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April 16th, 2013

Field trip

ABOVE: Dr. Larry Duncan uses Socratic pedagogical methodologies to teach the NEM6708 Field Plant Nematology class about the dangers of nematodes to Citrus.

Faculty and Staff News

Dr. Oscar Liburd has been elected by the IFAS faculty for a three year membership in the University Senate beginning Fall 2013.

Dr. Susan Webb has been elected by faculty in the Entomology & Nematology Department for a three year membership in the IFAS Assembly beginning Fall 2013.

Dr. Christine W. Miller won the 2013 UF-HHMI Science for Life Distinguished Mentor Award for her dedication to promoting undergraduate research at the University of Florida. Dr. Miller has mentored 26 undergraduates in her laboratory in the past five years, including students in the University Scholars Program and HHMI Science for Life Program. Six manuscripts involving undergraduate authors have been published or are in review at major scientific journals. In addition, Dr. Miller co-taught a course in 2012, where authentic research was brought into the undergraduate classroom, reaching an additional 25 undergraduate students. She is currently seeking funding to further enhance undergraduate science education at UF.

The book Insect Molecular Genetics, Third Edition, will be published May 3. It is available from Amazon.com. The author is Dr. Marjorie A. Hoy. This text is used in the course Insect Molecular Genetics, which will be offered this Fall semester 2013.

Dr. Billy Crow was surprised on 18 March by Yellow Slime Mold growing in his office

ABOVE: Dr. Billy Crow was surprised on March18th by yellow slime mold (Physarum polycephalum) growing in his office! To the best of our knowledge this is a first for a faculty member in our department and is surely a sign of his scientific prowess (or that he needs to clean his office).

Yellow slime mold is a multinucleate, single-celled, amoeboid organism that feeds on decomposing plant matter. It forms macroscopic colonies of plasmodium such as in Dr. Crow's office for purposes of reproduction. This is an amazing organism, whose colonies have been shown the ability to solve mazes.

Congratulations are in order to two post doctoral associates working in the Hahn Lab.

  • Dr. Giancarlo Lopez-Martinez has been offered a position as a tenure track assistant professor in the Department of Biology at New Mexico State University in Las Cruces.
  • Dr. Caroline Williams has been offered a position as a tenure track assistant professor in the Department of Integrative Biology at the University of California in Berkley. 

Dr. James P. Cuda was a guest instructor for Aquatic Weed Control (AGR6932), a graduate level course in the Agronomy Department. Cuda gave a lecture on biological control of aquatic weeds on March 18th and conducted a field laboratory exercise at the Center for Aquatic and Invasive Plants on March 20th.

Student News

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Sulley Ben-Mahmoud's oral presentation titled "Targeting Diaprepes abbreviatus (Coleoptera: Curculionidae) cathepsin L1 for inhibition as part of a transgenic strategy in citrus," delivered before the Florida Academy of Sciences at its 77th Annual Meeting at Barry University on March 8th, has been recognized as the Outstanding Graduate Student Oral Paper. Dr. Ron Caveand Dr. Robert Shatters (USDA) are co-chairs for Sulley.

Evelien van Ekert's oral presentation titled "Targeting juvenile hormone metabolic genes in the Asian citrus psyllid (Diaphorina citri Kuwayama) as a strategy to reduce the spread of citrus greening disease," delivered before the Florida Academy of Sciences at its 77th Annual Meeting at Barry University on March 8th, has been recognized as an Honorable Mention for a Graduate Student Oral Paper. Dr. Ron Cave and Dr. Robert Shatters (USDA) are co-chairs for Evelien.

Nastaran Tofangsazi’s poster presentation titled "Susceptibility of tropical sod webworm to entomopathogenic nematodes," presented at the Florida Academy of Sciences at its 77th Annual Meeting at Barry University on March 8th, has been recognized as the Outstanding Graduate Student Poster. Dr. Steve Arthurs and Dr. Ron Cherry are chair and co-chairs for Nastaran.

Aaron Pomerantz, a Master's student under the direction of Dr. Marjorie Hoy, was awarded the Spring 2013 ENSO Student Travel Grant. Aaron will receive $500 for travel expenses to the 7th Annual Arthropod Genomics Symposium. He will be presenting a poster titled "The genetics of sex determination in the parahaploid predatory mite Metaseiulus occidentalis (Nesbitt) (Acari: Phytoseiidae)."

We are pleased to announce the 2013-2014 College of Agricultural and Life Sciences Ambassadors!

The CALS Ambassadors are a select group of students in the University of Florida's College of Agricultural and Life Sciences who have demonstrated outstanding achievement in academics and student leadership. CALS Ambassadors support food, agriculture and natural resources throughout the state of Florida.

Entomology and Nematology CALS Ambassadors are James Fleming, Casey Parker, and Sabrina White.      

Over Spring Break, Dr. Billy Crow took the NEM 6708 Field Plant Nematology class on a week-long field trip throughout South Florida. The class was: Sudarshan Aryal (ENY), Richard Baidoo (ENY), Mengyi Gu (ENY), Wenjing Guan (Hort), Courtney Jackson (ENY), Kanan Kutsuwa (ENY), Tatiana Sanchez (DPM), David Sekora (ENY), Silvia Vao (ENY), Weimin Yuan (ENY), and Tian Xia (DPM).

The class visited Dr. Larry Duncan at CREC, Lake Alfred; Syngenta Flowers, Alva; Florida Crystals Sugar, South Bay; Dr. Palmateer, Dr. Ploetz, and Dr. Zhang at TREC, Homestead; Going Bananas, Homestead; Costa Farms, Homestead; Dr. Giblin-Davis, Dr. Scheffrahn, and Dr. Su at Ft. Lauderdale REC; the USDA Invasive Plant Research Laboratory, Ft. Lauderdale; Syngenta Crop Protection, Vero Beach; and the USDA Horticulture Research Laboratory, Ft. Pierce.

Aaron Pomerantz, a Master's student under the direction of Dr. Marjorie Hoy, presented his M.S. proposal on Friday, March 29th, entitled "Molecular genetics of sex determination in the parahaploid predatory mite Metaseiulus occidentalis (Nesbitt) (Acari: Phytoseiidae)."

The 10th Arbovirus Surveillance and Mosquito Control Workshop was held in St. Augustine, FL, March 26th to 28th.  Doctoral candidate Amanda Eiden presented a paper, "Evaluation of resistance mechanisms in brown dog tick (Rhipicephalus sanguineus) populations in Florida." Masters student Lucas Carnohan presented a paper, "Picking up the scent of a new method for brown dog tick management."  Both students are members of Dr. Phil Kaufman's laboratory and co-authors included Dr. Emma Weeks, Dr. Sandra Allan (USDA ARS CMAVE), Dr. Michael Dark (UF-Vet College) and Dr. Robert Miller (USDA ARS KBLIRL).

Julie Baniszewski, an undergraduate honors student working with Dr. Jim Cuda and Dr. Emma Weeks, has been accepted to take part in the Colorado Center for Biorefining and Biofuels undergraduate summer research fellowship program. Julie will be working at Colorado State University assessing sorghum physiology and environmental effects to enhance plant biomass for biofuels production.

Sabrina White has been chosen to participate in the 2013-2014 Undergraduate Scholars Program to pursue her research project on the physiology of irradiation damage in insects in the context of phytosanitary irradiation treatments of commodities in the Hahn lab. 

Julie Baniszewski an undergraduate honors student working with Dr. Jim Cuda and Dr. Emma Weeks, was also selected for inclusion in the 2013-2014 University Scholars Program.

Welcome to the Family!

Jason Graham, a doctoral candidate in Dr. Ellis's Lab, and his wife Alicia are proud to announce the birth of their first son, Felix Nash Graham, born 7:14 pm on April 1st (no joke), weighing 8 lbs and 1 oz and measuring 20.25 inches. Join us in welcoming Felix to the Entomology & Nematology family!

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. Lyle Buss is the Insect ID Lab manager.

Tiki pest

ABOVE: An interesting sample that Lyle received in March was a tiki hut pest from Naples. It is a noctuid moth named Simplicia cornicalis. The caterpillars feed on dead plant tissue, especially cut palm leaves that are used for thatch roofs in south Florida.

These caterpillars can do heavy aesthetic damage to the leaves, plus folks don’t appreciate the fecal pellets raining down on their food and drink. Lyle had a couple of similar cases from Hillsborough County last fall. This species is native to Asia, and was first found in Florida in 2006. Please let Lyle know if you see this insect!

Think it might be a nematode problem? The Nematode Assay Laboratory serves Florida and other states by providing nematode assay 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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Colla SR, Ascher JS, Arduser M, Cane J, Deyrup M, Droege S, Gibbs J, Griswold T, Hall HG, Henne C, Neff J, Jean RP, Rightmyer MG, Sheffield C, Veit M, Wolf A. 2012. Documenting persistence of most eastern North American bee species (Hymenoptera: Apoidea: Anthophila) to 1990-2009. Journal of the Kansas Entomological Society 85: 14-22.

Kumar V, Kakkar G, McKenzie CL, Seal DR, Osborne L. 2013. An Overview of Chilli Thrips, Scirtothrips dorsalis (Thysanoptera: Thripidae) Biology, Distribution and Management,  pp. 53-77.  In  Solenski S, Larramendy M (eds.). Weed and Pest Control - Conventional and New Challenges. Intech. Rijeka, Croatia.

Mukherjee A, Khan MR, Crow WT, Cuda JP. 2013.  Phytoparasitic nematodes associated with the rhizosphere of the aquatic weed Hygrophila polysperma. Journal of Aquatic Plant Management 50: 84-91.

Rozen JG Jr, Hall HG. 2012. Nesting biology and immatures of the oligolectic bee Trachusa larreae (Apoidea: Megachilidae: Anthidiini). American Museum Novitates 3765: 1-24.

Sourakov A. 2013. Two heads are better than one: False head allows Calycopis cecrops (Lycaenidae) to escape predation by a jumping spider, Phidippus pulcherrimus (Salticidae). Journal of Natural History DOI:10.1080/00222933.2012.759288

Sourakov A. 2012. On the biology of moths that feed on Erythrina in Florida. Tropical Lepidoptera Research 22: 110-118.

Sourakov A, Stubina M. 2012. Functional morphology of masquerading larva of Ceratonyx satanaria with notes on horned spanworm, Nematocampa resistaria (Geometridae: Ennominae). Tropical Lepidoptera Research 22: 53-59.

Tiwari S, Killiny N, Mann RS, Wenninger EJ, Stelinski LL. 2013. Abdominal color of the Asian citrus psyllid, Diaphorina citri, is associated with susceptibility to various insecticides. Pest Management Science 69: 535-541.

New on Featured Creatures:

All of our pages are now sporting a new look, we hope you like the new layout and functions!

Bagworm, Thyridopteryx ephemeraeformis Haworth. Authors: Brooke L. Moffis and Steven P. Arthurs.

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

Meetings and Presentations

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Dr. Marjorie Hoy is attending the Rose Rosette Disease Summit in Newark, Delaware, April 14th to 16th where she presents a talk on "Biological Control of Eriophyid Mites, Vectors of Rose Rosette Disease." The goal of the conference is to develop a comprehensive strategic research and education plan. The conference was organized by Star Roses and Plants and sponsored by All America Rose Selections and the Garden Rose Council.

Dr. Verena Lietze represented the Hydrilla IPM RAMP team at the "Sustaining Economies and Natural Resources in a Changing World: Key Role of Land Grant Universities" symposium held at the Reitz Union on April 2-3.  The team’s poster was entitled "Hydrilla Integrated Pest Management Risk Avoidance and Mitigation Project" and showcased the project's mission as well as recent research results.

Dr. James P. Cuda was an invited speaker for the FWC-IFAS Research Review for Invasive Plants in Florida held at the Plant Science Research and Education Unit, Citra, FL, March 12th and 13th. Cuda was a presenter and/or co-author on three presentations dealing with biological control of Brazilian peppertree and cogongrass.

Celebrated insect photographer Dr. Alexander Wild presented two seminars at UF on April 4th (host: Dr. Andrea Lucky). His research talk in the departmental seminar series, Traveling across the taxonomic divide: Tales from tropical wasps, offered a glimpse into the vast diversity of insect species that remain to be formally described. The talk was standing-room only, with approximately 70 people in the audience.

Alex Wild at the Harn

ABOVE: Dr. Wild presents his second talk, Science and the digital photography revolution: How anyone can capture the hidden beauty of the world beneath our feet, at the Harn Museum of Art to an audience of nearly 100 people. Photo by Eric Segal.

One of the goals of this arts-sciences collaboration was to reach a diverse and inter-disciplinary audience; success was evident by the diversity of attendees, which included scientists, artists, insect enthusiasts, photography buffs, as well as students and retirees. In this presentation, the speaker offered practical and inspiring suggestions for improving macro-photographic technique. In addition to treating the audience to his stunning images of ants and other insects, he also emphasized that photography is one avenue that can lead to conservation, and he argued that "If you take better photographs of nature, you'll like nature more." Alex Wild’s talk at the Harn was followed by an extended question-and-answer session and a reception sponsored by the Entomology & Nematology Department.


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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.

The DPM program would like to invite our newsletter readers to like their Facebook page to keep up with DPM events and developments. Be sure and "Like" the DPM Facebook page.

Honey Bee Research and Extension Laboratory wants you to follow them on twitter to find out about upcoming events and interesting stories about honey bees @UFHoneybeelab.

The Entomology Club was able to interact with 71 schools from 36 counties at the Junior Science, Engineering and Humanities Symposium (January 27th to 29th at the Reitz Union). We hope our participation will encourage these students to consider entomology as a major when they come to college. They said our hands-on approach was appreciated and we had one of the most-visited booths. 

Dr. James P. Cuda was invited speaker for in an invasive species workshop for personnel affiliated with the Wekiwa Springs State Park located in Apopka on March 29th. Cuda gave a presentation on management of invasive insects and weeds with biological control.

From the Outreach Coordinator

Outreach events for the last month included two visits to the department for lab tours. Thank you Dr. Koehler, Dr. Crow and Dr. Hahn for participating in those. We visited Williston Central Christian Academy, Norton Elementary, and Belleview Santos Elementary. 

Because FCAT testing occurs in April, we anticipate things being a bit slower, but then there is May. We already have many requests for outreaches for that month, and since they are after finals, we would really appreciate some assistance. We need volunteeres for the afternoons of May 7th, May 9th, May 10th, May 13th, May 15th, and May 16th. If you are interested in participating, please contact Stephanie Stocks.

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 would like to schedule an event or have any outreach questions, go to the Outreach pages on our Bug Club Website and contact us. I look forward to working with all of you over the next four years.

Stephanie Stocks, Outreach Coordinator 
- Office number  352-273-3958


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Virni Mattson, our Grants Specialist, reports that March 1st to 31st, 2013, we have had 12 new grants or contracts awarded for a total of $822,292 in external funding for all Entomology & Nematology faculty (in Gainesville and at RECs).


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Register now: The 62nd annual meeting of the Lepidopterists’ Society (which is organized by the McGuire Center) will be in Gainesville this year from June 27th to June 30th. More information is available on their website or contact Dr. Andrei Sourakov for more information.

Register now: On May 21st, a Vegetable Crop Health Management Workshop will be available at the GCREC. Instructors include Dr. Nathan Boyd, Dr. Bielinski Santos, Dr. Hugh Smith, Dr. Gary Vallad (GCREC), Gene McAvoy (Hendry County Cooperative Extension), Crystal Snodgrass (Manatee County Cooperative Extension), and Alicia Whidden (Hillsborough County Cooperative Extension).

The workshop is designed for growers, scouts, crop advisors, extension faculty, Master Gardeners, and other crop protection professionals. CEUs and Crop advisor credits will be applied for. Extension faculty can attend this workshop as an IST!  Limited funding will be available to help cover the travel costs of extension faculty who attend.

Contact Dr. Hugh Smith for more information.

2013 Southeast Pest Management Conference

Southeast Pest Logo

We are ready for you! The registration for the 2013 Southeast Pest Management Conference "Special Pest Ops" is open. Check the website. You can register online and check what we have scheduled for the conference. We will see you here in Gainesville on May 5th to 8th! 

The 96th Annual Meeting of the Florida Entomological Society

FES will be held July 14th to the 17th at the Waldorf Astoria Hotel in Naples, Florida. Hotel reservations are available at the FES rate ($129.00). The special room rate will be available until June 24th or until the group block is sold-out, whichever comes first.

Submitted Papers are currently being accepted. This call for papers includes the graduate student paper competition. A form is available for paper submissions on the FES website. The completed form should be emailed to the Program Chair, Dr. Nan-Yao Su by May 17th.

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 Dr. Verena Lietze and Nancy Sanders who reviewed the newsletter for errors and to Jane Medley who built the web page.