Apr 102014
 

511th MONTHLY MEETING

April 18th, 2014

All monthly meetings are open to the public. If you are interested in insects, please join us!
Members may bring exhibits for show-and-tell. If you have photos, video, or other media to share, please email the society.

This month is our annual student meeting. Please join us to support our undergraduate and graduate students as they present their research!

There will be four 10 minute talks, and four 5 minute talks.

10 minute talks

Melissa Bernardo
Wesleyan University, PhD student
Evidence for manipulation in caterpillar feeding behavior by a parasitoid wasp

Cera Fisher
University of Connecticut, PhD student
An ant for a hat: the fashion-forward treehopper and developmental novelty

Benedict Gagliardi
University of Connecticut, Masters student
Biosystematics of Nearctic Smoky Moths (Zygaenidae)

Raymond Simpson
Yale University
Lepping in the Carolinas: notable moths and butterflies from the southeast

5 minute speed talks

Robert Clark
Wesleyan University, PhD student
The ecology of ant and treehopper interactions on hickory

Kassie Urban-Mead
Yale University, undergraduate
Wild bee community response to Connecticut land-use change: A natural history experiment

Emily Johnson
Wesleyan University, Masters student
Investigating the relationship between dietary specialization of caterpillars and their risk of ant predation in a forest community

Joseph Desisto
University of Connecticut, undergraduate
Revising the known distributions of centipedes in New England

Officer elections for next year will occur during the business meeting, before the talks. We will also discuss the annual banquet (May 16th), and potential outreach/collecting events for the society this spring/summer.

Dinner

  • 6:00pm, Willington Pizza House (menu)
  • 25 River Road (Route 32), Willington, CT 06279 (map)

Meeting:

  • 7:30pm, University of Connecticut
  • Biology and Physics Building rm 130, 91 North Eagleville Road, Storrs, CT 06269 (map)

Social gathering:

  • TBD
Apr 072014
 

Thank you to Tracy Zarrillo of the Connecticut Agricultural Experiment Station, and all of the members who participated in the Bombus workshop for our March 2014 meeting. We had a wonderful time and learned a lot – it was great to have the specimens alongside the identification guides.

Extra materials from the workshop will be available for members to pick up at the next two meetings, including an info packet on how to plant your garden to attract bees.

Tracy has also graciously allowed us to provide this identification guide PDF to all the Bombus species of Connecticut. Click the following link to download: CT Bombus Guide

If you have ideas for an identification workshop for next year, please let us know!

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Mar 072014
 

510th MONTHLY MEETING

March 21st, 2014

All monthly meetings are open to the public. If you are interested in insects, please join us!
Members may bring exhibits for show-and-tell. If you have photos, video, or other media to share, please email the society.

Calendars (the result of our photo contest) are $10 each!
They may be purchased at the meeting, or here on the website.

This meeting is a combo meeting/presentation and BEE WORKSHOP!
BYOB (bring your own Bombus)

Speaker: Tracy Zarrillo

Title: Bumble Bees of Connecticut

Tracy Zarrillo

Abstract:

Pollinators play a critical role in natural and agricultural ecosystems, both for the reproduction of native plants and for crop production.  Animal pollinators (mainly bees and other insects) are essential to the fruit set or seed production of about 1/3 of human crop plants. Bees are the most important pollinators of many crops and a broad range of other flowering plants.

The decline of several species of wild bumble bees in the United States, Canada, Europe, South America, and China is well documented and cause for concern. Pathogens, parasites, disease and pesticides play a role in bumble bee decline, and there is evidence to support the theory that pathogen spillover from commercially raised bumble bees has caused the decline of four sister species of Bombus in the same subgenus.  Two of those species, the rusty-patched bumble bee (Bombus affinis) and yellow-banded bumble bee (Bombus terricola), used to be common in Connecticut.  Today they are on the DEEP’s ‘species of special concern’ list, along with their social parasite Bombus ashtoni.

This Bumble Bee ID workshop will focus on the 16 species of Bombus that have been recorded for Connecticut.  Known specimens will be provided for viewing under stereoscopes, and information regarding important morphological features will be at each viewing station.  Several stereoscopes will also be available if participants want to bring their own specimens to work on, and keys will be provided.

Dinner

  • 6:00pm, Willington Pizza House (menu)
  • 25 River Road (Route 32), Willington, CT 06279 (map)

Meeting:

  • 7:30pm, University of Connecticut
  • Torrey Life Sciences (rooms 301 and 313), 75 North Eagleville Road, Storrs, CT 06269 (map)

Social gathering:

  • TBD

 Bombus griseocollis on beach pea

 

Feb 042014
 

509th MONTHLY MEETING

February 21st, 2014

All monthly meetings are open to the public. If you are interested in insects, please join us!
Members may bring exhibits for show-and-tell. If you have photos, video, or other media to share, please email the society.

Calendars (the result of our photo contest) are $10 each!
They may be purchased at the meeting, or here on the website.

Exif_JPEG_PICTURESpeaker: Dr. Susan Butts

Title: The Fossil Record of Insects

Abstract:

Fossil insects are few and far between. Because of their delicate exoskeleton and the fact that they live on land, insects have a low potential for becoming fossils. The patchy record of insect fossils is found in Lagerstätte, rock deposits which contain exceptionally preserved remains of life. This talk will cover how insects fossilize, the environment in which the insects lived, the special conditions required for their preservation, and bias in the fossil record of insects. It will highlight the diverse collections and research in the Division of Invertebrate Paleontology at the Yale Peabody Museum, including specimens from the Mazon Creek nodules (310 million years old), Elmo (250 mya), Solnhofen (145 mya), Green River (48 mya), and Florissant (34 mya) deposits, and some surprises!

Dinner and Meeting:

  • Yale University
  • Environmental Science Center 110 (map) (next to the Peabody)
  • 6:00pm dinner (catered with sandwiches, snacks, and drinks – member suggested donation is $5)
  • 7:30pm meeting

Social gathering:

  • 9:00pm, TBD

YPM 584531 fossil Diptera from Green River Fm.

Jan 202014
 

Hats and calendars are now available for purchase here on the website! Just go to the “Shop” tab at the top of the page.

You may choose to purchase items now and pick them up at a future meeting, or have them shipped to your home. You can change the quantity of each on the shopping cart page.

If you would like to purchase a large quantity of either hats or calendars, please contact the society via the contact page so we can determine proper shipping costs. If you have any other questions/concerns, don’t hesitate to ask.

Thanks!

Jan 082014
 

508th MONTHLY MEETING

January 17th, 2014

All monthly meetings are open to the public. If you are interested in insects, please join us!
Members may bring exhibits for show-and-tell. If you have photos, video, or other media to share, please email the society.

2014 Calendars have been ordered and should be available for purchase at the meeting.
They are $10 each, please bring cash or a check to the meeting.
After the meeting, they will be available for purchase on the website (plus shipping costs)

marksmith

Speaker: Mark Smith, MS

Title: Macropod: Revealing the World Unseen

Abstract:

Macroscopic Solutions provides cost effective imaging solutions for interdisciplinary scientific researchers that aid in the digital archiving of diverse specimens, enhance research, inspire discovery, and expose young minds to science through remarkable images.

The Macropod is an easy to use, portable photomacrography system, which allows the user to create razor sharp, fully focused photographs of small sized specimens at 18 to 26-megapixel resolution. It overcomes the extreme Depth of Field (DOF) limitations inherent in optics while imaging smaller specimens.  Normally, macro lenses will only render a small fraction of the targeted specimen in sharp focus at any one exposure. The Macropod allows the user to select and make multiple exposures in precise increments along the Z-axis (depth) such that each exposure’s area of sharp focus overlaps with the previous and upcoming exposure. These source images are then transferred to a computer and merged by an image-stacking program. The stacking program finds and stitches together only the focused pixels from each exposure into one image. The Macropod integrates industry-leading components in a novel and elegant way to achieve these results.

 

Dinner

  • 6:00pm, Willington Pizza House (menu)
  • 25 River Road (Route 32), Willington, CT 06279 (map)

Meeting:

  • 7:30pm, University of Connecticut
  • Biology and Physics Building rm 130, 91 North Eagleville Road, Storrs, CT 06269 (map)

Social gathering:

  • 9:00pm, The Sports Bar
  • 157 Boston Post Rd, North Windham, CT 06256 (map)

Check out the following links to learn more!

Website

Flickr group

Geoscience Graduate Student Wins First Prize in Innovation Quest Competition

Nov 012013
 

507th MONTHLY MEETING

November 15th, 2013

All monthly meetings are open to the public. If you are interested in insects, please join us!
Members may bring exhibits for show-and-tell. If you have photos, video, or other media to share, please email the society.

Speaker: Dr. Michael Singer

Title: The diet breadth of Connecticut forest caterpillars and the predators that eat them

Abstract:

Ants are important predators of caterpillars in forests worldwide. In tropical forests, caterpillars with highly specialized diets avoid ant predation through chemical deterrence. In this talk I will describe research from my lab that looks at the role of dietary specialization on ant predation of caterpillars in Connecticut forests. Like most temperate tree species, the young leaves of the tree species in our study largely lack toxins that might be sequestered by caterpillars. We used a field experiment to determine the magnitude of ant predation on 21 caterpillar species over two years. To see if anti-predator behaviors of caterpillars correlated with diet breadth or ant predation, we subjected experimental caterpillars to a simulated predation trial. Interestingly, we found that dietary specialist caterpillar species experienced increased ant predation relative to generalist species. The simulated predation trials showed that specialist caterpillar species tended to remain still when attacked, whereas many generalist caterpillar species responded with avoidance behavior, such as thrashing, locomotion, or dropping. These results suggest that in the absence of chemical deterrence, the host specificity of specialist herbivores might constrain their ability to gain enemy-free space from ants. Previous work in the system has shown that the same specialist caterpillars experience reduced bird predation relative to dietary generalist caterpillars. Therefore, we have found a defensive trade-off for caterpillar species in Connecticut forests: dietary specialists sacrifice protection from ant predators to gain protection from birds, whereas dietary generalists sacrifice protection from birds to gain protection from ants.

Michael S. Singer is an Associate Professor of Biology and Environmental Studies at Wesleyan University. His research focus is on the ecology and evolution of plant-insect-carnivore interactions, including dietary specialization and self-medication behavior in caterpillars. He also enjoys caterpillar natural history, entomology, and botany.

Dinner

  • Typhoon (BYOB if desired) (menu)
  • 360 Main St, Middletown (map)
  • 6:00pm – reservation is under “Zach”

Meeting:

  • Wesleyan University
  • Shanklin building, Rm. 201 (map)
  • 7:30pm

Social gathering:

  • Location TBD
  • 9:00pm

Click here to learn more about Dr. Singer’s research

singer_pic

Oct 082013
 

506th MONTHLY MEETING

October 18th, 2013

All monthly meetings are open to the public. If you are interested in insects, please join us!
Members may bring exhibits for show-and-tell. If you have photos, video, or other media to share, please email the society.

Speaker: Dr. Andrea Gloria-Soria

Title: Population and behavioral genetics of the dengue mosquito

Abstract:

The Aedes aegypti mosquito is the vector of yellow fever, chikungunya virus, and the major vector of dengue virus, an infectious disease that has dramatically increased in frequency and severity over the last 60 years and affects ~390 million people every year, threatening 40% of the human population. To address this issue, I am using genetic markers to investigate the historical origin of the dengue mosquito and to track recent incursions. In addition, I am investigating whether a gene that regulates foraging behavior in fruit flies and social insects is conserved in mosquitoes and is therefore a potential target for chemical and genetic interventions aiming to reduce dengue incidence.

Dinner and Meeting:

  • Yale University
  • Environmental Science Center 110 (map) (next to the Peabody)
  • 6:00pm dinner (catered with sandwiches, snacks, and drinks – member suggested donation is $5)
  • 7:30pm meeting

Social gathering:

  • 9:00pm, TBD

Click here to learn more about, or contact, Andrea.

Click the mosquito to learn more about Aedes aegypti.

Sep 242013
 

I wanted to say a big

thank you

to everyone who came to our first meeting of the 2013-2014 year. It appeared to be one of our largest meetings of the last few years, with over 30 people in attendance. Mike Thomas (vice-president), Laura Saucier (secretary), and Mike Montgomery (treasurer), as well as several other motivated members, helped to organize the meeting and start things off with a bang. The highlight of the night was Dr. John Cooley’s captivating talk about periodical cicadas.

I would like to remind members of a few things:

If you would like to contribute to this blog (any member is eligible), please use the Contact Page to send the following:

  • First name
  • Last name
  • Email address
  • Desired username
  • Desired password

You will be added as an author, with the ability to write and edit your own posts. You can sign in on the main page, in the “Admin” panel on the right hand side. You may create posts at any time without requiring permission, but administrators reserve the right to edit any inappropriate content. Suggestions for content include: your own photos, stories about field work, stories about lab work, identification requests, and announcements for gatherings outside the normal meeting times. Please only use the post categories provided, but you may add any of your own tags. DO NOT POST COPYRIGHTED CONTENT THAT IS NOT YOUR OWN UNLESS YOU HAVE THE OWNER’S EXPLICIT CONSENT. Exceptions include links to journal articles and news stories. I recommend using watermarks on your own photos, and reducing the size. If you have any questions, please email me directly or use the Contact Page.

Thank you!
Brigette Zacharczenko, President