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

Apr 192011

Ryan FleacrestIt’s been brought to my attention that I’ve missed a Canadian musical icon: the sweet dulcet tones of  Stompin’ Tom Connors! Most may know him for his Hockey Song, but when he’s not singing about sports or condiments, he’s paying an homage to those pesky bugs.



Stompin’ Tom really is one of the great lyricists, with some truly fantastic songs. The Bug Song is right up there, and bound to buzz around your head for another day or two at least, despite the rather negative tone towards our six-legged friends!


This song is available on iTunes – The Bug Song – Stompin’ Tom Connors and the Moon Man N****e

Mar 222011

Ryan FleacrestIt’s been a crazy couple of weeks here as I work to wrap up my MSc thesis. By the time you’re listening to today’s tune I should have everything finished up and submitted to my advisory committee, and barring any major revisions will be well on my way to completion. I love what I do, but I’m definitely looking forward to a bit of a break soon to relax and do some more blogging and photography!

Today’s song is definitely entomologically related, and it’s about as crazy as I feel right now. In fact, the album it’s off of pretty well sums up the past few weeks for me: “It’s All Crazy! It’s All False! It’s All A Dream! It’s Alright”. I’m banking on that last statement coming true…



Hopefully I’ll stop being lame and get back into a more regular posting schedule soon. I’ve got a bunch of topics and ideas that I want to share and expand upon, just haven’t had the time or the energy to do so. Stay tuned for all sorts of fun stuff in the near future! Fleacrest, out!


This song is available on iTunes – The King Beetle On a Coconut Estate – It’s All Crazy! It’s All False! It’s All a Dream! It’s Alright

Mar 152011

Ryan FleacrestWell, this week I don’t have anything witty or pressing to pass along. Busy time of year, and a new major Diptera paper was just published which I’ll be going over soon! Until then enjoy Dragonflies by Red House Painters.



This song is available on iTunes –Dragonflies – Red House Painters I

Mar 082011

Ryan FleacrestIt’s party time down in The Big Easy, with eusocial gatherings in the streets, plenty of ethanol being wasted (i.e. not being used for insect preservation) and females displaying mammary glands for petroleum-based jewelery (or so I’ve heard). In celebration, here’s the Dukes of Dixieland playing the entomological fight song, “When the Ants go Marching In”!



Wait, you mean it’s actually about SAINTS, not ants? And it’s a traditional funeral song? Shit. Well, in that case, enjoy EL-P featuring New Orleans resident (and Academy Award Winner) Trent Reznor – Flyentology (I think I might start referring to myself as a Flyentologist now…)


I’m off to eat some pancakes and pączki with some Jack Daniels Syrup. Fleacrest out!

These songs are available on iTunes – When the Saints Go Marching In – Timeless, The Classic Collection

Flyentology (Cassettes Won’t Listen Remix) – Single – El-P

Mar 012011

Ryan FleacrestJust when the snow seemed to be melting, the mercury dropped and we woke up to find some fresh new snow here in the Great White North (how I wish that was an ironic nickname). I’m pretty tired of snow now, and longing for the warm summer nights spent sitting in a field watching beetle asses phosphoresce! There’s nothing that can beat the laser light show put on by fireflies (family Lampyridae) when trying to unwind in the summer with beer in hand… Mmmmm, cold beer on a warm night… Ok, so maybe this wasn’t the best song choice after all!

Breaking Benjamin is one of my favourite bands, and the fact that they have an entomologically themed song only makes it better. Their music always takes me back to undergraduate summers working on the farm and checking the woods for insects! Damn, spring can’t come soon enough!



Now that I’ve gotten myself all worked up with spring fever, better get back to work. Enjoy the last few weeks (or optimistically days) of winter, and check back next week for a sweet new insect song!

This song is available for download on iTunes — Firefly – We Are Not Alone

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).

Feb 152011

Ryan FleacrestWelcome to a special Valentine’s-Day-Hangover Tuesday Tunes! You know the Valentine’s Hangover: the sugar crash from too many cinnamon hearts and boxed chocolates, itchy eyes and throat from all that unseasonal flower pollen, and don’t forget the sore back from sleeping on the couch because you innocently thought your significant other was lusting for another insect net! Everyone knows the best cure for a regular hangover is to keep on drinking*, so today I bring you the Valentine’s day equivalent: sickly-sweet pop music!

Some may consider the Jonas Brothers a plague upon their ears, but today’s musical selection is equally annoying for those living in the southern USA. That’s right, the springtime scourge of motorists, the Lovebug! Not truly a “bug” in the entomological sense, Lovebugs (Plecia nearctica) are in fact flies in the family Bibionidae. These flies emerge on mass in the spring and late summer, immediately begin swarming looking for a mate, and can remain in copula for hours when they find that special someone (hence, the common name). These swarms can reach overwhelming proportions, obscuring windshields, clogging air intakes, and their acidic bodies can ruin vintage car body work if their dead bodies are left to dry. There’s even an urban legend that University of Florida researchers created these “pests” and unleashed them on the public (note this isn’t much different from the origins of the Jonas Brothers…)

That song certainly contains more cheese than last night’s fondue, but I think we’re all over our Valentine’s Day hangover!

I can’t say I planned on featuring both of Disney’s poster children in the first few weeks of this series, so I think the next few weeks will be devoted to some music that will rock the sickly sweet detox program! Fleacrest, out!

If you still need more hangover relief, this song is available on iTunes – Lovebug – A Little Bit Longer (Deluxe Version)

* – Biodiversity in Focus and Ryan Fleacrest urge you to drink responsibly. More alcohol is not actually a cure for a hangover.

Jan 252011

Ryan FleacrestEntomology is a science, and like all sciences, experimentation is the heart and soul that keeps the hemolymph cycling! Whether its a taxonomist testing their species concepts with a new specimen recovered on their latest excursion, or an IPM specialist running field trials against the latest threat to our farms, anyone who takes the time to observe an insect soon finds themselves asking questions and searching for answers.

But all in life is not science, and for as long as the curious have pursued answers, there have been those that have experimented with style, art, and of course, music. There are artists out there blurring the lines between science and art, and likewise, there are those which experiment with music, taking listeners to places they may not normally tread. Today I hope you’ll take the chance to broaden your horizons a little, and enjoy the music of Sleepytime Gorilla Museum.

Besides the eccentric band name, Sleepytime Gorilla Museum started off right with the arthropod crowd by performing their first set for a banana slug! That trend is continued with Cockroach, an ode to an insect reviled by most.

It may not be for everyone, but I hope this song will spring to mind the next time you see that cockroach dash for the shadows, and maybe cause a pause before the stomp! Fleacrest, out!

This song is available for download from iTunes – Cockroach – Of Natural History

Jan 182011

Ryan FleacrestWhat’s the sound of POP (other than the most unfortunate of insects underfoot)? None other than the Queen of Teen, Miley Cyrus! Although the screams of adoring preteen fans may confuse passing cicadas, this week we’re sharing a song with the most noble of insects in a position that many of those preteens would love to be: Fly On The Wall.

Who wouldn’t want to have the ability to latch onto a wall with their tarsal claws and empodia like a fly? Who needs a seat at the rock show when you can attach to the stage itself, providing a unique vantage point right in the midst of the show? Of course many flies wouldn’t be able to actually hear the music (lacking a timpanic organ and all), but that’s beside the point! While I’d personally prefer not to be a fly on the wall of a Miley Cyrus concert, I salute her for bringing some Diptera love to the next generation of entomologists!

Thanks for tuning in, and if you’ve got a favourite ento-song, drop a request in the comments! Fleacrest, out!

This song is available for download from iTunes – Fly On the Wall – Breakout