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April 14th, 2016

bugs in the library

ABOVE: Look out for insects in books the next time you visit the Marston Science Library! More info about our Insect-Art Trail across campus can be found below.

Faculty and Staff News

Dr. Michael Forthman, an insect systematist, joined Dr. Christine W. Miller's laboratory as a Postdoctoral Associate. Dr. Forthman received a B.S. in Biology at the University of Arkansas - Little Rock in 2008. He conducted post-baccalaureate studies in Entomology at the University of Wisconsin - Madison. He received a Ph.D. in Entomology from the University of California - Riverside in 2016. Dr. Forthman is working towards constructing a phylogeny of the Coreidae to investigate the evolution of fighting styles and hind leg weapon diversification.

insect prints

ABOVE: Images of prints by Maria Sibylla Merian, Mark Catesby and Moses Harris, courtesy of the Harn Museum of Art. You may have noticed insects making their way to unexpected places around UF recently... and you are invited to visit them all by following the Insect-Art Trail across campus, curated and coordinated by Dr. Andrea Lucky. This series of exhibits highlights insects and insect-inspired art by showcasing the importance of insects as inspiration in arts, crafts, literature and technology. As you know, insects represent more than pests and pollinators in our culture – they are also symbols of joy, fear, rejuvenation, abundance and power. This show reveals the presence of insects in unexpected places, including jewelry, quilts, children’s books and more. To find your own winged inspiration, just follow the trail…  

Insects in library

ABOVE: Look out for insects in books the next time you visit the Marston Science Library. The exhibit entitled The Insect World in Children’s Literature showcases the role of insects in books selected from UF's Baldwin Library of Historical Children's Literature. The exhibit was curated by Dr. Andrea Lucky, with assistance from undergraduates Ms. Michelle Dunbar (in photo, left) and Ms. Sage Thompson.

Beetle art opening

ABOVE: Can a beetle make art? Everyone is invited to visit an exhibit of insect-created wood carvings. Dr. Jiri Hulcr has been collecting bark beetle calligraphy around the world for over a decade and the finest pieces are now on display at the Newins Ziegler hall, home of the School of Forest Resources and Conservation. The mini-gallery was officially opened on March 17th in a true art and science collaboration spirit, attended by the CALS Dean Elaine Turner, IFAS Associate Dean for research John Davis, the Director of the Harn Museum of Art Rebecca M. Nagy and the Harn Museum Director of Education Eric Seagal. The exhibit will close on April 30th. This exhibit is a part of the Insect-Art Trail across campus coordinated by Dr. Andrea Lucky.

Dr. James P. Cuda and his former undergraduate student Mr. Kenyatta Nichols were featured in a presentation on March 31st about invasive plant control on public lands.  The presentation titled Tackling Invasive Species at the Landscape Level: Lessons Learned from South Florida and the Everglades, was part of the 2016 Invasive Species Webinar Series co-hosted by the Environmental Law Institute and the National Invasive Species Council.   

Dr. James P. Cuda attended a Faculty Workshop titled International Research Compliance that was held at the UF International Center, March 18th. The workshop was sponsored by the International Center’s Office for Global Research Engagement.

In the News!

We have a new addition to our Entomology & Nematology family! Dr. Thomas Chouvenc and Ericka Helmick are happy to welcome a little girl to this world, with a name that may please some entomologists or astronomists : Io Chouvenc-Helmick was born on April 7th. 

Dr. Thomas Chouvenc's work with subterranean termites was featured in Entomology Today. In his study of age polytheism, he observed that older worker termites are not only highly involved in foraging and proctodeal trophallaxis, but they also are responsible for grooming the queen and cleaning the royal cell.

Dr. Chouvenc's has a video on YouTube you should watch, it shows a large swarming event of the Asian subterranean termite in Ft. Lauderdale.

An Entomology Today article about the resurgence of the Atala butterfly in South Florida referenced Sandy Koi's research (previously published in the Florida Entomologist). This article has  since been shared over one thousand times!

Student and Alumni News

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The graduate committee voted to award Ms. Vanessa Simoes Dias De Castro the 2016 Pauline O. Lawrence Scholarship in Physiology/Biochemistry/Toxicology. The amount of the award is $1,500.

Spider researchers

ABOVE: Several undergraduate students from Dr. Lisa Taylor’s lab recently attended and presented posters at the annual UF Undergraduate Research Symposium on March 24th at the Reitz Union (from left to right: Lauren Gawel, Lauren Holian, Collette Cook, Michelle Brock, Jeff Coco, and Winnie Zhang).  

Ms. Patricia Prade, a Ph.D. student in the laboratory of Dr. James P. Cuda, presented a paper at the Florida Exotic Pest Plant Council Conference. The paper was titled Host specificity of Calophya terebinthifolii, a biological control candidate for Brazilian peppertree in Florida, and was co-authored Dr. James P. Cuda and Dr. William A. Overholt. Ms. Prade, won 3rd place in the Student Presentation Competition and was awarded $2,000 from the FLEPPC Julia Morton Invasive Plant Research Grant Program. Congratulations Patricia! 

Ms. Rachel Watson, an undergraduate student in the laboratory of Dr. James P. Cuda, was awarded a $470 Entomology Travel Scholarship on March 22nd to attend the ICE meeting in Orlando, FL, in September. Congratulations Rachel! 

Ms. Patricia Prade presented a poster on her Master’s research at the 2016 Brazilian Graduate Students Conference (BRASCON) held at Harvard University, March 12th and 13th. BRASCON promotes professional development of Brazilian graduate students and postdocs in the STEM disciplines. The poster, which was co-authored by Dr. William A. Overholt and Dr. James P. Cuda, was titled, Galls induced by Calophya latiforceps (Hemiptera: Calophyidae) reduce photosynthesis, chlorophyll and leaf growth of Brazilian peppertree.

Mr. Luis Aristizábal's talk Integrated management of chilli thrips, Scirtothrips dorsalis Hood, on ornamental roses, delivered before the Florida Academy of Sciences at its 80th Annual Meeting at the University of South Florida St. Petersburg, has been recognized as the Honorable Mention Graduate Student Oral Presentation by the Agricultural and Natural Resources Section of the Academy.

studebnts at conference

ABOVE: On March 12th, four undergraduate students from the Miller lab attended the 13th annual Southeastern Ecology and Evolution Conference. From left to right, students and their project titles: Tyler Herrington: Effects of autotomy on male-male competition, Danny Kiehl: Keys to survival: impacts of dropping injured limbs, Itai Meirom: Coreid limb loss and autotomy, Paige Carlson: attendee. All four undergraduates did a phenomenal job representing the University of Florida, the Entomology and Nematology Department, and the Miller Lab, especially Danny Kiehl who was a runner up for the best undergraduate poster presentation!

Mr. David Owens successfully defended his dissertation titled Bioecology of attraction and reproduction in maize-infesting Ulidiidae on April 1st.

booth at conference

ABOVE: Ms. Natasha Agramonte participated in the MANRRS 2016 National Conference in Jacksonville, Florida March 30th to April 2nd. She was there on behalf of the USDA-ARS to talk about her work with mosquito repellent and insecticide research, and was able to speak with many minority students about our UF programs. The mission of the MANRRS conference is to promote academic and professional advancement by empowering minorities in agriculture, natural resources, and related sciences.

Lab News

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Need to name that bug? A host of experts are available to help Floridians identify any insect or related arthropod. If a mystery creature has six or more legs, the UF Insect ID Lab is the place to call.

bug of the month

ABOVE: Trees are leafing out and with that comes the early spring defoliators. Lyle’s yard is filled with oaks, which always have lots of moth caterpillars feeding on their leaves. One of his favorites is Lycia ypsilon (family Geometridae). Its color pattern is quite variable, and shown here are a couple of its common forms. As you can see, braconid parasitoids can be a problem. It has only one generation per year, with the pupa overwintering. Adults, called the woolly gray moth, eclose very early in the spring. The adult female is a bit unusual, it is wingless!

Lyle Buss is the UF/IFAS Insect ID Lab manager.

Think it might be a nematode problem? The Nematode Assay Laboratory serves Florida and other states by providing nematode assays and expert advice regarding nematode management.

For more information on the Nematode Assay Laboratory, please contact the lab manager Dr. Tesfa Mengistu.


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Chen X, Wong SWK, Stansly PA. 2016. Functional Response of Tamarixia radiata (Hymenoptera: Eulophidae) to Densities of Its Host, Diaphorina citri (Hemiptera: Psylloidea).  Annals of the Entomological Society of America, available online, pp.1-6.

Davis TJ, Kline DL, Kaufman PE. 2016. Aedes albopictus (Diptera: Culicidae) oviposition preference as influenced by container size and Buddleja davidii plants.  Journal of Medical Entomology 53: 273-278.DOI: 10.1093/jme/tjv201

Davis TJ, Kaufman PE, Tatem AJ, Hogsette JA, Kline DL. 2016. Development and evaluation of an attractive self-marking ovitrap to measure dispersal and determine skip oviposition in Aedes albopictus (Diptera: Culicidae) field populations.  Journal of Medical Entomology 53: 31-38. DOI: 10.1093/jme/tjv170

Kakkar G, Kumar V, Seal DR, Liburd OE, Stansly P. 2016. Predation by Neoseiulus cucumeris and Amblyseius swirskii on Thrips palmi and Frankliniella schultzei on cucumber. Biological Control 92: 85-91.

Larsen NA, Nuessly GS, Cherry RH. 2016. Efficacy of pyrethroid and neonicotinoid insecticides for Melanotus communis control in Florida Sugarcane. Journal of Applied Entomology. 10.1111/jen.12285

Shimwela MM, Narouei-Khandan HA, Halbert SE, Keremane ML, Minsavage GV, Massawe DP, Timilsina S, Jones JB, van Bruggen AHC. 2016. First occurrence of Diaphorina citri in East Africa, characterization of the Ca. Liberibacter species causing huanglongbing (HLB) in Tanzania, and potential further spread of D. citri and HLB in Africa and Europe. European Journal of Plant Pathology [accessed 7 April 2016].

New on Featured Creatures:

fruit-tree pinhole borer, Xyleborinus saxesenii Ratzeburg. Authors: Octavio A. Menocal Sandoval, Daniel Carrillo, Tropical Research and Education Center (TREC), Jiri Hulcr, School of Forest Resources and Conservation, Andrea Lucky, Entomology and Nematology Department, University of Florida.

cabbage webworm, Hellula rogatalis (Hulst). Authors: Deepak Shrestha and Susan E. Webb, Entomology and Nematology Department, University of Florida.

olive bud mite, Oxycenus maxwelli (Keifer, 1939). Authors: Shari Linn and Jennifer L. Gillett-Kaufman, University of Florida.

Do you have a favorite creature? Learn how to make it into a Featured Creatures!

Meetings and Presentations

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Dr. James P. Cuda attended 90th Annual Meeting of the ESA Southeastern Branch held in Raleigh, NC, March 13th to 16th. Cuda delivered a S1058 Symposium presentation titled Calophya terebinthifolii (Hemiptera: Calophidyidae), a Potential Biological Control Agent of Brazilian peppertree: Preliminary Results of a Field Impact Study in Gaspar, Santa Catarina, Brazil. The paper was co-authored by Cuda’s doctoral student Ms. Patricia Prade. 

Dr. James P. Cuda  was an invited speaker at the 2016 Annual Conference of the Florida Exotic Pest Plant Council held in Melbourne, FL, March 9th to 11th. Cuda’s presentation, which was titled Native Range Assessment of the Impact on Brazilian Peppertree by a Potential Biological Control Agent, Calophya terebinthifolii (Hemiptera: Calophidyidae): Preliminary Results, was co-authored by Dr. William A. Overholt and Ms. Patricia Prade.  Cuda also was the moderator for the Student Oral Presentation Session.

Dr. Billy Crow presented New nematicides for 2016 at Florida Turfgrass Association educational seminars in Plant City and Estero on March 1st and March 3rd, respectively.

Dr. Billy Crow presented Diagnosis and management of nematodes in lawns and landscapes at Florida Turfgrass Association educational seminars in Plant City and Estero on March 1st and March 3rd, respectively.

Dr. Billy Crow presented Nematodes on cool season turf at the BrightView (formerly ValleyCrest) Golf national meeting in Davenport, FL on March 2nd.

Dr. Billy Crow presented Nematodes on warm season turf at the BrightView (formerly ValleyCrest) Golf national meeting in Davenport, FL on March 2nd.

Dr. Billy Crow presented Nematodes in Florida lawns and landscapes at the Git'em Done CEU day put on by Manatee County Extension on March 24th.

Dr. Phil Stansly Jose Castillo and Amy L. Roda gave a talk 90th Annual Meeting of the Southeastern Branch of ESA, March 13th to 16th. The talk was titled Evaluation of Nesidiocoris tenuis (Hemiptera: Miridae) for control of the whitefly Bemisia tabaci(Hemiptera: Aleyrodidae) in tomato.

Dr. Phil Stansly. The Florida Entomological Society update. The 13th Arbovirus Surveillance and Mosquito Control Workshop. March 29th to 31st. 

Dr. Phil Stansly. Pest and beneficial insects and mites in Florida vegetable crops. Florida Small Farms and Alternative Enterprises Conference. April 1st to 2nd. 

Dr. Jawwad Qureshi. Integrated Management of Asian citrus psyllid. 2016 Florida Citrus Grower Institute. April 5th to 6th.

Dr. Jacqueline Miller recently visited the Bahamas and gave the following invited presentations:

Butterflies and Moths in the Bahamas: From Macro to Micro. Bahamas National Trust Regional Meeting, Rand Institute, Freeport, Grand Bahama Island, March 8th.

Natural History and Lepidoptera, Preliminary organization meeting of city leaders, scientists, and concerned environmentalists on  Freeport, Grand Bahama Island for the development of a Natural History Museum at the Garden of Groves on March 9th.

Preliminary Results on Surveys of Lepidoptera in Bahamas. Third  Bahamas Natural History Conference, sponsored by the Bahamas National Trust, College of the Bahamas, Nassau, March 14th to17th.


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From the Outreach Coordinator

A big thank you to the students and faculty who volunteered for last month’s outreach events.

  • March 4th and 5th- Bee College- Dr. Rebecca Baldwin
  • March 12th- Lake Nona High School departmental tour-  Erin Powell, Matt Moore
  • March 12th and 13th- Marion Master Gardener Spring festival- Michael Gonzalez, Michael Samuels, Sage Thompson, Sarah Bernard

    • The Marion County Master Gardeners Spring Festival Committee and especially I, the Queen Bee, wish to THANK YOU, THANK YOU, THANK YOU so very much for participating in our Kids Garden Zone this year.  It was a raging success, with visits of over 1,200 people!! 

  • March 25th- Classical Conversations homeschool group tour- Erin Powell
  • April 2nd- Bug Fest- Entomology Club

Upcoming Events

  • April 15th- Homeschool department tour
  • April 20th- Homeschool department tour
  • April 21st- Oak Hammock lecture
  • April 29th- J.J. Finley Elementary School

spider love
Sarah Nguyentran shows the Chilean rose hair tarantula to Bug Fest visitors. Photograph by Stefani Harrison.

The live critters are always a hit with children and adults alike. The critters are available for you to check out should you be leading an outreach event. We have doubles of our most popular critters, as well as various native insect species depending on the time of year. We have large wood and Plexiglas cages for viewing our native orb weaving spiders. There is one travel cage and one larger static cage. Please be sure to contact us and review the protocol on transporting and handling the critters if you are not already familiar with it. If you lead an outreach, be sure to fill out a documentation form so your event can be included in the newsletter and we can log all outreach events.

Bug Fest
Bug Fest 2016 was a hit! We had over 400 visitors to our annual departmental open house. The Entomology Club did a wonderful job organizing this event and expertly worked around the rough weather to make this event a success. Participants went “around the world in 80 bugs” and the department was transformed into a globe of exciting activities and exhibits.

vols at bugfest
ABOVE: The undergraduate Entomology club organizes and hosts BugFest each year. Photograph by Stefani Harrison.

Roach racing, nocturnal, aquatic, and exotic insect and arthropod displays, honey tasting, hive demonstrations, arthropod petting zoo, maggot art, cricket spitting, termite trails, and corn hole were some of the exciting stops to fill your passport. Participants also enjoyed informational talks on Zika virus, insects in art, international travel, and spider biology. 

Visitors were given the opportunity to try out the world of entomophagy with mealworm hummus, cricket flour carrot cake, candied crickets, roasted crickets, mealworm rice krispie treats, mealworm cookies, and “bugnana” bread. Insect free popcorn, snow cones, and cotton candy were also offered. ENSO, UES, and the Entomology Club set up booths to sell bug merchandise and DPM and Entomology offered educational booths to learn about the programs offered. Thank you to all of the volunteers that made this event possible.

andre with kids

ABOVE: Andre Szejner teaches participants about the exotic tarantulas. Photograph by Stefani Harrison.

If you have any questions, please email me.

Thank you — Erin Powell, Outreach Coordinator.

If you would like to schedule an event or have any outreach questions, go to the Outreach pages on our Bug Club website and contact us.

Getting social!

We have several social media sites for the Entomology & Nematology Department. To make them easily searchable, all three (YouTube, Facebook and Twitter) have the same page name: UFEntomology. Please share these links with past students or colleagues who may have an interest in departmental activities.


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Virni Mattson, our grants specialist, reports that the grant reporting system is down, she will have an update for us next month!


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The Taylor lab is looking for two summer volunteer research assistants to collect jumping spiders and to help feed and care for our lab colony of jumping spiders and their insect prey. We specifically need people who can work 1-2 hours in the lab any time of the day on M, W, and F (for feeding) as well as to devote an additional 1-2 hours per week to collecting spiders, as needed. Availability over the entire summer is ideal, but not required.

While the main duty will initially be feeding and collecting spiders, there may be other opportunities for getting involved in research in the lab. The research assistants must be very responsible and reliable and able to work both independently and as part of the research team (~10 researchers). Previous research experience is not required and all training will be provided. If interested, please contact Dr. Lisa Taylor by email (lisa.taylor@ufl.edu) with the subject heading RESEARCH ASSISTANT.

Register for Insect Field Camp 2016

It is again time to register for the Insect Field Camp to be held at the Entomology and Nematology Department (Steinmetz Hall). This summer, the camp will run from June 20-24 from 8:30-4:00. The cost of the camp is $175 per camper. There is a discount of $25 per camper if there are multiple campers from the same immediate family ($150 each). If you are a former camper, and are now in High School (14 years old or older), you may register for the camp as a Junior Leader. Please indicate that when you register. The cost for Jr. Leaders will be $125 per camper. Jr. Leaders will have some time during the camp to take a campus tour and to visit some of the research labs within the department. Please visit our website for registration forms.  We look forward to seeing you in June!

Rudy award

ABOVE: AMCA President Dr. Kenneth Linthicum (left, Dept Courtesy faculty), Director of the CMAVE, USDA/ARS, Gainesville, FL, presents the meritorious Service Award to Executive Director Dr. Rui-De Xue, Anastasia Mosquito Control District, St. Augustine, FL, at the 82nd Annual meeting of the AMCA, Savannah, Georgia, February 7-11, 2016  (photo by Dr. Rick Duhrkopf). The plaque reads: In recognition of outstanding service to the AMCA for contributions to the science of mosquito biology and behavior and for development of operational mosquito control strategies.

About this Newsletter

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Dr. Jennifer Gillett-Kaufman is the newsletter editor and does the HTML coding. Issues usually are published by mid-month. Submit items for an issue by the seventh of that month.

We like to share news when it happens using our social media outlets: Twitter, Facebook and YouTube. Follow us on these sites for daily updates! When you send news, we will post it on one or more of these sites and again in the monthly newsletter. Please be sure you have permission from people in photographs you submit for publication.

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Special thanks to Haleigh Ray and Nancy Sanders, who reviewed the newsletter for errors, and to Jane Medley and Don Wasik, who built the web page design.