A bit of housekeeping

I hope you’ll forgive the lack of pretty bug pictures and witty prose in today’s post – I have a few updates and adminstrative issues that I’d like to take care of.

Circus of the Spineless
This notice is a few days late, but Circus of the Spineless # 43 is up at Wanderin’ Weeta.  Susannah has done a great job of assembling blog posts on a diversity of invertebrates from anemones to annelids, bryozoans to barnacles, decapods to gastropods, and of course – insects.  In the latter group, all of the major orders are covered (including beetles by some guy that likes tiger beetles).

Expanded Blogroll
It has been quite a while since I last made mention of new additions to my ever-expanding blogroll.  I’m trying to maintain a fairly comprehensive list of blogs that either focus primarily on insects or feature compelling natural history discussions, and it seems that almost every week I find another one that either began recently or somehow escaped my earlier attention.  A few of these more recent additions deserve special mention for their interesting subjects, superior writing, quality photographic content, etc.

Rate My Posts
WordPress has a new widget that allows readers to rate the quality of posts.  I thought I would open myself up to this potential for praise or criticism and have activated this feature on this blog (and also my other blog, Bikes Bugs and Bones).  It’s a little jickery in that the “comments” link must be clicked in order to see the rating widget, which appears at the bottom of the post as 5 blank stars.  It’s a typical rating scale, with 1 star being the worst and 5 stars being the best.  I know a lot of readers don’t like to leave comments (although I heartily encourage them), but perhaps you would be willing to provide feedback in the form of a rating.  The ratings are completely anonymous – no IP addresses are recorded by the rating widget, so there is no way for me to know who voted or how.  Over time, as ratings accumulate for posts, I will be able to see what kinds of posts people really like (and which they really don’t).  This can be your way to contribute to the future direction of this blog!

  • 5 Stars = Excellent – use this for my very best pieces.
  • 4 Stars = Very Good – you really liked it, maybe just minor criticisms.
  • 3 Stars = Average – not bad, not great, it did the job.
  • 2 Stars = Fair – not one of my better pieces, a bad day perhaps.
  • 1 Star = Poor – well, let’s just hope I don’t get too many of these.

Editorial Duties
One of my long term goals is to be Managing Editor for an entomological journal.  Despite the volunteer nature of such a position, it’s not one that somebody can just walk into – dues must be paid.  I got a foot in the door a few years ago when I began serving as Coleoptera Subject Editor for The Pan-Pacific Entomologist, the journal of the Pacific Coast Entomological Society (we would welcome your manuscript dealing with western entomology in any aspect).  It has been an enjoyable experience, and I guess I’m doing a decent job since I was invited this summer to join the editorial team of the online journal Zootaxa.  This “mega-journal for zoological taxonomists in the world” has quickly become the leading journal for new taxa and taxonomic or nomenclatural acts, based on the coverage and indexing of Zoological Record since 2004.  This is possible only because of its team of 141 editors that cover the entire breadth of animal taxa – 17 of which (including me) handle the vast insect order Coleoptera.  Ever the glutton for punishment, I’ve also just accepted an invitation by the Webster Groves Nature Study Society to take over editorship of their monthly newsletter, Nature Notes.  I suppose the combination of these three editorial positions will let me know if I really want to pursue full editorship of a major journal at some point!

Okay, I can’t leave you without any kind of photograph – here are a couple of shots of Cicindela scutellaris, or festive tiger beetle. This male individual represents the stunningly beautiful nominotypical subspecies occupying the western part of the species’ range – it was photographed on sand exposures in shinnery oak shrubland habitat at Packsaddle Wildlife Management Area in extreme northwestern Oklahoma this past June.



Photo details: Canon 100mm macro lens on Canon EOS 50D (manual mode), ISO-100, 1/250 sec, f/14-16, MT-24EX flash 1/4 power through diffuser caps.

Copyright © Ted C. MacRae

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19 thoughts on “A bit of housekeeping

  1. Thanks for the shout-out, Ted.
    I hadn’t checked out your blogroll in some time, and I’ll definitely be following some of these new additions. WWWU in particular is a great read, and the Bug Whisperer has some lovely photography!
    I think a few of your links are broken, though – they are prefaced with your URL, so you have to copy and paste the URL and remove part of it to get to the page.

  2. You must be tough to tackle all of those duties. However, you are such a gifted writer it must seem like fun (most of the time).

    Thanks for the shout-out.
    Some night when I can’t sleep, I am going to go through all of your sidebar links, one by one.

    BTW, Nice beetle photo.

    I seem to be concentrating more on plants (forbs, trees, grasses) lately. It seems that with a better understanding of these, I understand the insect world better.

    So much to see and do, and so little time. For all you youngsters out there, don’t waste time. It’s a non-renewable resource and a very valuable commodity.

    Come visit,
    I C U Nature.

    • Hi Troy – I can confirm that editing is indeed fun… most of the time 🙂

      I’ve also learned that to be a good entomologist, I need to be a better botanist, ecologist, etc. There’s a certain synergy that comes from understanding the systems as a whole, from the organisms themselves to the species they interact with to the entire communities that they comprise.

      Thanks for your patronage.

  3. Ted, thanks for the kind mention. BITB continues to be the blog I point my friends to as an example of the blog I’d hope to write if I were a *real* scientist. Keep up the great work!

    I’ll try playing around with the ratings moving forward. (All those 5’s will probably be from me!)

    • Gee, Alex – thanks. I still have a hard time considering this blog the work of a *real* scientist, since it represents only the avocational part of my interest in insects. I think maybe it also lacks sufficient *snarkiness* to qualify as a true academic blog 🙂

      Your writings are every bit as erudite as mine (if not more) – keep up your good work as well.

  4. Thank you so much for the mention! I’m honored to be included with these other fine folks. Admittedly, I’m still working my way through your blogroll and finding plenty of gems along the way, so I’m anxious to take a look at the newest members.

    Congratulations on the Nature Notes position and the Zootaxa offer. Sounds like you have a full plate at the moment. Good luck! And hopefully the heavy load now means you’re closer to finding the managing editor position you’re looking for.

    • Hi Jason. Your inclusion is more than deserved, but this is what sold me – a most eloquent expression of what I feel but cannot say.

      Besides, anyone with six cats, four of which are black, must be a good person!

      • LOL! I’m flabbergasted that you pointed out that diatribe. I’ve not looked at it in three years. I think my response to it would have been: “Um, verbose much?” But thank you for the kind words. Kindred spirits are always welcome.

  5. How do you find time for all of these things?
    And is that tiger beetle real? I can’t believe such a beetle exists–truly lovely.
    Is it okay to post consecutive 5’s in the rating scheme? You write beautifully, Ted, and we all learn something new every time we click on your website.

    • Time – that’s a struggle. I often feel like I’m just keeping my nose above the surface. Then I get caught up on things and start feeling like I’m not keeping myself productive enough – it’s a constant back-and-forth!

      I really appreciate your kind praise, but of course, you know what a fan I am of your writings as well – whatever you’ve learned from me, I’ve learned twice as much from you.

  6. What a beautiful tiger beetle… they need to make little insect models like they do with cars and aircraft. At least inexpensively- then we could paint or color one like that!

  7. Hello Ted!

    We haven’t stopped by in a while, and were amazed to see that we’ve been honored by getting on to your blogroll! Thanks so much. We’re excited to explore the others you’ve included!

    It was also fun to learn more about you and your aspirations. We can’t imagine a more knowledgeable and passionate Editor. Keep going for it, and you’re sure to meet your goal.

    Finally, thanks for the final picture. Time and again, we’re amazed at the jewel-like creatures who grace your blog. Thanks for creating such a great resource for all of us, where we can be both educated and inspired.

    • Hi K&R – your inclusion is more than deserved because of your enthusiasm and eye for the unusual.

      As always, I appreciate your kind comments. My goal is to impart the same passion in my writings that I feel inside about my subjects.


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