♦ The Lord Howe Island stick insect made news again recently, when an image showing the hatching of one of these bizarre beauties received a commendation at the 2012 New Scientist Eureka Prize for Science Photography. Read more on the history at Scientific American, as the captive bred stick insects from Melbourne Zoo are set to be released on Lord Howe Island.
♦ The big news of the week, for any lover of bug photography, is that BugShot 2012, Alex Wild’s weekend workshop, is now in full progress. How I would like to be there to learn more from the likes of Thomas Shahan, John Abbott, and, of course, Alex Wild himself! Although I can’t be there to relay what’s going on, fellow bug blogger Crystal Ernst will hopefully have time to keep us up-to-date over at The Bug Geek, or latch on to the Geek’s Twitter stream here for instant gratification.
♦ Marc Srour, an invertebrate palaeontologist, blogs over at Teaching Biology. Weekly, he posts some of new scientific papers that manage to pique his interest. And I, like a raiding kleptoparisitic spiders, drop by his blog occasionally and see if there is anything in the arthropodic line for me to have a gander at. Sure enough, his last post had a few articles that looked quite interesting. Of course, not having any sort of academic access, I have to be happy reading just the abstracts….
- The first paper of interest concerns a plant bug that calls its little bug-lings when its dinner time. True story, true bug!
- Going back almost 3 years ago, I photographed my first Crabronid wasp, Bembix americana. At the time, I noted that the Crabronidae were a sister group to the Apidae, the bees. However, new research suggests that the Crabronids may actually be the ‘mother’ group for the bees, changing our view of the evolutionary history of the Apidae. Now, ain’t science cool?
- And lots more interesting links to Arthropod papers on his post…
♦ One of the first insects that new macro photographers snap are bees visiting flowers. This leads to some inevitable confusion, because many of the bees they photograph are actually flies, and the most common of the flower visiting flies are in the family Syrphidae, the hover flies. I recently found out that the Field Guide to the Syrphidae of Northeastern North America is online, with the goal of having all of the 397 species illustrated by 2014. This is sure to be helpful, and fascinating too — there is much more diversity in this family than I realized!
- And be sure to visit the The Canadian National Collection (CNC) of Insects, Arachnids and Nematodes while you are at it. Lots going on here for our buggy delight.
♦ E.O. Wilson is one of the great popular communicators of entomology, and the inspiration for the title of this blog. But he is not without his detractors, and his foray undermining the evolutionary concept of ‘kin selection‘ has earned him a lot of criticism. At the age of 83, he is still a force to be reckoned with, as this interview in Guardian shows.
That’s all for this week…