March 07, 2024

The Double-Emergence of 2024

As you may have heard, there are TWO periodical cicada broods that will emerge between late April and June of this year! This particular combination only happens once every 221 years.

The broods in question are the Illinoian Brood (XIII) and the Great Southern Brood (XIX). The map below is a rough approximation of where sightings are most likely to occur:

There is very little overlap between the broods, so - if you want to experience both - I recommend planning at least two different stops. You should be able to find all seven species by traveling just a few miles north and south of the cities of Springfield, Bloomington, Kankakee, or Beardstown in Illinois, or the city of Mt Pleasant in Iowa.

The University of Connecticut has a handy online guide for identifying all 7 species of periodical cicadas. Note that most species can only be identified by the pattern on their belly. For bonus points, try to find and photograph them all! 😄

Posted on March 07, 2024 07:41 PM by humanbyweight humanbyweight | 3 comments | Leave a comment

February 10, 2024

Wasp-Inspired Insulation

As many of you know, my company – Owlfly LLC – is working to develop a new kind of thermal insulation for buildings inspired by the way wasps construct their nests. Our insulation product (which we’ve appropriately named YellowJacket) is certified as more efficient than nearly all commercially-available fiberglass insulation, and we’re creating better prototypes every month. Last year the US government took interest in our work and awarded us SBIR grant funding for further R&D.

As part of the grant, we are required to conduct 30 interviews of potential customers. The idea is to gather information so we can fit our product to the market as best as we can prior to launch.

If you are a HVAC contractor, architect, engineer, distributor, or homeowner, we want to hear from you! Please contact me if you would like to participate in a brief interview. Every piece of feedback helps us forge the future of insulation technology!

Posted on February 10, 2024 07:28 PM by humanbyweight humanbyweight | 2 comments | Leave a comment

August 31, 2023

Understanding Hypervariable Polistes: Project Update

Hello all!

I've taken another deep dive into Fuscopolistes and decided to revise the criteria of my projects in order to collect better data. The new criteria are outlined in the spreadsheets and flow charts below.

A few major changes include:

  • Combined the "Valley" and "Sonoran" forms of Polistes dorsalis californicus
  • Added a project for the "Redrobe" form of Polistes fuscatus
  • Adjusted all criteria to be mutually exclusive of other color forms and avoid confusion
  • I haven't had time to update the illustrations yet unfortunately :(

Polistes fuscatus

Polistes fuscatus - "Prairie" Form
Polistes fuscatus - "Yellow-Spot" Form
Polistes fuscatus - "Decorated" Form
Polistes fuscatus - "Quilted" Form
Polistes fuscatus - "Northern" Form
Polistes fuscatus - "Coal" Form
Polistes fuscatus - "Bleeding-Heart" Form
Polistes fuscatus - "Redrobe" Form


Polistes aurifer

Polistes aurifer - "Gilded" Form
Polistes aurifer - "Central" Form
Polistes aurifer - "Red" Form
Polistes aurifer - "Baja California" Form
Polistes aurifer - "Chihuahuan" Form
Polistes aurifer - "Oil" Form
Polistes aurifer - "Northern" Form
Polistes aurifer - "Painted" Form


Polistes dorsalis

Polistes dorsalis californicus - "Gilded" Form
Polistes dorsalis neotropicus - "Ember" Form
Polistes dorsalis neotropicus - "Central American" Form
Polistes dorsalis neotropicus - "Texas" Form
Polistes dorsalis californicus - "Valley" Form
Polistes dorsalis californicus - "Charred" Form



Uncategorized Observations:

Click here to view all observations of Polistes fuscatus that have not been identified to color form.
Click here to view all observations of Polistes aurifer that have not been identified to color form.
Click here to view all observations of Polistes dorsalis that have not been identified to color form (or to subspecies, in the case of P. d. dorsalis).


Let me know what you think!
~ Alie

Posted on August 31, 2023 01:19 AM by humanbyweight humanbyweight | 7 comments | Leave a comment

May 08, 2023

Las Avispas Sociales de Norteamérica, Centroamérica, y el Caribe

¡Grandes noticias!

La edición española electrónica del «Las Avispas Sociales de Norteamérica, Centroamérica, y el Caribe» ya está disponible ahora en Google Play y Amazon. Muchas gracias a mi maravilloso traductor @magazhu!

Posted on May 08, 2023 08:34 PM by humanbyweight humanbyweight | 3 comments | Leave a comment

April 13, 2023

Understanding Hypervariable Polistes: A NEW CITIZEN SCIENCE INITIATIVE


EDIT: A new project update is available here.


Hello all!

As many of you know, I am currently working on the second edition of my field guide to social wasps. I want to make all of the information it contains as accurate as possible, so I am delving back through iNaturalist data to better understand the biogeography of various color forms of the most hypervariable Polistes species in North America: fuscatus, aurifer, and dorsalis.

To that end, I've created 22 individual iNaturalist projects to sort observations of each color form. I would LOVE to have additional help with this research, so if anyone is interested in sorting iNat observations, all of the relevant links are below. The results of this initiative will be tremendously helpful to my own research (and likely helpful to other Vespid researchers as well!). Please feel free to share this with your friends!

Click here to view all observations of Polistes fuscatus that have not been identified to color form.
Click here to view all observations of Polistes aurifer that have not been identified to color form.
Click here to view all observations of Polistes dorsalis that have not been identified to color form (or to subspecies, in the case of P. d. dorsalis).

Explanation of Color Forms (and links to projects):

FORM DEFINITIONS MAY CHANGE AS THE INITIATIVE PROGRESSES.


Polistes aurifer - "Gilded" Form

  • Thick yellow lines or splotches on the scutum (or yellow lines that connect in the middle)
  • Yellow spots on T2 are not clearly separated from the margin (except by the hairline-thin width of the fascia)


Polistes dorsalis californicus - "Gilded" Form

  • Propodeum more yellow than red
  • Large yellow spots on T2 (large compared to most dorsalis)


Polistes aurifer - "Central" Form

  • Scutum is more red than black
  • Yellow lines on the scutum are either very thin or absent
  • Yellow spots on T2 are not clearly separated from the margin (except by the hairline-thin width of the fascia)


Polistes aurifer - "Red" Form

  • Scutum is more red than black
  • Yellow spots on T2 are clearly separated from the margin


Polistes aurifer - "Baja California" Form

  • Red scutum
  • Yellow spots on T2 are clearly separated from the margin (or absent)
  • Yellow spots on T4-5 are not clearly separated from the margin (except by the hairline-thin width of the fascia)


Polistes dorsalis neotropicus - "Ember" Form

  • Propodeum and metanotum are more black than red or yellow


Polistes dorsalis neotropicus - "Central American" Form

  • Scutum is more red than black
  • Propodeum is mostly yellow
  • No yellow margin on T5


Polistes dorsalis neotropicus - "Texas" Form

  • Propodeum and metanotum are more red or yellow than black
  • Clypeus is more yellow than red in females (compare with Polistes dorsalis dorsalis, whose clypeus is mostly red)
  • Yellow margin on T5


Polistes dorsalis californicus - "Valley" Form

  • Scutum is more red than black
  • Small yellow spots on T2 (compared with the "Sonoran" and "Charred" color forms)


Polistes dorsalis californicus - "Sonoran" Form

  • Scutum is more red than black
  • Large yellow spots on T2 (large compared to most dorsalis)


Polistes dorsalis californicus - "Charred" Form

  • Scutum is more black than red
  • Large yellow spots on T2 (large compared to most dorsalis)


Polistes aurifer - "Chihuahuan" Form

  • Scutum is more black than red
  • Pronotum and scutellum are more red than black
  • Yellow spots on T2 are not clearly separated from the margin (except by the hairline-thin width of the fascia)


Polistes aurifer - "Oil" Form

  • Black scutum
  • More black than red on the pronotum and scutellum
  • Yellow spots on T2 are not clearly separated from the margin (except by the hairline-thin width of the fascia)


Polistes aurifer - "Northern" Form

  • Black scutum
  • More black than red on the pronotum and scutellum
  • Yellow spots on T2 are clearly separated from the margin


Polistes aurifer - "Painted" Form

  • Scutum is more black than red
  • More red than black on the pronotum and/or the scutellum
  • Yellow spots on T2 are clearly separated from the margin


Polistes fuscatus - "Prairie" Form

  • Yellow spots on T2-4


Polistes fuscatus - "Yellow-Spot" Form

  • Yellow spots on T2
  • No yellow spots on T3-4


Polistes fuscatus - "Decorated" Form

  • More red than black on T1-6
  • No yellow spots on the gaster
  • Pale or yellow margins on T1-6


Polistes fuscatus - "Quilted" Form

  • No yellow spots on the gaster
  • More black than red on the scutum and T1
  • Red markings on T2


Polistes fuscatus - "Northern" Form

  • No red on the scutum or gaster
  • Pale or yellow margin on at least T1-3


Polistes fuscatus - "Coal" Form

  • No red on the scutum or gaster
  • No pale or yellow margin on T3-6


Polistes fuscatus - "Bleeded-Heart" Form

  • More red than black on the scutum and T1
  • No pale or yellow margin on T4-6

Tagging people who may be interested in participating in this initiative:
@aliandbrice @darlingbeetle @jonathan142 @susanna_h @bdagley @benjamin189 @jfmantis @cbelle1 @coolcrittersyt @texaskingbird @thevioletwasp @angelpeach @ineeley @allisonbf @barthelemy @phm8871 @villu @juan_sphex

Tagging people who may be interested in the results of this initiative:
@matthias22 @pedro3111

Thank you all!
Alie

Posted on April 13, 2023 11:36 PM by humanbyweight humanbyweight | 16 comments | Leave a comment

January 02, 2023

New Textbook to All Extant Families of Hymenoptera!*

*(except sawflies, bees, and ants)

I helped write the open-source textbook Biodiversity & Classification of Wasps for Penn State and it was PUBLISHED TODAY!!! If you’ve ever thought, in passing, “Gee, I wish I knew more about the hardcore taxonomic science of critically understudied insects”, this is the book for you!

I wrote the chapter on Vespoidea (pgs. 384-406).

Visit the link below to access the textbook for free!
https://scholarsphere.psu.edu/resources/a0edbed3-a28f-4212-a8bc-7742851ecbd4

Posted on January 02, 2023 09:26 PM by humanbyweight humanbyweight | 3 comments | Leave a comment

October 17, 2022

NAME! THAT! WASP!

I'm working on the 2nd edition of my wasp book (https://owlflyllc.com/publications) and I want to hear YOUR ideas for new common names for each species!

If you can think of a better common name than the one listed in the 1st edition, I might use it in the 2nd edition! NAME! THAT! WASP!


Estoy trabajando en la edición segunda de mi libro de avispas (https://owlflyllc.com/publications) y ¡quiero escuchar TUS ideas de nuevos nombres comunes para cada especie!

Si puedes pensar en un nombre común mejor que el que aparece en la edición primera, ¡yo podría usarlo en la edición segunda! ¡DAR UN NOMBRE PARA LAS AVISPAS!

Posted on October 17, 2022 06:21 PM by humanbyweight humanbyweight | 2 comments | Leave a comment

May 31, 2022

April 29, 2022

Cicadas at the Staten Island Museum

Similar to what I did at Cornell*, on 4/29/2022 I was able to photograph many (but nowhere near all) of the identified North American Cicadid specimens in the William T. Davis collection at the Staten Island Museum. I prioritized uploading photos of species that have 5 or fewer observations on iNaturalist. See below for the full list.
*(see https://www.inaturalist.org/journal/humanbyweight/62838-cicadas-at-the-cuic)

CICADETTINAE
Carineta postica - https://www.inaturalist.org/observations/113572285
Carineta trivittata - https://www.inaturalist.org/observations/113572286
Herrera lugubrina compostelensis - https://www.inaturalist.org/observations/113572289
Herrera lugubrina lugubrina - https://www.inaturalist.org/observations/113572290
Cicadettana camerona - https://www.inaturalist.org/observations/113572283

CICADINAE: CRYPTOTYMPANINI
Cacama californica
Cacama carbonaria - https://www.inaturalist.org/observations/113573927
Cacama furcata - https://www.inaturalist.org/observations/113573929
Cacama maura - https://www.inaturalist.org/observations/113573937
Diceroprocta alacris campechensis - https://www.inaturalist.org/observations/113578607
Diceroprocta albomaculata - https://www.inaturalist.org/observations/113578610
Diceroprocta arizona - https://www.inaturalist.org/observations/113578609
Diceroprocta bibbyi - https://www.inaturalist.org/observations/113578615
Diceroprocta bicosta - https://www.inaturalist.org/observations/113578623
Diceroprocta bulgara - https://www.inaturalist.org/observations/113578624
Diceroprocta caymanensis - https://www.inaturalist.org/observations/113578630
Diceroprocta cleavesi - https://www.inaturalist.org/observations/113578634
Diceroprocta fusipennis - https://www.inaturalist.org/observations/113578640
Diceroprocta lata - https://www.inaturalist.org/observations/113578639
Diceroprocta obscurior - https://www.inaturalist.org/observations/113578644
Diceroprocta ornea - https://www.inaturalist.org/observations/113578646
Diceroprocta ovata - https://www.inaturalist.org/observations/113578645
Diceroprocta pinosensis - https://www.inaturalist.org/observations/113578653
Hadoa hidalgoensis - https://www.inaturalist.org/observations/113579672
Hadoa sugdeni - https://www.inaturalist.org/observations/113579676
Neotibicen bermudianus - https://www.inaturalist.org/observations/113579675

CICADINAE: FIDICININI
Dorisiana amoena - https://www.inaturalist.org/observations/113581668
Dorisiana compostela - https://www.inaturalist.org/observations/113581673
Dorisiana viridis - https://www.inaturalist.org/observations/113581672
Fidicina mannifera
Fidicinoides determinata - https://www.inaturalist.org/observations/113581677
Fidicinoides picea - https://www.inaturalist.org/observations/113581681
Fidicinoides pronoe
Guyalna panamaensis
Hemisciera maculipennis
Ollanta mexicana - https://www.inaturalist.org/observations/113582815
Proarna germari - https://www.inaturalist.org/observations/113582814

CICADINAE: LEPTOPSALTRIINI
Neocicada mediamexicana - https://www.inaturalist.org/observations/113582816

CICADINAE: ZAMMARINI
Chinaria mexicana - https://www.inaturalist.org/observations/113585667
Chinaria similis - https://www.inaturalist.org/observations/113585672
Daza nayaritensis - https://www.inaturalist.org/observations/113585673
Dyticodopoea signoreti - https://www.inaturalist.org/observations/113585682
Juanaria poeyi - https://www.inaturalist.org/observations/113585697
Odopoea cariboea
Odopoea dilatata - https://www.inaturalist.org/observations/113585699
Odopoea suffusa - https://www.inaturalist.org/observations/113585701
Uhleroides cubensis - https://www.inaturalist.org/observations/113585706
Uhleroides hispaniolae - https://www.inaturalist.org/observations/113585709
Uhleroides sagrae - https://www.inaturalist.org/observations/113585712
Uhleroides samanae - https://www.inaturalist.org/observations/113585717
Uhleroides walkerii - https://www.inaturalist.org/observations/113585718

TIBICININAE
Clidophleps distanti truncata - https://www.inaturalist.org/observations/113586983
Okanagodes gracilis gracilis - https://www.inaturalist.org/observations/113586986
Okanagodes gracilis viridis - https://www.inaturalist.org/observations/113586988
Okanagana arboraria - https://www.inaturalist.org/observations/113588049
Okanagana ferrugomaculata - https://www.inaturalist.org/observations/113588050
Okanagana ornata
Okanagana rimosa ohioensis - https://www.inaturalist.org/observations/113588053
Okanagana yakimaensis - https://www.inaturalist.org/observations/113588056
Platypedia affinis - https://www.inaturalist.org/observations/113589542
Platypedia falcata - https://www.inaturalist.org/observations/113589552
Platypedia mohavensis mohavensis - https://www.inaturalist.org/observations/113589550
Platypedia putnami keddiensis - https://www.inaturalist.org/observations/113589559
Platypedia putnami occidentalis - https://www.inaturalist.org/observations/113589568
Platypedia scotti - https://www.inaturalist.org/observations/113589567

I would be happy to upload any of the other photos upon request.
@dan_johnson @weecorbie @roshan2010 @willc-t @easmeds @bugsoundsjc @billreynolds @zdanko @upupa-epops @lotteryd @billhubick @mmmmbugs @udcmrk @jhousephotos @ineeley @magicicada @sambiology @vlnunes @aguilita @ozzicada @cicadamania

ALSO - If you would like to stop getting tagged in posts like this one, please let me know.

Posted on April 29, 2022 11:12 PM by humanbyweight humanbyweight | 8 comments | Leave a comment

April 03, 2022

QUEEN EMERGENCE SALE

Every spring, wasp queens emerge from hibernation and take to the skies to seek out a new place to build a colony. RIGHT NOW is the PERFECT time to learn more about these fascinating insects!

So, Pollination Press and Owlfly Publishing are teaming up to bring you the QUEEN EMERGENCE SALE on all of our wasp books thru the month of April!

Use the coupon code “RiseAndShine” for 20% off!

Pollination Press: https://pollinationpress.com/books.html
Owlfly Publishing: https://owlflyllc.com/publications

Posted on April 03, 2022 05:26 PM by humanbyweight humanbyweight | 3 comments | Leave a comment

Gracias al apoyo de:

¿Quiere apoyarnos? Pregúntenos cómo escribiendo a snib.guatemala@gmail.com