Reproductive morphology and speciation in beetles

For those of you who are wondering what the heck I’m doing with my life, here’s a video about entomologist David Kavanaugh, who predicted that a new beetle species would be found on the Trinity Alps. I’m hoping to develop research somewhat along these lines, using montane grasshoppers in the sky islands of the Rocky Mountains. Let’s just hope they let me into grad school! 🙂

Unfortunately, I’m unable to embed the video, but here’s the link. At about 12 minutes, you can see some of the techniques for examining and characterizing insect genitalia. QUEST on KQED Public Media.

The “phalloblaster”!

I getting ready to start graduate school soon, and I’m hoping to work with reproductive isolation in grasshoppers. A major part of this is looking at their “naughty bits.” They’re not really all that naughty; in fact insect reproductive morphology can be a primary method of distinguishing between some species that otherwise look alike.

Researchers at CSIRO (Commonwealth Scientific and Industrial Research Organization) in Australia developed a technique of “reinflating” male insect genitalia Continue reading