Coleoptera – corpses, crap, and celestial sh!te pushing

Human Skull being cleaned by Dermestid Beetles (Photo: Sklmsta)

It turns out that our irrelevant inordinate friends, the beetles, turn out to be pretty relevant. Here’s why:

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A fondness for beetles (beetles rock!!!!)

Photo: G Dallimore

When I talk to people about my work on beetles (or Coleoptera) there is often a very large elephant beetle in the room. Behind the smiles and genuine wish to appear interested, they actually think I’m a strange nerd who studies an obscure world.  Well, let me explain myself. Read more of this post

To be or not to bee? Valuing the unknown.

Why do some groups get overlooked in favour of the more familiar? Why you should care about native bees.

Native Megachile bee. Image: Alvesgaspar

I am now going to ashamedly confess that when I started my PhD, I didn’t even know that Australia had any species of native bee. This may be due to the fact that, growing up in inner Melbourne, deprived of contact with indigenous wildlife much of the time, I am a terrible naturalist. Alternatively, it perhaps stems from the phenomenon whereby many zoology undergrad and honours students are preoccupied by the cute and furry, instead of the small and functional, so I hadn’t really thought to think about them before. In any case, the fact of the matter is we do – about 1,500 species in fact. Now, at the risk of enraging my entomologically-minded colleagues who claim that bees are the ‘birds of the insect world’ (i.e. pretty and charismatic, and get more attention than other groups), I’m just going to put it out there and say YES, they are incredibly colourful and charming. Read more of this post