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September 22nd, 2021

Faculty and Staff News

Dr. Carey Minteer is the recipient of the 2021 Early Career Outstanding Scientist from The International Organization of Biological Control Nearctic Section. Congratulations Carey!

Dr. Andrea Lucky became Vice President-Elect of the Systematics, Evolution, & Biodiversity (SysEB) Section of the Entomological Society of America! Congratulations Andrea!

Dr. Ted Burgess research on Filth flies is gaining attention in Florida! Read the press release here: UF research team studies whether flies carry red tide toxins. 

Wade Davidson, Welcome Wade!

ABOVE: Dr. Crow’s new Biological Scientist is Wade Davidson. If Wade looks familiar to some of you old-timers, he is a former graduate student in our department under Dr. McSorley. Welcome to the team Wade!

Dr. Maria Mendes, Biological Scientist III, retired in August after many years working for Dr. Dickson and Dr. Crow.

Suzy Rodriguez, our graphics specialist for the last 4 years, has a new and exciting opportunity as Communications Specialist in the College of Pharmacy. She will return for a cake social in the NATL pavilion around lunch time on Monday, September 27th.

Student and Alumni News

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Congratulations to our Entomology and Nematology students receiving scholarships.  

Graduate Students:
William C. and Bertha M. Cornett Fellowship – Jasleen Kaur
Doris and Earl Lowe and Verna Lowe Scholarship – Leo Ohyama
William C. and Bertha M. Cornett Fellowship – Clebson Dos Santos Tavares
A. S. Herlong Scholarship – Yuexun Tian
Doris and Earl Lowe and Verna Lowe Scholarship – Kristin Sloyer
William C. and Bertha M. Cornett Fellowship – Gagandeep Kaur
William C. and Bertha M. Cornett Fellowship – Binita Shrestha
A. S. Herlong Scholarship – Kelly Carruthers

Undergraduate Students:
Florida Rural Rehabilitation Corporation Scholarship – Lauren Roberts
Suwannee River Resource, Conservation and Development Council Scholarship – Alexandor McMillan
Alto and Patrecia Straughn Scholarship – Elise Pounders
Harry Haman College of Agricultural and Life Sciences Scholarship – Emily Roeder
Orange County Farm Bureau Scholarship – Gina Bishop
SHARE Scholarship – Jordyn Ranfone
SHARE Scholarship – Vilheim Piwowarek
Alto and Patrecia Straughn Scholarship – Brett LaBella

Welcome new students!

New Ph.D. students:
Lovely Adhikary—Balm
Marielle Berto—Homestead
Sabina Budhathoki—Gainesville
Julia Nogueira Duarte Campos—Milton
Aria Deluna—Wong
Lynhe Demesyeux—Gainesville
Romain Exilien—Quincy
Maxine Hunter—Gainesville
Marley Iredale—Gainesville
Kaylin Kleckner—Gainesville
Miles Maxcer—Gainesville
David Moreira Calix—Balm
Daniel Perez-Ramos—Vero Beach
Sara Salgado Astudillo—Ft. Pierce
Sangwoo Seok—Vero Beach

New M.S. students:
Hunter Bergbower—Ft. Lauderdale
Joseph Cammarano—Gainesville
TJ Fedirko—Gainesville
Kaitlin Gazdick—Ft. Lauderdale
Robert Grosdidier—Gainesville
Kody Hughes—Gainesville
Leigh Ketelsen—Vero Beach
Kyle Kosinski—Vero Beach
Arden Lambert—Gainesville
Alina Lorenzo—Ft. Lauderdale
Decyo McDuffie—Gainesville
Lillie Rooney—Gainesville
Brandi Stanford—Gainesville
Carolina Tieppo Camarozano—Belle Glade

Aria Deluna. 5-year McKnight Doctoral Fellowship

ABOVE: New Ph.D. student Aria Deluna, in the Adam Wong Lab, has been awarded a 5-year McKnight Doctoral Fellowship. The fellowship is designed to promote representation of African American and Hispanic faculty with Ph.D.. Way to go Aria, and welcome to the department!

Julia and Marcelo stand next to building sign. UF/IFAS Weasr Florida Research and Education Center. Administration Building.

ABOVE: Julia Nogueira Carvalho Campos (Left) and Marcelo Dimase (right) are two new Ph.D. students starting their programs under Dr. Paula-Moraes at West Florida Research and Education Center. Welcome Julia and Marcelo!

The Minteer Lab welcomed, Sara Salgado, as a new Ph.D. student this month. Sara will be working on the biological control of the invasive earleaf acacia. Welcome, Sara!

Dr. Eutychus Kariuki, a post-doc in the Minteer Lab and a UF alum has accepted a permanent full-time position with USDA-APHIS. We wish Dr. Kariuki the best of luck in his new position!

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.

Have you noticed a lot of small brown moths flying around when you walk across a lawn lately? If so, you have probably been seeing tropical sod webworm adults, Herpetogramma phaeopteralis. The caterpillars feed on a variety of turf grasses, and can cause serious damage.

Tropical sod webworm adults on Bidens alba.

ABOVE: Tropical sod webworm adults on Bidens alba. Photo by Andrei Sourakov.

New Leica Setup Features a 20MP Camera!

The Department’s online collection of insect images can be accessed at http://entnemdept.ifas.ufl.edu/imgs. If you need other photos, we have some equipment that may help. Our new Leica setup features a 20MP camera mounted on either a dissecting or compound microscope. The LAS X software has focus stacking capability to ensure that your subject is all in sharp focus. This is a departmental resource, so talk to Lyle Buss if you’d like to try it out!

Leica setup

ABOVE: Our new Leica setup.

Southern red mite

ABOVE: Southern red mite taken with the Leica setup. Photo by Lyle Buss.

Eastern bat bug

ABOVE: Eastern bat bug taken with the Leica setup. Photo by Lyle Buss.

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. Billy Crow.

New Publications

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Baniya A, Joseph S, Duncan L, Crow W, Mengistu T. 2021. The role of Caenorhabditis elegans sex-determination homologs, Mi-sdc-1 and Mi-tra-1 in Meloidogyne incognita. 2021. European Journal of Plant Pathology https://doi.org/10.1007/s10658-021-02335-3.

Burgess ER, Taylor EE, Acevedo A, Tworek M, Nayduch D, Khurana N, Miller JS, Geden CJ. 2021. Diets of erythritol, xylitol, and sucrose affect the digestive activity and gut bacterial community in adult house flies. Entomol Exp Appl. https://doi.org/10.1111/eea.13088.

Caragata EP, Lee Y, Buckner EA. 2021. Genetically Modifies Mosquitoes. IDIS publication IN1326.

Chen T-Y, Lee Y, Wang X, Mathias D, Caragata EP, Smartt CT. 2021. Profiling Transcriptional Response of Dengue-2 Virus Infection in Midgut Tissue of Aedes aegypti. Front. Trop. Dis 2:708817. doi: 10.3389/fitd.2021.708817.

Crow WT. 2021. Diagnosis: Nematodes. Florida Turf Digest 39(4):20-23.

Greenway EV, Hamel J, Miller CW. 2021. Exploring the effects of extreme polyandry on estimates of sexual selection and reproductive success. Behavioral Ecology. arab081, https://doi.org/10.1093/beheco/arab081.

Kruger MS, Kanzaki N, Giblin-Davis RM, Greeff J. 2021. Molecular diversity and relationships of fig associated nematodes from South Africa. PLoS ONE. 16(8): e0255451. Pp. 1-18. https://doi.org/10.1371/journal.pone.0255451.

Machtinger ET, Brown JE, Burgess ER. 2021. Landscape distribution and abundance of animal-associated adult filth flies on commercial swine facilities in North Carolina, US. Med Vet Entomol. https://doi.org/10.1111/mve.12542.

McClay A, Cock MJW, Frank JH, McFadyen R. 2021. In Memoriam: Fred Bennett, September 16, 1925 -May 7, 2021. International Organisation for Biological Control (IOBC) Global Newsletter issue 109, July 2021: p. 19-22.

Rafter MA, Moore K, Minteer C. 2021. No-choice risk assessment of Gratiana boliviana, a potential biological control agent of Solanum viarum in Australia. Biocontrol Science and Technology, pp.1-16.

Vickers ME, Heisey* ML, Taylor LA. 2021. Lack of neophobic responses to color in a jumping spider that uses color cues when foraging (Habronattus pyrrithrix). PLoS One. 16: e0254865. https://doi.org/10.1371/journal.pone.0254865. *Undergraduate Research Assistant.

Wu S, Blackburn MB, Mizell RF, Duncan LW, Toews MD, Sparks ME, Bock C, Shapiro-Ilan D. 2021. Novel associations in antibiosis stemming from an insect pupal cell. J. Invert. Path. 184:107655. https://doi.org/10.1016/j.jip.2021.107655.

New on Featured Creatures:

Encarsia wasp, a silverleaf whitefly parasitoid (suggested), Encarsia formosa Gahan, written by Erich N. Schoeller, Vivek Kumar, Cindy L. McKenzie, and Lance S. Osborne.

Argentine ant, Linepithema humile (Mayr), written by Katie Carroll and Adam Dale.

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

Meetings and Presentations

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Miller Lab members Sam Zlotnik, Steven Smit, James Boothroyd, Amber Guruvadoo, and Dr. Ginny Greenway all presented their research at the Animal Behavior Society 2021 virtual conference August 3rd to the 6th. Steven Smit also received an honorable mention in the Founders Memorial Poster Competition for his poster “Double limb loss does not reduce female fitness.”

Entomology Education and Outreach News

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Don’t forget the Entomology and Nematology Education and Outreach Program is available and will accommodate both virtual and approved in-person presentations!

Recent Outreach events:

August 23rd - Spider Biology Class: Jennifer Standley and volunteer Sarah Tafel showed off the arthropod zoo, especially the arachnids, to Dr. Lisa Taylor’s Spider Biology class.

September 1st - UF Undergraduate Entomology Club: Dr. Rebecca Baldwin and Jennifer Standley showed off the arthropod petting zoo at the first meeting of the semester, and what a fantastic turnout it was!!

Upcoming Outreach events: VOLUNTEERS NEEDED

October 9th – Jacksonville Garden Club (8-3pm) We need a few volunteers for this event in Jacksonville. The Outreach van is available for a ride to get there. This will be a presentation about the Department and Entomology, with a focus on spiders. 1-2 volunteers needed.

October 16th – Tallahassee Science Festival (7-4pm) This event will also require a couple of volunteers. Typically, 4,000 people attend to enjoy a day filled with engaging and exciting STEM exhibits. There are more than 100 exhibits, including participants from all the local colleges and universities, scientific clubs and societies, and exhibitors from around the state. The Outreach van is available for a ride to get there. 3-4 volunteers needed.

November 18th – Suwannee CARES Event (1-10pm) located in Live Oak. This is a huge event that will have 500-600 attendees and recognizes farmers for their excellence in environmental stewardship. We will have a booth set up with lots of displays and the zoo. 3-4 volunteers are needed.

Entomology on the Go -

What’s better than a live show and tell of some really cool arthropods?! Our live petting zoo consists of: tarantulas, scorpions, vinegaroons, bess beetles, Madagascar hissing cockroaches, and native insects, when in season. With a short training program, they are available for you to check out should you be leading an outreach event, even if it is virtual. The critters are always popular with both youth and adults and are used as a tool to expose the public to STEM disciplines. We have large wood and Plexiglas cages for viewing our native orb weaving spiders. There is one travel cage and one larger static cage. We also have activity kits and lesson plans that are available as well. Please be sure to contact us and review the protocol on transportation and handling of the animals. If you lead an outreach event, be sure to fill out a documentation form so your event can be included in the newsletter and we can log all outreach events. Also, note that volunteering to assist with outreach events will count as departmental service for ENSO travel grants. (Please note that some venues require background checks or additional screening.)
If you have any questions or would like to volunteer, please email us.

Cheers! - Jennifer Standley, Outreach Coordinator.

entomology studnets sitting at tables in the lab.

ABOVE: First meeting of the semester for the Undergraduate Entomology Club on September 1st. The turnout was fantastic! They got to see Arthropod Petting Zoo.

Getting social!

Use #UFBugs so our department can find and share your social posts easily!

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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Minteer Lab received a grant of $107,800 from the Florida Fish and Wildlife Conservation Commission for their project “Biological control of Earleaf acacia (Acacia auriculiformis) in Florida.” Collaborators are Dr. Melissa Smith (USDA-ARS) and Dr. Matthew Purcell (The Commonwealth Scientific and Industrial Research Organisation, Australia)

Minteer Lab received a grant of $478,521 from the USDA-APHIS for their project “Release, Establishment, and Evaluation of the Brazilian Pepper Biological Control Agents.” Collaborators are Dr. Gregory Wheeler (USDA-ARS) and Dr. Eric Rohrig (FDACS-DPI).

Want grant writing tips? Check out the UF Libraries Grants Management Program


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The ESA annual meeting will take place in Denver, Colorado October 31st to November 3rd. Registration now OPEN!

Want to stay up to date? Check out our website home page for a link to our Google calendar.

About this Newsletter

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Suzy Rodriguez is the newsletter editor and does the HTML coding. Newsletters usually are published around mid-month. Submit items for an issue by the seventh of the 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 James Brown and Nancy Sanders for reviewing the newsletter for errors, and to Jane Medley and Don Wasik for webpage build and design.

Give Back
Want to support the UF Entomology & Nematology Department? Consider making an online gift today! Questions can be directed to Cody Helmer at (352) 392-1975 or chelmer@ufl.edu.