Mexican Spider Uses Dirt for Camouflage


Scientists have discovered a new species of spider from Mexico that possesses unique camouflaging abilities. The new species belongs to the enigmatic family Paratropididae and is described in the journal ZooKeys. Like all species from this family, the new species — Paratropis tuxtlensis — encrusts its entire body with soil particles. The encrusted soil on […]

Newly Discovered Appalachian Moth Named after Cherokee Chief


A new species of moth discovered in the Appalachian Mountains has been named after Attakullakulla, a Cherokee chief who lived in the region in the 1700s. The new species, Cherokeea attakullakulla, is described in a special issue of the journal ZooKeys. In 1958 a professor from Cornell University, Dr. John G. Franclemont, was studying some […]

Building Memes Can Help You as an Entomology Blogger


By Joe Ballenger A meme is an idea that is quickly spread around the Internet by people sharing information. In practice, this can consist of virtually anything you could imagine. Words, poems, short speeches, pictures, and virtually anything that can be shared quickly and easily on platforms like Facebook or Twitter. The basic idea behind […]

Monarch Butterflies Use a Magnetic Compass During Migration


Each fall millions of monarch butterflies use a sophisticated navigation system to traverse 2,000 miles from breeding sites across the United States to an overwintering habitat in specific groves of fir trees in central Mexico. Now scientists at the University of Massachusetts Medical School and Worcester Polytechnic Institute have reported in Nature Communications that monarchs […]

Entomologists Support Specimen Collections as Vital Component of Research


In April, 2014 an article called “Avoiding (Re)extinction” was published in Science magazine that said that collecting biological could “magnify the extinction risk” for some species, and that alternatives such as “high-resolution photography, audio recording, and non-lethal sampling” could be used instead. The article drew quite a response, as more than 60 international research institutions […]

Public Health Authorities Began Preparing for Chikungunya Years Ago


This week is Mosquito Control Awareness Week, so it’s a good time to look at how the Pan American Health Organization and the U.S. Centers for Disease Control and Prevention took a proactive approach to the coming threat of chikungunya virus. In December, 2013, the first case of “local” chikungunya transmission in the western hemisphere […]

Powerful Trap-jaw Ants are Gaining Ground in the Southeastern United States


Trap-jaw ant species are active hunters with venomous stings and jaws powerful enough to fling themselves through the air. According to new research, they are also spreading into new territory in the southeastern United States. “The fact that some of these species are spreading is interesting, in part because these giant ants have managed to […]

An Interview with Dr. Fiona Hunter, Medical Entomologist


By Richard Levine I recently had an email discussion with Trevor Burt, co-editor of the newsletter for the Entomological Society of Ontario, about the field of medical entomology. “I feel that medical entomology is not featured enough or discussed enough in the society meetings and conferences,” he wrote. “It has been overlooked in favor of […]

Spiders that Prey on Fish Twice their Size are Found Worldwide


Spiders from five different families prey on small fish in the wild, according to a systematic review recently published in the journal PLOS ONE. Spiders are known to prey on insects, but in recent years researchers have become increasingly aware that spiders are not exclusively insectivorous, and that certain larger-sized species might supplement their insect […]

A Varied Diet can be Dangerous for Caterpillars


For caterpillars, having a well-rounded diet can be fraught with peril. UC Irvine and Wesleyan University biologists have learned that caterpillars that feed exclusively on one or two plant species are better able to hide from predatory birds than caterpillars that consume a wide variety of plants. This is probably because the color patterns and […]