Apr 022012

The Geek In Question posted an awesome graph representing the stages and challenges of scientific publication. You should go check it out right now if you haven’t seen it yet, because it’s spot on! I’m right in the middle of the graph (you know, the big pit of despair part) on a couple of manuscripts currently, and am really looking forward to that beer-drinking phase!

Until then, I figured I’d join in and provide my take on the taxonomic process, which has it’s own series of highs and lows!

Fun look at how species are described


This may seem intimidating, but trust me, I love what I do and couldn’t imagine doing anything else with my life! I also might be exaggerating a little bit in some of those low areas (except for the phylogenetics software, that stuff blows), but nothing beats the highs of collecting, species discovery, and making your work accessible to the world!



Jan 132012

Robert Redford may have a beetle, but musical sensation Beyoncé is fly!

That’s right, Ms. Sasha Fierce has been bestowed with the taxonomic honour of patronymy by Australian dipterists Bryan Lessard and David Yeates.

Beyonce fly Scaptia beyonceae

Bryan was bedazzled by the golden rumped females of the newly described Scaptia beyonceae, a horse fly in the family Tabanidae, and decided to forever immortalize Beyoncé’s Bootylicious bottom. The species may have been a child of destiny, as the type specimen was collected in northern Australia shortly after Beyoncé’s birth, and has only been collected twice since. Nobody knows how this fly species would appear if it were a boy, as all known specimens are female.

I tried reaching Taylor Swift to learn when her own fly would be coming out, but was interrupted by Kanye West who apparently thinks this is one of the best flies of all time. No word yet when junior synonym Scaptia blueivyii will be described, but I’ll keep you updated!

(All kidding aside, Bryan is a cool guy who I met at ESA this past fall. He described another 4 species in the same paper, including one named for Dr. Leigh Nelson (Scaptia nelsonae) which isn’t receiving near the press for some reason…)

ResearchBlogging.orgBryan D Lessard, & David K Yeates (2011). New species of the Australian horse fly subgenus Scaptia (Plinthina) Walker 1850 (Diptera: Tabanidae), including species descriptions and a revised key Australian Journal of Entomology, 50 (3), 241-252 : DOI: 10.1111/j.1440-6055.2011.00809.x

Dec 132011

Ryan FleacrestSeeing as it’s Science & Social Media week, and Klout (a metric service which aims to calculate the influence you have through social media websites) thinks I’m influential about beer, I thought I’d share with you a little about Untappd, a social network for beer enthusiasts!

Almost all the entomologists I know enjoy a nice cool beer after a day in the field or following the publication of a manuscript, and with quality microbreweries increasing their distribution distance, it’s a good time to be  a beer drinker!

Untapped LogoUntappd is really quite a simple network; you share what type of beer you’re drinking, perhaps include where you’re enjoying it or a photo, and you can provide a rating out of 5 stars and a comment, all of which can be seen by your digital drinking buddies! It’s a pretty good way to discover new beers, and of course there’s a badge system included as an incentive to try new things. This is the perfect network for all those who enjoy a little #drunksci from time to time!

I’m finding that I can find an entomologically-themed song for any topic I want to discuss, and luckily enough today is no exception! So sit back, crack a brew, and enjoy this week’s song; Hey Bartender, There’s a Bug in My Beer by Eddie Pennington & Warner Williams!

If you end up joining Untappd, be sure to save a seat for me!

This song is available on iTunes – Hey Bartender, There’s a Big Bug In My Beer – Down Home! Saturday Night

Nov 152011

Ryan FleacrestSince I’m here at ESA 2011 and becoming reacquainted with old friends and meeting all sorts of new people interested in insects, I thought it was only fitting to share this short song from Weezer! We’ll forgive the slight transgression about earthworms being insects for now, but Rivers Cuomo best watch his taxonomy in the future!

Don’t be afraid to go out and make an insect/entomologist friend of your own this week!


This song is available on iTunes – All My Friends Are Insects (Bonus Track) – Hurley (Deluxe Version)

Oct 252011

Ryan FleacrestWhen I first found today’s song, I immediately thought of this dragonfly photo I took while on vacation a few weeks ago:

Dragonfly Dreams


That is, until I finished watching the music video and realized the video director and the artist might not realize the difference between a butterfly and a dragonfly…


If you’re keeping track at home, that’s a Taxonomy Fail Index of 57.8, and quite frankly, one of the least imaginable given the general popularity of both orders! Perhaps that was an artistic choice of some manner…


This song is available on iTunes – Dragonfly – Bring Me the Workhorse

Aug 022011

Ryan FleacrestAdmit it, you’ve found a trendy pop song somewhat entertaining at some point in your life. Whether it was Rick Astley or Aqua, I’m sure everyone has had a guilty pleasure song or two which they find kind of fun despite the public backlash that may result from admitting it. Today I present you with one of mine… Butterfly by Crazy Town. While I’m not proud of it, I did make a mix CD with this song on it at the height of its popularity. Ugh.



Wow, I must say that takes the cake as the cheesiest music video I’ve shared here on Tuesday Tunes. Sorry about that.

Now can we all forgot this ever happened? Ok, thanks.


This song is available on iTunes – Butterfly (Album Version) – The Gift of Game

Jul 192011

Ryan FleacrestThis week’s song enjoys fresh ceviche eaten by candlelight near the sea, puppies, and long walks on the beach. Please give a warm welcome to Herb Albert and the Tijuana Brass with their signature piece, Spaniiiiish Flea!

A song instantly recognizable thanks to The Dating Game (and several Simpson’s episodes), Spanish Flea is one of those songs that will be stuck in your head for the remainder of the day (you’re welcome). Try to not whistle this little diddy while you walk down the hall, work on your computer, or fall off  to sleep this evening!



Yep, we here at Biodiversity in Focus like to make sure insects and their related music are always on your mind! Speaking of on your mind, last week’s tune came with an ID challenge which still has plenty of BioPts up for grabs. Since it’s the summer and you’ve likely been playing outdoors looking for insects (you have haven’t you?), I’ll leave the insect a mystery for another week, giving you a chance to relax in the air conditioning and figure out what it may be. Until next time, I’m Ryan Fleacrest!


This song is available on iTunes – Spanish Flea – Herb Alpert & The Tijuana Brass

Jun 292011

About lowly human parking laws at least!

Honey Bee swarm on No Parking Sign

Honey Bee Don't Care!

Yep, a honey bee swarm decided that this parking sign in our department’s parking lot was as good a place as any to settle down for the evening. Lucky for them, the parking authority goes home at 5…

Honey bees on parking sign with text saying Subject to Tow Away

We're going to need a smaller truck!


Honey bee on parking sign lateral

One of the offenders


May 242011

Ryan FleacrestIt was a great long weekend for us Canadians, with more than decent weather in my area, cold beer, and BBQ! I also came to the conclusion that I’m going to start referring to the holiday as Linneaus Day rather than Victoria Day; Linneaus contributed more to global society, considered himself royalty, and holds taxonomic priority – he was born in 1707 while Queen Victoria wasn’t born until 1819! But I digress…

Along with the great weather and beer, I’ve put the final touches on my first peer-reviewed journal article, which should be coming online sometime around lunch today! I’ll be blogging about it later on, but for now, here’s a song somewhat on topic by Nada Surf; Fruit Fly.



I’m pretty sure this song is referring to a family which are frequently called “fruit flies” but which I call “vinegar flies” – Drosophilidae. These diverse nuisances aren’t the same family as I’m publishing on, but the title “Fruit Fly” does fit my group, the Tephritidae. The closest I could come to finding a tephritid-relevant musical selection was the Seattle-area punk band Apple Maggot Quarantine Area, but they didn’t have any useful videos to share…

Anyways, keep an eye out later today for the full story!


This song is available on iTunes – Fruit Fly – Let Go


May 102011

Ryan FleacrestIn honour of the Latin American celebration of Cinco de Mayo, I bring you an iconic entomological song that most people will instantly recognize! While the original lyrics were about a disabled cockroach, this song became popular during the Mexican Revolution, with people creating their own lyrics to mirror their political ties. The original lyrics however are pretty fun:


Spanish English
La cucaracha, la cucaracha, The cockroach, the cockroach,
ya no puede caminar can’t walk anymore
porque no tiene, porque le falta because it doesn’t have, because it’s lacking
las dos patitas de atrás. its two back legs.

(Lyrics courtesy of Wikipedia)

I’ve seen many insects which are lacking legs and still mobile, so it’s a little odd that these are the lyrics which started it all. As many urbanites may attest, killing a cockroach is not the simplest task and urban legends maintain that cockroaches will inherit the world following a nuclear holocaust. Perhaps we’ve just been taking the wrong approach this whole time, and removing the back legs is all that’s needed to stop these household pests!

Certainly a catchy tune, and one I’m sure will be infesting my head for the remainder of the day!


This song is available on iTunes – La Cucaracha – Mexican Fiesta



Spanish English
La cucaracha, la cucaracha, The cockroach, the cockroach,
ya no puede caminar can’t walk anymore
porque no tiene, porque le falta because it doesn’t have, because it’s lacking
las dos patitas de atrás. its two back legs.