December 2006

Faculty News

Professor Emeritus Dr. Malcolm T. Sanford will appear as Mr. Fezziwig in the seasonal show, A Christmas Carol, at the Hippodrome State Theater through 22 December. For times and details see

Drs. James P. Cuda and William A. Overholt organized a one-day retreat for UF and USDA biological control of weeds workers held at Florida Gulf Coast University, Ft. Myers, FL, 14 November. Several programmatic issues were addressed including incorporating more basic ecology into biological control projects, consideration of flow-on effects and potentially toxic natural enemies, prioritizing weed targets, and increasing collaboration between UF and USDA scientists.

Staff News

Hope Johnson joined the Department as a Senior Art Production Specialist. She replaces Mike Sanford, but will be housed in the same office as Jane Medley. Jane will continue to concentrate on extension projects while Hope will focus on research and teaching. Hope comes to us from UF's School of Fine Arts.

Student News

Katerina Simackova, a student of Vladislav Curn, University of South Bohemia Biotechnological Centre, Ceske Budejovice, Czech Republic, visited our department during 3-9 December. She worked with Ph.D. student Jason Meyer, of Dr. Marjorie Hoy's laboratory, on genetic analyses of entomopathogenic fungi. She also visited with Dr. Drion Boucias and his staff and students.


Amit S, McAuslane HJ, Nagata RT, Nuessly GS. 2006. Host plant resistance in romaine lettuce affects feeding behavior and biology of Trichoplusia ni and Spodoptera exigua (Lepidoptera: Noctuidae). Journal of Economic Entomology 99: 2156 2163.

Arevalo HA, Fraulo AB, Liburd OE. (2006). Key to the most common species of thrips found in early-season blueberry fields in Florida and southern Georgia. EDIS. ENY-836.

Medal J, Overholt W, Stansly P, Osborne L, Roda A, Chong J, Gaskalla R, Burns E, Hibbard K, Sellers B, Gioeli K, Munyan S, Gandolfo D, Hight S, Cuda J. (2006). Classical biological control of tropical soda apple in the USA. EDIS. IN-457.

Barrera J, Medal J, Gomez J, Sanchez D. 2006. Busqueda de enemigos naturales de Solanum tampicense Dunal (Solanales: Solanaceae) en la costa de Chiapas. Presentacion del proyecto y primera lista de insectos fitofagos, pp. 69-73. In Memorias 29th Congreso Nacional de Control Biologico. Noviembre 9-10, 2006. Sociedad Mexicana de Control Biologico. Manzanillo, Colima, Mexico.

Meetings and Presentations

Dr. Jamie Ellis, extension apiculturist, gave a honey bee short course at the 86th annual meeting of the Florida State Beekeepers Association, 26 October, in Milton, FL. He was assisted by his wife Amanda Ellis, who is completing her Ph.D. in entomology (University of Georgia) while working for the Southern Plant Diagnostic Network.

Dr. Julio Medal was invited by the Mexican Biological Control Society (MBCS) to coordinate the symposium "Biological Control of Weeds and Pathogens" at the 29th National Meeting of the MBCS held 9-10 November, in Manzanillo, Colima, Mexico. Medal gave the presentation "Biological control of invasive plants in Latin America," and was also a co-author, with Dr. Juan Barrera, of the paper "Foreign explorations in Chiapas, Mexico, searching for potential biological control agents of wetland nightshade, Solanum tampicense, in Florida."

During 6-8 November, Dr. Julio Medal attended the Mass Rearing and Field Release of Entomophagous Workshop held in Manzanillo, Colima, Mexico. This three-day workshop was organized by the MBCS. During this meeting, Medal receive an invitation to organize a weed biocontrol symposium to be held at the next MBCS Annual Meeting in Merida, Yucatan, during November 2007.

On 14 November, Dr. Julio Medal visited El Colegio de Posgraduados and La Universidad Autonoma de Chapingo, Mexico, where he met with Dr. Esteban Rodriguez (UF-Alumni), and Dr. Samuel Ramirez to discuss a new cooperative biocontrol project on biological control of purple nutsedge, Cyperus rotundus (Cyperaceae), one of the most troublesome weeds in worldwide agricultural systems. This inter-agency cooperative work will focus on the screening (host-specificity) tests of a weevil recently found in Mexico causing severe feeding damage to the Cyperus tubers.

Dr. Jaret Daniels co-moderated a symposium on the Miami blue butterfly at the Florida Mosquito Control Association's Annual Meeting 15 November, at Hutchinson Island, Florida. He also gave two presentations: "Biology of the Miami blue butterfly and artificial rearing for reintroduction and bioassay" (Daniels) and "Preliminary assessment of mosquito control spray impact on the Miami blue butterfly" (Daniels and He Zhong).

Dr. Norm Leppla presented an invited talk on opportunities for biological control in areawide integrated pest management at the recent Association of Natural Bio-control Producer's conference at Lake Tahoe, California. To exemplify concepts, he selected current examples. One was our IPM Florida-led publication of a "Grower's IPM Guide for Florida Tomato and Pepper Production" ( The Guide presents essential information for up front planning of crops to minimize pests by selecting the best cultural, biological and chemical control practices for a given location.

Graduate student Onour Moeri gave a presentation on "Use of the F1 sterile insect technique (F1SIT) as a tool for host range testing in weed biological control," at a joint meeting of the Entomological Society of Canada and the Société d'entomologie du Québec, in Montreal, Canada, 18-22 November. Co-authors were J.P. Cuda, W.A. Overholt, S. Bloem, and J.E. Carpenter.

Graduate student Sean McCann received the President's prize for best student presentation at the Annual meeting of the Entomological Society of Canada, in Montreal. The title was "Senescence and physiological parameters influence fecundity of Culex quinquefasciatus Say."

Dr. James P. Cuda was an invited speaker for the 11th Annual Exotic Species Workshop for Southwest Florida held in Naples, FL, 1 December. Cuda gave the PowerPoint presentation "Update: Biological Controls of Brazilian Pepper and Hydrilla." Cuda also participated in a Cooperative Weed Management Area Planning session at the Workshop.

Drs. John L. Capinera, James P. Cuda and William A. Overholt participated in a UF/IFAS International Partners in Strengthening Agricultural and Environmental Capacities through Distance Education (SAEC-DE) workshop held in Gainesville, 7-8 December. The purpose of the workshop was to expand the understanding of current and future potential in International Distance Education partnerships, especially in India and Africa.

Dr. Marc Branham presented a one-hour guest lecture on "Arthropod Evolution" to Dr. Gustav Paulay's combined "Invertebrate Zoology" (ZOO 2203C) and "Advanced Invertebrate Zoology" (ZOO 6927) class.


Dr. Jaret Daniels and Matthew Trager received a $15,000 grant from the Elizabeth Ordway Dunn Foundation for restoration of the state-endangered Miami blue butterfly in south Florida.


The Branham Lab Web site recently received significant updating. Please see for an update on adventures and explorations in insect systematics.

Newsletter Minutia

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December 2006.