Sunday, April 24, 2011

The Summer of the Reduviidae

A wheel bug from Costa Rica, preserved at the Museo de Insectos, University of Costa Rica, San José.
 
Let it be known that I am extremely excited for this summer.

I applied for a few internships, but those didn't work out. I was disappointed, of course, but other opportunities popped up, ensuring that I won't be idle during my time off from classes. I applied for a grant from my college, and received it. Thanks to that, I will spend six weeks during the summer carrying out a project I designed. This will involve me romping around the college's field station with my exploring hat, bug nets, and a bag full of bug collecting equipment, investigating the assassin bug diversity at the field station.

This is awesome for a number of reasons:
  1. I'll be investigating a question no one has yet researched
  2. I'll be acquainting myself even more with assassin bugs, a group of insects that is quickly becoming my favorite
  3. I will have ample time for exploration
  4. I'll find more than just assassin bugs
  5. With six weeks, I won't be rushed
  6. I'll have the opportunity to present my findings to the public, spreading my love of insects
  7. I'll be doing all of this on my own
It's a time to prove just how much I've learned so far, in addition to doing something outside of a class. I've done some insect collecting at the field station already, as part of a Zoology class, but our time was limited, resulting in me not having enough time to do all I wanted. This time around, I can be at the station essentially all day.

I can also tackle the project knowing what to look for and where to look, meaning that I should have a lot more success than I did during the class in finding assassin bugs.

Then, once I finish the project, I can use what I learn to inform how I carry out my capstone project, which will be an investigation into the life habits of the wheel bug, Arilus cristatus, again at the field station. I'll be doing that project for a grade, and it will be essentially the most important project I undertake during my undergraduate career.

So that's quite critical.

I've been doing a lot of research for the past few months, looking for general information about assassin bugs, insect collecting methods, and planning for the summer. In a few weeks, I'll be able to start the culmination of all that work.

I'm going to hit the ground running.

Another project I'll be doing this summer is an herbarium indexing project for the college. It will involve scanning pictures and data sheets into an online database that will catalog plant species from Ohio, an area I need to brush up on. Between that and my assassin bug projects, I feel as if the next few months will be full of productivity.

I plan to keep a field journal during my projects as well. I've kept a few in the past: when I was in the Southwest for a desert ecology class, and in a few places I've been in Costa Rica. I hope to make my summer one much more detailed, and in that vein, more useful. Not to mention the fact that it will make it a lot easier to remember my methods, where I find certain insects or habitats, etc. Speaking of which, I need to see about getting a giant map of the field station...

Assassin bug (Zelus sp., possibly Z. luridus) that has captured a fly

4 comments:

  1. Hey Man! Glad i found your blog!You probably forgot more than I know but I'm trudgin around the SW corner of Ohio and might run across a bug or plant of interest to ya!http://trekkingohio.blogspot.com/
    Lookin forward to reading your blogs.Peace.
    Michael

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  2. Hi Michael, I checked out your blog, interesting stuff. I'll be visiting the southwest corner of the state soon, so maybe you can introduce me to some of the wildlife I'm likely to see!

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  3. Last summer I had an assassin bug that's very similar to the wheel bug living in my yard. I placed him on a hanging pepper plant and fed him regularly. His diet consisted mostly of injured half dead flies and other small bugs. He lived for several months then began turning grey. He claimed down from the plant and made his way to my she'd where I later found him dead. A very interesting summer "pet."

    ReplyDelete
  4. Last summer I had an assassin bug that's very similar to the wheel bug living in my yard. I placed him on a hanging pepper plant and fed him regularly. His diet consisted mostly of injured half dead flies and other small bugs. He lived for several months then began turning grey. He claimed down from the plant and made his way to my she'd where I later found him dead. A very interesting summer "pet."

    ReplyDelete