Tag Archives: evolution

Bugs with Ale

Just a small change of pace…I fancy bugs with a pint tonight.

◊ Awesome parasite! Earlier we saw Pavel Krásenský’s photographs of mating Strepsiptera, now you can see Sean McCann‘s video of a male Strepsiptera emerging from a wasp.

You can almost hear it straining…


◊ Awesome author! David Quammen interview, by the Breaking Bio team.

See part two of the interview at the Breaking Bio Blog.

◊ In the last Bugs with Coffee, I introduced Nicky Bay. Now see what he’s done at Luminous Beauty: The Secret World of Fluorescent Arthropods.

Chris Buddle makes us itchy to learn more about the evolution of parasitoid wasps! Check it out at his new Scilog blog, Exspscor Exsipcor Expiscor!

◊ The Continuing Adventures of the Brain Scoop…hosted by Emily Graslie. (who has a Tumblr)

What to do after you’ve collected a good haul of bugs…

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Posted in Biodiversity, Bugs, Bugs with Coffee, Canada, Collection, Insect, Inspiration, macro, Parasitoid, photography, Science, Season, Web LInk, Winter Also tagged , , , |

The Week on Sunday #21

Welcome to another Week on Sunday!

♦  The first half of yesterday was spent at City Centre, Edmonton, recording and photographing Chinese New Year’s celebrations. However  after an excellent free lunch at the Famous Wok, I stepped out, made my way to the LRT and then sped over to spend an afternoon at the U of A’s Earth Sciences Building. I was attending the launch of a new citizen-science program by the Alberta Lepidopterists’ Guild. AltaLeps  has initiated a new citizen-science project to create a butterfly atlas for Alberta. This will be a digital continuation of the original atlas, Alberta Butterflies (1995), which was co-authored and ‘fathered’ by Dr.Charles Bird. In  this program, John Acorn gathered a select group of speakers to tell us more about why a new atlas is needed and how this citizen-science project can benefit scientific research.

Dr. Felix Sperling, Dr. Maxim Larrivee, Dr. Charles Bird, Dr. Greg Breed, Dr. Katy Prudic and John Acorn

John Acorn introduced the meeting by telling us why an online butterfly atlas is an important project to help link scientists and butterfly enthusiasts. I particularly appreciated  John emphasizing the social aspects of butterfly watching and how data collected by butterfly enthusiasts could,  in the future, be used in ways that have not been thought of yet.

Max Larrivée, who is one of the originators of eButterfly Canada, talked about his experiences with eButterfly and how the data collected has already helped his own research, showing how climate change is pushing the range of butterflies northward. He stressed how important it was that all contributors have access to all the data that is collected.

Katy Prudic, from the University of Oregon spoke about her own research in: “Continental Co-Evolution: Using eButterfly to understand the geographic mosaic of plant-insect interactions.” Katy has been involved establishing  eButterfly in the USA.

Greg Breed, a Banting Post-Doctoral Fellow at the University of Alberta, spoke on his work in Massachusetts, where he has be using multiple sources of observational data (including citizen science based data) to study changes in butterfly ranges. He particularly noted that he could not have done his research without the help of archived citizen-enthusiast observations.

Charles Bird talked about how we should not lose the information collected in the pre-digital era, where a lot of data exists in private collections. He noted that eButterfly now has the ability to upload correctly formatted data in bulk. With Max Larrivée’s help, the data of over 500 of his  butterfly observations had just been uploaded to the eButterfly.ca site!

The session was completed with Felix Sperling speaking on how data has been collected since the publication of Alberta Butterflies. He mentioned the annual butterfly walks initiated by the Xerces Society  in the 1990’s, and how similar butterfly counts became a trend in Alberta under the leadership of Barbara and Jim Beck. He also pointed out how some data collected by members of the Alberta Lepidopterists Guild has already been available online through the virtual E.H. Strickland Entomology Museum, largely thanks to the work of Gary Anweiler, a moth enthusiast and founding member of the Alberta Lepidopterists Guild. Felix noted how important it is that all the various types of data should find their way into the eButterfly/Alberta Butterfly Atlas.

It was an interesting session, that gives a new sense of purpose for Alberta butterfly watchers, photographers and naturalists, knowing that their observations have the potential to influence science for many years to come. I look forward to learning more about the progress of the Alberta Butterfly Atlas and, most of all, being able to add data and explore the information that has been collected.

♦ From butterflies to lice: a video on the co-evolution of birds and bird lice. Illinois Natural History Survey ornithologist Kevin Johnson:


♦ And to close…

What can amateurs contribute to the science of entomology? Read this BBC article on The bug-hunters discovering new species in their spare time,


Until next week…


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Posted in Alberta, Alberta, Amateur Entomologist, Biodiversity, Bugs, Canada, Climate, Collection, eButterfly, evolution, Lepidoptera, Links, News, Week on Sunday, Winter Also tagged , , , , , , , , , |

Carnival of Evolution #47 now up at Evolving Thoughts!

Carnival of Evolution 47: All the Evolution News that’s Fit to Blog

Now at Evolving Thoughts:

Welcome to the 47th edition of the Carnival of Evolution. We have had our science reporters out in force hunting down the best of the blogosphere on evolution and related subjects, and here they are for your delectation and delight and other d-words.

Go there now, and see what the big white ape has in store…

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Posted in Blog Roundup, Carnival of Evolution, Science Also tagged , , , |

Carnival of Evolution. It’s got trees…

The 46th edition of Carnival of Evolution is now up at Synthetic Daisies. It’s the Tree edition…
"Carnival of Evolution Tree"
On first scan this carnival seems bug-less…what kind of a tree is that?

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Posted in Blog Roundup, evolution, Links, Science, Squid Also tagged , |

CoE #45 After-math

Well, I am awake early to sweep-up the debris.

After having a stupendous amount of visitors passing through my blog home in the last two days, visits are finally slowing down enough that I can take a breath, restock the fridge and quickly check under the tables and in the bathtub to see if any of my regular visitors were injured in the stampede.

It’s almost embarrassing to show the following graph…

So what happened?

The visits to my humble bug blog were in the range of 80 to 100 visits a day in the week before the Carnival. Here is a breakdown of the top 5 referrers in the first two days of  CoE #45:

Pharyngula 2083

Greg Laden’s Blog 121

Sandwalk  47

Panda’s Thumb  32

Oikos Journal 13

Other referrers (i.e those with less than 10 each) brought in 31 hits; while, most disappointing, the Discovery Institute directed 0 (zero, none) people to CoE #45.

From my perspective, this edition of CoE was succesful. Unfortunately, I have no way (as far as I know) to see how many people clicked on links within the Google Presentation, so if those who contributed could have a peek at their stats and let me know, it would be appreciated! After all, this edition of CoE can only be counted as successful if it benefited those whose posts were published.

Conclusion: in order to host a successful blog carnival, mention squid, wafers, or Pharyngula. I think the Discovery Destitute Institute could particularly benefit from this advice.

Thanks, to everyone (except Jerry Coyne, who is apparently unaware that CoE #45 presentation has a cat†), for participating, and thanks to Bjørn Østman for giving me the opportunity.

Cat and Ladybeetle

If you wish to submit to CoE #46, visit the Carnival of Evolution for guidelines.  You can submit your blog posts at Blog Carnival, or contact the next host at Synthetic Daisies.

See comments….

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Posted in evolution, Fun, invertebrates, Just plain silly, Overview, photography, Research Blogging, Roundup, Science, Shameless self promotion, wafers..., Winter Also tagged , , , , , |