A bid for OpenLab

I’m going to do something I’ve not yet done before—ask for your support.  OpenLab is an annual compilation of the year’s best science-blog writing, as determined by a panel of judges, and the closing date for submissions for 2009 is December 1st—this coming Tuesday.  I’ve vacilated about whether to throw my hat into this ring—the world of science blogs is a crowded place with many erudite writers, and although science is my profession, the science that I write about is purely avocational.  Whether my particular brand of science writing can compete with that of the true academicians that seem to dominate the competition remains to be seen.  Nevertheless, I am willing to put my ego on the line and give it a shot.  If you have seen anything in the past year (since December 1, 2008) here at Beetles in the Bush that you consider exemplary, please consider submitting it.  Feel free to search the sidebar archives (“Taxa,” “Tags” or “Life History”), browse the site Contents, or select from the following list of my own personal favorites (arranged chronologically):

So I don’t get accused of asking but not giving, I leave you with this photograph of a group of Kern’s flower scarabs (Euphoria kernii, family Scarabaeidae) congregated in the flower of large-root prickly pear cactus (Opuntia macrorhiza, family Cactaceae).  Photographed this past June at Four Canyon Preserve in northwestern Oklahoma, this common, extremely variable species (ranging from all black to black and white to black and yellow to nearly all yellow) can be found throughout the southern Great Plains, where it congregates tightly in flowers of Opuntia , pricklypoppy (Argemone spp., family Papaveraceae), thistle (Cirsium spp., family Asteraceae), and yucca (Yucca spp., family Liliaceae).

Photo details: Canon 100mm f/2.4 macro lens on Canon 50D (manual mode), ISO-100, 1/250 sec, f/16, diffused MT-24EX flash.

Copyright © Ted C. MacRae 2009

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14 thoughts on “A bid for OpenLab

  1. I nominated “A Silver Anniversary”. I love those pictures and remember collecting all 3 species and having you identify them for me! I would have liked to see those Euphoria in the cactus flower – I would not have let any of them live!

  2. I had to go with “A Silver Anniversary” because… Well, let’s just say I’m doggone impressed! I’ve only been reading your blog for the past several months after finding you through CoTS, so I had no idea you were, like, a totally famous and, like, great discoverer and stuff.

    But let’s be honest, Ted: Couldn’t you have chosen a cooler name? You know, something like Purpuricenus macraeis or Purpuricenus macmarvelis or, better yet, Purpuricenus ifoundanewspeciesandyoudidn’tis? Gosh, some people…

    I really like the scarabs! Variable? That’s looks like an understatement.

    • Thanks, Jason – I think that is my personal favorite as well. As my first new species description, I played it pretty safe with P. paraxillaris (although I felt inside like the last name you suggested :)). Anyway, your support is greatly appreciated.

  3. You’ve got to be kidding. I think you’re the only scientist whose writing is actually interesting, Ted. You look at the whole picture, not just the insects. You see the world as an ecologist, and as you know, many others in your field don’t. I’m submitting a bunch of your writing. I think your whole blog needs to be submitted.

  4. Here in the western cross timbers, one of the earliest things to bloom in quantity is the Opuntia. The blooms are always crowded with beetles and others. Great photo and thanks for sharing.

    I nominated “Silver Anniversary”.

    Keep up the great writing. It’s my favorite blog although I very rarely have time to stop and comment.

    Your Texas friend,

    • Hi Troy. You should check the Opuntia in your area in spring for Acmaeodera buprestids – I’m wondering if A. ornatoides (similar to the more broadly distributred A. ornata) occurs in your area, as well as some of the smaller species related to A. tubulus (e.g., A. neoneglecta, A. conoidea, etc.).

      Thank you for your high praise – I hope I can continue to be deserving of it.

  5. I’m a new follower of the blog — and have enjoyed digging through the archives.

    I nominated “A Silver Anniversary” also – for the great description of the process of science/identifying a new critter as much as the nature writing.

    I look forward to the future posts!

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