Apr 212010

Although slightly modified from what E.O. Wilson actually said (birds, blogs, same thing right?), the title is most certainly true! Yesterday I introduced you to my blogosphere project, where I began looking at how insect blogs are related. Today, you’ll see the piece de resistance, and we’ll talk a little about what we see! Hold on tight and get ready for a bloggy family reunion!

Drum roll please…. dadadadadadadadada….

Phylogenetic Tree of Insect Blogs

Click image to find where you belong!

Can you see your blog from here? I gotta say, the tree actually has a lot better resolution than I thought it might, so lets take a look at some of the trends that are happening here.

First, lets map the Field of Study:

Phylogenetic tree of insect blogs coloured by field of study

Looking for a blog career? See who's in the neighbourhood! Click to enlarge

With these, to quote a certain Geek, OMGSHINY branches, we can see that weighting works! Holy cow! But what else can we see? Well, there are a heck of a lot of taxonomists out there blogging away. Hennig would be proud! Also, we can see the role that amateur entomologists play in the dissemination of entomological knowledge. Amateurs are covering a ton of different topics and helping to make sure that insects get the respect they deserve. Not only that, but there are a ton of people showing off their own insect photos (not mapped here, but most of those red branches have their photos out there for the public to ogle over, plus a lot of the other coloured branches too). With this much exposure it’s no wonder that insects are making the news in a good way more and more!

The other question I was curious about was to see how insect families may cluster and whether there might be any comparison to the true tree of life…

Phylogenetic tree of insect blogs with insect families mapped

Are insect blogs as diverse as the Insecta? Pretty close! Click to enlarge

That mass of purple branches tells me that most people like to dabble in all the six-legged creatures they come across in their journeys. But look at that ant hill in the middle! Quite the network that formicidologists have established for themselves isn’t it? But alas, they’ve rendered the coleopterists paraphyletic! Oh, the humanity! Doesn’t look like our tree of blog is going to follow the tree of life.

Considering that beetles and flies are way out ahead in the diversity race, it seems unfortunate that so few people are blogging about these groups (as their main focus, beetles tend to show up frequently in the general category). I’d love to see these two regions expand in the future, so if you’re an up and coming dipterist or coleopterist, please consider sharing your thoughts with the blogosphere!

The last thing I want to comment on is the huge skew between male and female insect bloggers. Of the 58 blogs where I could determine the author’s sex, only 28% of them were written solely by women. Even more concerning perhaps is that 38% of these women bloggers choose to remain anonymous, while not a single male blogger chose to stay private! With studies consistently showing that women are hard pressed in academia and the work place, I wonder if a desire to remain anonymous is a side effect or perhaps defense against further discrimination. If anyone would like to further discuss this trend, I’d be interested to learn more, if for no other reason than to help make the entomological field a more equal and inclusive environment for everyone!

Well, that wraps up the discussion for today. Thanks for taking the time to read along with this experiment, and if you’d like to see the data set and play with some analyses of your own, feel free to contact me and I’ll send it your way! Also, if you’d like your blog to be included in future analyses, I’ll be setting up a form for you to submit all the relevant information. I think I’m going to try and make this an annual event around Hennig’s birthday, and start tracking the insect blogging landscape and see how relationships change over time (hint hint, it’s evolution at work), so the more the merrier. If your blog is already included, I encourage you to keep blogging and to get to know your neighbours, you never know who may be occupying the bandwidth next door!

  29 Responses to “When you have seen one ant, one blog, one tree, you have not seen them all”

  1. […] Travanj 21, 2010 Uncategorized Leave a Comment Morgan Jackson nas je uključio u svoju filogeniju blogova: kao što možete vidjeti u dobrom smo društvu – posred dobro definiranog […]

  2. […] phylogenetics (evolutionary relationships, not greek pastry) of different entomology blogs. Visit When you have seen one ant, one blog, one tree, you have not seen them all, to see the results of his (almost) scientific look at the bug blogging […]

  3. […] Jackson followed this with his tongue-in-cheek analysis of arthropod blogs using phylogenetic analysis tools. Nothing I write here can be nearly as clever as this project, so I’m simply linking to it. […]

  4. […] Families of closely related topics that is. Morgan D. Jackson set out to reconstruct the phylogeny of insect blogs: […]

 Leave a Reply



You may use these HTML tags and attributes: <a href="" title=""> <abbr title=""> <acronym title=""> <b> <blockquote cite=""> <cite> <code> <del datetime=""> <em> <i> <q cite=""> <s> <strike> <strong>