One of my favorite of entomology publications has always been the newsletter. Regardless of the specialty group to which they cater, newsletters usually share one, common feature – fun, easy-to-read articles about insects, techniques, collecting trips, etc., written in a casual flavor that makes them unsuitable for stuffy, scientific journals. Unfortunately, they have also shared several difficulties – continually rising costs for production and mailing of hard copies to a small (though dedicated) readership. The internet has changed all that – gone (or drastically reduced) are the costs, and with the growing ease of electronic publication all it takes now to sustain a newsletter are contributions by a few dedicated individuals and an internet-connected readership. Perhaps the finest example of one of these now electronic newsletters is the highly entertaining and informative SCARABS Newsletter, resurrected from the mimeographed ashes of its previous incarnation SCARABAEUS.
Recently, insect macrophotographer extraordinaire Kolby Kirk alerted me to the newest online beetle publication called Beetle News. Created by Richard Wright and hosted by the U.K. based Amateur Entomologists’ Society, this new, online newsletter deals exclusively with British beetles. Richard Wright explains the mission of the newsletter in his inaugural issue editorial:
Welcome to the very first edition of “Beetle News”. This is an internet publication devoted to British Beetles. It is a public domain publication which can be freely copied and distributed provided no charge is made. However, copyright to all text and photographs remains with the original authors and photographers. If you find Beetle News of interest, please pass it to others.
Beetle News will include any relevant material which is not suitable for publication elsewhere. It is not intended for articles which are more suited to formal journals such as The Coleopterist.
The intention is to publish on a quarterly basis, approximately in March, June, September and December. Beetle News can only continue if sufficient material is submitted to make it worthwhile. Please submit material for the June issue by 21st May.
Articles in the first issue include:
- Review: British Scraptiidae by Brian Levey – Richard Wright
- Warwickshire Coleoptera – an update – Steve Lane
- Somerset beetle records wanted – Andrew Duff
- Some observations on the Orange Ladybird – Ralph Atherton
- Vivarium heat mats : a few suggested uses for the coleopterist – Andrew Chick
- Cassida nebulosa Linnaeus (Chrysomelidae) in flight – Andrew Duff
- News from recording schemes (Tenebrionoidea, Scirtidae, Stenini, Silphidae) – Scotty Dodd, Jonty Denton, Richard Wright
- Beetle publications for free download – Richard Wright
- Beginner’s Guide Silphidae 1: Nicrophorus – Richard Wright
Although restricted to British beetles, I thoroughly enjoyed this newsletter (especially the very well produced and illustrated article on Nicrophorus) and look forward to the next issue, due to appear later this month (June 2009).
Copyright © Ted C. MacRae 2009