Meeting 1183 minutes

Minutes from the 1183rd Meeting of the Cambridge Entomological Club.

President Zhengyang Wang called the 1183rd meeting of the Cambridge Entomological Club to order at 7:32 pm on Tuesday, October 10th in MCZ 101. Approximately 26 members and guests were in attendance.

Old business: None.

New business: New members are reminded that the club meets on the second Tuesday of each month. Announcements were made about upcoming meetings and events. November’s meeting will feature Marc Epstein of the CDFA, speaking on Limacodidae and Harrison Dyar. Brian Farrell will give a lecture about the David Rockefeller Beetle collection through the HMNH Lecture series on November 6.

Seth Donoughe, Bruno de Medeiros, and Sam Church, all of Harvard University, presented a joint talk entitled An Egg-cellent Adventure: the eggs from almost every insect you’ve ever heard of.

Eggs provide the ingredients and arena for an organism to develop. Seth Donoughe gave an introduction to development in insects. The shape, size, and structure of eggs all affect development. To examine questions about how eggs have evolved, and how egg shape and size have changed across the evolutionary tree, Donoughe and his colleagues took a literature-based approach, aggregating published information.

Bruno de Medeiros introduced the literature-search method used for mining data from the literature. More than 3000 publications were examined, containing over 100,000 pages of published literature. Semiautomated computer programs targeted biological information, including species names, egg morphometrics, and figures. He also discussed tools for resolving synonymies and taxonomic changes in the time since the literature was published.

Sam Church discussed the resulting egg database and trends in the data. Different lineages of insects have eggs that separate in morphospace. Absolute sizes of insect eggs can vary by a factor of more than 10 million. Insect body size does not appear to have a predictive power in determining egg size, though it does serve as a constraint.

The speakers closed their remarks with an interactive activity featuring club insect egg identification.

The meeting was adjourned at 8:24 pm for discussion and refreshments.

Respectfully submitted,

Rachel Hawkins, CEC Vice President