Friends of The Bug Closet

Historically, the Bug Closet itself was only 7 by 16 feet, yet accommodated over 40,000 pinned and labeled specimens as well as various research equipment. Here, Stuart Fullerton, the Research Associate In Charge of Arthropod Collections, works on labeling some of the unsorted Hymenoptera specimens while an undergraduate assistant, Kevin King, adds newly labeled specimens into Cornell drawers in a cabinet. (circa 1994/1995)
Phillip Russell and Fern Gattorno gear up to check the traps in the Maidencane Marsh. (circa 1999)
Heather Neff, an honors student and volunteer, adds carabid beetles to our database. (circa 2000)
Boyd Blihovde, a graduate student, finishes tagging specimens in the herp collection. (circa 2000) Now with the state of Florida Park System.
Jason Cohen, an honors student and volunteer, adds fresh alcohol to our many vials of arthropods. (circa 2000)
Linda Berlin, a graduate student, is our resident carpenter and lily lady. She’s a great help! (circa 2000) Now an instructor at Seminole Community College.
Linda Berlin, the lily lady, a “forever” student at UCF. She has been the master carpenter extraordinaire to the Bug Closet since its beginning. (circa 2001)
Zach Prusak, a Biology Dept. graduate and President of the Friends of the Bug Closet, stands next to one of the many malaise traps he has run out on the Disney property. (circa 1996) Now Fire Manager for The Florida Nature Conservancy.
Zach Prusak, our ant man, just after one of his better controlled burns!!! This pic is for those of you who could not see him next to the above malaise trap. (circa 2004)
Phillip Russell, a graduate student, adds sorted Hymenoptera from our year-long trapping project to our database. (circa 2000) Now a USDA officer.
Trevor Smith, an undergrad working in the Bug Closet, sorts our many boxes of Coleoptera. (circa 2000) Now a Bureau Chief of the Bureau of Methods Development & Biological Control, Division of Plant Industry, Florida Department of Agriculture and Consumer Services.
Trevor Smith just after finishing his study project – “Immediate Response of the Order Coleoptera to Prescribed Winter Burning” (also published in Y.E.S. Quarterly). (circa 2000)
Fern Gattorno, an undergrad, helps Dr. Snelson organize the fish collection. (circa 2000) Now an inspector for USDA in South Florida.
Visiting from Athens, Georgia, Dr. Theresa Pitts-Singer lends a helping hand. (circa 2001)
Dr. James Pitts (back of his head, but all we could get). He was too busy working on our gazillion mutillids while his wife, above, lounged. (circa 2001)
Kevin King displays some of the more beautiful specimens. Lepidoptera, like these, make up a small but colorful part of the collection. (circa 1994/1995)
John Westcott doing data entry of Hymenoptera and Coleoptera. (circa spring, 2005).
Roxzelle Morris, a graduate and volunteer. (circa spring, 2005)
Roxzelle Morris, a graduate and volunteer, filing library reprints. (circa spring, 2005)
Charlie Rolsky, a graduating senior in high school in Scottsdale, Arizona. He has been running a malaise trap in his back yard for us for the last year. (circa 2005)
Mike Ray – data entry volunteer. He has become the general all-around good scapegoat, especially for inexplicable errors in the database even though he has not been here for some time. (circa 2000)
Jon Longhurst and Lisa Roberts – these are two of the original Bug Closet crew helping in the set-up of the operations. Jon continues as the Bug Closet photographer (now a professional) and Lisa is currently working as a full-time mom!!!! But, she can still paint with a mean polyurethane brush. Picture taken in office of the director of the entomology dept. at the Florida Dept. of Agric. and Cons. Serv. – State Collection of Arthropods.  (circa 1994)
Saba Akram buggin’ out. (circa ?)
Travis Sims, another “forever” student, through 2004, was our resident expert on Odonata, and also very good at spiders. He brought our holdings of odonates up to snuff and “did” the arachnid collection of some 4, 000 vials. Picture him standing up in the front of a “john boat” chasing a dragonfly. (circa 2001) Currently an environmental consultant.
Dr. Frank Parker, retired from the USDA Bee Lab (Logan Utah), brought his own fresh-caught (and frozen) food when he came to visit. (circa 2002?)
Dr. Frank Parker spent a week and a half in the maelstrom of the Closet working on all sorts of things. Oh yeah, he even brought his own scope! (circa 2002)
Dr. Lubomir Masner. A visitor from Canada Agriculture, he was here for a week and a half during the renovations working on proctotrupoids, platygastroids, ceraphronids, and other such things (almost 20,000 of them). And…you guessed it – running pan traps! (circa 2001)
Kevin Pitz, Ph.D. candidate in the lab of Dr. Mike Sharkey, University of Kentucky, Lexington, Kentucky, visited us for more than a week in the winter of 2003-4 and brought our braconids to a subfamily taxa level (around 10,000 specimens). He took back the Cenoncoelinae (the subfamily he was revising) and discovered a new species of Mendesellinae, which he described and published. (circa 2004)
The Intrepid Trio – from left to right: Shawn Kelly, Dr. Richard Westcott, and Stuart Fullerton looking for buprestid beetles in the Ocala National Forest in northern Florida. Dr. Westcott (retired, Oregon Department of Ag., Salem, Oregon) was here working with grad student Shawn Kelly for 1.5 fun-filled weeks of insecting burned trees and beating the woods for buprestids. And, boy, we got some doozies! (circa spring, 2006)
Dr. Robert Zuparko of the Essig Museum at U.C. Berkeley and California Academy of Sciences. Bob has given us hours and hours and hours of volunteer work with our chalcidoidea from his home lab in Oakland where he is pictured. (circa 2012)
Dr. Massimo Olmi, who lives in Italy and works on our dryinids. He is the author of Dryinus fullertoni from 1997. We just finished sending him over 3,000 dryinid specimens (2012) and he is a very prolific worker and writer; the world authority for the group. (circa 2012)
Dr. Jason Gibbs, also known as Dr. Lasioglossum to some of us, is with Cornell University. He has agreed over the next few years to take on all of our Lasioglossum specimens. He has identified several thousand from all over, including from our collection, the western states, and exotic countries. What a friend! (circa 2012)
Dr. Matthias Buck is with the Royal Alberta Museum. He has taken on all our new vespoid material and is making corrections of material that Stuart identified a long time ago. He is also an author of the fantastic “Identification Atlas of the Vespidae of the Northeastern Nearctic Region,” published in 2008, a tour de force some 492 pages long. (circa 2009)
This fellow is Gary Gibson, who has done lots and lots of work with our material and is the author of at least eight new species using our specimens as types or paratypes. Additionally, he has made several suggestions over the years that have improved things that we do. Along with Bob Zuparko (4 pictures above), they have put our chalcoids “on the map”. A very good and willing friend of the bug closet, indeed!
These fine folk are Margaret Thayer and Al Newton, staphylinidologists and Chicago Field Museum scientists, who I.D. staphs for us. Margaret, especially, has helped develop the BC over the (many, many) years. Oh, and in case you didn’t recognize him, the man in the middle is Shawn Kelly, the BC’s hard-working collection manager. (circa 2010)
A batch of what Stuart liked to call his “kids”. These are people who frequently worked behind the scenes to place the traps that bring in the insects, I.D. specimens, and keep the collection in dust-free shape (among other things). From left-to-right, they are: Sean McCarthy (undergrad), Anthony Cuminale (undergrad), Ben Gochnour (B.S.), Hanna Stephens (undergrad), and Derek A. Woller (Ph.D. student). (circa 2012)
This is Dr. Howard Frank from the University of Florida in Gainsville where he has spent much time working with molecrickets (Orthoptera: Gryllotalpidae) and related biological control. However, now that he is close to retiring he finally has the time to work up a series of publications on the Staphylinidae of Florida. Also? He likes cigars and good cold beer! (circa 2012)
Dr. Frank came down to the BC recently to work with Shawn Kelly on our staphs. He took some back with him and sent some to Budapest, etc., etc., ad nauseam. Welcome back anytime! (circa 2012)
Eleazar Marquez was another one of the BC’s many undergraduate workers and he has been in and out over the past few years. Mysterious and quiet, but we don’t mind because he gets the job done! (circa 2013)
Once again, we present to you Hanna Stephens, undergrad employee extraordinaire! Hanna has been with the BC for a pretty long time, but she will finally be leaving us at spring semester’s end because she’s graduating (unfortunately for us). Guess we’ll have to find someone else to do the work of 3 people in exchange for mint oreos…Good luck, Hanna! (circa 2013)
Talysia Ellis (that’s her to the left) is an undergraduate who has now worked in the BC for two semesters and came to us through UCF’s work study program. Her interests lie in nursing, which is too bad because she performs her job well. Besides, who wants to work on humans when there are so many cool insects out there? Yes, we’re biased. (circa 2013)
The newest kid to join Stuart’s ever-growing family, Ji Min Noh is a wonderful undergraduate volunteer pulling triple duty. Somehow, she finds the time to moonlight in Dr. Song’s lab and sunlight in Dr. Hinkle’s lab. All she needs now is a 2nd floor gig and she’ll have all four floors of the Biology building covered. (circa 2013)
Two bad beetles pestering the BC! Shawn (left) and Stuart (right) wearing the cerambycid antennae headwear brought back to them from the Asian longhorn beetle booth at the 2013 ESA conference in Austin (circa November, 2013)
Derek wearing his infamous cockroach hat and gesturing rapidly while he shows off the “Oh, My!” drawer of worldwide beetles and leps to a visiting group: Cub Scout Pack 608 from Oveido, FL (11/18/2013)
Stuart (left) “enjoying” a birthday sneak attack from the staff while at a lunch celebration at a local Mexican restaurant. Notice Dr. Jack Stout’s (right) reaction as he realizes what he has wrought by slipping the birthday boy’s name to the staff (editor’s note: no one has yet confessed to the crime, but this editor is blaming the other old guy at the party). (3/14/2014)
Hail! Hail! (Almost all of) the gang is all here! We’re only missing, I dunno, 15 or so other BC-affiliated folk that wish they could have made it to Stuart’s annual birthday-at-a-Mexican-restaurant bash, but, alas, various duties called. Stuart even wore his favorite hat for the occasion (it weighs 20 lbs, hence the face). Left to right and top to bottom: Derek, Shawn, Sean, Emmi, Stuart (duh), and Dr. Jack Stout of UCF emeritus fame. Not pictured (but were present for lunch!): Ben & Hannah, two perennial BC stalwarts! (3/14/2014)
One of Stuart’s old friends dropped by today: Jorge de la Cruz! He had not visited since the Closet became much more than its name implies. Jorge has worked with many interesting arthropods from bat ticks to parasitic wasps. Derek is showing him the best technique for sanding down a rough tabletop.(5/9/2014)
2 of the members of the National Science Olympiad Entomology Team from Northern California hard at work during the event. When they stopped by the BC for some last-minute tips, Derek did his best, but it didn’t take long because these guys knew their stuff! (5/16/2014)
Jonathan had lots of fun with the Madagascar roaches during his BC tour with Derek! See? Roaches aren’t so bad. Well, some of them, anyway… (7/11/2014)
This is Brian Silverman. Brian has been working in the BC for quite a long time, but has always managed to evade the camera…until now. Appropriately, his photo was captured in the wilds of FL (Malabar Scrub Sanctuary), like Skunk Ape. For some reason, he is obsessed with Hemiptera, especially the annoyingly tiny ones. Go figure. (8/15/2014)
Shawn and Brian (again?! Wow!) at Malabar Scrub Sanctuary hunting for specimens of a new species of sand-dwelling staphylinid recently discovered by Shawn and described with the assistance of another good BC friend, Howard Frank. (8/15/2014)
Like the man says, he likes flies (Diptera) and there’s nothing wrong with that! A noble pursuit, to be sure. Brighton Hall has been working in the BC for almost a year now and he’s managed to I.D. tons of flies to the family level (so far). Keep it up! (8/25/2014)
This is Emmi Curtiss, yet another mysterious denizen of the BC. Notice the coffee cup in the background – it provides her the fuel she needs to power through her tasks when she slips quietly in before the rest of us rise. You make the rest of us look lazy, but we still appreciate your continued service! (9/24/2014)
Who is this cheery lady? And why is she so excited when she’s only holding a case of Leps? Why, it’s Erin Barbeau, worker extraordinaire “Outreach Coordinator” for the BC, and a true lover of Lepidoptera (about time, right?). Erin graduated in 2017 with her bachelor’s in biology and is attending the University of Colorado – Boulder for graduate school focusing on natural history collections. (12/2/2014)
ryanRyan Daley Ridenbaugh started in the Bug Closet in the spring of 2015 as a senior. He focuses on Carabidae, the ground beetles. He studied prescribed burns and carabids for his undergrad research. He is currently a masters student in the Sharanowski Lab. (2015)
shialaShiala M. Naranjo enjoys curating anything (no matter how small) that has hyaline wings such as hymenopterans and dipterans. She has move from the 1st floor to 4th to help Dr. Sharanowski manage the lab. She still does research at out the BugCloset and helps with outreach.   (2015)
Dr. Hojun Song was the first Curator of UCFC and Assistant Professor in the UCF Department of Biology. He is a classically-trained insect systematist and works on the insect order Orthoptera (grasshoppers, crickets, and katydids) and other insects. Since January 2015, Dr. Song has joined the Department of Entomology at Texas A&M University. Please visit The Song Laboratory of Insect Systematics and Evolution website for more information on his research. (3/25/2016)
bug closet 2016 Bug Closet crew posing as true bug (Hemiptera) after an outreach event for a class of fifth graders. Here we have a few new faces to add to our friends! L-R: Erin Barbeau, Josh Hogan, Shiala Morales, Shawn Kelly, Louis Dennin, and Bonnie Allison. Looks like they’re having a blast! (4/20/2016)