It’s not every day you get to feel like a rockstar…especially when you’re an entomologist. This is why I keep the following letter in my cubicle at work – whenever I’m feeling like a loser, I look at it and feel a little better:
It’s a letter I received in response to a career presentation on Entomology that I gave last year at my daughters’ elementary school. I particularly like where he writes “you’re awesome” and “you’re an inspiration to us all.”
I’ll admit that it was a small inconvenience to take time off from work, get everything ready, and haul it all out there, but the payoff was obviously worth it. Here it is, almost a year later, and I’m still remembering it. There were even a few kids who asked for my autograph. It was awesome. I was asked to come back again this year, but unfortunately I’m going to be in Okinawa for Pesticide Applicator training…bummer.
So tonight I created a store on Cafepress called “Hawaii Entomology.” The idea is that any money I make from items sold will go to support entomology in Hawaii. I haven’t quite decided who to give the money to, but I won’t worry about that until I actually have money to give. It will cost $7/month to keep the store going, so I guess we’ll see if I make at least that. I’ve got a couple of old designs in there (“Koebele Would Go” and “Hawaii Entomology”), but I also added a new one – its the cover of Proc Haw Ent Soc 1(1) from 1906. This is the idea that I had been mulling around, which I think I mentioned in my last post. I was thinking it would be cool to make T-shirt designs from the covers of classic texts in entomology. Unfortunately, I haven’ t really identified what those would be (and there could be some copyright issues), so for now I decided on the first issue of the Hawaiian Entomological Society Proceedings. You can check it here http://www.cafepress.com/HI_Ento/7122933 . On the back is the list of officers and members in 1905. I might order one for myself just to see how it looks on an actual shirt.
Here are the images:
This store is a work in progress – I have some more ideas, but not enough time. So while it might be a little lame now, I hope to improve it over time.
Something odd caught my eye tonight as I was watching G4’s “Attack of the Show” gadget review segment…Chris Hardwick wearing an ant t-shirt?
Here is an image I lifted off YouTube:
At first I thought maybe it was an image of an ants book cover that had been turned into a t-shirt (I’ve been mulling over similar ideas lately…), but when I found a close-up image, it turns out this is a t-shirt from a California Academy of Sciences exhibit.
I did a little a little sleuthing on the internet and this t-shirt is no longer available at the California Academyof Sciences store. In fact, it appears that the “Ants: Hidden Worlds Revealed” exhibit was back in 2005, so this t-shirt is about half a decade old. I didn’t know much about Chris Hardwick (other than as the host of “Web Soup”) so I looked him up as well, and I guess it should be no surprise that he would sport such a cool shirt. In addition to his TV and comedy gigs, he is a self proclaimed science nerd and does science writing for Wired magazine. I think he may also have a thing for t-shirts since he sells some on his blog, The Nerdist – unfortunately, none are as cool as his California Academy of Sciences ant shirt.
Yo Gabba Gabba is definitely one of my favorite shows to watch with my two-year old daughter – second only to Spongebob Squarepants. Caught this little song the other morning on YGG about bugs, and I had the tune going through my head for the rest of the day. So beware…if you watch the following video, someone at your workplace is going to catch you muttering “I like bugs, I like bugs…” while doing the robot dance. In the words of Jack Black, ” You rock, Muno!”
I didn’t see this next one on TV, but evidently Weezer also rocked the house at YGG with “All My Friends Are Insects.” It’s pretty awesome (even though earthworms are not insects). Unfortunately the Youtube video is poor quality. For some reason, I couldn’t embed the better version from Vopod, so you should definitely check it out here http://vodpod.com/watch/3210159-weezer-talks-about-their-friends-on-yo-gabba-gabba
Here is some more footage of Weezer jamming in the insect suits:
I’ve been tossing this idea around in my head for a while now about designing something like the Darwin version of the christian fish symbol, but with an entomology slant. As luck would have it, a freind of mine at work has a machine that makes chrome plated emblems for cars and whatever else one would put such a thing on, so I sketched out my idea and asked him if he could make me a prototype. Just yesterday he cranked it out and so I’m unveiling it here:
My friend is also an incredible artist, and he vastly improved my original design. I am really happy with how it came out. I’m planning on ordering some more. I’ll probably give a few away for free, so if anyone wants one, post a comment on this blog entry and I’ll send you one in the mail – first 5 comments only. Actually, it may take a while to have more made, so be patient. After you make a comment, email me at http://www.entophile@gmail .com and let me know how I can get the emblem to you. They are about 5 inches long. If you’d like to check my friend’s website where you can have your own custom emblems made, then go to emblemart.com.
I just read today that Upper Deck, maker of baseball cards and peddlers of various sports memorabilia items, is coming out with a line of Entomology baseball cards. The first card they’ve released for a sneak peek is the Great Walking Leaf, Phyllium giganteum. Evidently on the backside there is a general description with some kind of distribution map. Can’t decide yet whether or not I like these…the look is classic, which is kind of cool, but maybe a little over stylized for my tastes.
————Update (3 March 2010)—————
OK, so after a little more searching I found that the Entomology cards are part of a trading card set called “Goodwin Champions.”
I must confess I have never been into collecting trading cards of any sort, so I am not well versed in the trade, but I think when you order a pack of these cards you get a random selection of the various cards that make up the set – one of which could be an Entomology card. There are 30 Entomology cards total, picturing the following butterflies and other interesting insects and arthropods:
Mexican Silverspot, Spotted Amberwing, Blue Metalmark, Meadow Wanderer, BD Butterfly, Malay lacewing, Painted Jezabel, Sunflower Trollup, Buttercup Sulphur, Spicebush Swallowtail, Pipevine Swallowtail, Strawberry Bluff, Apricot Sulphur, Military Tiger, Cramer’s 89, Bullet Ant, Bottle-brush Longhorn, Man Face Beetle, Rusty Brown Scorpion, Baby Black Scorpion, Fiddle Beetle, Great Walking Leaf, Rosey Walking Stick, Dead-leaf Mantid, Cryptic Mantid, Red Nose Lantern-fly, Minty Walking Leaf, Blomfilds’ Beauty, Blue Brush-foot, Chinese Lantern-fly.
Here are some more sneak peeks-
Back in December we did another Hawaiian drosophila survey in Halona Valley, Lualualei. Since the flies we were looking for come out at sunrise and sunset, we had to set up camp at the site. We stayed for two nights and had a great time. The best thing for me, I think, was searching around for interesting insects and other critters later in the night after we finished the fly work. I found an interesting assassin bug cruising around the top of a little tree seedling, and I think I must have watched it for about a half an hour at least. At first I thought maybe it was native, but Steve (Montgomerey) informed that it was a species of Zelus, which is non-native. Nevertheless, I took a few photos.
As I was watching, it came upon a Cixiid (Oliarus). I thought for a second, when it reared up (see photo above), that I was going to witness firsthand the effects of an invasive predator on a hapless native plant feeder, but unfortunately nothing happened. The assassin bug apparently didn’t have a hit out on the Cixiid, because it then showed no interest in it. Shortly thereafter the Cixiid took flight – probably a smart move.
From Volume 3 of Zimmerman’s “Insects of Hawaii” (which, by the way, is now online at http://scholarspace.manoa.hawaii.edu/handle/10125/1768 ) we read that there are 3 subfamilies of reduvids in Hawaii: Ploiariinae, Triatominae, and Harpactorinae. I think there are two native genera in the Ploinaiinae, but the other two subfamilies are completely non-native. There is a good chance this info is not quite up to date, since it is from the ’50s, so I wouldn’t take this as verified truth.
My little assassin bug, Zelus renardii, is in Harpactorinae. Evidently it has quite a reputation as a predator of leafhoppers, and over the years has earned the name of “The Leafhopper Assassin Bug.” First found in Hawaii by Perkins in 1897, it is believed to be an immigrant from Western North America.