January 2, 2012 21 Comments
In my last post (Best of BitB 2011), I showed my favorite 13 insect (mostly) macrophotographs from 2011. Such “Best of …” posts have become an annual tradition here at BitB, and I like them because they give me a chance to review my photographs for the year and assess my progress as an insect macrophotographer. Others seem to like them also, as previous editions remain among this blog’s most popular posts despite the passage of time. Hopefully this latest edition will achieve similar popularity, and if it does I will be truly grateful.
Despite this, however, I find that I still have trouble considering myself a true “insect macrophotographer” rather than an “entomologist with a camera.” It’s not that I don’t want or hope to achieve such a moniker, and I’ve been thinking lately about why this should the case. I’ve realized that it really has less to do with self-opinion and more to do with the importance I still place on and satisfaction I get out of my other entomological pursuits. Not only have I been fortunate to find stable employment conducting entomology research, but I’ve also managed to find satisfying outlets for my avocational entomological interests. I am an Entomologist (with a capital ‘E’), and although I’ve enjoyed immensely my recent growth as an insect macrophotographer, I did have other other, purely entomological accomplishments in 2011 that I think also deserve mention:
Managing Editor of The Pan-Pacific Entomologist. It has been my life-long goal to become editor of a major entomology journal, and this past April I was presented with just such an opportunity with The Pan-Pacific Entomologist. My seven prior years as the journal’s Coleoptera Subject Editor prepared me well for the role (and further confirmed for me that the chief role was something I wanted to do), and in the seven months since I took over, the Editorial Board and I have processed 50 manuscripts, are about to submit files for our 4th issue, and have shaved more than two months off of the deficit that separates us from our eventual goal of on-schedule publishing.
Five papers published. With co-authors Chris Brown and Kent Fothergill, 2011 saw the publication of our series of papers assessing the conservation status of the tiger beetles Habroscelimorpha circumpicta johnsonii, Dromochorus pruinina, Tetracha carolina, and Cylindera cursitans in Missouri and Cylindera celeripes in the eastern Great Plains. Survey work for these species dominated my field activities during the past decade and formed the basis for these papers, and it was immensely satisfying to finally see the results of all that work finally appear in print. The real impact of this work, however, will be seen in the coming years as I work with conservation stakeholders who will utilize the information that we have gathered.
First seminar presented fully in Spanish. I don’t talk much about my professional activities—part of being an industry entomologist is the necessity to maintain company confidentiality. I have mentioned, however, my role in soybean entomology research and my recent travels to Argentina as part of this work. In November I finally realized one of my professional goals of giving a seminar fully in Spanish. It was a long time coming—I took Spanish lessons for a short time in the late 1990s but have otherwise had only one or two trips per year to Argentina and Mexico with which to improve my skills. It was during my trip to Argentina this past March that something finally ‘clicked’ and I found myself for the first time able to engage fully in conversation. My colleagues in Argentina must have noticed this as well, as it was they who requested that I not only give a seminar during my November visit, but that I do so in Spanish. The presentation went well, and I now find myself more motivated than ever to pursue what before seemed only a pipe dream—full fluency.
Senior Research Entomologist. After three decades of working as an entomologist—the last two in industry, I now can add “Senior” to my title. What this means in practice I’m not quite sure—I’m still doing largely what I have been doing for the past few years, and in this environment compensation is linked more to accomplishments than title. Maybe it’s just recognition of dogged persistence. Still, it sounds cool and looks good in the email signature line!
32 species/subspecies of tiger beetles! This is the fun stuff! Nothing is more enjoyable for me than locating, observing, and photographing tiger beetles in their native habitats. It’s even better when they are uncommonly observed or rare endemic species. In 2011 I looked for tiger beetles in seven states (Arkansas, Colorado, Florida, Idaho, Missouri, Oklahoma and Utah), and of the 32 total species and subspecies that I found (listed below) the highlights must include three of North America’s rarest tiger beetle species: Cicindela albissima (Coral Pink Sand Dune Tiger Beetle), Cicindela arenicola (St. Anthony Dune Tiger Beetle), and the recently rediscovered Cicindelidia floridana (Miami Tiger Beetle). Another eight endemic or highly restricted species and subspecies were also found, and I was able to obtain in situ photographs of all eleven in their native habitat (as well as most of the non-endemics that I had not already photographed). In the list that follows, bold text indicates endemics, and links to any photographs I posted are provided when available:
- Genus Cicindela
- Cicindela albissima Rumpp, 1962 [photos]
- Cicindela arenicola Rumpp, 1967 [photos]
- Cicindela formosa formosa Say, 1817
- Cicindela formosa generosa Dejean, 1831 [photos]
- Cicindela formosa gibsoni Brown, 1940 [photos]
- Cicindela lengi lengi W. Horn, 1908
- Cicindela purpurea audubonii LeConte, 1845
- Cicindela scutellaris scutellaris Say, 1823
- Cicindela scutellaris yampae Rumpp, 1986 [photos]
- Cicindela sexguttata Fabricius, 1775
- Cicindela splendida Hentz, 1830
- Cicindela theatina Rotger, 1944 [photos pending]
- Cicindela tranquebarica borealis E. D. Harris, 1911
- Cicindela tranquebarica kirbyi LeConte, 1866
- Cicindela tranquebarica tranquebarica Herbst, 1806 [photos]
- Genus Cicindelidia
- Cicindelidia floridana (Cartwright, 1939) [photos]
- Cicindelidia haemorrhagica haemorrhagica (LeConte, 1851)
- Cicindelidia obsoleta vulturina (LeConte, 1853) [photos pending]
- Cicindelidia punctulata punctulata (Olivier, 1790)
- Cicindelidia rufiventris rufiventris (Dejean, 1825)
- Cicindelidia scabrosa (Schaupp, 1884) [photos]
- Genus Cylindera
- Genus Ellipsoptera
- Genus Habroscelimorpha
- Habroscelimorpha dorsalis saulcyi (Guérin-Méneville, 1840)
- Habroscelimorpha severa severa (LaFerté-Sénectère, 1841)
- Habroscelimorpha striga (LeConte, 1875) [photos]
- Genus Tetracha
- Genus Cicindela
Copyright © Ted C. MacRae 2012