Category Archives: invertebrates

A recent publication in the American Malacological Bulletin

Well, the paper is officially available, so it can be blog fodder. Like many entomologists when

You can see the snail resting on the frass plug of a Dectes texanus overwintering chamber!

You can see the snail resting on the frass plug of a Dectes texanus overwintering chamber!

asked about snails, I instantly think: Scaphinotus! Well snails are much more than mere food units, like insects, mollusks are increasingly being recognized as having mental capabilities. This manuscript was about how curiosity may have killed the snail, because this snail was found inside of an intact, Dectes texanus tunneled, soybean stem! This snail’s mental prowess did not help out in this situation- as demonstrated by the snail corpse.

The idea of micro-snails alone many be new to many, and the idea of micro-snails within no-till soybean fields may be disconcerting to some folks, but the idea of micro-snails inside of plants should bother most people. At the very least it should garner a: ‘what the heck?’. I know at my house we are now constantly vigilant for snails in unexpected places, and don’t even get me started about slugs…

Fothergill, K., K.V. Tindall, R.A. Salisbury, and G. Lorenz. 2013. An unusual habitat record for the land snail, Columella simplex (Gould, 1841) (Stylommatophora: Pupillidae), from Arkansas. American Malacological Bulletin 31.1: 91-93.

Museum Workday!!

One of the best things about living in Southern Idaho is the Orma J. Smith Museum of Natural

If your heart doesn't beat a little faster when you see this sign, maybe you have a heart problem!

If your heart doesn’t beat a little faster when you see this sign, maybe you have a heart problem!

History on the College of Idaho Campus in Caldwell, ID. Yesterday was the museum workday, when museum volunteers get together to work in the museum. Being a museum volunteer has a many perks! First of all you get to enter through the back door (but do not forget to sign in up front)! The front of the museum is impressive, but in the back there are stacks and stacks of fossils, fishes, insects, birds, books (the herbarium is upstairs) – all the stuff that breathes life into the museum. As you walk in the back door you are greeted by the promise of discovery! It is the coolest feeling. After walking

The view as you walk in the back door - isn't it exciting?

The view as you walk in the back door – isn’t it exciting?

through the back of the museum, you come to the coffee pot, which is a good place to find the Museum Director – Bill Clark. Bill keeps his network of volunteers on interesting and useful projects (I am certain it is like herding cats), and always has time to bounce ideas off and help you even though he is busier than 10 normal folks. Next, if you are me, you check in with Al Gillogly. Al is the curator of beetles, and he is always up to something interesting. Yesterday I had my mind blown by a hymenopteran in the genus Baeus, and a very non-typical coccinellid

A pitfall trap from Baja Mexcio - isn't this cool?

A field box of pitfall trap from Baja Mexcio – isn’t this cool?

and a tiny tenebrionid. George Sims had sent the Museum some Nitidula flavomaculata and Catops sp. so, I got to hone my pointing skills at the museum.

Being at the museum workday is like hanging out with the super friends. There is: Paul Castrovilla, who taught me about butterflies; Steve Bouffard, who has taught me about just about everything just by being a good role model; Mary Clark, who is busier than Bill but always makes time to answer my questions, Dave Ward, who has as his super power being about the nicest guy you will ever meet; Jim Ryan is the curator of entomology and is always up for ento-fun and knowledge, and there are all the other talented and passionate folks in other disciplines who make the Orma J. Smith Museum such a tasty stew. I drive home from the Orma J. Smith Museum not only having learned a ton about insects, but also feeling better about the human race.

The museum may gain a tiny amount of labor from my presence, but my gains are far greater. I am so grateful that Bill Clark allows me these opportunities.

The cover of the Rolling Stone

Kelly and I made Science Daily! That is pretty darn cool. The reason is a recent paper on Triops longicaudatus, the tadpole shrimp. I guess the Entomological Society of America (where we published this most recent paper) has a pretty good press agent.

It was quite a stretch for a couple of entomologists to correctly identify the little guys, and the original proclamation of “Hey there’s shrimp in that there rice...” was made a while back. The arrival and presence of this species is part of the story of wholesale habitat change resultant of human activities in many parts of the world and further proof the world is a dynamic place that is always changing.

For those of you who can’t get enough shrimp, here is a link to previous blog post Kelly wrote on tadpole shrimp.

Triops longicaudatus, the Tadpole shrimp

Hey all, I have been down due to surgery but thought a quick post about the manuscript Kelly and I just had published in the Journal of Integrated Pest Management was in order.This was a fun project from the get go. Consider growing some shrimp with your kiddos. They are really that cool.

In addition to getting to play with a neat organism, we also got to find where in Missouri shrimp were located. This is important knowledge for rice farmers and provides a starting point from which range enlargement can be judged.

Read the paper and maybe you can have your shrimp fun this winter.