Those of you who have followed this blog for any length of time have likely noticed fairly regular participation in the comments sections by one James C. Trager. Occasionally irreverent and always articulate, his informed quips are among those that I have enjoyed the most. One can surmise from James’ comments that he knows a thing or two about entomology himself, but to say this would be an understatement! Like me, James is a passionate entomologist whose scientific interests take him deep into many related fields of natural history study. Unlike me, James is a formally trained insect taxonomist, specializing in ants (family Formicidae). He has conducted numerous biogeographical and systematic studies on this group, much of it in the southeastern U.S. (list of publications), and is the current project leader for the Missouri Ants and Illinois Ants pages at AntWeb.org (whose ambitious goal is to provide information and high quality color images for each of the ~10,000 known ant species). James’ deep knowledge of this single taxon, however, does not limit his interest in other insects — singing insects in particular are among his favorites. It is, thus, with great pleasure that I introduce James as the newest BitB contributor.
In fact, James and I have known each other for many years, as we are both based in the St. Louis area. James is a restoration ecologist at Shaw Nature Reserve, a 2,500-acre ecological preserve located in the Ozark foothills (and just 15 miles from my house). Originally established by the Missouri Botanical Garden for managed plant collections, its recent focus has shifted to environmental education and ecological research, and James has played a key role in their many ongoing wetland, woodland, prairie and glade (xeric limestone prairie) restoration efforts. This experience combines with his entomological expertise and extensive travel within the U.S. and abroad (e.g., Ecuador) to give him a breadth of knowledge and perspective achieved by few, and I think you will find his writings most enjoyable. Look for his first post to appear in the next day or so.
Copyright © Ted C. MacRae 2010