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January 14th, 2016


ABOVE: Michael Gonzalez presents to pre-schoolers at La Petite day care as part of our outreach activities.

Faculty and Staff News

Dr. Jennina Taylor-Wells of Oxford Brookes University in the UK will be joining Dr. Jeff Bloomquist's lab as a postdoc this month.

Dr. Thomas Chouvenc in the ESA news said, “We hope that the consortium approach could be a model for a scientific community to tackle taxonomic hard cases as a group rather than as dueling researchers. We believe that the consensus reached by the consortium may serve as a road map to provide a strong incentive to solve controversies within the Coptotermes genus in a foreseeable timeframe, and ultimately this approach could be applied to other important insect genera.”

Read more at: Revisiting Coptotermes (Isoptera: Rhinotermitidae): a global taxonomic road map for species validity and distribution of an economically important subterranean termite genus

Student and Alumni News

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Winner of the Departmental Mulrennan Award for best thesis in the department in 2015: Tyler Vitone - From pavement to population genomics: citizen science and ddRADseq partner to characterize the introduced pavement ant, Tetramorium caespitum, and enhance student engagement with science. Chair Dr. Andrea Lucky.

Winner of the Mulrennan Award as best dissertation in the Department in 2015: Dr. Yao (Juliana) Xu - Biological studies on the gut symbiont Burkholderia associated with Blissus insularis (Hemiptera: Blissidae). Chair: Dr. Drion Boucias and co-chair: Dr. Eileen Buss.

Departmental nomination to present a paper at the 3rd Annual Statewide Graduate Student Research Symposium to be hosted by UF on April 22nd, 2016. Denis Willett - Agricultural and ecological implications of interspecific social behavioral plasticity in entomopathogenic nematodes. Chair Dr. Lukasz Stelinski.

fall 2015 graduates

ABOVE: Our fall 2015 doctoral graduates (in blue) with our Graduate Coordinator (in black). From left to right Dr. Caroline Efstathion, Dr. Garima Kakkar, Dr. Heather McAuslane and Dr. Yao "Juliana" Xu.

Lauren Cirino has been awarded the Sigma Xi Grant-in-Aid to support her research project entitled “Effects of male quality and territory quality on female mate choice.” Lauren works with leaf-footed cactus bugs, Narnia femorata, in Dr. Christine Miller’s evolutionary ecology lab.

“The Sigma Xi Grants-in-Aid of Research (GIAR) program has provided undergraduate and graduate students with valuable educational experiences since 1922. By encouraging close working relationships between students and mentors, the program promotes scientific excellence and achievement through hands-on learning.”

Vanessa Simoes Dias de Castro, a Ph.D. candidate in Entomology, along with 16 other participants are organizing the first Brazilian Graduate Students Conference (BRASCON) at Harvard University on March 12th and 13th, 2016. The BRASCON promotes activities to enable integration, communication, and professional development for Brazilian graduate students in the United States within the research fields of Science, Technology, Engineering, and Mathematics (STEM).  Registration is now open and abstract submission is due by February 15th 2016. Online registration and submission: www.brasconference.org/en. See the Meetings and Presentations section below for a full color advertisement for BRASCON.

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.

corron stainers on cotton

ABOVE: Lately Lyle has received several reports of cotton stainers, Dysdercus suturellus. They are bright red (especially the nymphs) and often feed in groups, so they really attract attention. As their name suggests, they like to feed on cotton bolls, but they feed on several other plants as well. Check out the Featured Creatures article on cotton stainers. Photos by Annisa Karim, Lee County Department of Parks & Recreation, Ft. Myers, Florida.

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 lab managerDr. Tesfa Mengistu.


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Bingham AM, Burkett-Cadena ND, Hassan HK, Unnasch TR. 2015. Vector competence and capacity of Culex erraticus (Diptera: Culicidae) for Eastern Equine Encephalitis Virus in the Southeastern United States.
Journal of Medical Entomology. pii: tjv195.

Davis TJ, Kaufman, PE, Hogsette JA, Kline DL. 2015. The effects of larval habitat quality on Aedes albopictus (Skuse) (Diptera: Culicidae) skip oviposition.  Journal of the American Mosquito Control Association 31: 321-328. DOI: 10.2987/moco-31-04-321-328.1

Sourakov A, Plotkin D, Kawahara AY, Xiao L, Hallwachs W, Janzen D. 2015. On the taxonomy of the erythrina moths Agathodes and Terastia (Crambidae: Spilomelinae): Two different patterns of haplotype divergence and a new species of Terastia. Tropical Lepidoptera Research 25(2): 80-98.

New on Featured Creatures:

Broad-tipped conehead katydid, Neoconocephalus triops (L.). Authors: Shari Linn and Jennifer L. Gillett-Kaufman, Entomology and Nematology Department, University of Florida.

Stable fly, Stomoxys calcitrans (L.). Authors: Phillip E. Kaufman, and Emma N. I. Weeks, Entomology and Nematology Department, 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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What is Brasscon


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From the Outreach Coordinator

A big thank you to the students and faculty who volunteered for our December outreach events.

  • December 4th- La Petite day care- Michael Gonzalez
  • December 4th- YOPP Inc. science days collaboration with NRDI- Deepak Shrestha and Erin Powell
  • December 7th- Glen Springs Elementary 3rd grade class- Dr. Marc Branham and Erin Powell
  • December 21st- La Petite day care- Michael Gonzalez

Upcoming Events-

  • 30 January- Morningside Nature Center
  • 1 February- CPET Tour
  • 3 February- Marion Environmental science class tour
  • 4-15 February- Florida State Fair
  • 13 February- Buc Toucs at Camp Shands

michael in costume
Michael Gonzalez presents to pre-schoolers at La Petite day care as part of our outreach activities.

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, will report on grants in February!


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The “Amazing Pests” Award
The annual student award for the “Appreciation for the Biology of Insect Pests” has its winner for the year 2015. The award, administered by the Forest Entomology Lab at the University of Florida (Jiri Hulcr) and sponsored by the TREE foundation in Sarasota, FL, encourages students to transcend the border between fundamental and applies entomology. Each year, peer reviewed papers authored by students are scored by a committee from across three universities. The papers are judged by their originality, out-of-the-box thinking, and a “coolness” factor. The author of the winning publication receives a reward of $500. This year’s winner has just been selected: http://www.ambrosiasymbiosis.org/2016/01/congratulations-2015-winner/. We highly encourage our ENY students to apply for the award in the next year with their own innovative, cool papers on the amazing insect pests!

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.

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.