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January 13th, 2015

Zach Nolan with his poster

ABOVE: Undergraduate researcher Zach Nolen from the Miller Lab presented a poster at the Society of Integrative and Comparative Biology meeting. Read more about this event in the Student and Alumni News section below.

Faculty and Staff News

Dr. James P. Cuda was selected to be a Fulbright Scholar to Brazil on 24 December. Cuda will be conducting field research on Brazilian peppertree at the  Universidade Regional de Blumenau, Santa Catarina, Brazil, during 2015-2016. 

Dr. James P. Cuda was re-appointed to serve another term on the IFAS Invasive Plant Working Group. The purpose of the working group is to develop science based assessments of species to determine their actual and potential impacts on natural systems, and to standardize IFAS recommendations throughout the state.

Gift Makes Possible New Insect Species Discoveries at Florida Museum

The Center for Systematic Entomology (CSE) in Gainesville, Florida, has recently received a donation of $100,000 from its founder and first President Dr. Robert E. Woodruff. Since its inception more than 30 years ago, the Center has been a support organization for the Florida State Collection of Arthropods (FSCA), one of the largest insect collections in the United States. The CSE provides grants to entomologists to study insects and other arthropods in the FSCA and also publishes research on insect diversity in its journal, Insecta Mundi. This gift will be used to identify and catalog hundreds of thousands of specimens collected over Dr. Woodruff's career, especially from the Caribbean, Central, and South America. Once these specimens are available for study, entomologist will be able to describe the many new species among them. Dr. Woodruff hopes his donation will encourage others to support the study of insect biodiversity at the FSCA.

Student and Alumni News

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Dr. Eva Buckner was the recipient of our departmental John A. Mulrennan, Sr. Outstanding Ph.D. Student Award. The Mulrennan award includes a cash award of $1000.  Eva’s dissertation research was co-advised by Dr. L. Philip Lounibos and Dr. Barry Alto.

Miller lab poster

ABOVE: Three students from the Miller Lab presented talks and posters at the Society of Integrative and Comparative Biology meeting (photo by Dr. Jennifer Hamel). The SICB meeting was held in West Palm Beach from January 3-7th. Dr. Jennifer Hamel, former postdoctoral researcher in the Miller Lab, spoke about a project accomplished while she was here in the department, "Are female mating decisions adaptive when environments vary? A test using natural resource variation."

Allen PE, Miller CW. 2015. Potential adaptive plasticity of mouthparts and its sex-specific consequences. Oral presentation.

Nolen ZJ, Allen P, Miller CW. 2015. The relationship between territory quality and male competition intensity in the cactus bug, Narnia femorata​. Poster presentation.

Somjee U, Miller CW. 2015. Weapons and testes: Expression of sexually selected traits across species in the Coreidae. Poster presentation.

Zach Kaplan and Dr. Rebecca Baldwin were featured are currently featured on the UF Homepage segment “In a Perfect World” about real world experiences for UF Students.

Here is a story written by Zach about his experience:

I have returned to the University of Florida after completing a one-of-a-kind opportunity. Over the past six months, I worked as a professional intern at the Land pavilion in Walt Disney World’s Epcot. In this experience I received a taste of what it is like to work in my field of study: entomology.

At the Land pavilion, agricultural crops from around the world are being grown in several greenhouses, which is why there is no surprise that there are a myriad of pests to manage. In the professional internship I was able to apply the same IPM techniques that I had learned in my classes to control spiders and broad mites, thrips, mealybugs etc. At the same time I was able to learn more about the plants themselves, not only the pests that damage them.

I believe it is valuable to understand the processes and techniques used in both crop production and entomology, since plants and insects have a very close relationship.The career experience is not the only thing that makes the Disney professional internships invaluable, it is also the people. Working at a place where everyone clearly enjoys what they are doing makes it feel like I am not working at all. I also will not forget all of the friends I have met throughout the past six months. Even though we live all over the United States, these are people I will always talk to which makes the whole experience truly magical.

Zach at the Land in Epcot

ABOVE: Zach Kaplan presents a lecture at the Land pavilion in Walt Disney World’s Epcot.

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.

It was a busy year in the Insect Identification Lab. Lyle processed 568 physical samples in the Insect ID Lab in 2014.  He also responded to 600 identification requests using digital images. About 510 of the digital IDs were over e-mail, and the other 90 samples came via DDIS (UF’s Distance Diagnostic and Identification System).  He did not complete all these samples single-handedly, of course, but relied on the help of many entomologists in our department, at FDACS Division of Plant Industry, and elsewhere in the US.

Lyle Buss is the 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.

The lab determines the types and numbers of plant-parasitic nematodes in soil and plant samples. In 2014, the lab processed a total of 3,793 samples. Of these, 2,812  were Extension samples submitted for diagnosis and advice; and 981 were research samples. In addition to the samples processed for diagnosis and advice, 208 samples were submitted and processed for root health assessment. 

The Nematode Assay lab also provides molecular identification of nematodes to the species level. Since its launch in 2011, the lab has processed more than 400 samples for molecular characterization of root-knot nematodes. We planned to expand this service to multiple species in 2015.

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


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Aksenov AA, Martini X, Zhao W, Stelinski LL, Davis CE. 2014. Synthetic blends of volatile, phytopathogen-induced odorants can be used to manipulate vector behavior. Frontiers in Ecology and Evolution. 2: 78. doi: 10.3389/fevo.2014.00078.

Cuda JP, Wineriter SA, Buckingham GR, Center TD, Gioeli KT. 2014. Picudo de la melaleuca (nombre comun sugerido Oxyops vitiosa (Pascoe) (Insecta: Coleoptera: Curculionidae). UF Department of Entomology and Nematology, December.  http://edis.ifas.ufl.edu/IN1020

Halbert SE, Dixon WN. 2014. Potato psyllid, Bactericera cockerelli (Hemiptera: Psyllidae). A pest of Solanaceae and vector of plant pathogens established in the Western USA. DPI Pest Alert.

Russell DN, Qureshi JA, Halbert SE, Stansly PA. 2014. Host susceptibility of citrus and Zanthoxylum for Leuronota fagarae Burckhardt and Diaphorina citri Kuwayama (Hemiptera: Psylloidea). Florida Entomologist 97: 1481-1492.

New on Featured Creatures:

Rice bug, Leptocorisa acuta (Thunberg). Authors: Amelio Chi Serrano, Russell F. Mizell, III, and Morgan A. Byron, University of Florida.

Wedge-shaped beetles, Ripiphorus spp. Authors: David Owens, Ashley N. Mortensen, Jeanette Klopchin, William Kern, Jamie D. Ellis, Entomology and Nematology Department, University of Florida

Tawny crazy ant, Nylanderia fulva (Mayr). Authors: Shweta Sharma, John Warner and Rudolph H. Scheffrahn, Entomology and Nematology Department, University of Florida

Chicken mite, Dermanyssus gallinae (De Geer). Authors: Ethan Carter and Jennifer L. Gillett-Kaufman, University of Florida

Squash vine borer, Melittia cucurbitae (Harris). Authors: Eutychus Kariuki and Jennifer L. Gillett-Kaufman, University of Florida.

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

Meetings and Presentations

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Dr. James P. Cuda was an invited speaker for the Annual Meeting of the Florida Industrial and Phosphate Research Institute’s Technical Advisory Committee held in Bartow, Florida, on January 7th. Cuda provided an update on his Brazilian peppertree biological control research project.


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From the Outreach Coordinator

With the new semester, we have a new Education and Outreach coordinator, Erin Powell. Erin is a second semester Master’s student working on arachnids in Dr. Lisa Taylor’s lab.

Upcoming events:

  • The Florida State Fair will be February 5th through the 16th. We will be doing a CSI exhibit and need volunteers. There are volunteer signup sheets in the front office, on the Entomology Club board, and outside Dr. Baldwin’s office. You may also email me to sign up for a time. We will need at least 3 volunteers for each day of the fair. Friends outside our department are also welcome to come along to volunteer. Every volunteer will receive a free lunch voucher, fair ticket, and transportation is available. We will be departing at 7:00am and returning around 7:00pm each day. The actual tabling times are from 9:00am-5:00pm. Thank you to those who have already signed up for a time!
  • January 13th Littlewood Elementary, STEM Night 5:30-7:30
  • January 24th Boy Scout, Buc Tuocs Event in Melrose
  • February 10th Homeschool Insect Adventure, Rosa B. Williams Center 10:30 AM

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.

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 from December 1st to December 31st, 2014, we have had 7 new grants or contracts awarded (and one reduction) for a total of $522,743.50 in external funding for all Entomology & Nematology faculty (in Gainesville and at RECs).

Dr. James P. Cuda was awarded a $55,500 grant from the Florida Industrial and Phosphate Research Institute to support the third year of his Brazilian peppertree biological control research project.     


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On January 30th at 3:30 in room 1031, the Entomology and Nematology Department will recognize the 2014-2015 Undergraduate Scholarship recipients and the families who donated the scholarship funds with a cake and punch reception. Please RSVP to Dr. Rebecca Baldwin by January 23rd if you would like to attend the event.

Undergraduate Scholarships Include:

Milledge Murphey Memorial Scholarship
Dr. Murphey was an outstanding educator at UF, and well-liked by his students, many of which contributed to this endowment in his honor.

John A. Mulrennan, Sr. Scholarship
Dr. Mulrennan has a very successful career in medical entomology and did much to advance mosquito management in Florida and to alleviate mosquito-transmitted diseases. Undergraduate majors may qualify for this award based on scholarship and financial need. Interest in a career in medical entomology is preferred.

Earl Dixon, Jr. Scholarship
R. Earl Dixon established this scholarship in memory of his son, Robert E. Dixon. Department majors with interest in agricultural or urban pest management may apply for this scholarship, which is awarded based on scholarship, financial need, leadership, professional potential.

Carolyn D. Richardson Scholarship
R. Earl Dixon established this scholarship in recognition of his daughter, Carolyn D. Richardson. Department majors with interest in agricultural or urban pest management may apply for this scholarship, which is awarded based on scholarship, financial need, leadership, professional potential.

Lawrence Hetrick Scholarship/Fellowship
Active in many professional associations, Dr. Hetrick captivated students and audiences with his imaginative and detailed accounts of nature.  Department majors may apply, with the award based on scholarship, financial need, leadership.

Everett M. Mitchell Scholarship/Fellowship
Everett Mitchell established this scholarship to support student interested in biological control or integrated pest management. A former USDA scientist, Dr. Mitchell was known for pioneering research involving pheromones and biological control.

Joseph L. Knapp Scholarship/Fellowship
A long-time faculty member in the Department, Dr. Knapp was known for his work in citrus pest management. Department students interested in a career in agricultural entomology may apply.

Dempsey Sapp Urban Entomology Scholarship
This award honors department graduate Dempsey Sapp who went on to develop the "Florida Pest Control and Chemical Company", one of the nation's largest independent pest control Companies.

David F. Williams Scholarship/Fellowship
This award was established by David F. Williams, noted medical and urban entomologist. This award is made to undergraduate majors based on professional potential.

UF library services available to our department!

Associate University Librarian Michelle Leonard is available to conduct hands-on workshops in the computer lab at Marston or in our department.

She is offering workshops on the following:

  • Conducting research  http://guides.uflib.ufl.edu/entomology (understanding the research process)
  • Responsible Conduct of Research http://guides.uflib.ufl.edu/stemrcr (or a specific component)
  • Data Management Planning (for grants), and using the Data Management Tool
    Mendeley, Endnote, RefWorks citation tools (great resource for students, post docs and faculty)
  • Altmetrics –social impact factors and scholarship (great resource for grad students, post docs and faculty)
  • 3D Services @ Marston: 3d printing, 3d scanning http://guides.uflib.ufl.edu/3dprinter

She is also happy to create research guides on specific courses where a library or research component is required.

Michelle Leonard
Environmental Engineering Sciences & Natural Resources
Marston Science Library, 209A

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 7th 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.

UF-Bugnews-L listserv subscribers receive notices when issues are posted. Our home page has instructions for subscribing and unsubscribing.

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.