|Invertebrate Zoology: Entomology
The insects of California and the Santa Barbara region are very poorly known. A major focus of entomology research is on compiling an inventory of all of our local insect species.
One group of insects receiving special attention is the beetles (Coleoptera). The state’s beetle fauna comprises about 8000 different species. No previous studies have ever tried even to list them all, but some information on their biology and distributions is critical to enlightened development and land-use planning. An online database of beetle specimen records is being developed, which will allow anyone to view distributional data on any beetle species, essentially at the touch of a button. See the California Beetle Project pages for more details.
An inventory of the insects of the UCSB Coal Oil Point Reserve has just been completed. This project, a collaborative effort with Reserve Director Cristina Sandoval, collected and prepared, and identified specimens of over 500 species of insects occurring in this important protected area. More information on the survey, and an illustrated online guide to the species can be found at: www.sbnature.org/copbugs.
Research on a more global scale is being carried out on one beetle family in particular, the Histeridae. This diverse family exhibits many unusual morphologies and behaviors. Our entomology curator, Dr. Michael Caterino, has devoted many years of study to this family’s biology, and continues to work to understand the evolutionary factors responsible for their striking ecological diversity. For more information see the Histerid research page.
Quasars to Seastars
California Beetle Project