Alex Smith with hair studying amphibian photolysase induction and concentration in the late 20th century.

A Nobel prize and the unknown benefits that come from saying yes

Aziz Sancar delivering his Nobel Lecture for his prize in Chemistry 2015. He said yes. My early morning wakeup on Wednesday, October 7, 2015 began as usual with a, though admittedly not healthy, quick Twitter check. My internet-induced squint widened when I saw that Aziz Sancar was trending. Dr. Sancar had just been named co-winner […]


Joint Annual Meeting ESC-ESM 2017 – Winnipeg, MB

Yes, the International Congress of Entomology, which included the 2016 Entomological Society of Canada meeting contained within it, has just drawn to a close, but it’s never too early to start planning and preparing for the next ESC Annual Meeting! So, in 2017, please accept the invitation of the Entomological Society of Manitoba to join entomologists […]


BugsR4Girls – Applied entomology with a twist

By B. Staffan Lindgren (@bslindgren) I have always thought of myself as extremely fortunate and blessed to have made a career in entomology. The main reason is that 99.9% of all entomologists I have met and come to know over the years have been extremely nice people. Like most entomologists, I was interested in animals […]

In school, virtually all of my research reports and essays would be about insects, spiders, snakes and other animals. My love of insects became my pathway to learning.

Appreciating insects and other arthropods: a lifetime of riches

  It is about time I got busy and stared blogging again on this site. Since I am out of practice, I will do what I know best: a photo essay about why I love insects and other arthropods, and how studying them has improved my life!    


Dangerous caterpillars

The following is a guest post by Emma DesPland Last week the CBC contacted me about an “infestation” of caterpillars near a local sports and community centre, citing parents’ concern that these could be dangerous for their children. I was surprised. The pine (Thaumetopoea pityocampa) and oak (T. processionea) processionary caterpillars do have a genuine […]


Canadian Entomology Research Roundup: September 2015 – January 2016

(version française) As part of a continuing series of Canadian Entomology Research Roundups, here’s what some Canadian entomology grad students have been up to lately: From the authors: Finn Hamilton (University of Victoria) It is now well known that the majority of insects host symbiotic bacteria that have profound consequences for host biology. In some […]


The awesomeness of snakeflies

If you are a fan of Canadian neuropteroids, your bucket list should include a trip out west to see one of our best selling points: the Raphidioptera, or snakeflies. The most common of these are in the genus Agulla, and this morning I found several female Agulla when out for a walk at Mt. Tolmie […]

Garden Apr 3 2016-2964 cropped

The excavator spider

Guest post by Staffan Lindgren (@bslindgren) The other day I was practicing macro photography (I am still learning after several years of erratic success at best, so please excuse the imperfections) trying to patiently wait out some Halictus sweat bees with my camera. The bees appeared to be much more patient than I was, however, […]

Cobblestone Tiger Beetle. Photo by Stephen Krotzer, used with permission.

The Cobblestone Tiger Beetle

by Mischa Giasson In 2008, l was asked to participate in a mark-release-recapture survey on the shores of Grand Lake, New Brunswick. My dad and I joined Fredericton entomologist Reggie Webster on a boat to visit three small sites among the rocky beaches surrounding the lake. We were searching for a rare, recently locally discovered […]

Fig. 1. Skillet Clubtail dragonfly adult; notice the distinctive “skillet” on tail. Photo Credit:

The Skillet Clubtail Dragonfly: What you don’t know

By Melody McLean What if I told you that as a New Brunswicker, there are animals in danger of going extinct in your own backyard? Saying that, you’re probably thinking of a cute, fuzzy, little animal with big, sad eyes being displaced from its home.  Well, that’s not what I’m referring to. I’m talking about […]

Figure 1 The sand-verbena moth 
(Photo: Wendy Gibble, Used under a CreativeCommons CC_BY 2.0 licence

The sand-verbena moth

By Lisa Jørgensen The sand-verbena moth (Copablepharon fuscum) is, when it comes to looks, a relatively anonymous fellow.  This nocturnal moth, which belongs to the order Lepidoptera (butterflies and moths) and the family Noctuidae, has a wingspan of 3.5-4.0 cm and has only been found in three Canadian sites, all on the coast of southwestern […]

The author with his eponymous insect trap, sometime after struggles doing statistics with room-sized computers. Photo: Ron Long

Basic vs. Applied Entomology: How the Mountain Pine Beetle Opened My Eyes

A guest post by Staffan Lindgren I finished my bachelor’s degree at the University of Uppsala in Sweden in 1975. I had actually completed most of my degree at Umeå University, but because I wanted to take limnology and entomology, I moved to Uppsala for my last semesters, so my degree was granted by that […]

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We stand on the shoulders of giants: Reflections by a midget

Guest post by Staffan Lindgren On a rainy, blustery day I am sitting in my new home in Nanaimo, BC, and thinking about my professional career, which is about to come to an end in the next few weeks, at least officially. I have been doing a fair bit of reading lately, and the last […]

The author’s graduate student, Holly Caravan, captured in mid-presentation at the ESCJAM 2015 in Montreal. Holly was selected to present in the Graduate Student Showcase. (photo by Sean McCann)

Winning Presentations

Guest post by Tom Chapman   My students frequently win prizes for their conference presentations (2015 was a particularly good year for our group), and I am more than willing to bask in their reflected glory. But really, was I a brilliant speaker in my day? Simply put, no. I have gotten better, you can’t […]


Travel awards for ICE 2016 in Orlando

  OK all you students and early career professionals, the time to apply for travel funding for the 2016 ICE conference in Orlando is running out! Apply for these awards! I have copied the text (both English and French) of the instructions to apply below, but if you prefer to download…. Here are the application instructions […]

Holly and Jake 2014

A Canadian Entomologist in Australia

 A Canadian Entomologist in Australia (it has been done before, I am sure, but here are my two cents. Or, should I round that down to zero or up to 5 cents?) Okay, new title: My five cents Guest post by Tom Chapman I have introduced many Canadian students to Australian based fieldwork (e.g. Jake […]


ESC/SEQ JAM 2015 in Montreal

This past weekend marked the beginning of the Entomological Society of Canada and the Société d’entomologie du Québec’s Joint Annual Meeting in Montreal. This three day event brought together a large number of insect researchers and insect enthusiasts from all across Canada. This was my second ESC/SEQ meeting in Montreal, and the second since I […]

Fig. 2 Female Apanteles polychrosidis Viereck (Hymenopetra: Braconidae)

Differential parasitism and ash tree volatile organic chemicals

By Tyler Wist   The ash leaf cone roller, Caloptilia fraxinella (Ely) (Lepidoptera: Gracillaridae) (Fig. 1) started to get noticed in the cities of the Western Canadian prairies in 1998, well, in Saskatoon, SK at least. I know this because that summer the green ash, Fraxinus pennsylvanica (Oleaceae), in my front yard was covered in cone […]

Students in the Arctic Ecology field course learning from Hymenopterist extraordinaire Alex Smith

From inquiring students to published authors: an adventure in the Arctic

by Amanda Boyd and Kate Pare The field course in Arctic Ecology (BIOL*4610), offered periodically by the University of Guelph, explores ecological relationships in a sub-arctic environment. Based out of the Northern Studies Research Center, the 2-week course takes place in Churchill Manitoba and the surrounding area. That was what we, the students, knew going […]


Student opportunities at the 2016 International Congress of Entomology

Next September, the largest-ever scientific meeting of entomologists will take place at the International Congress of Entomology (ICE) in Orlando, Florida. For graduate students and early-career entomologists, it will be a fantastic opportunity to meet your peers from all over the world, present your research in a high-profile setting, and scout out potential study or […]

The range of possible egg colours that can be laid by a single female spined soldier bug (Photos: Paul Abram/Eric Guerra)

When you’re a spined soldier bug laying eggs, they can be “Any Colour You Like”

By Paul Abram PhD Student, Université de Montréal When Pink Floyd recorded their epic, psychedelic instrumental “Any Colour You Like” for the classic album Dark Side of the Moon, were they inspired by a predatory stink bug? Well … probably not. The spined soldier bug (Podisus maculiventris), can’t actually lay any colour of egg it likes – […]

A top view of a backswimmer swimming. Backswimmers can often be seen swimming just under the surface of the water, ventral side up. Photo credit: Shannon McCauley.

The flight of the backswimmer: dispersal behaviour in a freshwater insect

By Celina Baines Have you ever thought about what a pond-dwelling insect might do if it doesn’t like the pond it lives in? People generally assume that these insects are stuck where they are, but actually, many freshwater insects have wings and can fly. This movement between ponds is an example of a process known […]

Apechthis Ontario parasitizing a hemlock looper pupa (Photo credit: Lukas Seehausen)

Canadian Entomology Research Roundup: April – June 2015

As a graduate student, publishing a paper is a big deal. After spending countless hours doing the research, slogging through the writing process, soliciting comments from co-authors, formatting the paper to meet journal guidelines, and dealing with reviewer comments, it’s nice to finally get that acceptance letter and know that your work is getting out there. The ESC […]


The joys of insects at dawn

When is the last time you got up at dawn to see some insects? Never? Well let me tell you, it is an absolutely fabulous time to get out and see what is really happening in the world. Everyone knows that the dawn is the time for going out to see birds, but the birds […]

Figure 4 – Shareable infographic outlining information & data presented in this article. Please feel free to circulate.

Missed Mandate, Missed Biology: The ongoing “Mother Canada” debacle in Cape Breton Highlands National Park

Opinion Piece – M. Alex Smith, Department of Integrative Biology, University of Guelph (; @Alex_Smith_Ants; —- Like many Canadians, I have been hearing more and more about the so-called “Mother Canada” development in Cape Breton Highlands National Park (CBHNP). Proposed by a combination of private funding in partnership with the federal government, this enormous […]


Meet the new Editor-in-Chief of The Canadian Entomologist

My name is Kevin Floate.  Back in 1985, I became a member of the Entomological Society of Canada (ESC) and found it to be a warm and supportive organization.  I’ve since undertaken a number of roles, because I enjoy a challenge, but also because I believe that it is important to give back to the […]


Blog posts by students of Biol 202

  The following is a guest post by Staffan Lindgren When I started teaching Invertebrate Zoology in the mid-1990’s, students were required to write term papers as one of the tools for evaluation. With a fairly heavy teaching load, this approach became somewhat unmanageable given relatively high enrollment, in particular since I feel that it […]


Heavy metal insects!

  We have featured the wonderful metalwork of Canadian artist Elizabeth Goluch before, in this awesome interview by Crystal Ernst. Now Ben Proudfoot of Breakwater Studios has produced this wonderful video featuring Elizabeth, her inspiration and work. If you are fascinated by insects aesthetically, or have a love for metalwork and sculpture, this is a great introduction to the artistic […]


Western Specialties

Living in Western Canada is pretty sweet. Especially here on the coast, we have a plethora of awesome insects that only occur in this region. I am trying to savour these insects while I can, as this fall I am moving to Toronto. The snakeflies (Raphidioptera) are awesome animals, with a delightfully elongate prothorax and long […]

Image courtesy of Sarah Edwards.

Citizen Science on a continental scale

The Editor’s pick from the Feburary issue of The Canadian Entomologist is Crowdsourcing for large-scale mosquito (Diptera: Culicidae) sampling by Elin C. Maki and Lee W. Cohnstaedt. In this blog Lee Cohnstaedt reveals more about the research. —- “We were inspired to carry out this study to find out the origin and historical geographic spread of the […]

A typical adult dragonfly. Note the spiked legs, which are held in a basket shape to help catch prey while flying.

Recreational boating affects dragonflies

—-By Aaron Hall—- Dragonflies are charismatic insects, and most of us can probably remember chasing them or watching their acrobatic flights when we were children. But what most of us didn’t realize when we were kids, is that dragonflies spend the majority of their lives as toothy, alien-looking predators living underwater before they become adults. […]

An adult female Habronattus americanus jumping spider in natural beach habitat. Females are avid hunters. Photo credit: Sean McCann

Behavioural observations in nature reveal mating strategies of jumping spiders

—- By Gwylim S. Blackburn & Wayne P. Maddison—- Animals reveal a lot about their lives simply by the way that they behave. When observed in the wild, they also offer insights to the function of behaviours in a natural context. Capturing these insights just requires a little patience, and attention to the right details. […]


Decoding the love songs of mate-seeking male bark beetles

—–By Amanda Lindeman, PhD Candidate, Carleton University—– In April 2015, I coauthored a paper on what bark beetles are trying to say to each other when they interact with potential mates (1). No one knew for sure – since bark beetles, as their name implies, live under the bark, males could simply be announcing their […]


Finding a rare robber fly in the Okanagan

Catherine Scott and I recently indulged in an almost unheard-of pleasure…A week long car camping trip to the Okanagan Valley! For those of you who don’t know, this is the area where the vast majority of BC wines originate (and tree fruit crops as well!). The South Okanagan and the Lower Similkameen Valleys, biologically speaking, are very […]


Canadian Entomology Research Roundup: March 2015 – April 2015

As a graduate student, publishing a paper is a big deal.  After spending countless hours doing the research, slogging through the writing process, soliciting comments from co-authors, formatting the paper to meet journal guidelines, and dealing with reviewer comments, it’s nice to finally get that acceptance letter and know that your work is getting out there. The ESC […]

elo ill

Royal honours for Canadian student!

Eloise Rowland, graduate of the Gries Lab of Simon Fraser University was recently recognized by the Royal Entomological Society for the best paper published in the journal Physiological Entomology in 2013 and 2014. This paper, part of Eloise’s MSc work, examines the role of sound in the sexual communication of the gypsy moth, Lymantria dispar. […]

A horrific sight to innocent insect passers-by.

Costly colouration in a forest moth: the tale of a ten-year research project

As part of the Canadian Entomology Research roundup (the first two posts can be found here and here), we will be sharing more detailed posts from the grad students involved in the published research. Below is a post from Jessica Ethier, sharing her research experience that spanned an undergraduate and PhD degree. I just published a […]

Art work done by
Michael McLeish and Andrew Chaulk.

“Thrips” should die

By Dr. Tom Chapman, Memorial University —- I used scissor to cut my pant into short. A jarring opening sentence, I know. It is how I use to feel when someone dropped the “s” in “thrips”; it is a plural noun, don’t you know? If you see a solitary individual of these animals it is […]


Announcement – ESC-SEQ JAM 2015!

The Entomological Society of Canada  and the Société d’entomologie du Québec are pleased to invite the entomological community to the 2015 Joint Annual Meeting in Montréal, Québec. The conference will take place from 8th to 11th November, and includes a range of symposia and associated events under the meeting’s theme : Entomology in the Anthropocene. The plenary symposium […]

Liopiophila varipes, a piophilid species commonly found on carrion. Photo by S. Rochefort

Exploring piophilid flies: taxonomic tools for forensic entomology

By Sabrina Rochefort, MSc student, McGill University. Early in my undergraduate program at McGill University, I was looking for an opportunity to volunteer in a lab, where I could feed my need to learn and make new discoveries. That led me to Terry Wheeler’s lab; he was the teacher for my evolution class at that […]


Royal BC Museum insect curator position in danger, but you can make a difference

  The following is a guest post by Professor Felix Sperling  I’m always amazed when I see a well-established natural history museum that doesn’t have entomology curators. What are their administrators thinking? Insects form half of the known species diversity of our planet, a fundamental fact that too many people are unaware of. The ecological […]


A message from the ESC President

The following is by Dr. Staffan Lindgren, ESC President Christmas has come and gone and it is now closing in on the end of 2014. Most of us are busy with family and friends, and although winter seems to be spotty across the country (it is plus 3 oC in Prince George as I write […]

AFPMB bedbug2

Low-cost, effective bed bug pheromone found!

Researchers at Simon Fraser University have just published a paper describing a bedbug pheromone blend which includes three new volatiles and a surprising arrestant: histamine! Regine Gries, along with colleagues from SFU’s Chemistry and Biological Sciences Departments have been working on pheromone chemistry of these pervasive and damaging pests for years. Regine has led the […]


Invasive ants march on the West Coast

Invasive ants are generally a phenomenon of warmer climates. Argentine ants, red imported fire ants, and electric ants are all major economic problems in places like Florida, New Caledonia, and Australia. But what is to stop European and Asian ant species from damaging invasions of Canada? It turns out, not much. Ken Naumann and Rob Higgins, […]


The last of the yellowjackets?

  On Friday, while walking to work I found this male wasp, cold and still on the pavement. This was a male western yellowjacket, Vespula pensylvanica, and he was in rough shape. Even here in Vancouver, wintry weather comes this time of year, and we have had freezing nights for almost a week.      


Spiders with an identity crisis: a new taxonomy paper

The following is a guest post by Terry Wheeler, from the Lyman  Entomological Museum at McGill University. It is re-posted from the Lyman Museum Blog, where it originally appeared.  Two wolf spiders, whose names are Pardosa lapponica and Pardosa concinna, run across open ground all over northern Canada. Here’s the problem: these two species of spiders live in a […]


Tracking the Warren Root Collar Weevil

The following is a guest post from ESC student member Sharleen Balogh. Sharleen is a Masters student at the University of Northern British Columbia (UNBC) working with Dezene Huber and Staffan Lindgren on Warren Root Collar Weevils. She recently took home a President’s Prize for best talk at the ESC/ESS JAM in Saskatoon.    For the past two years, […]


Exotic field collecting…in the hallway!

The following post is by Chloe Gerak, a Masters student at UBC who completed an undergraduate project at Simon Fraser University in the Gries lab.This past weekend, she won the top prize for an undergraduate talk at the Annual General  Meeting of the Entomological Society of British Columbia with a talk entitled “How the false widow […]

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Mating of western yellowjackets

The following post comes to us from our new President, Staffan Lindgren, who in addition to being a great researcher, takes the time to make natural history observations which are crucial for any entomologist.  On occasion I grab my camera and go out in the garden to see if some photogenic insect or other arthropod […]


President’s Prize winners and runners-up

In my last post, I shared some thoughts about the value of the President’s Prize at Annual Meetings of the Entomological Society of Canada. This time, with the help of Tyler Wist, I present the names and categories for each of the winners and runners-up. I would like to congratulate all of these fine scientists, and […]


À la chasse au pseudoscorpion béringien dans l’Arctique

À la chasse au pseudoscorpion béringien dans l’Arctique

Notre but initial, pour mon superviseur Dr. Brent Sinclair et moi, était de voyager au Yukon pour collecter des araignées. Nous avions entendu du Dr. Chris Buddle, que nous allions rencontrer là-bas, que les araignées étaient nombreuses. Et il avait bien raison ! Cependant, nous ne pensions pas être charmé par le minuscule (maximum 3mm), […]