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September 16th, 2014

what is this

ABOVE: Can you guess what this is used for and where it might be located??? More information on this exciting project is available in the Student and Alumni News section below.

Faculty and Staff News

Dr. James P. Cuda was a technical consultant on a new report on bio-agriculture and biocontrol in Florida. The 141-page report titled "Research, Data Collection and Surveys Regarding Bio-Agriculture" was published by the Balmoral Group LLC, Winter Park, Florida.

On September 4th Dr. Emma Weeks took over the role of NATL (Natural Area Teaching Laboratory) Chair from Dr. Jennifer Gillett-Kaufman. NATL would like to thank Dr. Gillett-Kaufman for her valuable service and is thankful that she will continue to sit on the Natural Area Advisory Committee (NAAC). Dr. Gillett-Kaufman has been NATL Chair for three years and in that time has brought NATL up to date, with Twitter, Facebook and an improved website. Most recently, with a grant from the UF Tech Fee, NATL has been equipped with wireless internet! Amongst other goals, Dr. Weeks hopes to improve access to NATL for those with disabilities. Please contact Dr. Weeks if you would like to use NATL for teaching or research purposes.

Student and Alumni News

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Alumni News

The excerpt below is from a news release: Entomological Society of America (ESA) recognizes 2014 Fellows by Richard Levine.

Dr. Phillip G. Lawyer, a UF Entomology and Nematology alumnus, was named an ESA Fellow. Dr. Lawyer earned a Ph.D. in medical entomology in 1984 from the University of Florida. Dr. Lawyer recently retired as core staff scientist/medical entomologist at the Laboratory of Parasitic Diseases, NIAID, NIH, from which he also served the Division of Entomology at the Walter Reed Army Institute of Research (WRAIR). He is recognized internationally for research on sand flies and associated diseases (Leishmania and Bartonella), with special emphasis on sand fly biology and vector-parasite interactions (Leishmania and Bartonella).

Graduate Student News

The UF Entomology and Nematology Linnaean Team, coached by Dr. Amanda Hodges and Dr. Rebecca Baldwin, is preparing to compete at the national competition in Portland. If you are interested in practicing with the team or being on the team in the spring, please meet us at 3:30 on Fridays in room 2218. If you are not on the Gainesville campus, you can participate via Polycom or Skype. The 2014 ESA Southeastern Branch (SEB) championship team includes: Chris Holderman, David Plotkin, Garima Kakkar, John Zukowski, and Lucas Carnohan.

research on Bonaire

ABOVE: Caroline Efstathion, Dr. Bill Kern’s Ph.D. student, traveled to Bonaire with FDACS Apiary Inspector Rob Horsburgh to assist the Echo Parrot Project with Africanized bee problems. Bees are taking over nest cavities of the endangered yellow-shouldered amazons and are endangering the safety of biologists who check on these nests. Caroline and Rob built and installed swarm trap boxes along cliff edges throughout parrot nesting areas (a photo of an installed box is at the top of the newsletter). They also presented two workshops to the local Junior Ranger students and local beekeepers to educate them on beekeeping management practices. The plan is that captured swarms from the parrot nesting areas will be placed into managed apiaries and honey can then be gathered and sold. The proceeds would go to help fund protection efforts for the parrots. This trip was funded by the Walt Disney Worldwide Conservation Fund.

Dr. Janine Razze graduated with her Ph.D. in August.  Her dissertation was titled "Investigating IPM tactics to reduce pest and disease incidence and increase marketable yields in organic squash production."

Lindsy Iglesias, a Ph.D. student, was invited to present her research titled "Spotted wing drosophila (SWD) in Florida: Monitoring, alternative hosts, management, and outreach" at the 2014 American Society for Horticultural Science (ASHS) conference in Orlando, FL.  The symposium, "ASHS meets SWD: A new pest of small and stone fruits" was aimed at educating students, technicians, Extension agents and faculty about SWD and providing management options for SWD.  The symposium included a hands-on experience by Jimmy Klick, a Ph.D. candidate from Oregon State University, and Lindsy Iglesias.

Entomology undergraduate student Stefani Harrison and doctoral student Oliver Keller, both members of the Branham lab, assisted in running the 2014 International Firefly Symposium. The symposium was held from August 11th to 15th, at the Hilton University of Florida Conference Center in Gainesville, FL. The conference was attended by 56 participants from 12 countries and 16 U.S. states. The symposium featured research presentations on the taxonomy, phylogeny, genetics, biology, behavior, and conservation of fireflies, and information on ecotourism, education, and art involving fireflies. The keynote speaker was Dr. James E. Lloyd, who was honored for his lifetime work on firefly research. The next International Firefly Symposium will be held in 2017 in Taiwan.

Master's student Nicholas Homziak (Kawahara and Branham labs) spent two weeks in Nyungwe (montane forest) and Akagera (savanna habitat) national parks in Rwanda collecting molecular-grade moth specimens for his Master's thesis research.

This summer, doctoral student Matt Moore (Branham and Cave labs) traveled to the British Museum of Natural History in London, England, and to the Musée des Confluences in Lyon, France. Matt presented his research on the evolution of the
Cyclocephalini (Scarabaeidae: Dynastinae) at the British Museum's international scarab beetle symposium. Matt then left for Lyon, France, to study the scarabs housed in the Marc Soula Collection. Matt worked on curating the Soula Collection, conducting a revision of the genus Mecopelidnota, and returning historical types to their proper housing institutions across Europe.

María F. Checa created a webpage about her research on the ecology and conservation of Ecuadorian butterflies.

Five of our graduate students received the William C. and Bertha M. Cornett Fellowship given by the UF College of Agricultural and Life Sciences.

  • $1,500- Michael Bentley
  • $2,000- María Checa
  • $2,000- Caroline Efstathion
  • $2,000- Dale Halbritter
  • $1,000- Elena Ortiz-Acevedo

Alex Arp, a Ph.D. student in the Pelz-Stelinski lab, received the best Ph.D. student presentation award at the Florida Entomological Society meeting.

behind the seeds tour

ABOVE: On, August 21, the UF Urban Entomological Society participated in a "Behind the Seeds" tour of The Land at Epcot in Orlando. The tour was presented by UF Entomology and Nematology Major and Epcot Intern Zach Kaplan. Mr. Tim Flowers of Disney Pest Management provided the group with an overview of the pest management program at Disney that includes everything from relocating black bears from resorts to managing the genetics of the honeybees on the property. The club is pictured here in front of the Epcot tomato tree whose predecessor was in the Guinness Book of World Records for tomato production from a single plant.

Participants included: Abdullah Alothman, Ogechi Ohaeto, Heather Erskine, Derek Yan, Zach Kaplan, Josh Weston, Mark Mitola, Ben Hottel, (two Disney visitors), Catherine White, Stefani Harrison, Ricardo Decaro, Dr. Rebecca Baldwin, Mariah Baggio, Brittany Delong, and Holly Beard.

Undergraduate News

Two of our Entomology and Nematology majors, Gabriella Milanes and Kristen Donovan, have been selected as CALS Ambassadors for 2014-2015.

Four of our Entomology and Nematology undergraduate students received UF College of Agricultural and Life Sciences scholarships.

  • Florida Rural Rehabilitation Corporation, Inc., Scholarship, $1,000- Genevieve Comeau
  • John H.G. Hutchinson Scholarship, $850- Heather Erskine
  • SHARE Scholarship, $1,500- Kristen Donovan
  • SHARE Scholarship, $150- Heather Erskine
  • SHARE Scholarship, $1,000- Stefani Harrison

Entomology Club News

President Teddy Cogley, Events Coordinator Kristen Donovan, Secretary Heather Erskine, Treasurer Gabby Milanes, and Webmaster Austin Stevens are pleased to announce that during their first meeting of the year they had the best attendance ever for the club.

This year the club is having two meetings a month and hoping to have professors or graduate students come and share some insights on entomology. If you are interested in coming to talk to the Entomology club email us to get on the schedule. This year the club will have a T-shirt contest, to see who can come up with the most creative and clever bug club design. It is a club goal to interact with ENSO and other CALS clubs on campus so that we can learn about other agricultural fields and meet diverse students.

Entomology club board

ABOVE: To find out when our meetings, socials and outreach events are take a look at our new bulletin board designed by Kristen Donovan and Heather Erskine. It shows all the details about what the Entomology club is doing!

Remember Entomology club members have to be involved in club events and meetings to be considered for scholarships! So if you are interested in being a part of the club email us or visit the University of Florida Entomology Club Facebook page! 

-Events Coordinator Kristen Donovan

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.

weird weevil

ABOVE: Homeowners often ask about small, pale-colored weevils found in or around their homes. And it is not just one or two bugs, but usually dozens or hundreds of them. Lyle's first question is "Is there a cabbage palm next to your house?"  This weevil is Notolomus basalis, and the adults lay their eggs in the flowers of saw palmetto and cabbage palm. They are not really a pest, but they can be extremely abundant, with thousands of weevils on a stalk of flowers. Some homeowners have observed them gathered around house lights. They are about 3 mm long. At least two other Notolomus spp. are found in Florida, but N. basalis seems to be the most common.

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.

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


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Alto BW, Connelly RC, O’Meara GF, Hickman D, Karr N. 2014. Reproductive biology and susceptibility of Florida Culex coronator to infection with West Nile virus. Vector-Borne Zoonotic Diseases 14: 606-614.

Bingham AM, Burkett-Cadena ND, Hassan HK, McClure CJ, Unnasch TR. 2014. Field investigations of winter transmission of Eastern Equine Encephalitis virus in Florida. American Journal of Tropical Medicine and Hygiene doi:10.4269/ajtmh.14-0081.

Checa MF. 2014. Hadas haladas del Yasuni (Winged fairies from Yasuni). Editorial Trama Press and Pontifical Catholic University of Ecuador, Quito, Ecuador, 263 pp.         

Checa MF, Willmott KR. 2014. Diversidad e importancia ecológica de mariposas del Ecuador. In: García M, Parra D. (Eds.) El país de la Biodiversidad: Ecuador. Fundación Botánica de Los Andes/Ministerio del Ambiente/Fundación Ecofondo, Quito, Ecuador, 300 pp.

Checa MF, Rodriguez J, Willmott KR, Liger B. 2014. Microclimate variability significantly affects the composition, abundance and phenology of butterfly communities in a highly threatened Neotropical dry forest. Florida Entomologist 97: 1-13.

Gillett-Kaufman JL. 2014. Learn about the newest UF/IFAS Featured Creatures. Pest Pro Magazine September: 15-18.

Gillett-Kaufman JL, Lietze V-U, Weeks ENI. 2014. Hydrilla Integrated Management. University of Florida Institute of Food and Agricultural Sciences, Gainesville FL. #IPM-207, 136 pp.

Iglesias LE, Nyoike TW, Liburd OE. 2014. Effect of trap design, bait type, and age on captures of Drosophila suzukii (Diptera: Drosophilidae) in berry crops. Journal of Economic Entomology 107: 1508-1518.

Stratman KN, Overholt WA, Cuda JP, Mukherjee A, Diaz R, Netherland MD, Wilson PC. 2014. Temperature-dependent development, cold tolerance, and potential distribution of Cricotopus lebetis, a tip miner of Hydrilla verticillata. Journal of Insect Science 14(153): DOI: 10.193/jisesa/ieu015.

Walker TJ. 2014. A new North American species of Bucrates (Orthoptera: Tettigoniidae: Conocephalinae: Copiphorini). Journal of Orthoptera Research 23: 69-73. PDF

Walker TJ, Funk DH. 2014 Systematics and acoustics of North American Anaxipha (Gryllidae: Trigonidiinae). Journal of Othoptera Research 23: 1-38. Cover+PDF

Weeks ENI, Davies C, Cordón Rosales C, Yeo M, Gezan SA, Parra-Henao G, Cameron MM. 2014. Community-based sampling methods for surveillance of the Chagas disease vector, Triatoma dimidiata (Hemiptera: Reduviidae: Triatominae). Journal of Medical Entomology 51: 1035-1042.

New on Featured Creatures:

Giant leopard moth, Hypercompe scribonia (Stoll 1790) Author: Donald W. Hall, Entomology and Nematology Department, 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 participated in the annual CALS Teaching Enhancement Symposium held at the UF Hilton Conference Center on August 19th.

Dr. James P. Cuda was an invited speaker for a Cogongrass Workshop held at the Gulf Coast REC, Wimauma, FL, on August 13th.  Cuda gave a presentation titled "Partnerships in weed biological control: The quest for Old World natural enemies of cogongrass. The presentation was co-authored by Dr. William Overholt.

2014 International Firefly Symposium, Gainesville, FL.

  • Branham MA. A long term off-site collection enhancement loan of Lampyridae from the U.S. National Collection to the University of Florida: A history and plan for the future.
  • Sparks J, Branham MA. Creatures of light: Nature’s bioluminescence – a traveling museum exhibition.
  • Madruga O, Branham MA. Description of life cycle and preimaginal stages of Alecton discoidalis LaPorte, 1833, under laboratory conditions.
  • Branham MA, Wenzel JW. A new firefly larva from Dominican amber and phylogenetic hypothesis of larval feeding behavior across Lampyridae (Coleoptera: Lampyridae).

Dr. Emma Weeks, Dr. Jennifer Gillett-Kaufman and Dr. James P. Cuda attended the 2014 Extension Professional Associations of Florida meeting held in Panama City, Florida from August 25th to 29th. Emma presented a talk on "On-site training on hydrilla IPM: How to reach diverse audiences" with co-presenters Dr. Jennifer L. Gillett-Kaufman, and Dr. Verena-U. Lietze, and co-authors Kenneth T. Gioeli, Dr. James P. Cuda, Dr. Raymond Hix, and Dr. Judy Shearer.

María F. Checa and Dr. Keith Willmott presented a poster titled "Microclimate variability significantly affects the composition, abundance and phenology of butterfly communities in a highly threatened Neotropical dry forest" at the 7th International Conference on the Biology of Butterflies. University of Turku, Finland. August 2014.

More from the FES Meeting

  • Chris Crockett received 1st Place in the M.S. student competition for his presentation titled "Evaluation of novel detection methods for twospotted spider mite (Tetranychus urticae Koch) on strawberries, using imaging techniques."
  • Tamika Garrick received 3rd Place in the M.S. student competition for her presentation titled "Investigating the effect of humidity on the reproductive capacity of Frankliniella bispinosa and Frankliniella occidentalis (Thysanoptera:Thripidae)."
  • Omotola Ojutalayo presented her poster titled "Susceptibility of strawberry varieties to Tetranychus urticae Koch and abundance of Neoseiulus californicus within varieties."
  • Dr. Oscar Liburd organized a symposium titled "Spotted Wing Drosophila (SWD): Biology, Ecology and Management in Fruits."
  • Dr. Teresia Nyoike, postdoctoral associate, presented a paper "Wild blackberries and their role in spotted wing drosophila management."
  • Lindsy Iglesias, Ph.D. student, presented her research titled "What makes a good host for Drosophila suzukii?"
  • FES Travel Grant recipients: Lindsy Iglesias, Chris Crockett, Tamika Garrick, Omotola Ojutalayo
  • FES Mini-Grant recipients: Lindsy Iglesias and Chris Crockett.


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From the Outreach Coordinator

We would like to introduce our new UF Entomology and Nematology Education and Outreach coordinator, Catherine "Cat" White. Catherine has been an active member of the Entomology Club and has volunteered for Education and Outreach activities for the past several years. She graduated with a degree in Anthropology and a minor in Entomology in August. Cat will be working with Dr. Baldwin to provide education and outreach activities for youth in Alachua County and at Ocali Days in Marion County, and at the Florida State Fair in Tampa.

Dr. Baldwin will be hosting a training for education and outreach volunteers on October 9 at 2:00 p.m. (before the departmental seminar) in room  2218 for anyone interested in learning how to handle and transport the live arthropods from our Arthropod Petting Zoo. We will also present several examples of the curricula available for check-out to anyone who would like to present a program.

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.

Getting social!

We have several social media sites for the UF Entomology and 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 July 1st to August 31st our external funding for all UF Entomology and Nematology faculty (in Gainesville and at RECs) was $1,917,639.60. This was for 32 new awards or contracts.

Dr. Emma Weeks, Dr. Jennifer Gillett-Kaufman, and Dr. James P. Cuda were recipients of a grant from USDA NIFA Crop Protection and Pest Management Applied Research and Development Program (CPPM-ARDP). The title of the project is "A sustainable IPM strategy for the invasive aquatic weed hydrilla." Along with their collaborators Mark Hoyer of UF/IFAS SFRC and Florida LAKEWATCH and Dr. Mark Jackson of National Center for Agricultural Utilization Research (USDA-ARS) they were awarded $248,836 for a three-year project that will be 70% research and 30% Extension.


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Learn more about the DPM Program by reading this edition of DPM News from Summer 2014.

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 and Don Wasik, who built the web page design.