April 2009

Faculty News

Dr. Nan-Yao Su and his wife established the Nan-Yao and Jill Su Endowed Fund for Entomology at the University of Hawaii (UH). Dr. Su received his Ph.D. in entomology at UH in 1982. The endowed fund will assist graduate and undergraduate students studying entomology at the UH Department of Plant and Environmental Protection Sciences in the Manoa College of Tropical Agriculture and Human Resources.

Dr. H. Alejandro Arevalo (Ph.D. '06), G. Snyder and Dr. Phillip A. Stansly maintain an online Citrus Greening database at http://swfrec.ifas.ufl.edu/hlb/database/. The database is a worldwide compilation of published articles, memos, proceedings and extension material related to citrus greening or huanglongbing disease. The database is a dynamic project, updated periodically with the most recent publications, and will be expanding overtime. It is a cooperative effort between the UF/IFAS and the Florida Center for Library Automation. The site is open to everyone.

Dr. James P. Cuda was selected to participate in the USDA’s Foreign Agricultural Service Exchange program. Cuda will be travelling to China in October to continue his research on biological control of the aquatic weed hygrophila and to attend an international congress on biological invasions.

Dr. James P. Cuda was appointed by Interim Senior Vice President Dr. Larry Arrington to serve on the IFAS International Program (IP) Advisory Team. The purpose of the IPAT is to: 1) act as a bridge between statewide IFAS faculty and the IP office, 2) provide advice to the Director of IFAS IP on issues that the Director and/or faculty bring to the Team, 3) provide feedback to the Director on opportunities or problems, 4) assist in implementing new policies and programs that the Director deems advantageous to the program, and 5) assist in the selection of awards made by the IP office.

One nice thing about saying farewell to people who retire is that they free up parking spaces. However, that is not a given in our department. Some of our long-time retirees still come in almost every day. Fortunately, they just don't take up parking spaces, but still contribute to our department and entomology or nematology in general. For example, Dr. James Nation retired in 2003 and is still heavily involved in teaching and research, as he explains here:

"This term I teach insect physiology to six students using distance education. I send them about 20 questions that they answer on each chapter in the textbook They e-mail the answers back to me and I read and advise them on the correctness of the answers. It is like an open-book exam on each chapter. The process seems to be working well. One student said it requires reading each chapter twice - once for overall view, and the second time skimming the chapter for locating the answers. I also am teaching a 3-credit Honors course called Biology of Lepidoptera in the McGuire Center on Tuesdays and Thursdays. Dr. Mirian Hay-Roe (Ph.D. '04) developed this course several years ago, but could not teach it this year as she is working on a grant in the CMAVE USDA lab with Dr. Rob Meagher. Mirian asked me to teach the course until she finishes the grant, at which time she will take the course back. There are seven undergraduate students in the course. I also continue to edit the Florida Entomologist. At my house in Alachua, I have a large vegetable garden that is my main hobby. I had a good winter garden and am starting on a spring and summer garden. I might say that I am enjoying my retirement immensely; I recommend it - you can come late and leave early." - Dr. Jim Nation

Staff News

Dr. Rebecca Baldwin serves as a member of the Entomological Foundation Board of Counselors and is on its Education and Outreach committee. She requests assistance from entomologists who wish to participate in educational outreach activities in association with the national Entomological Society of America (ESA) meeting in Indianapolis, Indiana, 13-16 December 2009. The activities incldue a one-day workshop for teachers on using insects to teach across the curriculum in the elementary classroom on the Saturday before the meeting begins, and presentations about insects and insect science to classrooms in the Indianapolis area while the ESA meeting is in session. Please contact her for details.

Staff Changes in Honey Bee Research and Extension

The Honey Bee Research & Extension Lab (HBREL) said goodbye recently to Mike and Hannah O'Malley. Mike served as the extension technician for about two years while Hannah was the research technician. Both did a great job with their efforts and they will be missed. They left the lab to begin a through hike of the Appalachian Trail. They anticipate finishing the trail in August or September. Everyone in the lab wishes them the best of luck!

Melissa Teems [mteems@ufl.edu] serves as the new Extension Technician and will be managing the African Bee Education Program, the Master Beekeeper Program, the quarterly Melitto Files, the annual Bee College, as well as developing and maintaining all the outreach and extension efforts of the HBREL. Melissa has an extensive background in marketing (both online and traditional), advertising, and the development of integrated marketing communication programs. Before joining the HBREL, Melissa was a freelance writer and marketing consultant for various clients worldwide.

Jeanette Klopchin [jeanette.klopchin@gmail.com] serves as one of the new Research Technicians, as well as doing double duty as the Lab Manager. Jeanette will be overseeing graduate student projects, coordinating research projects, purchasing, and managing bee colonies. Before joining the lab, Jeanette was a research technician for Hollings Marine Laboratory (NOAA) in South Carolina and The Bureau of Land Management in Grand Junction, Colorado. She graduated from SUNY Oswego with a B.S. in Zoology in 2003, and received a M.S. in Environmental Studies from The College of Charleston in 2005.

Mark Dykes also serves as one of the new Research Technicians in the HBREL. Mark will be focusing his efforts on conducting honey bee research, coordinating research projects, managing bee colonies, and overseeing graduate student projects. Before joining the lab, Mark spent time working in the following areas: habitat restoration, prescribed fire, and Herpetological Studies in South Central Florida. He graduated from UF with a degree in Natural Resource Conservation in 2007. - Melissa Teems

Student News

The College of Agriculture and Life Sciences announced that Heidi Hanspetersen is one of only 10 recipients of a prestigious National Science Foundation scholarship that enables her to participate in the 2009 Rice Production Short Course, 18 May - 6 June, at the International Rice Research Institute in the Philippines. Rice is the most important staple crop in the world, and this scholarship gives her the opportunity to interact with leaders in the field at a world-renowned research center. Heidi Hanspetersen is a Ph.D. candidate working under the direction of Dr. Robert McSorley.

Every year, the Graduate School of the University of Florida recognizes 10 of the best graduate student teachers in the university. Awardees are honored at a reception, and receive a monetary award. Ph.D. student Matthew Lehnert received one of the UF Graduate Student Teaching Awards for 2008-2009. The reception will be held 27 April in the Friends of the Music Room on the second floor of the University Auditorium. Award winners will also be recognized in the semester's commencement program. Dr. Thomas Emmel is Matt's advisor.

Dr. Jennifer Michelle Zaspel is the 2008 recipient of the IFAS Award of Excellence for the Graduate Research-Ph.D. Her dissertation was "Systematics and Evolution of the Vampire Moths and Their Fruit Piercing Relatives Using Morphological and Molecular Data (Lepidoptera: Noctuidae: Calpinae)." Dr. Marc Braham served as chair of her supervisory committee. Dr. Zaspel will receive a plaque and award check for $1,000, while Dr. Braham will receive a plaque for his role as advisor. Both will be presented at the 2nd Annual Florida Agricultural Experiment Station Awards Ceremony and Reception scheduled for Tuesday, 12 May 2009, at the Harn Museum.

Our Undergraduates Excel!

Entomology and Nematology will graduate one of our larger classes in a while this semester, and these students are succeeding. Take a look:

Our undergraduate program is thriving with vibrant, outstanding students and you, as our faculty, should be quite proud of them. Some of you have thought that our weakest students were in Urban Pest Management. Think again. Most of them make the Dean's List most semesters. - Dr. Carl S. Barfield, Professor & Undergraduate Coordinator


Akasaka K, Carlson DA, Ohtaka T, Ohrui K, Mori K, Berkebile DR. 2009. Determination by HPLC fluorescence analysis of the natural enantiomers of sex pheromones in the New World screwworm fly, Cochliomyia hominivorax. Bulletin of Entomological Research 23 (supp.1): 1-5.

Li H-F, Su N-Y. 2009. Buccal manipulation of sand particles during tunnel excavation of the Formosan subterranean termite (Isoptera: Rhinotermitidae). Annals of the Entomological Society of America 102: 333-338.

Salem TZ, Garcia-Maruniak A, Lietze V-U, Maruniak JE, Boucias DG. 2009. Analysis of transcripts from predicted open reading frames of the Musca domestica salivary gland hypertrophy virus. Journal of General Virology. 90: 1270-1280.

Daniels JC. 2009. Cooperative conservation efforts to help recover an endangered south Florida butterfly. Insect Conservation and Diversity 2: 62–64.

Saarinen EV, Daniels JC, Maruniak JE. 2009. Development and characterization of polymorphic microsatellite loci in the endangered Miami blue butterfly (Cyclargus thomasi bethunebakeri). Molecular Ecology Resources 9: 242–244.

Lewis DS, Vogel P, Wilson BS. 2008. Survival, dispersal, and home range of headstarted Jamaican iguanas, Cyclura collei. Caribbean Journal of Science 44: 423-425.

Diaz R, Overholt WA, Cuda JP, Pratt PA, Fox A. 2009. Host specificity of Ischnodemus variegatus, an herbivore of West Indian marsh grass (Hymenachne amplexicaulis). Biocontrol 54: 307-321.

Meetings and Presentations

During 24-26 March, graduate student Maria Checa attended the 10th Student Conference on Conservation Science at the University of Cambridge in the United Kingdom. She received 2nd Place in the poster competition for her poster on "Devastation and poverty in the west Ecuador hotspot of diversity: how can butterflies help?"

During 10-12 March, Dr. James Maruniak, advisor for the Society for Virology Studies, took 12 student members to Atlanta to visit the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC) headquarters in Atlanta and Emory University. At the CDC, Dr. Leslie Rios (Ph.D. '08) gave a presentation of her current research and organized a tour of the CDC's Directors Emergency Operations Center. At Emory University, the students toured several laboratories doing vaccine research and the Yerkes National Primate Research Center.

Seminar Series – Spring 2009

This semester, the seminar committee consists of graduate students Roxanne Burrus, Rosie Gill, Ameya Gondhalekar, Guarav Goyal, Vivek Kumar, Teresia Nyoike, Heidi HansPetersen, Will Sanders, Corraine Scott (Chair). Seminars are held on Thursday afternoons in room 1031. Refreshments are served at 3:45 pm, and the seminar begins at 4:00 pm. A listing of seminars is available online in the January 2009 issue.


Drs. Betty Dunckel, Jaret Daniels and Thomas Emmel received a $13,872 grant from the Florida Wildflower Foundation, Inc. to produce a third printing (250,000 copies) of the Florida Wildflowers & Butterflies brochures.

The Entomological Foundation is soliciting proposals for scholarships and fellowships. The deadline to apply for all of the Entomological Foundation’s awards is 1 July 2009. Examples of such awards are the BioQuip Undergraduate Scholarship and the Larry Larson Graduate Student Award for Leadership in Applied Entomology. For information on all the Foundation's awards please see http://www.entfdn.org/awards_scholar_fellow.php.

Online Bug Club

In the February 2009 issue, we reported that the departmental Outreach Committee (Dr. Rebecca Baldwin, Sharon Clemmenson, Dr. Jaret Daniels, Dr. Jamie Ellis - chair, and Thomas Fasulo) received a $3,460 4-H Foundation Grant to pay Dr. Denise Thomas, a recent graduate, to redesign and upgrade the Florida Bug Club Web site at http://entomology.ifas.ufl.edu/bug_club/.

Most of the major work is completed and the site now offers a vast assortment of resources for teachers and students. Some of the major sections include ID Keys; photographic Insect Locator Maps; Insect Curricula for teachers; 4-H Resources; Downloadable games; 100 Common Florida Insects; online Quizzes, Puzzles and Games; resources at other institutions; and far too much more to list here. We hope that this will become one of the major entomological resources for 4-H leaders and members, as well as for elementary and middle school students and teachers in Florida, if not the U.S.A.

One of the major sections deals with the department's outreach activities, including school visits and tours. This is where school teachers or home-schoolers can plan departmental educational assistance and then request that assistance.

Two exciting sections deal with nationally recognized 4-H resources: the ABCs of Entomology and Project Butterfly Wings. The latter is an online site developed in cooperation with the Florida Museum of Natural History, National 4-H, our department and the National Science Foundation. Participating 4-H youth are "citizen scientists" who collect data on butterflies to help professional scientists determine 1) the presence or absence of specific butterfly species, and 2) the abundance of butterfly species by state and county throughout the country. The information helps butterfly scientists better understand and conserve butterfly populations.

The ABCs of Entomology was initially developed to meet the Florida FCAT standards and is therefore a valuable resource for Florida's teachers. The CD-ROM is available through the UF/IFAS Extension Bookstore for only $15.

Other sections cover not only how to prepare an insect collection, but how to submit the collection through your local county 4-H chapter to the state 4-H Congress held at the University of Florida every year. Winners from every county competition will be judged at the state Congress to pick the state winners. Prizes will be awarded.


All the way from Chiefland in Levy County, twenty home school students and their parents participated in a tour of the Entomology and Nematology Department on March 27th. The students learned about beautiful insects of the world from Dr. Carl Barfield, participated in an arthropod petting zoo hosted by Kayla Brownell (UF Entomology Club), examined insect structure and adaptations with Alyssa Porter (UF Entomology Club), discovered the tasty world of entomophagy and insects in our culture with Dr. Rebecca Baldwin, toured the cockroach lab and enjoyed a cockroach tractor pull with Ben Anderson (UF Entomology Club president) and inspected blood suckers and their hosts with Dr. Phil Koehler. For more information about entomology group tours, please visit http://entomology.ifas.ufl.edu/bug_club/ent-events/outreach.shtml.

Home school student earns her right to wear an "I Love Bugs" sticker.

4-H Insect Collections

On March 5th, members of our Entomology Club and Outreach committee gathered for a workshop to produce model insect collections for various age groups. For more details, and lots of photographs, please see the 4-H Insect Collection Workshop article.


Click here to view a safe method of applying DDT and insect repellents. Compliments of the Frank J. Davis World War II Photographs at Southern Methodist University.

Scientists recently discovered dozens of new species of jumping spiders in New Guinea. That's great! Now let's hope they don't find any new species of widow spiders. See http://www.sciencedaily.com/releases/2009/03/090325091815.htm for details.

The next time you and your guests sit down to a nice supper of fresh water fish, or any seafood, why not enhance the dining experience with a freshly opened bottle of RNR Estate Winery's army worm wine?

We all know that before they can get to the wood, subterranean termites have to move a lot of dirt. Around many structures, "dirt" often means sand. Now you can see how they do it. Dr. Nan-Yao Su and his Ph.D. graduate student Hou-Feng Li posted videos on the Web that show excavating, loading, moving and then depositing sand grains from a number of angles. You can view the videos at http://flrec.ifas.ufl.edu/ent_nem/structural_entomology_su_videos.shtml.

Why do monarch butterflies migrate? Scientists om the University of Massachusetts Medical School uncovered a suite of genes that may be involved in driving the butterflies to migrate towards Mexico for the winter. See http://www.sciencedaily.com/releases/2009/03/090330200615.htmfor details.

Eschew the "Me" Generation. Bees and ants really do have the best interests of the colony at heart. See http://www.sciencedaily.com/releases/2009/03/090327124423.htm for details.

Termite Sex! It now appears that termite queens do not always have to have sex to reproduce. See http://www.sciencedaily.com/releases/2009/03/090326141549.htm for details.

Forget natural materials like wax, plastic and cardboard are the new IN materials for wild bee homes. See http://www.sciencedaily.com/releases/2009/03/090328152243.htm for details.

Beauty is in the eye of the beholder. Especially when the eye is on the top or bottom of a butterfly's wing. See http://www.sciencedaily.com/releases/2009/04/090401134417.htm for details.

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://entnews.ifas.ufl.edu/, which has instructions for subscribing and unsubscribing. Pam Howell and Nancy Sanders review the newsletter for errors. Thomas Fasulo does the HTML coding.

In the last 12 months, the newsletter Web site recorded 105,653 HTML page views and 15,357 PDF downloads.

April 2009.