Lepidoptera

Tuesday January 12

07:30 PM

Deconstructing visual signals in social butterflies

MCZ 101, 26 Oxford Street, Harvard University

Susan D Finkbeiner
Boston University
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Passion-vine butterflies show the curious behavior of gathering together into groups to roost for the night. Despite nearly 150 years of popular and scientific interest, the purpose of this behavior has remained a mystery. Here I explore why butterflies exploit this unusual behavior to find out exactly what the benefit of being a social butterfly is. Following studies on roosting behavior, I aim to dissect various visual signals communicated by these brightly colored butterflies in the context of both natural and sexual selection. I have done this by investigating the relative contributions of color and pattern signals in butterfly wings, and how they are important for predator avoidance and mate recognition.

I am currently a postdoc at Boston University. I got my Bachelor’s at Cornell in Entomology in 2009 and a Ph.D. from the University of California, Irvine in Ecology and Evolutionary Biology in 2015. But, in retrospect, I’ve been an entomologist since I was about 4 years old 🙂

The talk is free aerato roost copynd open to the public. The meeting is readily accessible via public transportation. Parking is available in the Oxford Street Garage with advance arrangement, as described here, or (usually but not always) at spaces on nearby streets. Everyone is also welcome to join us for dinner before the talk (beginning at 5:45 PM) at the West Side Lounge, 1680 Massachussetts Avenue, Cambridge.

CEC meetings are held the second Tuesday of the month from October through May. The evening schedule typically includes an informal dinner (5:45 to 7:15 PM) followed by our formal meeting (7:30 – 9:00 PM). The latter begins with club business and is followed by a 50 minute entomology related presentation. Membership is open to amateur and professional entomologists.

Tuesday, April 8, 2014

7:30 PM

American Butterfly Systematists and the Natural History Tradition

MCZ 101, 26 Oxford Street, Harvard University


978-1-4000-7692-5 Prof. William Leach
Columbia University

If we want to understand why Americans started to collect and study butterflies in the 19th century, we must first understand the evolution of natural history itself. Originating in Europe and England, natural history acted as a language of interpretation and as a way of understanding nature that opened it up. It revealed to Americans what butterflies were all about and why they mattered and were worthy of study and reflection. By the 1870s a brilliant group of American butterfly men had emerged, their ideas forged within the heart of this tradition. They made a profound contribution to natural history, bringing to it a radical Darwinian analysis and a passion for life histories perhaps unrivaled by any of their contemporaries. This talk will examine the character of natural history in America between 1865 and 1885 and the way men such as William Henry Edwards, Benjamin Walsh, (former CEC president) Samuel Scudder, Herman Strecker, Augustus Radcliffe Grote, and William Doherty transformed and enriched it.

The talk is free and open to the public. The meeting is readily accessible via public transportation. Parking is available in the Oxford Street Garage with advance arrangement, as described here, or (usually but not always) at spaces on nearby streets. Everyone is also welcome to join us for dinner before the talk (beginning at 6:00 PM) at Cambridge Common restaurant, on 1667 Massachusetts Ave.

CEC meetings are held the second Tuesday of the month from October through May. The evening schedule typically includes an informal dinner (6:00 to 7:15 PM) followed by our formal meeting (7:30 – 9:00 PM). The latter begins with club business and is followed by a 50 minute entomology related presentation. Membership is open to amateur and professional entomologists.

Tuesday February 11

7:30 PM

From host plants to host ants: phyto-predation and phylogeny of Lepidochrysops butterflies and relatives.

MCZ 101, 26 Oxford Street, Harvard University

IMG_3878More than 99.99% of the approximately 200,000 described Lepidoptera species are phytophagous. Only around 500 species are aphytophagous and feed mainly on other insects or their secretions. Aphytophagy is most common in the butterfly family Lycaenidae where it has evolved independently several times, but mostly as single species in otherwise phytophagous clades. One exception is the Afrotropical genus Lepidochrysops, with 137 described species, all assumed to be predaceous on ant brood or fed by trophallaxis from the third instar until pupation. Little is known about their life history, the relationships among the five genera in the Euchrysops section, and even less about the relationships among species within Lepidochrysops. Dr Espeland’s aim is to infer a phylogeny of the Euchrysops section and answer questions about the evolution of predation and diversification of the group.

The talk is free and open to the public. The meeting is readily accessible via public transportation. Parking is available in the Oxford Street Garage with advance arrangement, as described here, or (usually but not always) at spaces on nearby streets. Everyone is also welcome to join us for dinner before the talk (beginning at 6:00 PM) at the Cambridge Common, at 1667 Massachusetts Ave.

CEC meetings are held the second Tuesday of the month from October through May. The evening schedule typically includes an informal dinner (6:00 to 7:15 PM) followed by our formal meeting (7:30 – 9:00 PM). The latter begins with club business and is followed by a 50 minute entomology related presentation. Membership is open to amateur and professional entomologists.

Tuesday, May 8, 2012

7:30 PM

Bats vs. Moths: an evolutionary arms race

MCZ 101, 26 Oxford Street, Harvard University

 

Jessica Walden-Gray

Jessica Walden-Gray, Boston University

Bats and moths have been trapped in an evolutionary arms race for over 50 million years. Bats “see” the sensory world in sound and insects have evolved an array of tools to exploit echolocation to stay one wing beat ahead of bats. Moths have adapted ears and ultrasonic cries to avoid bats and jam bat sonar. Ms. Walden Gray will focus on the adaptations of tiger moths to avoid bat predation and introduce a species of tiger moth that has co-opted its bat ears for sexual communication.

The talk is free and open to the public. The meeting is readily accessible via public transportation. Parking is available in the Oxford Street Garage with advance arrangement, as described here, or (usually but not always) at spaces on nearby streets. Everyone is also welcome to join us for dinner before the talk (beginning at 6:00 PM) at the Cambridge Common restaurant on Massachusetts Avenue.

CEC meetings are held the second Tuesday of the month from October through May. The evening schedule typically includes an informal dinner (6 to 7 PM) followed by our formal meeting (7:30 – 9:00 PM). The latter begins with club business and is followed by a 50 minute entomology related presentation. Membership is open to amateur and professional entomologists.

Tuesday, April 10, 2012

7:30 PM

Consequences of multiple species invasions: a native butterfly confronts exotic plants and parasitoids

MCZ 101, 26 Oxford Street, Harvard University

 

Dr. Frances Chew

Frances Chew, Professor of Ecology, Tufts University

Exotic invasive species pose challenges to native species encountering them
for the first time. In the 1800s, the native mustard white butterfly flew
in Harvard Yard. Since then it has been affected by serial invasions of
garlic mustard, parasitoid biological control agents for the related
cabbage white butterfly, and other exotic plant species. Despite its
current threatened status in Massachusetts, the ecological stage is now set
for recovery and population growth of this butterfly – an unintended
consequence of recent species introductions.

The talk is free and open to the public. The meeting is readily accessible via public transportation. Parking is available in the Oxford Street Garage with advance arrangement, as described here, or (usually but not always) at spaces on nearby streets. Everyone is also welcome to join us for dinner before the talk (beginning at 6:00 PM) at Cambridge Common restaurant.

CEC meetings are held the second Tuesday of the month from October through May. The evening schedule typically includes an informal dinner (6:00 to 7:15 PM) followed by our formal meeting (7:30 – 9:00 PM). The latter begins with club business and is followed by a 50 minute entomology related presentation. Membership is open to amateur and professional entomologists.

Tuesday, December 14th, 2010

7:30 PM

The Origin and Maintenance of Mimetic Wing Pattern Variation in Butterflies

MCZ 101, 26 Oxford Street, Harvard University

Dr. Sean Mullen, Boston University

The link between divergent natural and sexual selection of adaptive traits (e.g., mimicry in butterflies) and the origins of barriers to gene exchange between closely-related populations (i.e., speciation) can provide insights into the origin and maintenance of biological diversity. These topics are the focus of Dr. Mullen’s studies of mimicry of Limenitis butterflies and will be the subject of his CEC talk.

The talk is free and open to the public. The meeting is readily accessible via public transportation. Parking is available in the Oxford Street Garage with advance arrangement, as described here, or (usually but not always) at spaces on nearby streets. Everyone is also welcome to join us for dinner before the talk ( beginning at 6:15 PM) at the Harvard Law School cafeteria, on the second floor of Harkness Commons.

CEC meetings are held the second Tuesday of the month from October through May. The evening schedule typically includes an informal dinner (6:15 to 7:15 PM) followed by our formal meeting (7:30 – 9:00 PM). The latter begins with club business and is followed by a 50 minute entomology related presentation. Membership is open to amateur and professional entomologists.