Staff Profile: James Hayden

Curator, Florida State Collection of Arthropods

In 1999, James Hayden completed an associate's degree in liberal arts at Deep Springs College in California, and 2003, he finished his bachelor's in environmental biology at Columbia University while simultaneously volunteering at the American Museum of Natural History. He entered a Ph.D. program in entomology at Cornell University where he revised the mainly tropical pyralid subfamily Odontiinae. Hayden spent a year as the Rea Postdoctoral Fellow at the Carnegie Museum of Natural History, where he studied the Carnegie Museum's extensive Caribbean collectionsand conducted a broad morphological study of various Pyraloidea species.

Hayden's primary interest is systematics of Pyraloidea at all levels, from species to subfamily relationships. Pyraloidea, or snout moths, is one of the five largest radiations of Lepidoptera with 16,000 described species and an estimated 32,000 undiscovered species. It is the most ecologically diverse group of Lepidoptera in terms of larval habits and is second to Noctuoidea in economic and agronomic impact. Most pyraloid genera badly need systematic revision, and there is a high demand for identifying species in the collections and for the purposes of pest controlHayden's major goal is to publish identification materials to facilitate systematic revisions of Pyraloidea. The only global identification keys available for the family are the revisions of George Hampson (1895–1899), which rapidly became untenable after being published.

McGuire Center: James Hayden is the curator of Lepidoptera for the Florida State Collection of Arthropods, which is housed at the McGuire Center. Hayden conducts taxonomic research, curates collections, and as a Florida Department of Agriculture and Consumer Services, Division of Plant Industry employee, is responsible for providing timely and accurate identifications of Lepidoptera samples sent to DPI. These samples are mainly crop pests, but Hayden handles many types of inquiries.