Oct 112011

Ryan FleacrestTime to earn some BioPoints; what is this, what was it designed to do, and how does it work? I’ll be providing the answers and doling out the points next Monday, and I’ll keep comments moderated until then so everyone has an opportunity to win. Remember, humor and accuracy will both earn you points!

No Hints Here


Alright, you can have a clue since it’s Tuesday:

Good luck!

Aug 302011

Ryan FleacrestAnother week, another tune! Sarah Brightman’s The Fly



It’s also time for another ID Challenge:



Time to earn some more BioPoints! Provide as many taxonomic or biological notes you can think of, and I’ll dole out the points! Good luck!

(I’m taking a page out of Ted’s book and turning on moderated comments so everyone has a chance at some points!)

Aug 102011

You may remember I offered an ID challenge a few days weeks month ago (where did that month go?), so I figured I’d best tally some points. What was that bug-eyed beast staring out from the screen?

Bug-eyed Beast

This deceiving photo may at first glance remind you of a praying mantis (order Mantodea), but is in fact the face of an insect in a totally different order; the Neuroptera. As Miles correctly deduced, this is Dicromantispa interrupta, a member of the mantisfly family (Mantispidae).

One of four species of mantisfly found in Canada, Dicromantispa interrupta is restricted to southern Ontario and Quebec in Canada (this specimen was brought back from Turkey Point Provincial Park in Norfolk County, Ontario during a recent survey), but occurs all the way down to Florida and southern Mexico and as far west as Minnesota. As can be guessed by the large eyes and raptorial front legs, adults are predatory on other insects, while larvae are parasitic in juvenile spiders. The mantisfly larvae are mobile and enter a spider’s egg sac as it’s being spun (or possibly find their way into completed egg sacs), where they await the hatching of spiderlings. Once the spiderling has hatched, the mantisfly larva will wrap itself around the pedicel (waist) of the spider until it’s next molt, at which point it will enter the book lungs and continue its development, eventually pupating and emerging from the egg sac as an adult!

There is another closely related species found in the extreme south of Ontario, and which Chris Borkent alluded to; Dicromantispa sayi. Although very similar in appearance, D. interrupta can be recognized by the brown markings at the tip of the wings and about 1/3 of the way from the tips (D. sayi has no such markings with the wing entirely clear other than the leading edge) .

Dicromantispa interrupta mantisfly lateral

Dicromantispa interrupta (staged)


As for BioPoints, I’m giving 2 to Peter Coffey for participating and hazarding a guess on the order; Miles walks away with 15 for the correct order, family, genus and species; and Chris gets 5 for taking a chance on the other sympatric species! Thanks for playing, and I’ll try to do challenges more frequently to allow everyone a chance at getting to the magic number of 200, so be sure to check back for other opportunities!

ResearchBlogging.orgCannings, R., & Cannings, S. (2006). The Mantispidae (Insecta: Neuroptera) of Canada, with notes on morphology, ecology, and distribution The Canadian Entomologist, 138 (4), 531-544 DOI: 10.4039/n06-806

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

Jul 122011

Ryan FleacrestAlmost forgot about Tuesday Tunes this week! Been a busy summer so far, and this one just about slipped through the cracks. Today’s song has very little to do with insects besides the title, but the song is an old favourite of mine, so it’ll work for this last minute edition!



As consolation for being kind of lame with the song and write up, here’s some cooler “bug” eyes, and I’ll put some BioPoints up for the identification! 2 pts for order, 3 pts for family, and 5 pts each for genus & species. Remember, with 200 BioPts, I’ll send you a framed photo of your choice from my archives! Enjoy!



Bug-eyed Beast


This song is available on iTunes – Bug Eyes – Catch Without Arms

Feb 222011

Ryan FleacrestThere are a lot of insect songs out there, but as you may have noticed, the videos that go along with those songs don’t always feature their namesakes. The music video for today’s song however, goes above and beyond, and makes the insect the star of the show!

In fact, because this insect is so heavily featured, get ready to compete for some BioPoints! The first person to correctly identify the family (5 pts) and provide an educated guess on the genus (5 pts) of the insect in question will score some points towards a framed photo from the Biodiversity in Focus library! Also, if you know what species of insect is illustrated on the lead singer at the end of the video, another 5 pts is yours!

I find tattoos fascinating works of art, and there are some pretty spectacular biology tattoos out there! Entomological tattoos however seem to be much scarcer (other than the much loved butterflies which everyone likes). So, if you can provide proof of an entomologically-related tattoo (throw a link in the comments section), I’ll give you 25 Biopts for your dedication!

Let the challenge begin!

This song is available on iTunes – Butterfly Caught – Collected

UPDATE: To get BioPoints for the tattoos, the tattoo needs to be on your body. Googling “bug tattoos” won’t work (2 pts to Don J. for trying it though and making me modify the rules).

Sep 212010

Green Weevil on green leaf in Costa Rica

For those looking for a little beetle love eight days a week, An Inordinate Fondness #8 was posted up at Arthropoda yesterday. Most magazine’s may feature paperback writers, but AIF is a monthly “magazine” of blog posts from here, there and everywhere around the insect blogging community, all focusing on beetles, whether through photography, paper reviews, or field observations. I’ve been following AIF for a few months now, and with a little help from my friends and fellow bloggers, it’s always a fun read. I don’t want to spoil the part, but this month’s edition features a recent Bug of the Day post by yours truly in addition to a whole lot of info on all sorts of beetles! So I hope you’ll come together and check out AIF today! The End.

P.S. There are BioPoints available in this post, if you can figure out the hidden signals! You’ll get 5 points for each correct answer!