August 2009

Faculty News

Dr. Howard Frank and six graduate students (Sharon Clemmensen, Dan Fitzpatrick, Mary Beth Henry, Catherine Zettel-Nalen, Erin Vrzal, and Frank Wessels) traveled to Venezuela for 13 days in July on the Tropical Entomology field course based at Parque Nacional Henri Pittier in Aragua State. They thank Drs. Pepe Clavijo, Marco Gaiani, John Lattke, Francisco Oliva, and Carlos, Juan, Lybia, Tomás, and many other Venezuelans for friendship, help, and hospitality. The students now have a deeper appreciation for tropical insects including: urticating caterpillars, defensive wasps, army ants, leafcutter ants, termites, and the great outdoors in Venezuela. Photographs of their experiences will soon join others from previous trips that are posted on the course web site.

Dr. Jaret Daniels organized, ran and co-taught the first of five national professional training workshops on butterfly conservation at the Toledo Zoo, during 13-16 July 2009. The workshops are funded by the Institute of Museum and Library Services. The Imperiled Butterfly Conservation and Management workshops are an intensive cross-training initiative designed to strengthen the capacity of institutions and their staff to play a strategic role in the emergent and increasingly important field of insect conservation biology, with a targeted focus on imperiled butterfly recovery. The second workshop is scheduled for 27-30 October at the Florida Museum of Natural History's McGuire Center for Lepidoptera in Gainesville.

Dr. James P. Cuda was selected for inclusion in the forthcoming 2010 Edition of Who’s Who in the World.

Dr. James P. Cuda and his research on biological control of the aquatic weed hydrilla were featured in an article published in the 2008 Viewbook of the Howard Hughes Medical Institute (HHMI) Science for Life Program. The research was conducted jointly with Mr. Tobias Schmidt, a former HHMI undergraduate student mentored by Cuda.

Research projects by Dr. James P. Cuda and Dr. William A. Overholt on classical biological control of the aquatic weeds hydrilla and hygrophila were featured in a article published in the Spring 2009 issue of Aquatics, the official publication of the Florida Aquatic Plant Management Society.

Dr. Robin M. Giblin-Davis was named a Fellow of the Society of Nematologists at the Society's 48th annual meeting in Burlington, Vermont, 12-15 July.

Dr. James P. Cuda represented the department as one of the marshals for the two Summer 2009 Commencement ceremonies held at the O’Connell Center on 8 August.

Staff News

In 2006, Sara Brennan received her B.S. in Classical Studies from UF. Since then, she has worked in the field of business management in Gainesville. Sara says "Insects have long been an interest and passion of mine, and it is at the University of Florida that I hope to turn this interest into a learning experience and, eventually, a career". As of now, Sara is a departmental office employee. However, this fall she will enter the M.S. program under the supervision of Dr. Oscar Liburd, but her assistantship requires her to work 20 hours per week in the department's business office.

Student News

Ph.D. student John Courtland Whelan received a Doris Lowe and Earl and Verna Lowe Scholarship for the 2009–2010 academic year. The scholarship award is in the amount of $1,500.00. Recipients are selected based on merit and potential for contribution to agricultural and wildlife environment. Whelan's major advisor is Dr. Jaret Daniels.

Ph.D. student Vivek Kumar was selected as the Miguel and Aurora Lugo Caribbean Food Crop Society Scholar for 2009, during the Society's annual meeting on St. Kitts, 12-16 July. This prize includes a certificate and an award of $500. Kumar's major advisor is Dr. Dakshina R. Seal.

Ph.D. student Rosie Gill was awarded a student scholarship by Natalie’s Orchid Island Juice Company, of Fort Pierce, FL, to support travel to the Florida Small Farms and Alternate Enterprises conference, in Kissimmee, FL, 1-2 August. Gill's major advisor is Dr. Robert McSorley.

Congratulations to the following undergraduate entomology majors who received these awards from the CALS Dean's Office:

The following students graduated this summer:

Juneau K, Scherer C, Koehler P, Baldwin R. 2009. Integrated pest management in schools: an assessment 10 years after implementation. Pest Control Technology 37(6): 68-74.

Diclaro II JW, Kaufman PE. (July 2009). Black soldier fly, Hermetia illucens (Linnaeus). Featured Creatures. EENY-461.

Li H-F, Ye W, Su N-Y, Kanzaki N. 2009. Phylogeography of Coptotermes gestroi and Coptotermes formosanus (Isoptera: Rhinotermitidae) in Taiwan. Annals of the Entomological Society of America 102: 684-693.

Chouvenc T, Su N-Y, Robert A. 2009. Inhibition of Metarhizium anisopliae in the alimentary tract of the eastern subterranean termite Reticulitermes flavipes. Journal of Invertebrate Pathology 101: 130-136.

Chouvenc T, Su N-Y, Robert A. 2009. Cellular encapsulation in the eastern subterranean termite, Reticulitermes flavipes (Isoptera), against infection by the entomopathogenic fungus Metarhizium anisopliae. Journal of Invertebrate Pathology 101: 234-241.

Kaufman PE, Geden CJ. 2009. Development of Spalangia cameroni and Muscidifurax raptor (Hymenopter: Pteromalidae) on live and freeze-killed house fly (Diptera: Muscidae) pupae. Florida Entomologist 92: 492-496.

Obenauer PJ, Kaufman PE, Allen SA, Kline DL. 2009. Host-seeking height preferences of Aedes albopictus (Diptera: Culicidae) in North-Central Florida suburban and sylvatic locales. Journal of Medical Entomology 46: 900-908.

Trager MD, Boyd BM, Daniels JC, Pence JA. 2009. Host plant selection, larval survival, and reproductive phenology in Megathymus yuccae (Lepidoptera: Hesperiidae). Environmental Entomology 38: 1211-1218.

Boina DR, Meyer WL, Onagbola EO, Stelinski LL. 2009. Quantifying dispersal of Diaphorina citri (Hemiptera: Psyllidae) by immunomarking and potential impact of unmanaged groves on commercial citrus management. Environmental Entomology 38: 1250-1258.

Manrique V, Cuda JP, Overholt WA, Ewe SML. 2009. Synergistic effect of insect herbivory and plant parasitism on the performance of the invasive tree Schinus terebinthifolius (Anacardiaceae). Entomologia Experimentalis et Applicata 132: 118-125.

Manrique V, Cuda JP, Overholt, WA. 2009. Effect of herbivory on growth and biomass allocation of Brazilian peppertree (Sapindales: Anacardiaceae) seedlings in the laboratory. BioControl Science & Technology 19: 657-667.

McKay F, Oleiro M, Walsh GC, Gandolfo D, Cuda JP, Wheeler GS. 2009. Natural enemies of Brazilian peppertree (Schinus terebinthifolius: Anacardiaceae) from Argentina: their possible use for biological control in the USA. Florida Entomologist 92: 292-303.

Moeri OE, Cuda JP, Overholt WA, Bloem S, Carpenter JE. 2009. F1 sterile insect technique: a novel approach for risk assessment of Episimus unguiculus (Lepidoptera: Tortricidae), a candidate biological control agent of Schinus terebinthifolius in the continental USA. BioControl Science & Technology 19, Supplement 1: 303-315.

Meetings and Presentations

The following presentations were delivered at the 53rd Annual Livestock Insect Workers' Conference, 21-24 June, French Lick, Indiana.

The following presentations were delivered at the annual Florida Entomological Society meeting, 26-29 July, Ft. Myers, Florida. Additional Presentations and Meetings


In July, the department welcomed campers from Girls Place, Inc. Girls at the kindergarten and 1st grade level toured the Urban Entomology Laboratory, went on a nature hike in the Natural Area Training Laboratory, painted with maggots, and learned all about bugs with graduate students Sharon Clemmensen, Dan Fitzpatrick and Matt Thom. Girls Place plans on returning in August with campers from the 2nd to 6th grade level for more insect activities.

On July 1st and 29th, the department participated in the Museum of Natural History's "Dr. Discovery" program, which takes place on Wednesday afternoons during the summer. Outreach Coordinator Sharon Clemmensen talked to museum-goers about insects, how they impact our daily lives, and guided them through the arthropod petting zoo. - Sharon Clemmensen

National Plant Diagnostic Network Meeting

The second national meeting of the National Plant Diagnostic Network (NPDN) is scheduled for 6-10 December, 2009, in Miami, Florida. The theme of the meeting is "Diagnostics in the 21st Century." The meeting program and instructions for abstract submission are available at Abstract submission opened on 15 July 2009, and meeting registration is expected to open in August. Questions can be directed to program co-chair Dr. Amanda Hodges at

As an extension of NPDN's First Detector information, the NPDN now has an informational site on twitter. Go to to view posts. Information on the NPDN twitter site will focus on pest information and educational items of interest to the NPDN First Detector community as well as some NPDN member information of general interest. Questions or comments regarding these postings can be directed to Dr. Amanda Hodges.

Mosquito Management for Teachers

In July, the Center for Precollegiate Education and Training sponsored the second year of a program funded by the Howard Hughes Medical Institute - the Interdisciplinary Center for Ongoing Research/Education (ICORE) program for high school teachers. For two weeks, teachers from Alachua, Broward, Clay, Columbia, Lake, Lee, Levy, Marion, Palm Beach, Polk, Seminole, St. Lucie and Volusia counties lived on campus and learned about current research on emerging pathogens at the University of Florida.

One full day, in one of the department's classrooms in Gainesville, was devoted to insect vectors of disease and Florida Public Health. Dr. Roxanne Connelly, of the Florida Medical Entomology Laboratory, taught the 30 attendees on diseases and insects of importance for public health in Florida. Interactive discussions on mosquito biology, mosquito-borne diseases, and pathogen transmission were the highlight of the morning session.

At the end of the day, the teachers were divided into three teams to debate whether or not mosquito control should be conducted for a fictitious Florida county. All teams gathered evidence for the debate from the various lectures held during the early part of the day. One team provided evidence to support mosquito control, one team was against mosquito control, and the other team served as the Board of County Commissioners who had to decide which side to support. Dr. Rebecca Baldwin participated in the day-long discussions, and then kindly served as the judge with the final say in whether or not mosquito control would be supported. Dr. Baldwin recognized both teams for presenting compelling stories and in the end "approved" a mosquito control program based on IPM for the county. The teachers went home with ideas for lesson plans to bring the topic of insects and public health into their own classrooms - Dr. Roxanne Connelly


Drs. Phil Kaufman and Faith Oi were awarded a 3-year, $171,000 grant from the USDA, Southern Region Integrated Pest Management Program. Topic: Improving management of the brown dog tick, Rhipicephalus sanguineus, in southeastern residential environments.

Ph.D. student Abhishek Mukherjee, of Dr. James P. Cuda’s Laboratory, received a $200 IFAS travel grant to attend the International Congress on Biological Invasions, in Fuzhou, China, 2-6 November.

Newsletter Minutiae

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August 2009.