June 2008

Faculty News

Recently, personnel from the Mandarin Museum and Historical Society, Jacksonville, FL, interviewed Dr. Marc Branham about firefly behavior and natural history. The information they obtained appeared on the Mandarin NewsLine Web site to promote the Museum's second annual "Firefly Night." This is a family event that exposes the public to firefly biology and provides an opportunity for children to both observe and collect fireflies.

Dr. Marc Branham is working with the History Channel to produce a short segment on "The evolution of bioluminescence in fireflies" to be included in a week long series on "Evolution." Several aspects of Dr. Branham's research will be highlighted in the segment.

Dr. Marc Branham was one of 30 invited participants from across the county who attended The Morphbank Usability Workshop and Study held 1-2 May, at Florida State University, School of Computational Science. Morphbank is a continuously growing database of images that scientists use for international collaboration, research and education. Images deposited in Morphbank document a wide variety of research including: specimen-based research in comparative anatomy, morphological phylogenetics, taxonomy and related fields focused on increasing our knowledge about biodiversity. The project receives its main funding from the Biological Databases and Informatics program of the National Science Foundation.

Dr. Monique Coy recently joined Dr. Mike Scharf's lab as a post-doctoral associate. Dr. Coy is supported by a USDA-NRI grant and will work on termite molecular biology and RNA interference. Dr. Coy holds a B.S. in Zoology from UF, and a Ph.D. from Virginia Tech in Biochemistry. Most recently, Dr. Coy was a post-doctoral researcher in the Food Science and Human Nutrition Department at UF. Her interests include natural history, birdwatching, swimming and reading. Her husband, Tom Coy, also works at UF in the Epidemiology department, and they have a 2-year-old son named Nicholas.

Dr. James P. Cuda and his Brazilian peppertree biological control program were featured in Highlands Today, a local Highlands County newspaper. Published on 16 May, the title of the article was "Highlands County's Invasive Plants Focus of Seminar."

Dr. James Cuda received a Courtesy Faculty Appointment in the College of Engineering Sciences, Technology and Agriculture from Florida A&M University. The appointment was effective 12 April 2008.

Student News

Ph.D. student Christian Salcedo received a $3,206 fellowship from the Organization for Tropical Studies. The award partially covers his research and travel expenses during a five-week stay at La Selva Biological Station in Costa Rica in Summer 2009. He also received a $2,700 Traveling Fellowship from the Journal of Experimental Biology.

Dr. Carl Barfield, Undergraduate Coordinator, reports that the following Entomology undergraduate students achieved a 3.70 GPA or better on at least 12 graded credits for spring semester and have been named to the CALS Dean’s List. The students are Bret Boyd, Meredith Cenzer, Rachel Davis, Marissa Gonzalez, Meredith Moukawsher, Fae Nageon De Lestang, and Natasha Wright.

The following students graduated at the end of the Spring Semester 2008:

Alumni News

Since late last Fall, Onour Moeri (M.S. '07) has resided in Vancouver, British Columbia, Canada, where she worked for a short time at Simon Fraser University. She traveled to the Nouragues research station in French Guiana at the end of January for two months to assist on a research study investigating bird-insect interactions in the remote rainforest. She reports that it was a very exciting trip and definitely one that she will never forget. While there, a TV1 French news crew arrived to do a story about the Nouragues preserve and research conducted in the rain forest. To see her two minutes of fame (as she called it), go to http://www.tf1.fr/ and type "nouragues" in the search box. Or visit http://tf1.lci.fr/infos/jt/0,,3715587,00-guyane-cnrs-ouvre-portes-fabuleux-parc-.html for the longer video. Sean McCann (M.S., '06), who is now a student at the University of Vancouver, has a small speaking part in the video.

After her short-term position at Simon Fraser University, Onour began work for a life science company in Delta, BC. The company uses pheromone technology to produce "green" products for agriculture and pest management. She is currently working on three field studies involving honey bees and pollination.


Gomez C, Mizell III RF. (2008). Brown stink bug, Euschistus servus (Say). Featured Creatures. EENY-433. http://entomology.ifas.ufl.edu/creatures/veg/bean/brown_stink_bug.htm

Zettel C, Kaufman PE. (2008). Yellow fever mosquito, Aedes aegypti (Linnaeus). Featured Creatures. EENY-434. http://entomology.ifas.ufl.edu/creatures/aquatic/aedes_aegypti.htm

Hall DW. (2008). Checkered white, Pontia protodice (Boisduval & Leconte). Featured Creatures. EENY-436. http://entomology.ifas.ufl.edu/creatures/veg/leaf/checkered_white.htm

Meyer JM, Hoy MA. 2008. Molecular survey of endosymbionts in Florida populations of Diaphorina citri (Hemiptera: Psyllidae) and its parasitoids Tamarixia radiata (Hymenoptera: Eulophidae) and Diaphorencyrtus aligarhensis (Hymenoptera: Encyrtidae). Florida Entomologist 91: 294-304.

Cuda JP, Gillmore JL, Medal JC, Pedrosa-Macedo JH. 2008. Mass rearing of Pseudophilothrips ichini (Thysanoptera: Phlaeothripidae), an approved biological control agent for Brazilian peppertree, Schinus terebinthifolius (Sapindales: Anacardiaceae). Florida Entomologist 91: 338-340.

Cuda JP, Charudattan R, Grodowitz MJ, Newman RM, Shearer JF, Tamayo ML, Villegas B. 2008. Recent advances in biological control of submersed aquatic weeds. Journal of Aquatic Plant Management 46: 15-32.

Meetings and Presentations

In May, Dr. Mike Scharf and Ph.D. students Matt Tarver and Ameya Gondhalekar traveled to Tulsa, Oklahoma to attend the National Conference on Urban Entomology. There, Dr. Scharf delivered the invited presentation "Gene silencing as a tool for termite control?" Ameya and Matt each delivered talks in the student paper competition. Ameya spoke on "Indoxacarb toxicology in the German cockroach." Matt's presentation on "Gene expression profiles of Reticulitermes flavipes in response to socio-environmental conditions," took 1st Place in the student competition.

Dr. James Cuda attended the 2008 Aquatic Weed Control Shortcourse held in Coral Springs, FL, 5-8 May. Cuda was moderator for two Biocontrol Sessions and gave the oral presentation "BioControl of Submersed and Floating Aquatic Plants."

Dr. James Cuda was an invited speaker at the 2008 Heartland Weed Control Workshop held in Sebring, FL, 22 May. Cuda gave a presentation on biological control of Brazilian peppertree.


Ph.D. student Christian Salcedo received a $743 Theodore Roosevelt Memorial Grant from the American Museum of Natural History. He will use the the grant to study the behavioral and chemical ecology of our state butterfly, the zebra longwing, Heliconius charitonia (Linnaeus).


The UF/IFAS Orkin Termite Training Facility was dedicated on 12 May, at the Mid-Florida Research and Education Center in Apopka, Florida. The UF/IFAS Termite Management School uses the facility to deliver quality instruction on termite management techniques. In addition to the Foundations of Termite Management 3-day class, there are one day trainings in Termite Basics and General Household Pest Management being offered. Future classes include Master of Termite Management (October 2008), Expert of Termite Management (2009), Foundations of General Household Pest Management (2009), Lawn and Ornamental Pest Basics, and Basics of WDO Inspections (Fall 2008). For information on donors, classes, graduates, and other questions, see http://pmu.ifas.ufl.edu/.

Drs. Mike Scharf, Xuguo Zhou, Faith Oi and graduate student Marsha Wheeler were featured in an IFAS news release on the development of a "genetic termiticide." The mixture, when consumed by termites, causes them to be cripplingly deformed after molting. For additional details, publications, etc., see the Insect Toxicology Web site at http://insecttoxicology.ifas.ufl.edu/.

Dr. Julio Medal announces his Web site on the Implementation of Biological Control of Tropical Soda Apple at http://entomology.ifas.ufl.edu/medal/TropicalSodaApple/. Tropical soda apple, Solanum viarum Dunal, is an invasive weed that covers over 400,000 hectares in Florida. It is present also in Alabama, Arkansas, Georgia, Louisiana, Mississippi, North Carolina, Pennsylvania, South Carolina, Tennessee, Texas, and Puerto Rico. The weed is native to southern Brazil, Paraguay, northeastern Argentina, and Uruguay, and has spread into other parts of South and Central America. Solanum viarum is a host of at least six viruses that affect several crops, including tomato, tobacco, and pepper.

Scientists believe that Drosophila makes research fly. However, this fly genus has its own priorities. Read and/or listen to what may be the first song about this group at http://www.thefump.com/lyrics.php?id=1058.

Dr. Jennifer Gillett, Heidi HansPetersen, Dr. Norm Leppla, Denise Thomas, Joyce Merritt, Dr. Barbra Larson, and Jane Medley received the 2007 IFAS Gold Image Award for the Tomato and Pepper IPM Resources for Growers, Scout and Extension Faculty in the Campaign category.

Escaped Caterpillar On Rampage Through City! Walk for your lives! See http://www.theonion.com/content/news/escaped_caterpillar_on_rampage.

Dr. James Cuda was a co-recipient of a 2007 IFAS Silver Image Award in the Web Site Category for his contribution to the development of the "TAME Invasives Portal: A Solution for Your Life" at http://pesticide.ifas.ufl.edu/. The other team members were Dr. Ken Gioeli (Team Leader), Dr. Ken Langeland, Dr. Bill Overholt, Dr. Julio Medal, Dr. Paul Pratt, Fred Burkey, and Jennifer Hugus.

The coursework for the Foundations of Termite Management class taught by Dr. Faith Oi, Dr. Rebecca Baldwin, Pamela Mattis, Paul Mitola (FDACS), and Mark Ruff (AWSMPA) and supported by Jane Medley and Joe Gibney received a Gold award in the IFAS IMAGE Awards Short Course category. The curriculum was the first developed for the UF/IFAS Pest Management University which offers training for the pest management industry and related fields at the Termite Training Facility at the UF/IFAS Mid-Florida REC in Apopka. The curriculum development team received input from the Florida Department of Agriculture and Consumer Services,, all three Florida pest management associations, business owners, the insurance industry, and the legal profession.

Bug Quote

"When faced with the question ‘To bee or not to bee,' armies throughout the ages have consistently answered in the affirmative. The Romans frequently loaded their catapults with beehives and launched them upon their enemies. (In fact, the Roman's frequent use of beehives in battle has led some historians to theorize that it contributed to the massive decline in the European bee populations during the later stages of the Roman empire.) King Richard the Lionhearted did the same thing against the Saracens during the Crusades. The Saxons, the Moors, and the Hungarians also used them in various battles. - from The Greatest War Stories Never Told, by Rick Beyer

Bug Cartoons

Many comic Web sites limit the length of time a panel appears to just 30 days. Others may require you to register to view previous panels, which you may not wish to do. In either case, the sooner you visit the site, the greater chance you have to view the following:

Flies fight back: http://www.comics.com/comics/brevity/archive/brevity-20080526.html

Your cheatin' posterior median spinneret will tell on you: http://www.comics.com/comics/brevity/archive/brevity-20080608.html

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. Detailed articles are edited by Hope Johnson (hopej@ufl.edu) and must be submitted before the 1st of the month for that month's issue.

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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June 2008.