Do You Have “An Inordinate Fondness”?

Last week I mentioned that I had been thinking about starting a blog carnival devoted exclusively to beetles.  Actually, I’ve been thinking about it for some time now, but following up on the idea apparently needed a catalyst.  That catalyst came last week when Amber Coakley and Jason Hogle announced the debut of House of Herps—another specialty nature blog carnival, focusing on reptiles and amphibians.  I supported the idea of a herp carnival when Amber first mentioned it, and she responded to that support by actually going out and doing it!  Amber penned a guest post on Nature Blog Network called House of Herps: The Origin Story that described in fascinating detail the process that she and Jason went through in creating a new blog carnival.

Well, the story that Amber told and the details she provided were enough to convince me that I could do it, and the many comments I got on my post last week mentioning what I was thinking about convinced me that I should do it.  The screenshot above is a first peek at the home site of nature blogging’s newest carnival, An Inordinate Fondness (AIF)—the monthly blog carnival devoted to beetles.  The name honors J.B.S. Haldane’s perhaps apocryphal riposte when queried about what his studies of nature’s diversity had taught him about the Creator (a quote made even more famous by the breathtakingly beautiful An Inordinate Fondness for Beetles, written and illustrated by my friends and colleagues, Drs. Charles L. Bellamy and Arthur V. Evans).  Some of you may recall that the alternate name, “Beetle Bacchanalia,” also received strong support (even edging out AIF in raw vote count).  However, while both names imply unbridled passion, I eventually decided that AIF better described the nature of that passion and added historical context.

Even though the AIF website is up and running, the first issue is not scheduled to appear until mid-February.  The reasons for this are primarily personal—I’m already slated to host House of Herps #2 on Jan 18 and Circus of the Spineless #47 on Feb 1 (does this make me a carnival hosting slut?).  There are also still a few things I’d like to have in order before AIF debuts—primarily a badge.  Seabrooke Leckie has offered some help in this regard, and I’ve got a few ideas of my own, but please don’t hesitate to let me know if you’ve got ideas as well.  In addition, I’m hoping this will be the start of getting the word out so that by the time Feb 15 (first issue submission due date) rolls around there will be enough submissions on hand to make the inaugural edition a memorable one.  Lastly, I’m hoping to recruit volunteers for hosting future editions—AIF will be a migrating carnival, dependent upon a community of science and natural history bloggers to keep it going.

My deepest thanks to Amber, Jason, Seabrooke, and Mike Bergin for their very helfpul and supportive comments.

Copyright © Ted C. MacRae

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About Ted C. MacRae

Ted C. MacRae is a research entomologist by vocation and beetle taxonomist by avocation. Areas of expertise in the latter include worldwide jewel beetles (Buprestidae) and North American longhorned beetles (Cerambycidae). More recent work has focused on North American tiger beetles (Cicindelidae) and their distribution, ecology, and conservation.
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23 Responses to Do You Have “An Inordinate Fondness”?

  1. This is so exciting, Ted! Way to go! I once commented on one of your posts about a speaker at one of my Texas Master Naturalist classes, who talked about the fact that some entomologists really “got in” to beetles. I remember seeing a beautiful illustration of beetles in a magazine not so long ago – might have been Audubon. That one illustration sure won me over to beetle fandom! Now I’m always looking for them and hope to be able to contribute to AIF often. Woohoo!

    • Thanks, Amber – and also for your encouragement leading up to this.

      I’ve found myself suddenly interested in much more than my initial specialty as a result of perusing blogs and blog carnivals on other subjects. Learning is infections, especially with such a fascinating subject as nature. It doesn’t surprise me that beetles have captured your interest.

  2. Joan says:

    What a neat idea Ted. I am so glad you started it off with one I recognise.🙂

    I wish you lots and lots of success with this and will be checking it out to see what is happening on it.

  3. Marvin says:

    Sounds like a great idea, Ted. While I’ll not promise anything unusual or exotic, I think I have a few (hundred) beetle photos stashed away.

  4. DougT says:

    Congrats. I’ll definitely participate, and would be willing to host some time.

  5. MObugs41 says:

    I am so excited for you, this is a big blogging step. I can’t wait to see the final product.

    P.S. Have a Merry Christmas!

  6. 🙂 Sounds great! I am sure this will become a very popular carnival indeed. Time for me to start work on ID’ing some of the beetles I photographed last year and working up an article or two.

  7. jason says:

    Exciting news, Ted! I’m thrilled you’re moving ahead with the idea. I can’t wait to participate and host, and I’m really looking forward to the inaugural edition. Please let me know if I can help in any way.

  8. Michael Sundberg says:

    Nicely done, I’m surprised you carried out the idea so quickly. Looking forward to how it will turn out!

  9. Bug Eric says:

    Ted, this is great. How can I help? I’ve heard of “blog carnivals,” but don’t know how to participate…..

    • Hi Eric – blog carnivals are periodic collections of permalinks to other blog posts with a theme. In the case of AIF, the theme is beetles. Each carnival issue has a host, who receives and evaluates submissions from contributors and organizes them into the issue. Some carnivals are static (each issue hosted at the same site), while others are rotating (each hosted at a different site)—AIF will be a rotating carnival. Nature Blog Network creator Mike Bergin wrote an excellent article, What is a Blog Carnival? that explains everthing.

      Contributing to or hosting a blog carnival is one way of exposing others to your blog or finding new blogs with interesting content. Contributing is as easy as submitting a link. Hosting is more work, but it can also be a rewarding and fun experience (and having one hosting experience under my belt, I can say that it is not nearly as hard as it might seem).

  10. Moe says:

    Awesome! Unfortunately, I won’t have any new beetle pics for a few months. But when they come, I will contribute! Of course, I have plenty from last summer and spring, but those are old news, now!

  11. Dave says:

    Hmm, mites also have an inordinate fondness for beetles, so this is tempting, but I’ll have to see how many in situ shots I can come up with.

    • Hi Dave – something on mite/beetle relationships would be awesome. I think maybe a lot of folks aren’t really aware of them, and in situ shots would really be interesting to see. I recall a recent paper from Purrington’s lab about the relationship of phoretic mites and the cerambycid beetle Lagocheirus araneiformis stroheckeri – they had some great shots of the mites in the beetle’s pronotal pits and suggested the pits were actually adapted for use by the mites.

      • Dave says:

        Hi Ted,

        Thanks for the tip. Biosis was no help, but Google tracked Purrington & Drake down and I’ve requested a reprint. Acarinaria are usually a bee-wasp phenomenon, but some people have suggested that the declivity in Ips functions in a similar way. I’m neutral, but it can be packed with mites.

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