Quick Business…

I’ll have a “real” post ready shortly, but I wanted to make a quick note of a few items that have popped up recently:

  • Cylindera celeripes – this, of course, is the swift tiger beetle, a quite rare species of tiger beetle that I’ve been studying for the past two years.  I am preparing a manuscript (now in its final stages) that will review the species’ historical occurrence, document the new records I’ve accumulated for it, and discuss its potential conservation status.  I’ve gotten specimen label data from university collections in IA, KS, NE, OK, and TX (known range of the beetle) and from a number of private tiger beetle collectors.  However, I would like to make the story as complete as possible and am looking for any other repositories that might contain additional specimens.  If you know of such in your local university museum (other than those in the states listed above), I would appreciate knowing about them and getting ahold of their label data.
  • The Southern Fried Science Network has just launched a new group blog called Journeys, which they hope will serve as a central hub for writing about scientific field work and expeditions.  It’s a unique concept where contributors will post updates, stories, discoveries, and observations in the course of conducting their fieldwork.  The site has already been populated with a number of expedition logs (including a couple of my own).  I’m anxious to see if this takes off, as its field-work focus is right up my alley.  A link has been added to my sidebar under the heading “Field Work”.
  • Every now and then, someone asks me why I collect insects.  More specifically, they want to know why I must collect the insects that I find, rather than simply observing them in the field, making notes, and then letting them go on their merry ways.  Some are truly curious, while others adopt the more judgmental stance that collecting insects now is akin to the days of ornithology when birds were observed not through binoculars, but through rifle scopes before being shot!  I have a standard set of responses to this question, mostly dealing with difficulty of field identification, incomplete taxonomy, vouchering of scientific data, etc.  However, next time I am asked the question, I am going to provide a link to this post, a guest contribution by myrmecologist Benoit Guenard on Alex Wild’s Myrmecos.  I can only imagine what Benoit is going through, now realizing that he had found and photographed just the second and third known specimens of a truly rare North American ant, only to let them go because he didn’t realize what they were at the time.

Copyright © Ted C. MacRae 2010

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