You know you’re a field biologist when…

Yesterday, I was doing pollinator observations on my plants in the field. There was zero percent chance of rain in the forecast and it was supposed to be sunny all day (perfect pollinator weather), but this is Ireland, so of course it rained a few times. As I can’t observe pollinators when it’s raining, I […]


You’re such a derbid. That’s not actually an insult, but it so sounds like it could be, right? I love it. A grad student in the last lab I worked in introduced me to this cool family of insects, the Derbidae, and I think the name is hilarious (because I’m six years old, apparently). That […]

Watering can calluses

I just lost a full replicate in my field experiment. That’s what we field biologists like to call “a bad day.” Of course, I’ve lost replicates before, and it’s always hard, but this loss seems particularly pointless. You see, all of my field sites had to be in urban areas for this experiment, which meant […]

Gorgeous mantis

I believe this exquisite mantis lady is a Chinese mantis (Tenodera sinensis). She was so beautiful, I wanted to keep her as a pet, but that’s gone poorly in the past, so I left her on a tree branch and wished her well. Isn’t she perfect? She’s dancing (please ignore my dirty thumb) Please note […]

Sweat bees, syrphid flies, drought, and humidity

All in a summer’s field work! This field season has been very rough because of epic drought coupled with record heat and humidity, which led to plagues of sweat bees (especially the tiny subgenus Dialictus) and hordes of syrphid flies of nightmare proportions, all of which adore sweaty, sweaty field biologists. I’ve never been particularly […]

If you find flowers wandering around on your plants…

Keep an eye out for the camouflaged looper (Synchlora aerata), which steals florets and sticks them to its back for camouflage. I often find little thistle flowers wandering around on my plants like this one! Which means that we can add Carduus to this list.