By Richard Levine
Yesterday I got to attend the annual meeting of the Entomological Collections Network (ECN), which is traditionally held just before the annual meeting of the Entomological Society of America. This time it was held before the 2016 International Congress of Entomology, which starts today in Orlando, Florida.
This year, the ECN awarded its first ever Golden Net Award to Dr. Max Barclay, the collections manager of Coleoptera and Hemiptera at the Natural History Museum in London. The idea behind the Golden Net Award is to invite entomologists to talk about crazy experiences they have had while collecting insects, and the one with the best story wins.
Anyone who has followed this blog for the last couple of years will probably remember Max from the 2014 meeting in Portland, OR, where he presented a beetle that had been collected by Charles Darwin himself. The beetle sat in the museum for more than 150 years before it was identified as a new species that belonged to a new genus!
I won’t tell the story that won him the Golden Net Award — for that you’ll have to watch the video below. But I will say that it involves collecting insects in Peru, alcohol, a nasty dog bite, some questionable medical practices, the discovery of a new species, and the negative effects of trying to collect dung beetles while taking antibiotics.
As mentioned, he discovered a new species of water beetle called Epimetopus mendeli, which is shown below, along with other beetles he collected over a three-month period.
Richard Levine is Communications Program Manager at the Entomological Society of America and editor of the Entomology Today Blog.