Archive for the ‘news’ Category

Website News

Thursday, March 14th, 2013

For those of you that visit the web site and blog on a regular basis may have noticed over the past several months not a lot of activity. At last I am getting control of editing the content of the web site and plan on updating many of the pages. So be looking for changes over the next days, weeks and months.

The first changes have already taken place. The Haiku button has been deleted and replaced with a Search button for the museum specimen database. What this means is that there is not going to be a Haiku contest this year. Sorry to all the poetry lovers out there but I am a music lover not a poetry lover and with the loss of personal at the museum here there is no way I feel like I can take on the job of judging the entries.

The database continues to grow in record numbers. Currently there are over 60,650 records and growing. While just a drop in the bucket of all the specimens in the collection it is a start and a number that is added to usually daily. I am also taking images of the holotype labels and hope to begin uploading them soon.

Recent Donation

Thursday, September 13th, 2012

The Museum recently received a sizable donation of approximately 50,000 specimens from the family of the late Jim Cornell, who passed away a couple of months ago. Jim was a good friend of the collection, having donated thousands of specimens of Coleoptera over the years. While a general collector of Coleoptera, Jim had a passion for beetles associated with mushrooms and other fungi and those found in leaf litter. This current donation is rich in determined Coleoptera, especially Staphylinidae from Africa and South America.

Database Update

Tuesday, June 26th, 2012

The remainder of the collections holding of determined Veliidae (Hemiptera: Heteroptera) have been digitized and are available by searching our Specimen Database Portal. A link to the database is located on the Museum’s homepage. Enter the taxon name in the search engine to view a distribution map and label information for the various specimens of each species.

Database Update

Wednesday, June 13th, 2012

The collections holding of determined Microvelia (Hemiptera: Heteroptera: Veliidae) have been databased and are available by searching our Specimen Database Portal. A link to the database is located on the Museum’s homepage. Enter the taxon name in the search engine to view a distribution map and label information for the various specimens of each species.

Passing of a friend and colleague

Monday, June 11th, 2012

I learned this morning that the Museum here has lost a good friend over the weekend. Sad to report that Dr. Richard Hoffman, Curator Emeritus of the Virginia Natural History Museum, passed away Sunday morning at the age of 84 from complications related to last week’s triple bypass heart surgery. I met Richard shortly after my arrival to NC State nearly 30 years ago. He was a frequent visitor to the collection here. Once he moved to Martinsville he was only an hour or so away and would often call me to arrange a quick visit to look at various species and visit our University library.

Information about his life and career can be found at the Virginia Museum of Natural History website and more specifically by consulting the Festschrift volume that was published by the museum on the occasion of his 80th birthday: Roble, S. M., and J. C. Mitchell (editors). 2009. A Lifetime of Contributions to Myriapodology and the Natural History of Virginia: A Festschrift in Honor of Richard L. Hoffman’s 80th Birthday. Virginia Museum of Natural History Special Publication No. 16, Martinsville, VA. 458 pp.

2011 publishing accomplishments

Tuesday, January 17th, 2012

I’ve been pulling together data for a report that summarizes our accomplishments last year, and I thought it was worth noting our publications for 2011, including manuscripts that were largely written in 2011 but don’t come until this year (yes, these are technically 2012 pubs, but that just means we get to count them now and in 2012 round-up!) In short, we had some great pubs in 2011, at least in my mind: a mix of high profile results (1,8), high profile reviews (7,9), a strong opinion (3), basic research (2,5,6,9), and a critical re-evaluation (4) of what was arguably the biggest splash in insect science last year – the treehopper prothoracic wing (“helmet”) paper by Prud’homme et al. in Nature.

  1. Copeland, RS, Kirk-Spriggs, AH, Muteti, S, Booth, W, Wiegmann, BM (2011) Rediscovery of the “terrible hairy fly”, Mormotomyia hirsuta Austen (Diptera: Mormotomyiidae), in eastern Kenya, with notes on biology, natural history, and genetic variation of the Ukasi Hill population. African Invertebrates 52 (2): 363-390.
  2. Deans, A. R. (2011) Evaniidae of Cuba (Insecta: Hymenoptera). Solenodon 9: 55-65.
  3. Deans, A. R., M. J. Yoder, J. P. Balhoff (2012) Time to change how we describe biodiversity. Trends in Ecology and Evolution (in press) doi:10.1016/j.tree.2011.11.007
  4. Mikó, I., F. Friedrich, M. J. Yoder, H. M. Hines, L. L. Deitz, M. A. Bertone, K. C. Seltmann, M. S. Wallace, A. R. Deans (2012) On dorsal prothoracic appendages in treehoppers (Hemiptera: Membracidae) and the nature of morphological evidence. PLoS ONE 7(1): e30137 doi:10.1371/journal.pone.0030137
  5. Sharkey, M. J., J. M. Carpenter, L. Vilhelmsen, J. Heraty, J. Liljeblad, A. P. G. Dowling, S. Schulmeister, D. Murray, A. R. Deans, F. Ronquist, L. Krogmann, W. C. Wheeler (2011) Phylogenetic relationships among superfamilies of Hymenoptera. Cladistics 27: 1-33. doi:10.1111/j.1096-0031.2011.00366.x
  6. Trautwein, M. D., B. M. Wiegmann, and D. K. Yeates. (2011) Overcoming the effects of rogue taxa: Evolutionary relationships of the bee flies. PLOS Currents: Tree of Life 2011, Feb 21.
  7. Trautwein, M. D., B. Wiegmann, R. Beutel, K. Kjer and D. K. Yeates (2012). Advances in insect phylogeny at the dawn of the postgenomic era. Annual Review of Entomology 57:449-68. doi:10.1146/annurev-ento-120710-100538
  8. Wiegmann, B. M., M. D. Trautwein, I. S. Winkler, N. B. Barr, J. W. Kim, C. Lambkin, M. A. Bertone, B. K. Cassel, K. M. Bayless, A. M. Heimberg, B. M. Wheeler, K. J. Peterson, T. Pape, B. J. Sinclair, J. H. Skevington, V. Blagoderov, J. Caravas, S. N. Kutty, U. Schmidt-Ott, G. E. Kampmeier, F. C. Thompson, D. A. Grimaldi, A. T. Beckenbach, G. W. Courtney, M. Friedrich, R. Meier, and D. K. Yeates. (2011) Episodic radiations in the fly tree of life. Proceedings of the National Academy of Sciences, USA 108 (14): 5690-5695. doi:10.1073/pnas.1012675108
  9. Yeates, D.K. and B.M. Wiegmann (2012). The impact of the Manual of Nearctic Diptera on Phylogenetic Dipterology. The Canadian Entomologist, in press.

I think the Mikó et al. paper (4) is worth a deeper exploration, so István or I willl try to write something up by this evening.