January 2007

Faculty News

Dr. Arturo Cocco, currently at the Department of Plant Protection, University of Sassari, arrives in January and will spend the next 18 months as a postdoctoral scientist in the laboratory of Dr. Marjorie Hoy. Dr. Cocco has conducted research on pests of citrus in Italy and will continue this work here. Dr. Cocco's postdoctoral training is funded by the government of Italy.

Dr. Raghuwinder Singh, a graduate of the UF/IFAS Doctor of Plant Medicine program, will leave Dr. Hoy's laboratory, where he has been a postdoctoral scientist for the past two years, for a new position at Louisiana State University. Dr. Singh will diagnose plant diseases in Lousiana.

Dr. Marjorie Hoy travels to the Republic of Korea in late January to visit Andong National University, where she will lecture and visit with Dr. Un Taek Lim, a former postdoctoral scientist in this department. Dr. Lim currently is an assistant professor at Andong National University.

Drs. A. Jeyaprakash and M. Hoy completed the sequencing of the mitochondrial genome of the predatory mite Metaseiulus occidentalis (Acari: Phytoseiidae) and submitted a manuscript for publication. Dr. Jeyaprakash presented this work at an invited talk in the Acarology Symposium, Current Advances in Acarology: Genomic and Proteomic Research, held during the Entomological Society of America meetings in December. This is the first complete mitochondrial genome sequenced from the family Phytoseiidae and the genome contains many unique features.

During 7-12 November, Thomas Fasulo spent five days at the Marion County School District Museum and Educational Center's annual Ocali Country Days. At this festival, located at the Center within Silver River State Park, the school district brings in 19th century living historians and craftspeople to share their knowledge and skills with 1,000 to 1,200 students, teachers and parents per day. Fasulo appeared in his first-person impression as an American Civil War infantryman (three days) and officer (two days) teaching how lice, ticks, mosquitoes and weevils affected the lives of Civil War soldiers and civilians.

Beginning 22 January, Dr. Roberto Pereira (Ph.D. 91) returns to our department as an Associate Research Scientist. The position is 90% research and 10% Extension, and is in Dr. Phil Koehler's Urban Entomology Laboratory. Roberto says it is wonderful to be in a position with more research responsibilities, and increased opportunity for collaborative work in a greater range of entomological research. He returns to us from the Gainesville USDA laboratory where he was a leader on a biological control of fire ants project.

Staff News

Catherine Zettel, a new graduate student studying under USDA's Dr. Sandra Allan, will also work part time in our fiscal office. You will find Catherine at the desk where we submit time cards, orders and receipts.

Student News

The following students, listed with their major advisors, received their degrees in December:

Ph.D. - Dr. Alejandro Arevalo (Dr. Liburd), Dr. Trevor Smith (Dr. Cave);

M.S. - Keven Kobylinski (Dr. Rutledge-Connelly), Sean McCann (Dr. Lord), Robyn Raban (Dr. Lounibos).

The following new graduate students, listed with their advisors, were admitted this month:

Ph.D. - Harsimran Gill (Dr. McSorley), Jimmy Pitzer (Dr. Kaufman), Catherine Westbrook (Dr. Lounibos), Abhishek Mukherjee (Dr. Cuda);

M.S. - Jason Graham (Dr. Ellis), Kevyn Juneau, (Dr. Leppla), Andres Sandoval (Dr. Capinera), Catherine Zettel (Dr. Allan).

Our graduate students did quite well in the Student Competitions at the recent 2006 Entomological Society of America (ESA) meeting.

Systematics, Morphology and Evolution

(Session A3) Seth Bybee, Runner Up for First Place in Oral Presentations, "Winging-it through the ages: What fossils tell us about the evolution of flight in Odonata."

Biology, Ecology, and Behavior

(Sessions Cc & Ce) Kelly Sims, Runner Up for First Place in the Poster Display, "Thripinema fuscum parasitism reduces both the feeding of Frankliniella fusca on peanut and the transmission of tomato spotted wilt virus."

(Session Cd1) Karla Addesso, First Place in Oral Presentations, "Isolation of oviposition deterring compounds in the oviposition plug of the pepper weevil, Anthonomus eugenii."

(Session Cd2) Craig Roubos, Runner Up for First Place in the Poster Display, "Evaluation of emergence traps for detecting blueberry gall midge adults in a rabbiteye blueberry planting."

(Sessions Ce & Cf) Jason Meyer, Runner Up for First Place in Oral Presentations, "Morphological and molecular characterizations of a fungal pathogen attacking the Asian citrus psyllid, Diaphorina citri."

Medical and Veterinary Entomology

(Session D1) Erin Vrzal, Runner Up for First Place in the Poster Display, "Nutrition and Survival of Culex spp. on various sugars."

Crop and Urban Pest Management

(Session Fa) Murugesan Rangasamy, Runner Up for First Place in the Poster Display, "Oxidative responses of St. Augustinegrasses challenged by southern chinch bug, Blissus insularis."

(Session Fa) Amit Sethi, Runner Up for First Place in Oral Presentations, "Biological activity of romaine lettuce latex against banded cucumber beetle."

(Session F2) Alejandro Arevalo, First Place in Oral Presentations, "Field dispersion and hot-shot formation of flower thrips, Frankliniella spp., in early-season blueberry fields."

(Session Fb) Thomas Chouvenc, First Place in Oral Presentations, "Response of the eastern subterranean termite, Reticulitermes flavipes, to the entomopathogenous fungus Metarhizium anisopliae in a foraging arena."

(Session Fb) Hou-Feng Li, Runner Up for First Place in Oral Presentations, "Mouthpart structures and tunneling behaviors of the Formosan subterranean termite, Coptotermes formosanus.

Alumni News

Kiplinger's Personal Finance magazine for February 2007 contains the article "100 Best Values in Public Colleges." The University of Florida was listed as second. Listed as sixth best value was New College in Sarasota, Florida. Photographs accompanying the article showed views of New College, including one of Dr. Elzie McCord (Ph.D. 85) teaching a toxicology class.


Miller RB, Stange LA. (October 2006). An antlion, Glenurus gratus (Say). Featured Creatures. EENY-393. http://entomology.ifas.ufl.edu/creatures/misc/neuroptera/Glenurus_gratus.htm

Howard FW, Moore D. (November 2006). A coconut mite, Aceria guerreronis Keifer. Featured Creatures. EENY-398. http://entomology.ifas.ufl.edu/creatures/orn/palms/Aceria_guerreronis.htm

Sanford MT. (2006). At risk populations for AHB: the case of Civil War. Bee Culture. http://www.beeculture.com/storycms/index.cfm?cat=Story&recordID=508

Woodruff RE. (December 2006). Clavate tortoise beetle, Plagiometriona clavata (Fabricius). Featured Creatures. EENY-392. http://entomology.ifas.ufl.edu/creatures/orn/beetles/Plagiometriona_clavata.htm

Zhou X, Song C, Grzymala TL, Oi FM, Scharf ME. 2006. Juvenile hormone and colony conditions differentially influence cytochrome P450 gene expression in the termite Reticulitermes flavipes. Insect Molecular Biology 15: 749-761.

Wang C, Scharf ME, Bennett GW. 2006. A genetic basis for resistance to gel baits, Fipronil, and sugar-based attractants in German cockroaches. Journal of Economic Entomology 99: 1761-1767.

Liburd OE. 2006. Evaluation of monitoring techniques for detecting cranberry tipworm in rabbiteye and southern highbush blueberries. In Lopes da Fonseca L, Munoz FR. [eds] Proceedings of the 8th International Symposium on Vaccinium Culture. Acta Horticulturae 715: 503-507.

Bossin H, Furlong RD, Gillett JL, Bergoin M, Shirk PD. 2006. Somatic transformation efficiencies and expression patterns using the JcDNV and piggyBac transposon gene vectors in insects. Insect Molecular Biology. (http://www.blackwell-synergy.com/doi/abs/10.1111/j.1365-2583.2006.00693.x)

Meetings and Presentations

Dr. Phil Kaufman presented the paper "Evaluation of Muscidifurax raptor and M. raptorellus (Hymenoptera: Pteromalidae) releases in dairy calf facilities for management of the house fly (Diptera: Muscidae)" at the 2006 ESA meeting. Co-authors were Dr. Don Rutz and J. Keith Waldron.

Dr. Phil Kaufman and Dr. Tanja McKay co-organized and moderated the 2006 ESA Section D Symposium "Biological Control of Muscoid Diptera."


Dr. Marco A. Toapanta (Ph.D. 2001), Chair of the Florida Entomological Society's Student Activities Committee, reported that the following graduate students were awarded $150 travel grants to help them attend the recent annual ESA meeting. The recipients were Amit Sethi, Jeff Hertz, Olga Kostromytska, Veronica Manrique, Kaushalya Amarasekare, Murugesan Rangasamy, Kelly Sims, Teresia Nyoike, Hou-Feng Li, Ta-I Huang, and Karla Addesso.

Drs. Liburd, Weibelzahl and Arevalo received an EPA grant for $98,000 to investigate the frequency of inundative releases for the predatory mite Neoseiulus californicus and its control of twospotted spider mites in field grown strawberries.

A proposal submitted by Drs. Mike Scharf, Drion Boucias and Faith Oi, along with ICBR collaborator Bill Farmerie, was selected as the #1 ranked proposal in the FY2007 competition of the Consortium for Plant Biotechnology Research. The successful proposal was entitled "Genomic dissection of cellulose utilization in termites". The project was approved to receive $280,000 over 2007-08. However, no funds are yet available due to a lack of congressional budget approval. A related proposal with the same title was also recently selected as one of six IFAS top proposals in the UF Opportunity Fund seed grant competition. The proposal will now move on to compete in the university-wide competition, to take place later in January.

Spring 2007 Seminars

This semester's seminar committee members are graduate students Seth Bybee, Amit Sethi, Murugesan Rangasamy, Craig Roubos, Andrew Derksen and Jen Zaspel. Seminars are held on Thursday afternoons in room 1031. Refreshments are served at 3:45 pm, and the seminar begins at 4:00 pm.

01/18 - Sustainability: the impact of pesticides on human health. - Dr. Elizabeth Guillette, Anthropology, UF

01/25 - Evolution of moth sex pheromone blends. - Dr. Wendell Roelofs, Liberty Hyde Bailey Professor of Insect Biochemistry, Cornell University

02/01 - Caste differentiation, ontogenic potentialities and consequences of genetic structure in Reticulitermes. - Dr. Laurianne Leniaud, Universite' de Tours France

02/08 - Origins and future prospects of state IPM programs. - Dr. Norman Leppla, Entomology and Nematology, UF

02/15 - Insect herbivore-produced elicitors of plant volatiles. - Dr. Jim Tumlinson, Entomology, Penn State University

02/22 - Mating biology and behavior of the dengue vector, Aedes aegypti. - Dr. Laura Harrington, Entomology and Nematology, Cornell University

03/01 - Genetics and genomics of the Phytoseiidae, premier natural enemies of pest mites. - Dr. Marjorie Hoy, Entomology and Nematology, UF

03/08 - Switch to the dark side: the biology of insect pathogenic algae. - Dr. Drion Boucias, Entomology and Nematology, UF

03/22 - Monitoring changes in canopy arthropod populations through time in the western Amazon Basin. - Dr. Terry Erwin, Entomology, Smithsonian Institution

03/29 - Ascertaining the transmission mechanisms of Xylella fastidiosa by the glassy-winged sharpshooter, and implications for disease epidemiology. - Dr. Elaine Backus, USDA, Parlier, CA

04/05 - Appropriating the signs of distress: herbivore attraction to induced volatiles from damaged host plants. - Dr. Mark Carroll, USDA, Gainesville, FL

04/12 - Resolving taxonomic chaos in a large group of little brown beetles (Coleoptera: Cucujoidea). - Dr. Joseph McHugh, Entomology, University of Georgia


Thomas Fasulo provided the Marion County School District Museum and Educational Center, mentioned above, with over 2,000 of the department's bookmarks for distribution to students who attend daily classes at the Center. These bookmarks were designed by Jane Medley and come in two different versions. If you sign up to work at the department's exhibit at the State Fair in February (see Dr. Jamie Ellis for details), you will be distributing these bookmarks to visitors.

Fasulo also provided the Alachua County Library system with over 2,000 of our bookmarks and these are available at the library check-out desks throughout the county. Finally, Fasulo sent 400 of the bookmarks to a colleague at the University of Hawaii for distribution to children at the Lanikai Public School in Kaneohe, Hawaii.

Pest Alert

If you were one of the over 600 world-wide subscribers to PestAlert-l during all of 2006, then you received well over 200 entomology, nematology and plant pathology notices. During 2006 the UF/IFAS Pest Alert site recorded: 121,397 distinct visitors, 157,489 page views, and 55,691 downloads of PDF files.

A "distinct visitor" is someone who logs on and is counted once, unless he or she walks away and leaves their session inactive for 30 minutes or more. Pest Alert is available at http://entomology.ifas.ufl.edu/pestalert/.

Bug Quote

"The rebels are out there thicker than fleas on a dog's back!" - An excited Union officer used these words to report the advance of Confederate forces at the American Civil War Battle of Shiloh, April 6, 1862.

Newsletter Minutia

Thomas Fasulo is the newsletter editor. You can submit news anytime to him at fasulo@ufl.edu. Issues are published the middle of each month. Submit items for an issue by the 7th of that month.

Printed copies are distributed only within Building 970. UF-Bugnews-L listserv subscribers receive notices when HTML and PDF copies 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 and prepare the print version for distribution. Andrew Puckett and Thomas Fasulo code the HTML version.

During the last 12 months, the newsletter Web site recorded 53,914 distinct visitors, 86,793 page views, and downloaded 6,569 PDF files.

January 2007.