First post!

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.


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3 Responses to First post!

  1. The Sproulpomere says:

    The beginning of the end for McMenamins!

    • Jeff says:

      How long have you been waiting to use the handle “Sproulpomere”?

      • The Sproulpomere says:

        It’s required no small amount of discipline to keep it in the bag until the perfect forum. I’ve narrowly avoided several premature unveilings that would have just left me embarrassed and my audience confused. Finally I’ve found that safe place where the true essence of my surname can take flight! 🙂

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