Aug 042012

Perhaps I should have named this The Biweekly Flypaper since it seems summer activities are conspiring against me, but hopefully I can get back on track soon.

(Inter)National Moth Week (NMW)

I don’t know if you noticed, but the Bug-osphere took (Inter)National Moth Week by storm and scaled new heights with their mothy contributions! Here’s but a sampling of the moth-related postings from my fellow bug bloggers.

A Bug Blog talked about a bat-sensing moth, as did the group behind the Audubon Field Guides.

OMAFRA’s Field Crop News explained how you can recognize butterfly and moth damage in your soybeans and corn crops.

The Bug Geek started off with some of her unidentified moths, and ended with a moth with a special surprise.

The Home Bug Gardeners posted some great moths all week, and eventually found themselves as new moth-er enthusiasts.

The National Moth Week team had a whole suite of great posts during the week, as well as showing off some cool moth sidewalk art spotted in Ottawa.

Itsy Bitsy Beetle found a little moth street art of her own on a wall in Berkeley California.

Brian Cutting showed off some of his tropical moth photos and ended Moth Week with a bang!

Bug Eric’s Wasp Wednesday turned into Not Actually a Wasp Wednesday in honour of NMW.

Matt “the Biology Geek” Bergeron got ambitious and took on the micro moths.

The Dragonfly Woman fought the elements to share moths with the public at an official event at her new job.

And of course CaterpillarBlog joined in on the fun attending a mothing event organized by her and her lab mates. Continue reading »

Jan 032012

Ryan FleacrestWell here we are, a full year after I started this little musical column. Turns out there are a lot more artists who have brought in the funk with insect content than I could have imagined, making quite a diverse playlist (which I’m going to curate in one place and post soon, don’t worry). My goal was to feature a new song every week, and I almost made it, having only forgotten last week! So close! Oh well, I’ve covered more than 52 songs throughout the year, so I suppose I’m still ahead of the game.

I enjoyed writing these pieces each week, and often surprised myself with where the final product ended up. Some were silly, some I tried to deliver a message, and some were intimately personal. It goes to show just how a song can impact a person and inspire a full range of emotions.

With that being said, this may be the last Tuesday Tunes for a bit. No fear, I still have plenty of insect music to share and write about, but there are some other weekly projects I want to try and do, and I’m ready to turn this into an occasional feature, coming around maybe once a month or so.

Today is as good a time as any for another multi-song version of Tuesday Tunes, with another band I listened to through high school; Alien Ant Farm.

When you hear about Alien Ant Farm, you probably think of their biggest hit (and Michael Jackson cover), Smooth Criminal. Other than the band’s ant-head logo on the canvas of the boxing ring, there’s not much entomological about this song, but it’s still a fun song, so enjoy!

Their logo isn’t their only entomological expression however, as they also penned and performed the songs Crickets and Beehive on their 2006 album Up in the Attic:

And to top it all off, Alien Ant Farm wrote a special song for the 2002 movie Spider-Man, Bug Bytes:

So that’s it for Tuesday Tunes for awhile! Thanks to those of you who joined me on this journey through music history, and keep an eye out for more songs in the future!

These songs are available on iTunes (except for Beehive, which was a bonus song):
Smooth Criminal – ANThology
Crickets – Up In the Attic
Bug Bytes – Spider-Man (Music from and Inspired By)

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

Aug 172010

I think the long days are starting to catch up with me, I couldn’t bring myself to get out of bed to go birdwatching this morning! The extra hour of sleep was well worth it though, and I enjoyed a simpler breakfast today of PB on toast and some cereal. We had the day to explore around the main ACG station, so myself, Joel G, Joel K, Andrew and Jeff journeyed to a picturesque overlook that also happens to be a nice, open hilltop. Of course it’s taped off for safety’s sake (the ladder up the side of the building seems to be falling out of the wall) but we didn’t attempt the full climb and just stuck around the base. The sun was fighting for some space today, but we had some pretty good luck when it did break through. Something that I hadn’t seen before was huge congregations of dragonflies floating up above where the flies and other insects were looking for a mate, seemingly feasting on the buffet of bugs. Easily 100 dragonflies were visible at any given time! Really the only exciting Diptera finds were some large robber flies (Asilidae), which were gladly claimed by the group of asilidologists back at camp, and a few rather large grasshoppers. Of course, by rather large I actually mean the length of my pointer finger…

Costa Rica Giant Grasshopper green brown

Click to Enlarge

It wasn’t just insects at the top of the hill though, as we saw some soaring raptors, and had a visit from a large troop of white-headed capuchin monkeys (Cebus capucinus)…

White-headed Capuchin (Cebus capucinus) Costa Rica

The rain chased us off the hill shortly after, and we had a long, rainy afternoon to pin insects and rest up. After dinner a small group of us decided to go on a “short” night walk with the hopes of finding a snake or two. We didn’t find any snakes, but we did see a possum, a few nightjars, and a spectacled owl! It was pretty fun calling in the owl and patiently scanning the trees in the dark for signs of movement. Ultimately it sat right out in the open for us and I was even able to get a few record shots of it. A pair of Pacific screech owls back at the station, and we called it a night!


Apr 272010

The blog is likely going to be pretty quiet in the coming weeks as I finish writing my Master’s thesis and prepare to defend. I’ll try and make a few simple posts throughout the process, but more detailed posts likely won’t happen until I have some extra spare time! Until then, I hope you’ll enjoy some of my photos from the archives, and stay tuned for plenty of new content this summer!

Acrididae grasshopper on dead grass stem with purple flowers behind

This Melanoplus sp. (I think) was hanging out in the Alderville Prairie (Click to enlarge)