A weevil of Earthsea: Finding the true name for the fourth beetle

“For magic consists of this, the true naming of a thing.” A Wizard of Earthsea – Ursula le Guin Names are important. Without names, things are just stuff. With names, things are individuals. Individuals have pasts, they have futures. We can care about named things. When it comes to biodiversity,…

What’s causing a stink? Identifying volatiles from stink bugs

Brown marmorated stink bugs are considered one of the top pests of concern for New Zealand’s horticultural industry. Armed with a characteristic shield-like shape, they are differentiated from other stink bugs present in New Zealand by a zebra-esque pattern on their abdomen and antennae. Roughly the same size as a…

Weta motels, beetle show and tells and biodiversity positive cows: the fourth EcoLincNZ podcast

Mike Bowie has been passionate about preserving and restoring biodiversity for his whole career. He has worked with a number of community groups to achieve this goal. He is also very active in outreach and can often be found with school groups introducing the next generations to the diversity of…

Barry Donovan, King of New Zealand Bees

Franziska Schmidlin, as a masters student in ENTO 612 Advanced Entomology, was tasked with interviewing working entomologists. Here is part of her report on an interview with Dr Barry Donovan who has worked on insects for 50 years. The first time I met Barry Donovan was while working on a…

Romeo and Juliweta: kissing cousins or rival families?

Romeo and Juliet. Star-crossed lovers from two feuding families. What makes this story so epic, and such a tragedy, is that the Capulet and Montague families are such bitter enemies. The star-crossed lovers have it all in front of them if they want love to triumph. They might ask themselves…

No Buzz, No Food, No Joke.

Decline of insect pollination and its economic effect on NZ crop production. Honey Bee in Apple Tree My earliest memory of wanting to become a scientist goes way back. I was only 8 years old when I imagined myself lying somewhere in the Amazon, observing the behaviour of small mammals…

What did you eat today?

For most people its a difficult and uncomfortable subject but what if I told you that I could figure out where you’ve been and what you’ve eaten based only on your poop. That’s right I said it, poop. So, yeah there may be a nicer way to say it, such…

Goblins, orcs and Uruk Hai: taxonomy and Tolkien

Tolkien knew the value of naming. More than that, he knew the value of understanding and labeling diversity. Tolkien was not satisfied with simply mentioning pipeweed, he needed to mention several varieties (Longbottom Leaf, Old Toby, Southern Star), each with its own properties. I have commented on the subspecies of hobbits that…

Craft beers and crafty bugs

I have to admit a certain fondness for craft beers. I particularly like the big tasting American pale ales but will generally try any old thing that I come across. There is certainly a large diversity of craft beers around and it taps into that collector gene that gets you excited…

Balancing the risks and benefits of biological control

Biological control against introduced pests in New Zealand have been used constantly since the late 19th century. However, it is much harder to introduce new agents now due to regulations set by the New Zealand Governments Environmental Protection Agency (EPA), previously known as the Environmental Risk Management Authority (ERMA). Biological control…