Welcome to The Subulate Palpomere, a blog about beetles, beetle diversity and evolution, and the Tree of Life. I’ll post about my efforts and my lab’s efforts to discover and document biodiversity, including new species of beetles from around the world. I’ll also write about other things that relate to this: cool beetles, how-to guides to studying beetles, programming and software for studying evolutionary trees, scientific illustration, field work, and the life of an academic.
As to why it is called The Subulate Palpomere: I love a particular group of beetles called Bembidiina, which includes the worldwide genus Bembidion. I’ve been studying these beetles for almost 40 years. These beetles are little (most are 3 to 6 mm long), and especially diverse in cooler areas of the world. They have appendages around their mouth called “palps” that are like little feelers – the beetles use palps to handle their food, and to taste their food. A palp is made of several pieces, and each piece is called a “palpomere”. Bembidiina are unusual in that the palpomere at the end of the palps (the last palpomere) is thin and tapered – and the word used in entomology to describe such a thin and tapered palpomere is “subulate” (see picture, below).
Also, “The Subulate Palpomere” sounds like the name of a very pleasant pub.