I am an Entomologist

In my last post (Best of BitB 2011), I showed my favorite 13 insect (mostly) macrophotographs from 2011. Such “Best of …” posts have become an annual tradition here at BitB, and I like them because they give me a chance to review my photographs for the year and assess my progress as an insect macrophotographer. Others seem to like them also, as previous editions remain among this blog’s most popular posts despite the passage of time. Hopefully this latest edition will achieve similar popularity, and if it does I will be truly grateful.

Despite this, however, I find that I still have trouble considering myself a true “insect macrophotographer” rather than an “entomologist with a camera.” It’s not that I don’t want or hope to achieve such a moniker, and I’ve been thinking lately about why this should the case. I’ve realized that it really has less to do with self-opinion and more to do with the importance I still place on and satisfaction I get out of my other entomological pursuits. Not only have I been fortunate to find stable employment conducting entomology research, but I’ve also managed to find satisfying outlets for my avocational entomological interests. I am an Entomologist (with a capital ‘E’), and although I’ve enjoyed immensely my recent growth as an insect macrophotographer, I did have other other, purely entomological accomplishments in 2011 that I think also deserve mention:

  • Managing Editor of The Pan-Pacific Entomologist. It has been my life-long goal to become editor of a major entomology journal, and this past April I was presented with just such an opportunity with The Pan-Pacific EntomologistMy seven prior years as the journal’s Coleoptera Subject Editor prepared me well for the role (and further confirmed for me that the chief role was something I wanted to do), and in the seven months since I took over, the Editorial Board and I have processed 50 manuscripts, are about to submit files for our 4th issue, and have shaved more than two months off of the deficit that separates us from our eventual goal of on-schedule publishing.
  • Five papers published. With co-authors Chris Brown and Kent Fothergill, 2011 saw the publication of our series of papers assessing the conservation status of the tiger beetles Habroscelimorpha circumpicta johnsonii, Dromochorus pruinina, Tetracha carolina, and Cylindera cursitans in Missouri and Cylindera celeripes in the eastern Great Plains. Survey work for these species dominated my field activities during the past decade and formed the basis for these papers, and it was immensely satisfying to finally see the results of all that work finally appear in print. The real impact of this work, however, will be seen in the coming years as I work with conservation stakeholders who will utilize the information that we have gathered.
  • First seminar presented fully in Spanish. I don’t talk much about my professional activities—part of being an industry entomologist is the necessity to maintain company confidentiality. I have mentioned, however, my role in soybean entomology research and my recent travels to Argentina as part of this work. In November I finally realized one of my professional goals of giving a seminar fully in Spanish. It was a long time coming—I took Spanish lessons for a short time in the late 1990s but have otherwise had only one or two trips per year to Argentina and Mexico with which to improve my skills. It was during my trip to Argentina this past March that something finally ‘clicked’ and I found myself for the first time able to engage fully in conversation. My colleagues in Argentina must have noticed this as well, as it was they who requested that I not only give a seminar during my November visit, but that I do so in Spanish. The presentation went well, and I now find myself more motivated than ever to pursue what before seemed only a pipe dream—full fluency.
  • Senior Research Entomologist. After three decades of working as an entomologist—the last two in industry, I now can add “Senior” to my title. What this means in practice I’m not quite sure—I’m still doing largely what I have been doing for the past few years, and in this environment compensation is linked more to accomplishments than title. Maybe it’s just recognition of dogged persistence. Still, it sounds cool and looks good in the email signature line!
  • 32 species/subspecies of tiger beetles! This is the fun stuff! Nothing is more enjoyable for me than locating, observing, and photographing tiger beetles in their native habitats. It’s even better when they are uncommonly observed or rare endemic species. In 2011 I looked for tiger beetles in seven states (Arkansas, Colorado, Florida, Idaho, Missouri, Oklahoma and Utah), and of the 32 total species and subspecies that I found (listed below) the highlights must include three of North America’s rarest tiger beetle species: Cicindela albissima (Coral Pink Sand Dune Tiger Beetle), Cicindela arenicola (St. Anthony Dune Tiger Beetle), and the recently rediscovered Cicindelidia floridana (Miami Tiger Beetle).  Another eight endemic or highly restricted species and subspecies were also found, and I was able to obtain in situ photographs of all eleven in their native habitat (as well as most of the non-endemics that I had not already photographed). In the list that follows, bold text indicates endemics, and links to any photographs I posted are provided when available:
    • Genus Cicindela
      • Cicindela albissima Rumpp, 1962 [photos]
      • Cicindela arenicola Rumpp, 1967 [photos]
      • Cicindela formosa formosa Say, 1817
      • Cicindela formosa generosa Dejean, 1831 [photos]
      • Cicindela formosa gibsoni Brown, 1940 [photos]
      • Cicindela lengi lengi W. Horn, 1908
      • Cicindela purpurea audubonii LeConte, 1845
      • Cicindela scutellaris scutellaris Say, 1823
      • Cicindela scutellaris yampae Rumpp, 1986 [photos]
      • Cicindela sexguttata Fabricius, 1775
      • Cicindela splendida Hentz, 1830
      • Cicindela theatina Rotger, 1944 [photos pending]
      • Cicindela tranquebarica borealis E. D. Harris, 1911
      • Cicindela tranquebarica kirbyi LeConte, 1866
      • Cicindela tranquebarica tranquebarica Herbst, 1806 [photos]
    • Genus Cicindelidia
      • Cicindelidia floridana (Cartwright, 1939) [photos]
      • Cicindelidia haemorrhagica haemorrhagica (LeConte, 1851)
      • Cicindelidia obsoleta vulturina (LeConte, 1853) [photos pending]
      • Cicindelidia punctulata punctulata (Olivier, 1790)
      • Cicindelidia rufiventris rufiventris (Dejean, 1825)
      • Cicindelidia scabrosa (Schaupp, 1884) [photos]
    • Genus Cylindera
      • Cylindera (Cylindera) curistans (LeConte, 1860) [photos]
      • Cylindera (Cylindera) unipunctata (Fabricius, 1775) [photos]
    • Genus Ellipsoptera
      • Ellipsoptera hamata lacerata (Chaudoir, 1854) [photos, photos, photos, photos]
      • Ellipsoptera hirtilabris (LeConte, 1875)
      • Ellipsoptera marginata (Fabricius, 1775)
    • Genus Habroscelimorpha
      • Habroscelimorpha dorsalis saulcyi (Guérin-Méneville, 1840)
      • Habroscelimorpha severa severa (LaFerté-Sénectère, 1841)
      • Habroscelimorpha striga (LeConte, 1875) [photos]
    • Genus Tetracha
      • Tetracha (Tetrachacarolina carolina (Linnaeus, 1767) [photos]
      • Tetracha (Tetrachafloridana Leng & Mutchler, 1916 [photos, photos]
      • Tetracha (Tetrachavirginica (Linnaeus, 1767)

Copyright © Ted C. MacRae 2012

My Dad (reprise)

I first wrote this post on Father’s Day 2008. It didn’t appear on Beetles in the Bush, but rather my other blog, the now largely defunct Bikes Bugs and Bones.  My dad is my hero, my confidant, and my best friend.  It’s hard watching him age, but it would be even harder not to.  I repost on this day in his honor and urge everyone to honor their own father is some small way.  Happy Father’s Day!

Me and my dad | Pickle Springs Natural Area, St. Genevieve Co., Missouri, Dec. 2007

My dad had knee replacement surgery a couple days ago. The surgery went off without a hitch, and he’s doing very well. All signs are that he will bounce back quickly and suffer few, if any, complications. I’ve spent much of the past three days here at the hospital—sometimes providing support and encouragement, other times just keeping him company. He should be released tomorrow, and I’ll spend the rest of the week with him at his house—hopefully he’ll be able to get around okay by then.

Some thirty years ago, my dad got an infection that settled in his left hip. By the time doctors found it and figured out what was going on, his left hip socket had degenerated badly, and the only medical option after cleaning up the infection was a year in a full body cast that resulted in fusion of the socket with the femoral head. This left him with a left leg two inches shorter than his right, a bad limp, and a lifetime of pain medications. His right leg became his ‘good leg’ and his left became the ‘bad.’ Decades of walking with a cane and favoring his bad leg put a lot of pressure on his good leg, and at age 73 his right leg had had enough. Now, his good leg is his bad leg, and his bad leg is, well, still his bad leg. This will add a wrinkle to his recovery, since he won’t have a healthy leg to carry the load while his good leg recovers. But I will be there to help, if needed, and in a few weeks his good leg should be good as new.

My dad is not only my dad, but also my best friend. We have a relationship that is based on mutual love and respect, and I don’t know which of us appreciates more what we have with each other. It wasn’t always this way—my dad and I were estranged for 25 years starting when I was 10 years old. My parents married far too young, and each had their own issues—they were but children themselves. Having first me, then my brother and sister, only delayed but could not prevent the inevitable break up that resulted in my fathers absence. I paid a heavy price by not having a father during those crucial, formative years as I finished growing up, but I seem to have turned out okay regardless. It would take many years before I would be ready for something so bold as reconciliation, but maturity and the support of a loving wife eventually made it possible. There were difficult questions to answer, but through it I realized that my father had paid a heavy price as well. Not the selfish irresponsible man I had been taught about, instead I saw a sensitive, deeply introspective man who had lived a life of hard knocks, suffered the consequences, learned from his mistakes and turned his life around.

My dad loves to ride bikes. I do too, but I did not learn the love of cycling from him. My dad is simple yet elegant, with an understated class that people adore. I, too, try to show respect and modesty, but I did not learn these things from my father. We both love classical music (he can live without the metal), listen to NPR, and enjoy humor with more than a touch of irreverence—tastes acquired by each of us before we knew each other. What I have learned from my father during these past 15 years is why I am me—a gift I didn’t know I lacked. I don’t mourn the loss of those 25 years spent without my father, rather I rejoice at the very special relationship that we now have—perhaps possible only because of our separate pasts. My father describes that year in a body cast as the darkest period of his life. I did not know him then, so I could not be there to help him through it. While his recovery from knee replacement will not be near that ordeal, neither will it be easy. But I am here with him, and I know in my heart that whatever difficulties he faces during his recovery, he will look back on this as a small part of the best time of his life.

Copyright © Ted C. MacRae 2008

The 12 Years of Christmas

This post first appeared on Beetles in the Bush on Christmas Day 2008. Two years have passed, but the sentiment remains stronger than ever. I reprint it here as BitB‘s single evergreen post. Merry Christmas!

p1020457_2

Merry Christmas - from our backyard to yours!

They came from completely different backgrounds. She had grown up in a middle class family, her father an educated professional, her mother a professional homemaker – “Ward and June”, as their now-grown children jokingly call them. He grew up on welfare, the family breaking up while he was still in elementary school. She was a popular student – cheerleader, debate team, gymnastics. He was the introverted science nerd, invisible to the popular, living quietly with his books. Religion was an important part of her life, growing up Catholic and remaining devoted to the church. He grew up Catholic but knew even as a child that religion would not provide the answers he was looking for, eventually finding a private spirituality in the Creation itself.

Despite these separate paths they found each other and fell in love, and despite their different lives they both wanted the same thing – a family. Such a simple desire, however, would prove to be difficult to achieve. When fertility drugs didn’t work, they turned to adoption. The first match failed. So did the second. They understood completely how the birth mothers could change their minds, but that didn’t ease their pain or calm their fears. Ultimately, they looked to Russia, a new democracy with old attitudes about orphans. In the fall of their 6th year of marriage, they learned that little Anastasia was waiting for them. They traveled to Russia before Christmas and became a family after New Years. In between, they visited little Anastasia every day – one hour at a time – and experienced the joy of being a parent, a feeling they had feared would ever elude them. On Christmas Day, they could not see little Anastasia, but in a small, gray apartment on the outskirts of Moscow, they celebrated her coming with their gracious host family. Ten days later, their family was born, and twelve months later they celebrated their first Christmas together at home.

Christmas meant little to me for much of my life. Yes, it was a time to relax and enjoy the company of family and friends, and the presents were nice. But my own approach to spirituality has little in common with traditional reflections of the season. Tonight, as I watched 12-year old Mollie Anastasia laughing with her cousins, hugging her nanny and papa, and teasing her uncle and his partner, I thought back to those cold, snowy days in Russia when my heart became warm for the first time. I recalled our second trip to Russia six years later, when she and little Madison Irina each met their sister for the first time. On this Christmas Day, as I have done for 12 years now, I thought about how lucky we are to have these two beautiful little girls that are unquestionably our own. Christmas means a lot to me now, and that is a gift that not even five golden rings could beat.

Copyright © Ted C. MacRae 2010

The 12 Years of Christmas

This post first appeared on Beetles in the Bush on Christmas Day last year.  One year has passed, but the sentiment remains stronger than ever.  I reprint it here as BitB‘s first evergreen post. Merry Christmas!

p1020457_2

Merry Christmas - from our backyard to yours!

They came from completely different backgrounds. She had grown up in a middle class family, her father an educated professional, her mother a professional homemaker – “Ward and June”, as their now-grown children jokingly call them. He grew up on welfare, the family breaking up while he was still in elementary school. She was a popular student – cheerleader, debate team, gymnastics. He was the introverted science nerd, invisible to the popular, living quietly with his books. Religion was an important part of her life, growing up Catholic and remaining devoted to the church. He grew up Catholic but knew even as a child that religion would not provide the answers he was looking for, eventually finding a private spirituality in the Creation itself.

Despite these separate paths they found each other and fell in love, and despite their different lives they both wanted the same thing – a family. Such a simple desire, however, would prove to be difficult to achieve. When fertility drugs didn’t work, they turned to adoption. The first match failed. So did the second. They understood completely how the birth mothers could change their minds, but that didn’t ease their pain or calm their fears. Ultimately, they looked to Russia, a new democracy with old attitudes about orphans. In the fall of their 6th year of marriage, they learned that little Anastasia was waiting for them. They traveled to Russia before Christmas and became a family after New Years. In between, they visited little Anastasia every day – one hour at a time – and experienced the joy of being a parent, a feeling they had feared would ever elude them. On Christmas Day, they could not see little Anastasia, but in a small, gray apartment on the outskirts of Moscow, they celebrated her coming with their gracious host family. Ten days later, their family was born, and twelve months later they celebrated their first Christmas together at home.

Christmas meant little to me for much of my life. Yes, it was a time to relax and enjoy the company of family and friends, and the presents were nice. But my own approach to spirituality has little in common with traditional reflections of the season. Tonight, as I watched 12-year old Mollie Anastasia laughing with her cousins, hugging her nanny and papa, and teasing her uncle and his partner, I thought back to those cold, snowy days in Russia when my heart became warm for the first time. I recalled our second trip to Russia six years later, when she and little Madison Irina each met their sister for the first time. On this Christmas Day, as I have done for 12 years now, I thought about how lucky we are to have these two beautiful little girls that are unquestionably our own. Christmas means a lot to me now, and that is a gift that not even five golden rings could beat.

Copyright © Ted C. MacRae 2009

Add to FacebookAdd to NewsvineAdd to DiggAdd to Del.icio.usAdd to StumbleuponAdd to RedditAdd to BlinklistAdd to TwitterAdd to TechnoratiAdd to Furl

Thanksgiving

As one of the few American holidays that hasn’t been completely usurped by religious or commercial interests (the traditional Day-After-Thanksgiving-Shopping-Mêlée notwithstanding), Thanksgiving is a time for reflection and contemplation.  The feast I will enjoy, surrounded by those whose love and friendship I treasure most, is but a proxy for reminding myself not only how much I enjoy life and all it has to offer, but also how extraordinarily fortunate I find my circumstances and the opportunities presented to me.  As we go through our daily hustles, it is easy to lose sight of the basic tenants of a good life—loving family, close friends, employment that not only provides for the body but also nutures the mind, and the overwhelming beauty of nature and its intricacies.  Thanksgiving means something unique for each of us, but I hope you’ll join me in giving thanks for the things we have and rededicating ourselves to helping, without judgment, the many people in our country and across the world who find themselves in less fortunate positions.  In the meantime, please enjoy this beautifully glowing rendition of George Winston’s “Thanksgiving” as it evokes the essence of the season and its sumptuous landscapes.

Copyright © Ted C. MacRae 2009

Add to FacebookAdd to NewsvineAdd to DiggAdd to Del.icio.usAdd to StumbleuponAdd to RedditAdd to BlinklistAdd to TwitterAdd to TechnoratiAdd to Furl

The 12 Years of Christmas

p1020457_2

Merry Christmas - from our backyard to yours!

They came from completely different backgrounds.  She had grown up in a middle class family, her father an educated professional, her mother a professional homemaker – “Ward and June”, as their now-grown children jokingly call them.  He grew up on welfare, the family breaking up while he was still in elementary school.  She was a popular student – cheerleader, debate team, gymnastics.  He was the introverted science nerd, invisible to the popular, living quietly with his books.  Religion was an important part of her life, growing up Catholic and remaining devoted to the church.  He grew up Catholic but knew even as a child that religion would not provide the answers he was looking for, eventually finding a private spirituality in the creation itself.

Despite these separate paths they found each other and fell in love, and despite their different lives they both wanted the same thing – a family.  Such a simple desire, however, would prove to be difficult to achieve.  When fertility drugs didn’t work, they turned to adoption.  The first match failed.  So did the second.  They understood completely how the birth mothers could change their minds, but that didn’t ease their pain or calm their fears.  Ultimately, they looked to Russia, a new democracy with old attitudes about orphans.  In the fall of their 6th year of marriage, they learned that little Anastasia was waiting for them.  They traveled to Russia before Christmas and became a family after New Years.  In between, they visited little Anastasia every day – one hour at a time – and experienced the joy of being a parent, a feeling they had feared would ever elude them.  On Christmas Day, they could not see little Anastasia, but in a small, gray apartment on the outskirts of Moscow, they celebrated her coming with their gracious host family.  Ten days later, their family was born, and twelve months later they celebrated their first Christmas together at home.

Christmas meant little to me for much of my life.  Yes, it was a time to relax and enjoy the company of family and friends, and the presents were nice.  But my own approach to spirituality has little in common with traditional reflections of the season.  Tonight, as I watched 12-year old Mollie Anastasia laughing with her cousins, hugging her nanny and papa, and teasing her uncle and his partner, I thought back to those cold, snowy days in Russia when my heart became warm for the first time.  I recalled our second trip to Russia six years later, when she and little Madison Irina each met their sister for the first time.  On this Christmas Day, as I have done for 12 years now, I thought about how lucky we are to have these two beautiful little girls that are unquestionably our own.  Christmas means a lot to me now, and that is a gift that not even five golden rings could beat.

Welcome to the “new” Beetles In The Bush

After much consideration, I have decided to move Beetles In The Bush to its new home here at WordPress.  To those of you coming here from the old site, thank you for following the link.  To those of you who have stumbled upon this site from somewhere else, welcome!

The decision to move was not easy, nor was it taken lightly, but it was something I had been considering for quite awhile.  The debates about WordPress versus Blogger are well chronicled, and you will find many who strongly believe in one or the other.  For me, the choice was not so clear – each offers advantages relative to the other.  What really attracted me to  WordPress, however, was the horizontal menu bar linked to static “Pages” that are separate from chronologically-ordered posts – ideal for expanded profiles, tables of contents, indices, annotated link galleries, etc.  I toyed with different methods for creating these in Blogger and actually found a way to simulate them along with the menu bar.  However, it took a lot of effort learning HTML code, and the results were just not very crisp when compared this standard WordPress feature.  Frankly, I’d rather spend my time writing posts rather than HTML code.  Moreover, I’ve always been impressed with the clean, professional look of the WordPress templates – very attractive.

Nevertheless, the idea of actually moving my blog was still a daunting thought.  Would everything transfer or would I have to start over?  Would I lose my photos?  Would the post formatting get messed up?  The more I researched it, the more feasible it seemed, and when I actually created a site for beta testing I was immediately impressed with the functionality and ease of use.  Setting up the new blog, transferring the posts and comments from the old site, adding the “page” features that I had so long desired, and all the fine-tuning to achieve the “look” that I wanted only took a few hours.  The hardest part was deciding on a template.  Alex may think I simply copied what he did, the truth is I previewed both the initial blog and the finished blog in every template offered by WordPress.  I liked the clean lines, crisp fonts, and simple elegance of this layout.  I also debated about whether to replace the old banner, but ultimately decided a move to a new site deserved a new banner to go along with it.  I suppose switching sites might mess up page stats, Google rankings, and other technical issues that concern serious bloggers.  I’ll need to keep the old site live, since that is where all the photos from the previous posts are housed – that might ‘steal’ hits that would have otherwise come to this site when people do Google searches.  I guess all I can hope is that people landing on the old site will follow the redirect.

So, welcome to the new Beetles In The Bush – I hope you’ll take a moment to explore the new pages.  I’ve included a short biography in About, a Table of Contents with a complete list of posts (and recommendations for some of my favorites), a description of my personal Insect Collection with links to inventories for certain taxa, a complete list of my Publications, and an annotated list of Links that I’ve found useful for identification and nomenclature of insects and plants.  Comments are always welcome, and feel free to Contact me directly if you have specific questions or comments.  Don’t forget to update your links from:

http://beetlesinthebush.blogspot.com

to:

http://beetlesinthebush.wordpress.com

Pardon my introspection

In addition to this blog, I maintain a second, older blog called Bikes, Bugs, and Bones. That snarkier, decidedly less erudite site was my first venture into the world of blogging, initiated some two and a half years ago not due to any particular vision on my part, but more as a reaction to other blogs that were popping up by people I knew in the St. Louis cycling scene. At that time, I was deeply immersed in the world of amateur bike racing, and a blog seemed to be a natural outlet for reporting my take on the races in which I participated. The title – Bikes, Bugs, and Bones – was a reflection of my propensity to be interested in too many things (with not enough time). In reality, however, my surging interest in cycling had by then pushed my longer held entomological and natural history interests to the back burner, and my posts on that blog – then and now – dealt almost exclusively with bicycles and racing. For several reasons racing was something I needed to do, and I had a good run – winning 14 races in seven years (including three state championships) and crowing it all with a highly respectable finish in the 2007 Etape du Tour (an amateur race held on the “Queen stage” route of the Tour de France). My interest in entomology and natural history never waivered during this time, but the demands of training relegated any meaningful field work to short windows before the racing season began and after it ended each year. Eventually, the entomologist in me could be suppressed no longer, and at the end of last year I decided that I needed to get back to doing what I loved – bug collecting! I made a commitment to return entomology field work to its rightful place as my first priority (after family and work, of course) and race bicycles as time permitted. (I have since completely retired from racing, although I still ride and maintain Bikes, Bugs, and Bones as an outlet for discussing all things cycling.) As an expression of that renewed commitment, I started a new blog – this blog – and after much frustration finding that every blog name I thought of had already been thought of by someone else (and generally abandoned after only a few posts) settled on the name Beetles In The Bush. One year ago today – November 24, 2007 – I posted my first entry to this new blog (a subsequent entry, a list of my publications, was backdated to November 23).

Beetles In The Bush started with a simple mission – to document my entomological and other natural history experiences and provide an outlet for the photographs that I was beginning to take. Late fall is not the best time to begin an insect blog, especially with no insect photos on hand to serve as starter material. As a result, my initial posts appeared rather infrequently – primarily whenever I had the opportunity to do a winter hike. It was those first few hikes, however, and my efforts to write something interesting about the natural history represented in the photographs that I took, that called attention to what I realized was a glaring gap in my overall knowledge of natural history. I was a competent entomologist, to be sure, but that competency did not extend to general botany (other than the mostly woody plants with which the insects I studied were associated), or to the natural communities in which those plants and insects occurred, or to the geology of the landforms that contained those natural communities, or to the manner in which these fields intersect, an understanding of which I would have to have before I could consider myself a competent natural historian. More than just an outlet for posting pictures and stories about my adventures, Beetles In The Bush also quickly became a tool to help me learn more about botany, ecology, geology, and related fields. I have read more non-entomology literature in the past year than I have since earning my degrees, and since knowledge and passion are intimately linked in a positive feedback loop, I’ve found myself becoming even more passionate about entomology, too. I still have much to learn – I am a work in progress, far from complete. But in this case, it is the journey that is also the reward.

Like all bloggers, I’d like to think that I have a large, regular following, and that over time more and more people will find my writings interesting and worthy of their time. The numbers don’t support this – as of this one-year anniversary, Beetles In The Bush has received 6,987 hits – not triffling but by no means extraordinary. While the graph below shows steady growth during the first year of existence, the numbers don’t come within a rifle’s shot of some of the really popular natural history and science blogs. I surmise the main reason for this involves a relatively lower posting frequency – a little more than once per week on average instead of the daily or near daily frequency seen with many blogs. I suppose also my relatively specialized subject matter and tendency to ramble on are contributing factors. I have thought about writing smaller, more frequent posts and expanding my subject matter to create greater interest; however, in doing this I realized that what I enjoy most is writing stories about the things that interest me – stories that teach, stories that impart a sense of the passion that I feel, stories that allow me to reflect on what I’ve learned and what I still don’t know. If that makes a broad, daily readership less likely, so be it – I understand now that I’m doing this as much for me as anyone else. So, I mark this first anniversary with a resolution to wean myself from the lure of trying to increase traffic and refocusing my efforts on doing what I enjoy most – writing silly little stories about the things I stumble upon on my journey to become a better natural historian. For the readership that I do have, I am grateful. More importantly, I am thankful for the goodly number of “friendships” that have resulted from these writings. Thank you for your interest, and I sincerely hope that some day I have the chance to meet many of you in person.

Beetles in the Bush - first year summary