I hope you’ll forgive the lack of pretty bug pictures and witty prose in today’s post – I have a few updates and adminstrative issues that I’d like to take care of.
Circus of the Spineless
This notice is a few days late, but Circus of the Spineless # 43 is up at Wanderin’ Weeta. Susannah has done a great job of assembling blog posts on a diversity of invertebrates from anemones to annelids, bryozoans to barnacles, decapods to gastropods, and of course – insects. In the latter group, all of the major orders are covered (including beetles by some guy that likes tiger beetles).
It has been quite a while since I last made mention of new additions to my ever-expanding blogroll. I’m trying to maintain a fairly comprehensive list of blogs that either focus primarily on insects or feature compelling natural history discussions, and it seems that almost every week I find another one that either began recently or somehow escaped my earlier attention. A few of these more recent additions deserve special mention for their interesting subjects, superior writing, quality photographic content, etc.
- California Photo Scout – superb photographs of the wonderful California landscape.
- giroofasaurus-vexed – bugs, pottery, and doodles by maggie.
- I C U Nature – nothing but nature by the Texas Travelers.
- Life On Six Legs – amazing insect macrophotographs by Chris Worth.
- The Bug Whisperer – insect-centric photography blog by the versatile Adrian Thysse.
- Watching the World Wake Up – exploring the natural history of Utah by foot and bike (I highly recommend the six-part series In Search Of The Blue Piñon, a captivating tale of obsession and zeal in the quest to see one of the worlds rarest and most astounding pines).
- weirdbuglady – she’s wierd, she’s cute, she makes stuffed bugs!
- Wild About Nature Blog – Rebecca and Kenton exude enthusiasm as they discover nature in Wisconsin.
- xenogere – a rare combination of superb photography and thoughtful introspections.
Rate My Posts
WordPress has a new widget that allows readers to rate the quality of posts. I thought I would open myself up to this potential for praise or criticism and have activated this feature on this blog (and also my other blog, Bikes Bugs and Bones). It’s a little jickery in that the “comments” link must be clicked in order to see the rating widget, which appears at the bottom of the post as 5 blank stars. It’s a typical rating scale, with 1 star being the worst and 5 stars being the best. I know a lot of readers don’t like to leave comments (although I heartily encourage them), but perhaps you would be willing to provide feedback in the form of a rating. The ratings are completely anonymous – no IP addresses are recorded by the rating widget, so there is no way for me to know who voted or how. Over time, as ratings accumulate for posts, I will be able to see what kinds of posts people really like (and which they really don’t). This can be your way to contribute to the future direction of this blog!
- 5 Stars = Excellent – use this for my very best pieces.
- 4 Stars = Very Good – you really liked it, maybe just minor criticisms.
- 3 Stars = Average – not bad, not great, it did the job.
- 2 Stars = Fair – not one of my better pieces, a bad day perhaps.
- 1 Star = Poor – well, let’s just hope I don’t get too many of these.
One of my long term goals is to be Managing Editor for an entomological journal. Despite the volunteer nature of such a position, it’s not one that somebody can just walk into – dues must be paid. I got a foot in the door a few years ago when I began serving as Coleoptera Subject Editor for The Pan-Pacific Entomologist, the journal of the Pacific Coast Entomological Society (we would welcome your manuscript dealing with western entomology in any aspect). It has been an enjoyable experience, and I guess I’m doing a decent job since I was invited this summer to join the editorial team of the online journal Zootaxa. This “mega-journal for zoological taxonomists in the world” has quickly become the leading journal for new taxa and taxonomic or nomenclatural acts, based on the coverage and indexing of Zoological Record since 2004. This is possible only because of its team of 141 editors that cover the entire breadth of animal taxa – 17 of which (including me) handle the vast insect order Coleoptera. Ever the glutton for punishment, I’ve also just accepted an invitation by the Webster Groves Nature Study Society to take over editorship of their monthly newsletter, Nature Notes. I suppose the combination of these three editorial positions will let me know if I really want to pursue full editorship of a major journal at some point!
Okay, I can’t leave you without any kind of photograph – here are a couple of shots of Cicindela scutellaris, or festive tiger beetle. This male individual represents the stunningly beautiful nominotypical subspecies occupying the western part of the species’ range – it was photographed on sand exposures in shinnery oak shrubland habitat at Packsaddle Wildlife Management Area in extreme northwestern Oklahoma this past June.
Photo details: Canon 100mm macro lens on Canon EOS 50D (manual mode), ISO-100, 1/250 sec, f/14-16, MT-24EX flash 1/4 power through diffuser caps.
Copyright © Ted C. MacRae