Try Your Hand At Introductory Entomology, Part II

And now, an excerpt from my second mid-term exam for the BIO 453L class. Good luck!


8. Australia was able control its infamous bush fly problem by importing several species of:
a. Dung beetle
b. Robber fly
c. Orb-weaving spider
d. Green lacewing

9. In your new job as a forensic entomologist, you receive a sample of insects collected by police from a body discovered in a park. The sample contains mostly beetles in the family Dermestidae and moths in the family Tineidae. It is autumn and the weather has been cool. Would you estimate the PMI (=time of death) to be:
a. Within a day.
b. Within 2-3 days.
c. Between 4 days and 2 weeks.
d. More than 2 weeks.

10. Which insect order is indispensable, as cacao’s required pollinator, to the production of chocolate?

Sunday Night Movie: How To Talk Australians

And now, the funniest thing on Youtube:

The directors are white Australians, most of the cast is Indian Australian, and this sort of comedy can very, very easily descend into cheap racism. But these guys point their barbs in the right direction, and I think they pull it off.

Warning: adult language. Because it’s Australia.

Insect Photography Workshop: Sapelo Island, 22-25 May 2014



It occurs to me I’ve not yet mentioned the upcoming BugShot workshop on this blog.

So. BugShot!

This macro photography mini-conference has been a highlight of my year since I organized the first one in St. Louis in 2011. Every summer, 30 or so insect photography enthusiasts gather for a long weekend in a natural setting to trade tips on gear, hunt for local arthropods, and most importantly, hang out with like-minded insect nerds. The instructors are always some combination of myself, John AbbottThomas Shahan, and Piotr Naskrecki, but I use the term instructor loosely. BugShot has become more of a conference and less of a pulpit, and the instructors invariably learn a great deal from the people who attend. I owe much of my progress in recent years to the interactions I’ve had with others at these events.

BugShot has been to Missouri, Florida, and Belize; our next stop this May is a pristine coastal island in Georgia, Sapelo Island. Astoundingly, we’ve secured an actual mansion to host our event.

Mansion. Check.

Ocean. Check.

Insects. Check.

Insect Nerds. Check.


Pogonomyrmex badius, the Florida harvester ant, is one of many unusual species we’ll encounter at BugShot/Sapelo Island.

One final reason to attend, though, is one I hadn’t anticipated when we started and one that is significant for both aspiring scientists and aspiring photographers. Because of the varied people who participate, a blend of creative and entomological professionals as well as enthusiasts who work in other fields, BugShot has turned out to be not just a fun weekend but an intimate professional conference.

These small gatherings are excellent places to make connections, start collaborations, and pick up techniques for reaching career or artistic goals. BugShot has been a professional stepping stone for a lot of people. I’ve seen BugShot alumni photographs in calendars, books, gallery shows, research papers, newspapers, high-traffic website, and conference advertisements. Some have even started local workshops. It makes an event organizer proud.

If you’d like to join us this year, we still have a few spaces left. Details are at the link:


The happy crew at BugShot 2012 in Florida. Photo by Josh Mayes.