Oklahoma's number one blog for natural and cultural history.
This week we’re leaving behind elegant mosaics and million-year-old fossils as we venture into the creepy, crawly world of invertebrates. Even if insects send a shiver up your spine, keep reading! Today’s post covers a unique blend of entymology and invertebrate history that may just knock your socks off. Let’s get started, shall we?
One of the most important and interesting specimens in the recent invertebrates department is the preserved holotype specimen of the beetle Huleechius marroni, which was described by former curator Harley Brown in 1981. Let’s pause here and review some vocabulary. A holotype is an extremely valuable specimen because it is the official specimen linked to the first named individual of the species. For example, say someone stumbles upon a wolf for the very first time, and a team of scientists decide to call it Canis lupus. That very dog is now a holotype for the entire species, meaning it is the specimen for which all wolves are named. That’s the Huleechius marroni beetle.
This beetle is part of the group of beetles known as the Elmidae, or “riffle beetles”, a group that is found throughout the world in freshwater streams. The larvae of these beetles are often found feeding on submerged wood, and the adults can swim on the surface and under the water. Impressive, right? This specimen was collected and described from San Carlos River, east of San Carlos, Arizona. Actually, in Arizona, there is an endangered subspecies of this beetle known as the Marron’s San Carlos riffle beetle (Huleechius marroni carolus.) This subspecies can only be found in one very specific location in Arizona, which makes it an exceptionally rare species.
Hopefully you’ve learned a thing or two from today’s post, and we know you’re just dying to impress your friends with this newfound wisdom. Of course, there’s plenty more where that came from! For fun facts about the supercontinent Pangea, check out last week’s post. Then be sure to mark your calendars for next week’s ITTB! We’re traveling deep into the heart of Mexican history, and we’re bringing you along for the ride.
Last Friday, May 3, recent University of Oklahoma graduate and noted photographer Thomas Shahan visited the Sam Noble Museum for a Gallery Talk, a chance to discuss photography techniques, Oklahoma spiders, and everything in between. Shahan also spoke about his work on display in the museum’s exhibit, Beautiful Beasts: The Unseen Life of Oklahoma Spiders and Insects.
Shahan discussing his work.
All eyes and ears were on Shahan as he walked through his process of shooting his captivating, insect models. Many guests were astonished to hear that all of Shahan’s work features local spiders and insects, many of which he discovered biking through Norman, Oklahoma.
Shahan and his glamorously furry model.
This was no ordinary lecture, however. Shahan’s animated personality lit up the room as he actively engaged his audience. Shahan structured the Gallery Talk as more of a two-way discussion rather than a straightforward lecture, which many of his visitors appreciated. By engaging guests in his discussion, Shahan engaged them in his art.
Shahan interacts with some young fans during the Gallery Talk.
After the Gallery Talk concluded, guests stuck around for a chance to socialize with Shahan during the reception. Over some complimentary hor d’ouevres, visitors chatted with Shahan one-on-one as they caught a rare glimpse of the man behind the camera.
What a spread!
Guests chatting with Shahan after the Gallery Talk.
Greetings! I apologize for being so long in updating, but we were moving some cyber-things around to different servers here in museum cyberspace before the holiday break, and there were a few glitches, one of which involved access to our blog. But the new year brings fresh opportunities!