Page 23 - FLMNH_Annual_Report_2011-2012

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annual report
The McGuire Center for Lepidoptera and Biodiversity
was able to add significantly to its collections, staff and
other resources during 2011-12, increasing its stature
as the leading educational and collections-based
research institution for Lepidoptera biodiversity studies.
The total Lepidoptera holdings grew to about 10.5 million
specimens through donations of more than 40 private
collections and extensive collecting by the staff in many
areas of the world. One of the most significant additions
came in the Kirby L. Wolf world-class collection of the
giant silk moth family Saturniidae, comprised of more
than 3,800 specimens of U.S. and foreign species of this
group of large, colorful moths. Related to this collection
gift, Richard Peigler donated silk textiles from
a number of countries, preserved cocoons of many
species of silk moths and other materials such as cocoon
hand and ankle rattles, for a possible future exhibit on the
development of the silk industry in China, Japan, France,
the U.S. and other countries through the centuries.
Other especially notable collection additions came from
John M. Nelson (more than 33,000 U.S. Lepidoptera),
Bradley A. Stirn (more than 11,000 Lepidoptera, including
many exceptionally rare foreign butterflies), and Luka
Kassarov (nearly 10,000 rare and extinct Palearctic and
Neotropical Lepidoptera).
Research highlights include Assistant Professor Jaret
Daniels’ surveys to identify living populations of two
federally endangered butterflies: the Miami blue and the
Schaus’ swallowtail. Curator Jacqueline Miller surveyed
Lepidoptera on North Andros Island, Bahamas, and in the
Pico Bonito National Forest, Honduras. Associate Curator
Keith Willmott investigated species richness gradients in
tropical Andean butterflies from Colombia to Bolivia.
Assistant Curator of Lepidoptera Akito Kawahara’s
projects ranged from a study of the evolution of case-
building by Hawaiian moth larvae, the evolution of
chemical defenses in Lepidoptera and ultrasonic
stridulation in hawk moths, to the evolution of major
Lepidoptera groups using next-generation genome
sequencing and functional genomics, specifically
studying the green-island forming leaf miners.
Assistant Research Scientist Delano Lewis is researching
the moth and butterfly fauna of Jamaica, the genetics
and conservation ecology of the endemic giant
swallowtail (largest swallowtail butterfly in the Americas),
the important role of pollination of Florida native plants
by native bees, wasps, Lepidoptera and other insects,
and the role of roadside vegetation management
practices for enhancing habitat and floral resources
for insect pollinators.
Kawahara and Lewis are also expanding the McGuire
Center’s student training and mentoring programs,
contributing their new strengths to the preparation of the
next generation of lepidopterists.
Opposite page: Two White
Peacock butterflies,
mate in the
Butterfly Rainforest
Left: One of the Museum’s
first billboards.
Below: One of the
Museum’s current
billboards on I-75
advertising the
Butterfly Rainforest.
Center for