July 2011


Faculty News

Dr. Harvey Cromroy, retired UF/IFAS entomologist and an expert in mites, passed away mid-June. Services were held on 18 June.

Dr. Howard V. Weems, Jr passed away 18 June. Dr. Weems was a respected entomologist who retired from the Florida Department of Agriculture and Consumer Services - Division of Plant Industry and had been a member of the courtesy faculty of our department. His speciality was Diptera.

Our department and the UF/IFAS School of Forest Resources and Conservation announced a joint, 12-month, tenure accruing position for an Assistant Professor of Forest Entomology. The assigned responsibilities will be 60% research and 40% extension. Review of applicant materials will begin on 2 September 2011. Click here for details.

Drs. Robert McSorley and Harsimran K. Gill received the Florida State Horticultural Society's (FSHS) Ornamental, Garden, & Landscape Section Best Paper Award for 2010. The award was presented to the authors at FSHS Annual meeting at St. Petersburg, Florida, 5–7 June 2011. It was for the best and most meritorious paper printed in the 2010 Proceedings (volume 123). The paper was "Effects of solarization against weeds and root-knot nematodes limited by weather."

Beginning in late August, Dr. Marc Branham will join the National Science Foundation for one year as a rotating Program Director in the Systematic and Biodiversity Science Cluster. Dr. Branham will maintain his lab and research program at the University of Florida during his stay in Washington, D.C., and will resume his full duties as associate professor at UF upon completion of this service.

Dr. Marc Branham was interviewed for the article "Evolution illuminates summer fireflies," that appeared in USA TODAY on 5 July. Click here to read the article.


Staff News

Dr. Nicole Benda, an entomologist, joined the laboratory staff of Dr. James P. Cuda as an OPS Biological Technician. Dr. Benda received a B.S. in Botany at UF in 2000. She received her Ph.D. from North Carolina State in Entomology in 2007. She also served in a postdoctoral position at USDA-CMAVE from 2007-2009.


Student News

Earlier this month, Ms. Ormaily Madruga Rios, a masters student from the Universidad de La Habana and a curator at the Museo Nacional de Historia Natural de Cuba, spent several days working in Dr. Marc Branham's Lab. Ms. Madruga learned techniques for documenting insect morphology and conducted research contributing to the description of the first identified larva from a firefly genus known only from Cuba.


Alumni News

As of mid-2009, U.S. Navy Lieutenant Kathryn Barbara (Ph.D. '05) was Head, Medical Entomology Department, U.S. Naval Medical Research Unit No. 2, Jakarta, Indonesia.

During the same time period, U.S. Army Lieutenant Colonel Van Sherwood (M.S. '97) was Chief, Entomology Department, U.S. Army Medical Research Unit – Kenya. Shortly afterwards he became the Command Entomologist, Defense Logistics Agency, Fort Belvoir, Virginia.


Publications

In 2006 or 2007, U.S. Army personnel sent Dr. Howard Frank some Paederus (Coleoptera: Staphylinidae) specimens from Iraq and asked for IDs. He complied and also sent some photographs by Lyle Buss, who manages our Insect Identification and Photography labs. Just recently, Dr. Frank learned that a publication on those species and their medical inplications appeared in a 2009 issue of The United States Army Medical Department Journal. Both he and Lyle were acknowledged and references were provided for two Featured Creatures articles and another article by Dr. Frank that alerted army personnel to his expertise. A side benefit is that we also received leads on two army and navy entomologists who are alumni of our department (See Alumni News above).

McSorley R, Gill HK. 2010. Effects of solarization against weeds and rook-knot nematodes limited by weather. Proceedings of the Florida State Horticultural Society 123: 298-301.

Gill HK, McSorley R. 2010. Integrated impact of soil solarization and organic mulching on weeds, insects, nematodes, and plant parameters. Proceedings of the Florida State Horticultural Society 123: 308-311.

Capinera JL, White J. (June 2011). Terrestrial slugs of Florida. Featured Creatures. EENY-494. http://entnemdept.ifas.ufl.edu/creatures/misc/gastro/slugs_of_florida.htm

Sanders WR, Mankin RW, Liburd OE, Stelinski LL. 2011. Acoustic detection of arthropod infestation of grape roots: scouting for grape root borer (Lepidoptera: Sesiidae). Florida Entomologist 94: 296-302.

Onagbola EO, Rouseff RL, Smoot JM, Stelinski LL. 2011. Guava leaf volatiles and dimethyl disulfide inhibit response of Diaphorina citri Kuwayama to host plant volatiles. Journal of Applied Entomology 135: 404-414.

Capinera JL. (July 2011). Rosemary grasshopper, Schistocerca ceratiola Hubbell and Walker. Featured Creatures. EENY-496. http://entnemdept.ifas.ufl.edu/creatures/misc/misc/rosemary_grasshopper.htm

Medal J, Bustamante N, Bredow E, Pedrosa H, Overholt W, Diaz R, Cuda J. 2011. Host specificity of Anthonomus tenebrosus (Coleoptera: Curculionidae), a potential biological control agent of tropical soda apple (Solanaceae) in Florida. Florida Entomologist 94: 214-225.

Gill HK, McSorley R, Branham M. 2011. Effect of organic mulches on soil surface insects and other arthropods. Florida Entomologist 94: 226-232.

Luk SPL, Marshall SA, Branham MA. (June 2011). The Fireflies (Coleptera; Lampyridae) of Ontario. Canadian Journal of Arthropod Identification http://www.biology.ualberta.ca/bsc/ejournal/lmb_16/lmb_16.html

Capinera JL, White J. (July 2011). Terrestrial snails affecting plants in Florida. Featured Creatures. EENY-497. http://entnemdept.ifas.ufl.edu/creatures/misc/gastro/terrestrial_snails.htm


Meetings and Presentations

The following papers were presented at the Florida State Horticultural Society meeting during 5-7 June.

On 23 June, the UF/IFAS Southwest Florida Research and Education Center in Immokalee held its first Citrus Field Day. The field day agenda included a grove tour by Barry Kostyk (Senior Biological Scientist), who gave participants information on insecticide trials for psyllid and leafminer control. There were also auditorium presentations on Psyllid Management Strategies and Tactics provided by the Center's entomology staff, led by Dr. Phil Stansly. These presentations included: Surveys returned to the center noted 100% of the participants thought the field day was useful, and 76% remarked that they would change or improve their management due to the information received in the program. - Dr. Moreen Jones

During 12-16 June, Dr. James P. Cuda and his Ph.D. student Abhishek Mukherjee participated in the 2011 UF Plant Camp held at the Center for Aquatic and Invasive Plants. The camp, now in its fourth year, gives selected elementary and middle school teachers an opportunity to learn about non-native invasive plants that are threatening Florida's environment, and current management practices. Cuda and Mukherjee organized a biocontrol agent scavenger hunt and provided the teachers with an overview of some of the collecting techniques used by biocontrol practitioners.

Drs. James P. Cuda and William Overholt were co-authors on an oral presentation at the 22nd Annual Florida Lake Management Society Conference held in St. Augustine, FL, 13-16 June. They spoke on the "Search for new management techniques for Hydrilla and Hygophila."

Dr. James P. Cuda and his laboratory staff participated in an Invasive Species Field Camp for 11 local elementary- middle school students and two summer camp teachers on 30 June. Several weeds and their biocontrol agents were displayed and the students were provided with several handouts, including an invasive plants coloring book. The Field Camp was sponsored by the education and public programs department of the Florida Museum of Natural History.


Outreach Activities

Thank you to those members and friends of the department who participated in our June and early July outreach activities:

The following are programs and outreach events currently scheduled for July and early August:

The live critters are always a hit with children and adults alike. The critters are available for you to check out should you be leading an outreach event. We have doubles of our most popular critters, as well as various native insect species depending on the time of year. We have recently added large wood and Plexiglas cages for viewing our native orb weaving spiders. There is one traveling cage and one larger static cage. If you lead an outreach, please be sure to fill out a documentation form so your event can be included in the newsletter and so that we can log all outreach events. If you would like to schedule an event or have any outreach questions, go to the Outreach pages on our Bug Club Web site and contact us. — Dale A. Halbritter, Outreach Coordinator


Natural Area Teaching Lab

Come and see what the Natural Area Teaching Lab (NATL) has to offer your curriculum, research and physical fitness.

Located adjacent to Steinmetz Hall (the new name for the UF/IFAS Entomology and Nematology building), NATL is a fantastic resource for all UF faculty, staff and students. Enhance your curriculum by offering a unique field trip to NATL. Regardless of your study area, NATL is open to everyone; you can enjoy an outdoor lunch on one of the picnic tables in the Natural Area Park, take a walk on a 500 foot boardwalk across an ecologically engineered wetland, or stroll and learn on one of the four self-guided nature trails. Reduce your nature-deficit! Spend break time visiting the most fascinating natural area on campus.

For more information on the resources and educational and recreational opportunities NATL has to offer or to schedule a research or a class visit, please visit our website or contact us at natl@ufl.edu. We are very interested in facilitating the use of NATL for courses that are being delivered by distance. Contact us for ideas. — Dr. Jennifer L. Gillett-Kaufman


Tropical Termites

Last month, a team of eight entomologists returned from a termite survey of Amazonian Ecuador. The expedition covered some 30 km of trails around Yasuní Scientific Station which is managed by the Catholic Pontifical University . The expedition team included Dr. Rudi Scheffrahn, Dr. Jan Krecek, and Aaron Mullins of the UF/IFAS Ft. Lauderdale Research and Education Center; Jim Chase and John Mangold of Terminix International; Robert Setter of IDTDNA Inc.; Tom Nishimura of BASF Corporation; and Tim Myles, City of Guelph, Canada. In just the first few days of collecting, this hyperdiverse habitat yielded half of all termite genera known from the New World. A number of new species and several new soldierless genera were discovered. Clouds and showers kept the team surprisingly cool on the often muddy trails. About 1,100 samples, many of which contained two to three species due to their close wood or nest proximity, made it safely back to Ft. Lauderdale. The samples will be subdivided by species and added to the University of Florida Termite Collection, which now holds over 34,000 colony samples. This is the 80th expedition since 1990 to survey the termites of the Neotropics. — Dr. Rudi Scheffrahn


Segments

Not everyone likes spiders. Let's face it, they aren't cute and cuddly. Of course, neither is a hickory horned devil or a blow fly maggot. And spiders never seem to play the good guys in the movies. Still, there are people who like spiders and some of them are fanatical enough about it to develop a web site that helps others identify the spiders in their lives. For details, visit the Spider Identification Guide.

The brown widow spider is causing enough anxiety in southern California to rate appearing in a video on a major online news site. Click here for details.

If you have more exotic tastes in ice cream than chocolate, vanilla and strawberry, and Ben and Jerry's mixed-up flavors now seem commonplace, drop over to Sweet Dreams in Gainesville for new and/or weird flavors every week. Still, none of the ice creams there have ever had an insect as one of the primary ingredients in their continuing series of flavors. Flash to Columbia, Missouri — Recently, the Mid-West has been host to a horde of cicadas. The owners of Sparky's Homemade Ice Cream parlor in Columbia, Missouri, saw this as a divine message to produce a cicada-based ice cream. Unfortunately, after the rush by patrons to consume this product depleted all the stocks, the local health authorities advised the owners to cease production. Gerry Worley, an environmental health chief with the Columbia County Department of Public Health, says the agency's food code "doesn't directly address cicadas" and that he has advised against their use as an ingredient. Spoilsport!

In general, flies have been a problem to the human race throughout history as disease carriers, flesh eaters, and as just a nuisance. The number of ideas and products for dealing with flies is probably uncountable. However, none may have been as simple as that develped by a forgotten Egyptian Pharoah. Click here for details.

A male lesser water boatman, Micronecta scholtzi, makes what is probably the loudest mating call (scaled for its size) of any animal on Earth, but you don't want to know how he does it. Click here for details.


Literary Bugs

Jane Medley, our Senior Art and Graphics Specialist, is always interested in "new" publications. She recently discovered online copies of The Florida Buggist: Official Organ of the Florida Entomological Society, beginning with Volume 1, Number 1, issued 21 June 1917.

Hollywood never seems to get it right: In the 1993 movie Sleepless in Seattle, Sam Baldwin (Tom Hanks) has lost his wife and now must raise his young son Jonah alone. When Sam starts dating a woman Jonah dislikes, he spies on them and see his father kissing the woman. To stop this, Jonah screams, "Dad!", and the screen goes black for a second. We next see Jonah and and his father in their kitchen, where Sam is strongly rebuking his son for causing him tremendous anxiety. Sam then asks his son what the problem was.

Jonah: "I thought I saw a black widow spider in the kitchen."

Sam: "Jonah, the next time you think you see a black widow spider, just say 'Dad, I think I saw a poisonous insect.'"



Newsletter Minutiae

Thomas Fasulo is the newsletter editor. Departmental faculty, staff, students and alumni can submit news anytime to fasulo@ufl.edu. Issues usually are published by early mid-month. Submit items for an issue by the 7th of that month.

UF-Bugnews-L listserv subscribers receive notices when issues are posted on the newsletter Web site at http://entomology.ifas.ufl.edu/news, which has instructions for subscribing and unsubscribing. Pam Howell and Nancy Sanders review the newsletter for errors. Thomas Fasulo does the HTML coding.

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July 2011.