Tag Archives: biodiversity

The Rush of Discovery

Post by PhD student Jackson Means who is an expert in the taxonomy of Nannaria Taxonomy, the naming and description of species, can be a tedious and exhausting undertaking. When one does taxonomy there are often long periods of intense … Continue reading

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Mediterranean recluse spider

Loxosceles rufescens (Dufour, 1820), the Mediterranean recluse spider Last month, I found this spider in Seitz Hall on the campus of Virginia Tech where we house the Virginia Tech Insect Collection. At first glance, I thought it was a Brown … Continue reading

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Weird beetle larva

Larva of the Net-winged beetle, Caenia dimidiata (Fabricius, 1801) This is the larva of Caenia dimidiata, a Net-winged beetle of the family Lycidae. The top image shows the dorsum (back) of the beetle, and the bottom is the venter (underside). … Continue reading

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New tarantula species

A new species of therophosid tarantula: Aphonopelma mareki This week a tarantula from the desert southwest was named after me. The species was named by my colleagues Chris Hamilton, Brent Hendrixson, and Jason Bond in the journal ZooKeys (doi: 10.3897/zookeys.560.6264). … Continue reading

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Why study bioluminescence?

The bioluminescent jellyfish Aequorea victoria is the source of green fluorescent protein (GFP) Credit: Sierra Blakely, Wikimedia Commons My research team, which is funded by the National Science Foundation (NSF), explores bioluminescence—the biological production of light by natural chemical reactions.   … Continue reading

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Parasitoid wasps

Parasitoid wasp in the family Braconidae (genus Asobara) Parasitoid wasp in the family Pteromalidae (genus Pachycrepoideus) Jamie Wahls, grad student in Tom Kuhar’s Vegetable Entomology Lab @ VT, visited our lab again with some of his fascinating parasitoid wasps. These … Continue reading

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The poisonous web of a bioluminescent fly

The toxic web of Orfelia fultoni (Diptera, Keroplatidae) While on a collecting trip to the Pisgah Mountains of North Carolina, we found the fly Orfelia fultoni. These luminous fly larvae dotted the mossy bank of a spring and emitted a … Continue reading

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Collecting millipedes on Brush Mountain

(left to right) Paul Marek, Jackson Means, Katy Lawler, Nina Zegler and Elizabeth Francis On Friday, we collected millipedes on Brush Mountain near Blacksburg, Virginia. We found the genera Narceus, Pseudopolydesmus, Apheloria, Rudiloria, and Nannaria. Other fascinating discoveries included several … Continue reading

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National Moth Week 2014

Spanish moon moth, Graellsia isabellae (Graëlls, 1849). D. Descouens CC BY-SA 3.0 Join entomologists from Virginia Tech and celebrate National Moth Week! Come out to the campus of VPI and discover insect biodiversity and nighttime nature. We’ll be across the … Continue reading

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Collecting in the Blue Ridge

The Blue Ridge Mountains of North Carolina Elizabeth, Jackson and I just returned from a three-day collecting expedition to the Blue Ridge Mountains of Virginia and North Carolina. It was an exhilarating three days and two nights, with little sleep … Continue reading

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