- Author: Kathy Keatley Garvey
If you missed entomologist Robert Peterson's outstanding virtual seminar on "Tigers in Yellowstone National Park: Adaptations of Insects to Extreme Environments," presented March 31 to the UC Davis Department of Entomology and Nematology, not to worry.
It's on YouTube at https://youtu.be/z85B0NlmizU.
The "tigers" in Yellowstone National Park are tiger beetles, Cicindela haemorrhagica, that live, feed and breed in the thermal pools.
UC Davis distinguished professor James R. Carey introduced him as "a star in entomology"; a professor of entomology at Montana State University; and a past president (2019) of the Entomological Society of America (ESA) .
"We have seen these beetles for 20 minutes or more walking around on the surface (of thermal pools) at 50 degrees centigrade," said Peterson, who researches and photographs the insects.
He pointed out that 50 degrees centigrade is 122 degree Fahrenheit. "That's not normal for any insect," he said.
"How are they alive?" he asked. "How do they live in these extreme conditions in Yellowstone National Park?" Be sure to watch the video at https://youtu.be/z85B0NlmizU and see his spectacular images.
A native of Perry, Iowa, Peterson received his bachelor's degree in entomology from Iowa State University, Ames, and his master's degree and doctorate in entomology from the University of Nebraska, Lincoln. He joined the MSU faculty in 2002 after serving as a research biologist for Dow AgroSciences, Omaha from 1995 to 2001. He has published 123 peer-reviewed journal articles, 15 book chapters, and two books.
Peterson manages the website, Insects of the Greater Yellowstone Ecosystem, an online photographic celebration of the ecosystem's biodiversity. He has categorized the site into butterflies and moths; beetles; flies; true bugs; stoneflies; mayflies; net-winged insects; bees, wasps ants and sawflies; grasshoppers, crickets and katydids; and insect relatives. Peterson also hosts a comparable Facebook page, Insects of the Greater Yellowstone Ecosystem.
Cooperative Extension specialist Ian Grettenberger coordinates the weekly seminars, held on Wednesdays at 4:10 p.m. For more information, contact him at email@example.com.