Join Dr. Linda Rayor of the CALS Department of Entomology as she discusses the social lives of spiders, in particular the social huntsman spiders, which live a dramatic life of cooperation and conflict. What do these social spiders get out of living with tens to hundreds of their closest of kin? Find out as Dr. Rayor discusses her research on large, gorgeous social huntsman spiders and different aspects of the behavior of spiders.
Interested in learning about the biology & behavior of mosquitoes, ticks, and other arthropods that affect human health? Enroll in a new certificate course from @ecornell_online! Next offering starts Sept 1. Enroll by August 31 with code INTRO50 to save. https://bit.ly/ArthroBioCourse
Annapolis, MD; August 2, 2021—The Governing Board of the Entomological Society of America (ESA) has elected 10 new Fellows of the Society for 2021. Election as a Fellow of ESA acknowledges outstanding contributions to entomology in research, teaching, extension and outreach, administration, or the military. See more details on criteria for Fellow selection, as well as a full list of ESA Fellows.
The historic infestation of gypsy moth caterpillars has now spread across large swaths of the Finger Lakes and North Country regions of New York, munching leaves and leaving behind countless acres of unseasonably barren trees.
Mark Buckner is a Ph.D. student working closely with Bryan Danforth, professor of entomology, to grow the public’s understanding of pollinators beyond managed honeybees — most notably on the lesser-known mason bees.
A Cornell-developed technology provides beekeepers, consumers and farmers with an antidote for deadly pesticides, which kill wild bees and cause beekeepers to lose around a third of their hives every year on average.
Two newly discovered species of beetles from the mountaintops of St. Kitts and Nevis have been named for a famous Nevisian scientist and a recently departed Kittitian civil servant. DuPorte’s Ground Beetle (Platynus duportei Liebherr and Ivie) and Racquel’s Ground Beetle (Platynus racquelae Liebherr and Ivie) were named to honor the McGill University (Montreal, Canada) insect morphologist Professor Ernest Melville DuPorte (1891–1981), born in Nevis (https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Ernest_Melville_DuPorte), and Racquel Williams-Ezquea (1983–2018), recently of The Government of the Federation of St Kitts and Nevis’ Forestry Unit. Professors James Liebherr of Cornell University and Michael Ivie of Montana State University described the new species in the March, 2021, issue of the international journal Coleopterists Bulletin (https://doi-org.proxy.library.cornell.edu/10.1649/0010-065X-75.1.59). The two species occupy the northernmost geographic limit of a species group of Carabidae that is distributed throughout the Lesser Antillean island chain, with their relatives in South America. They are both restricted to the uppermost remnant montane forests on their respective islands, and enhance our biological knowledge of this critically endangered habitat.
Corrie Moreau, the Martha N. & John C. Moser Professor of Arthropod Biosystematics and Biodiversity in the College of Agriculture and Life Sciences, along with graduate students Drea Darby and Amelia-Juliette Demery, seized the momentum from racial injustice demonstrations to design a new course on diversity, equity and inclusion in the fields of science, technology, engineering and mathematics.
In celebration of all things creepy crawly at Halloween, Mann Library is pleased to announce Arachnophilia: A Passion for Spiders, a new online exhibit created with Dr. Linda Rayor of the Cornell Department of Entomology. Featuring photography that captures the great beauty to be found in the spider world, the exhibit spotlights the work of the Rayor Lab in documenting fascinating patterns of spider behavior. As viewers will learn, these amazing creatures may look fierce, but they are usually harmless to people and provide important benefits both to their ecosystems and to the humans who often fear them so. This online display reprises a gallery exhibit that opened at Mann Library in fall 2019. We invite you to take a good long browse—just be careful, we think even the arachnaphobes among us will find themselves developing a spider passion of their own!
Two Cornell research teams, studying crop viruses and insecticides’ physiological effects on insects, have received grants totaling nearly $900,000 from the U.S. Department of Agriculture’s National Institute of Food and Agriculture (NIFA).
The Vector-Borne Diseases Surveillance online course is now available! Take this 3-week instructor-led course with Dr. Laura Harrington and learn best practices to implement vector surveillance, data, and reporting methods.
Recent research from Centrella et al. shows the effects agriculture and associated pesticides are having on bees in terms of both their diets and the offspring they produce. Here they discuss their findings.
Thanks to the digitization of museum collections and new online virtual tours, some of the world's most popular cultural institutions can be discovered in coronavirus isolation. These six museums are a click away.
Spiders usually aren’t something people like to see close-up, but inside Cornell University’s Mann Library, that’s exactly what you’ll experience at the Arachnophilia: A Passion for Spiders exhibit, on display until Jan. 24. The exhibit is in collaboration with Linda Rayor, Cornell University professor of Entomology, who has had her work displayed at the Royal Ontario Museum in Toronto and the Australian Museum in Sydney.
This is one in a series presenting news on technology and innovation, made possible with generous support from the Lemelson Foundation.
New Honor for Robert D. Reed
Oct 23, 2019
Let's congratulate Robert D. Reed, for recently being elected to become a Fellow of the Royal Entomological Society (FRES)! Previous fellows include scientists by the name of Charles Darwin and Alfred Russell Wallace!!
Preventing aberrant immune responses against the microbiota is essential for the health of the host. Microbiota-shed pathogen-associated molecular patterns translocate from the gut lumen into systemic circulation. Here, we examined the role of hemolymph (insect blood) filtration in regulating systemic responses to microbiota-derived peptidoglycan. Drosophila deficient for the transcription factor Klf15 (Klf15NN) are viable but lack nephrocytes—cells structurally and functionally homologous to the glomerular podocytes of the kidney. We found that Klf15NN flies were more resistant to infection than wild-type (WT) counterparts but exhibited a shortened lifespan. This was associated with constitutive Toll pathway activation triggered by excess peptidoglycan circulating in Klf15NN flies. In WT flies, peptidoglycan was removed from systemic circulation by nephrocytes through endocytosis and subsequent lysosomal degradation. Thus, renal filtration of microbiota-derived peptidoglycan maintains immune homeostasis in Drosophila, a function likely conserved in mammals and potentially relevant to the chronic immune activation seen in settings of impaired blood filtration.
19th European Carabidologists’ Meeting
Sep 25, 2019
Jim Liebherr joined a contingent of North Americans at the European Carabidologists’ Meeting held 16-20 September at Fiera di Primiero in the foothills of the Dolomites. Four days of talks were interrupted by an excursion to Panaveggio Natural Park, where the group posed before the Pale di San Martino. Presentations at the meeting included carabid ecology in natural and urban landscapes, conservation of declining populations of carabid beetles, and systematics and evolution of carabids. The meeting organizer, Dr. Roberto Pizzolotto, presented an informal talk on carabid beetles and climate change, with his presentation given at the 2300 m elevation photo site marking the highest talk given at any ECM since the meeting’s inception in 1969. Other North American attendees included Terry Erwin, Smithsonian Institution; Dave Kavanaugh, California Academy of Sciences; David Maddison, Oregon State University; Kip Will, UC Berkeley; Wendy Moore, U. of Arizona, John Spence, U. of Alberta, plus their students and postdocs. The North Americans comported themselves well, and are looking forward to the next meeting in two years.
The gut of adult Drosophila contains a pool of intestinal stem cells (ISCs) that regenerate damaged enterocytes. However, larvae lack ISCs and thus cannot undergo this continuous epithelial renewal. Houtz et al. (pp. 412–425) find larval Drosophila circumvent this lack of stem cells through controlled differentiation of adult midgut progenitor cells to mediate partial renewal following enteric bacterial damage. Enteric infection activates cytokine expression in enterocytes (red) that triggers the premature differentiation of adult midgut precursor cells into new, replacement enterocytes (green). A concurrent delay in larval development allows the pool of progenitors to be reconstituted by cells that were not diverted for repair. Cover art by Philip Houtz.
Dale Ila Riggs knew the pests were coming for her berries. It was summer 2012, and Riggs watched as the invasive spotted wing Drosophila, a type of fruit fly, descended on The Berry Patch, her 230-acre farm in eastern New York near the Massachusetts border.
The laboratory of Dr. Ann Hajek in the Department of Entomology studies insect pathogenic fungi and nematodes as biological control agents for notorious invasive insect species such as the Asian longhorned beetle, gypsy moth, brown marmorated stink bug, and spotted lanternfly.
Laboratory assistants will care for insect colonies, collect live insects from rearing cages and the field, dissect insects to look for pathogens, and use sterile technique to culture organisms.
The successful candidate(s) will pay strong attention to detail and follow instructions, but also may assist in problem-solving and developing new methods. Must have excellent communication skills and work well with others. Must be willing to work indoors and outdoors, and infrequently lift heavy objects. Must be physically able to use microscopes. Preference given to students who have held a Driver’s License for 3 years prior to employment. (Personal vehicle NOT required.)
Assistants are scheduled for 6-10 hours per week. This position requires a commitment to sometimes work independently for on Saturdays and/or Sundays, depending on the experiments that are ongoing. To apply, send a cover letter and resume to both Dr. Eric Clifton (email@example.com) and David Harris (firstname.lastname@example.org).
Elba, New York onion growers, Matt Mortellaro, Guy Smith, Chuck Barie, Emmaline Long, and Mark and Max Torrey recently received an Excellence in Integrated Pest Management (IPM) Award from the New York State Integrated Pest Management Program (NYSIPM).
Elson Shields, a Cornell entomology professor, received an Excellence in Integrated Pest Management (IPM) Award from the New York State Integrated Pest Management Program (NYSIPM) at Cornell University’s Aurora Farm Field Day on the Musgrave Research Farm.
The voltage-sensitive sodium channel (VSSC) is essential for the generation and propagation of action potentials. The VSSC can change sodium kinetics by producing different splice variants (optional and mutually exclusive exons). The VSSC is the target site of pyrethroid insecticides as well as DDT and oxadiazines, which are used for control of crop pests and vectors of human diseases. Unfortunately, knockdown resistance (kdr) mutations in Vssc confer resistance to these insecticides. Recently, Silva and Scott 2019 investigated the conservation of VSSC by three approaches: (1) across insect Orders, (2) codon constraints of kdr mutations between populations of Aedes aegypti and (3) within a population of Drosophila melanogaster. Overall, VSSC is highly conserved across insects and within a population of an insect but important differences do exist.
House flies have evolved resistance to most insecticides, and as insecticide use continues over seasons it is expected that levels of resistance will rise. Freeman et al. recently investigated (https://www.sciencedirect.com/science/article/pii/S0048357519301282?via%3Dihub) flies collected from livestock facilities in five states to check levels of resistance against three commonly used insecticides. A population collected from Kansas had previously unseen high levels of resistance to permethrin, a pyrethroid insecticide, that could mean this type of insecticide will be of limited use for house fly control in the United States in the near future.
Control of sour rot in grapes is commonly achieved using insecticide to control D. melanogaster. 2018 was one of the worst years for sour rot in grapes in New York in decades. Sun et al. report that the outbreak of sour rot at one NY vineyard was associated with an inability to control D. melanogaster due to the evolution of resistance. https://doi.org/10.1093/jee/toz039
Improving Pollinator Health: What We Know and What YOU Can Do
Jun 5, 2019
Reunion lecture by Scott McArt (Dept. of Entomology) Friday, June 7, 9:30 am Stern Seminar Room (Mann Library Room 160) (Followed by an exhibit reception in the Mann Gallery and, at 11:15 a.m., a tour of pollinator-friendly plants in the Cornell Botanic Gardens)
Recent research showing declining pollinator populations throughout the world is lending urgency to the topic of pollinator health. A multi-media program invites the Cornell community to a hands-on exploration of this issue. Dr. Scott McArt (Cornell Dept. of Entomology) will present a lecture highlighting what scientists currently know about the global state of pollinator health, how they’ve teamed up with artists to broaden awareness, and what everyone can do to support thriving pollinator populations in our backyards and neighborhoods. Following the lecture, a reception in the Mann Gallery will celebrate Mann’s newest exhibit “PolliNation: Artists Crossing Borders with Scientists to Explore the Value of Pollinator Health.” At 11:15 a.m., a garden tour with Krissy Boys and Robert Wesley of the Cornell Botanic Gardens and Nikki Cerra of the Cornell Institute for Healthy Futures will introduce participants to Cornell’s new “Botanic Buzzline” pollinator walkway, with a close-up introduction to plants most effective for attracting, feeding and sustaining healthy pollinator communities. (Garden tour will begin at the Dallas Garden Walkway behind Mann Library). In partnership with the Department of Entomology, Mann Library is also hosting an open house and making activity in the mannUfactory makerspace on Saturday June 8, 11:00 a.m. - 1:00 p.m. We will provide materials and instruction for making mason bee hotels that help create attractive bee habitat in your home garden. All ages welcome!
May 30, 2019
Geneva Entomology honored Ashley Leach with the 2018-2019 Chapman Graduate Student Fellowship Award at an April 30th award presentation & seminar.
Two-spotted spider mites (Tetranychus urticae) are important pests of strawberry worldwide. Finding them in the field can be challenging, but regular monitoring for their presence is essential for IPM practices. This video demonstrates how to sample for and identify two-spotted spider mites, and offers some guidance on using thresholds to apply chemical and biological controls. This video was produced by Samantha Willden, an EOA student at Cornell AgriTech in Geneva, NY
Congratulations to all of our Undergraduate Honor’s Research Students that presented their research earlier this week at Jugatae as well! A special congratulations to Annika Salzberg for being awarded the Entomology Outstanding Undergraduate Teaching Assistant of 2018-2019!
Top TAs honored for excellence by Cornell CALS faculty, leadership
May 10, 2019
Two entomology graduate students, Zoe Getman-Pickering and Natalie Bray, received an award for being an Outstanding Graduate Teaching Assistant. They were provided a congratulatory lunch, a certificate and a inscribed golden apple.
The invasive planthopper from China, spotted lanternfly, was first found in southeastern Pennsylvania in 2014 and has been spreading ever since; although it is not presently considered to be established in New York, it has been found in numerous counties. This invasive has caused serious damage in vineyards and is known to also damage apple crops in Korea so there is great concern about the impact of this invasive. At least in part, invasive species are often thought to be able to increase to large numbers due to lack of natural enemies in the invaded habitats. Clifton et al. have reported on the occurrence of an epizootic (an epidemic in non-human animals) caused by two native insect pathogenic fungi, that caused a significant decline in an abundant spotted lanternfly population in Pennsylvania.
Nature Abhors a Paywall
Apr 29, 2019
Cornell Life Scientists Reflect on Open Science and the Historical Record Kathie Hodge (Plant Pathology), Tom Seeley (Neurobiology & Behavior) and Karen Penders St. Clair (Horticulture)
Across the sciences, primary historical materials can be essential to pioneering work. Yet rapidly spiraling fees charged by private companies to access information are raising ever-higher barriers to the advancement of knowledge. In a special program presented by Mann Library and the Biodiversity Heritage Library (BHL), three Cornell scientists--neurobiologist Tom Seeley, mycologist Kathie Hodge, and science historian Karen Penders St. Clair--will highlight the role that the historical scientific record has played in their own research. Join us for a discussion of this important perspective in the contemporary life sciences and a look at current open access efforts like BHL to keep science open for all in a race against the paywall. Wednesday, May 1 4:00 – 5:30 p.m. Mann Room 160 With reception in the Mann Gallery at 5:30 p.m.
Apr 29, 2019
Artist & Scientist crossing borders to explore the value of pollinator health
This exhibit is a collaboration between Swansea College of Arts (SCA) Art/Science Group, Cornell Entomology Department, and Mann Library.
Congratulations!! to Emma Mullen for receiving the 2018 eCornell Trailblazer Award!! In early 2016, the Department of Entomology and eCornell partnered to develop an online Master Beekeeper Certification course. Emma was charged with the development and subsequent instruction of this course. Her efforts have resulted in an amazing program which beekeepers from all over the world have been certified. The course is in such high demand, that three new instructors have been added to accommodate all of the enthusiastic beekeepers who are eager to become certified. Get the inside buzz at:
Cytochrome P450 monooxygenases (CYPs) carry out the detoxification of insecticides, and overexpression of one or more CYPs is a common mechanism of insecticide resistance in mosquitoes. Smith et al. investigated the molecular basis for CYP-mediated resistance in A. aegypti and found that overexpression of the CYPs responsible for resistance was due to a trans-regulatory factor.
Control of sour rot in grapes is commonly achieved using insecticide to control D. melanogaster. 2018 was one of the worst years for sour rot in grapes in New York in decades. Sun et al. report that the outbreak of sour rot at one NY vineyard was associated with an inability to control D. melanogaster due to the evolution of resistance.
The introduction of Bt eggplant reduced the need for harmful pesticides to be sprayed on commercial fields in Bangladesh. Mohammed Shajahan, left, works in a field with a day laborer at his farm in Bangladesh. Photo by Cornell Alliance for Science.
Nov 29, 2018
Ann Hajek became a Fellow of the Entomological Society of America at the 2018 ESA meeting. This is a competitive award; 9 were awarded this year.
Elson Shields Awarded NYS Excellence
Nov 29, 2018
Elson Shields was awarded the NYS Excellence in IPM Award from the NYS IPM Program (a competitive award).
Mosquito-to-mosquito infections keep dengue circulating
By Krishna Ramanujan |
October 31, 2018
While mosquitoes acquire dengue viruses from people when they feed on blood, the insects can also infect each other, a recent study finds.
Under normal conditions, when mosquito and host populations are robust, dengue is transmitted in a cycle from mosquitoes to human hosts and back to new mosquitoes, which keeps the virus in circulation.
But the study – published Aug. 31 in the journal Public Library of Science Neglected Tropical Diseases – reveals mother Aedes aegypti mosquitoes transmit dengue viruses to their offspring and, for the first time, finds evidence of male mosquitoes infecting females when they mate.
The research answers a big question among disease ecologists: how the virus is maintained during periods when mosquitoes become less active or when populations drop – such as in dry and cold spells – and when hosts are less susceptible.
“The study highlights how much we still need to know about the biology of these viruses and their interactions with the mosquitoes,” said Laura Harrington, professor of entomology at Cornell. Harrington is a co-lead author of the paper along with Irma Sanchez-Vargas, a research scientist at Colorado State University.
Grant explores using seminal fluid proteins to control mosquitoes
Now that researchers have proven these modes of transmission in the lab, next steps will be to test if they similarly occur in the field.
The research opens the door for potential new virus control methods that focus more on male mosquitoes, which tend to be ignored because they don’t take blood meals. “It indicates to me that males could actually be directly involved in transmission in the virus cycle,” Harrington said. “If we could understand in more detail what’s happening in the field, we might be able to target the populations when they are very low and minimize carry-overs of the virus from one epidemic to the next.”
The results have implications for other disease-causing viruses where mosquitoes are vectors, including yellow fever, Zika and chikungunya. These viruses tend to infect all tissues in the mosquito’s body before they reach the salivary glands, Harrington said. More research is needed to identify the exact mechanisms that allow transmission from one mosquito to another, but possibilities include eggs being infected when females fertilize them, and through seminal fluids during mating when males infect females, Harrington said.
Many other researchers have tested mosquitoes for transmissions between mothers and offspring and from males to females after mating, but those studies tested infections after a single blood meal. The meal helps the female develop a clutch of eggs.
“When they take one blood meal there is often not enough time for the virus to actually escape and make it into the ovarian tissue,” Harrington said. The current study re-created natural conditions with mosquitoes taking multiple blood meals, which led to higher infection rates between mosquitoes. Males acquire the virus in the egg and pass it on to females when they mate as adults.
The researchers began with a large number of wild-caught mosquitoes and conducted blind experiments, waiting to determine whether mosquitoes were infected. They separated females and gave them an infectious blood meal and a second noninfectious meal. They collected the second batch of eggs from females, surface sterilized the eggs, hatched and reared offspring to adulthood, and tested them for virus infections. From a subset of infected progeny, they reared a second set of progeny, then mated infected males from that second generation to uninfected females. They then went back and tested the male and the females he mated with for infection.
The paper’s senior co-author is virologist Ken Olson at Colorado State. Other co-authors include Jeffrey Doty at the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention and William Black at Colorado State.
The study was funded by the National Institutes of Health, Cornell Affinito Stewart Sabbatical Grant, and the Regents of the University of California through the Foundation for the National Institutes of Health and Grand Challenges in Global Health Initiative.
Forensic Investigation Research Station in Grand Junction, CO
Oct 29, 2018
Picture of Current crew at the Forensic Investigation Research Station in Grand Junction, CO., affiliated with Colorado Mesa University. Director Dr. Melissa Connor is in the lower right corner. This is the only facility in the western US devoted to the study of human decomposition under semi-arid conditions, a common environment in the western US. Land has been recently donated to open a second facility at 9,300 ft to complement the research at FIRS located at 4,600 ft elevation. The majority of the research is focused on time-of-death estimates to assist law enforcement in the mountain west. Elson Shields left of picture.
There's a teeming world of organisms out there that can help us control pests, weeds and plant pathogens. Plan on coming to the book talk by Cornell Department of Entomology's Prof. Hajek this Thursday, 11/1/2018 @ 4PM to learn more about biological control.
Check out this article Todd Ugine wrote that was published in the Environmental Entomology. Todd also took the picture on the cover. Article on: "An Assessment of the Physiological Costs of Autogenous Defenses in Native and Introduced Lady Beetles"
Check out this article on Corrie Moreau, called "Meeting the Woman Making Ants the Next Big Thing in Biology" in the National Geographic.
The Seed System Initiative, implemented by Cornell’s Delivering Genetic Gain in Wheat project in 2017-18, benefits wheat farmers in Nepal.
Leticia Smith receives the 2018 American Committee of Medical Entomology Young Investigator Award
Jul 18, 2018
Congratulations to Leticia Smith who received the 2018 American Committee of Medical Entomology Young Investigator Award - Graduate Student Travel Award. This award is in support of her attendance at the Annual Meeting of the American Society of Tropical Medicine and Hygiene in New Orleans this Fall. The title of her presentation is “The relative fitness cost of two pyrethroid resistance mechanisms, CYP-mediated detoxification and kdr, in Aedes aegypti”.
Channel 12 news segment on the NYS Beekeeper Tech Team and Cornell honey bee research.Emma Mullen was interviewed for the film and Connor Hinsley makes several appearances as well! Bob Finch is the beekeeper, who has been a part of our program for 3 years.
Check out this paper published called “Comparative transcriptomics reveals CrebA as a novel regulator of infection tolerance in D. melanogaster” By Entomology’s Katia Troha, Joo Hyun Im, Jonathan Revah, Brian Lazzaro, and Nicolas Buchon.
Jun 1, 2018
Congratulations on your retirement, Charles Linn!!
Congratulations 2018 Entomology Graduates!
Jun 1, 2018
Congratulations 2018 Entomology Graduates!
Harrington Lab end of semester celebration at the Cornell Dairy Bar 05/17/2018!
May 17, 2018
Harrington Lab end of semester celebration at the Cornell Dairy Bar 05/17/2018!
Elson Shields, Tony Testa, Laura McDermott, Lindsey Elizabeth Pashow and Amy Ivy were the winners of the 2018 NACAA communication Award. They won with their feature article from last summers’ NY Fruit Quarterly – Managing strawberry root problems for improved profitability and sustainability on NYS berry farms: Using entomopathogenic nematodes to control strawberry root weevil complex - and it’s now a National Finalist