most ecologically diverse and culturally fascinating landscape”, aptly alludes to the rich variety found in her deftly written posts. From descriptions of fragile natural communities and searches for rare, endemic plants, to discussions of responses (anthropic and natural) to fire regimes and essays on significant cultural events in the region’s history, Allison’s writings are at once informative and insightful, yet intimate and introspective. Almost two years old by the time I discovered it earlier this year, Ozark Highlands of Missouri is one of the few blogs that I have gone back and read in its entirety. I don’t know if Allison, endearingly modest as she is, will accept this award, but I highly recommend you visit her blog and read a few of her posts. Treat it as a delicious novel – something warm to cozy up to with a hot cup of tea as we enter the long winter months ahead.