Our monthly meetings, which have been held regularly since 1993 at Zilker Garden Center, feature an educational program. All are open to the public and most are free. The Garden Center is located in Zilker Botanical Gardens, 2220 Barton Springs Rd., Austin, TX 78746.
- July 23, 2018, 7 PM meeting: Life Under the Bark: The Secret Lives of Bark Beetles, presented by Dr. Thomas H. Atkinson.
- A review of the natural history, ecology, and diversity of a large group of tiny beetles, some of which behave badly and cause economic damage.
Tom Atkinson grew up on the edge of the swamps in southern Florida. Since leaving home he has moved on to higher education and to higher ground where he has remained ever since. The relentless fauna of subtropical Florida probably explains his early interest in insects and their control. As a result of 4-H he realized that one could actually get paid to study bugs and has never looked back. He was educated at the University of Florida, receiving a B.S. (1972), M.S. (1976), and Ph.D. (1979) in the mysteries of entomology.
His career path could best be described as “taking the scenic route”. He has worked for:
- Chiquita Banana in Panama,
- the National School of Agriculture in Mexico,
- a biological reserve on the Pacific coast of Mexico,
- the University of Florida,
- the University of California, Riverside.
- Dow AgroSciences Research & Development doing field research in the continuing struggle to outwit termites, cockroaches, ants, and similar vermin.
- The insect collection of the University of Texas at Austin.
He has published 98 scientific and technical articles and book chapters on obscure aspects of the lives of cockroaches, and termites, and bark beetles. His current research focuses on the systematics and biogeography of Neotropical bark and ambrosia beetles. One of his ongoing projects is www.barkbeetles.info which is an authoritative and exhaustive atlas, catalog, and image library of North and Central American bark and ambrosia beetles.
- Aug. 27, 2018, 7 PM meeting: Beetles ~ Airborne Armor, presented by Valerie Bugh.
Of all animal orders, Coleoptera contains the most species. From minute specks almost invisible to the human eye to hefty insects that can cover your palm, beetles are a substantial segment of just about every terrestrial ecosystem. In spite of their abundance and diversity, beetles often go unnoticed by many people and, undoubtedly, part of their success is due to remaining so discreet. With tough outer body protection and the ability to fly, beetles are equipped to disperse and utilize habitats from desert to aquatic. We'll look at the variety, characteristics, life cycle, behaviors and relationships of these fascinating and beautiful creatures.
Val Bugh is a local naturalist specializing in the arthropods of the Austin area, with interests in taxonomy and photography. She runs the Fauna Project at the Lady Bird Johnson Wildflower Center, leads insect discovery walks, teaches entomology courses, provides insect/spider identifications, gives talks to local organizations, and has published pocket guides to "Butterflies of Central Texas" and "Spiders of Texas." Website: Austin Bug Collection
- Sept. 24, 2018, 7 PM meeting: Orchid Bees, presented by Robinson Sudan.
- Oct. 22, 2018, 7 PM meeting: Native Host Plants for Texas Butterflies, presented by Lynne & Jim Weber.
- While a wealth of native plant and butterfly field guides exist, ones that focus on the unique relationships between native plants and butterflies are few and far between. With the publication of Native Host Plants for Texas Butterflies, authors and photographers Jim & Lynne Weber, along with Ro Wauer, have filled this gap for Texas, beyond monarchs and milkweeds! Learn about these special relationships for butterflies (and some showy moths), explore why native plants are essential to healthy ecosystems, understand the role of nectar and host plants, and discover how these insects find the desired host plant species upon which to lay their eggs. You will leave with the knowledge and resources needed to encourage and appreciate a wider diversity of butterflies and moths in relation to their native host plants!
Lynne and Jim Weber are currently retired after long careers in the tech industry. Both are certified Texas Master Naturalists and Lynne is a past president of the Capital Area chapter. The Webers are dedicated naturalists who have served on the Balcones Canyonlands Preserve Citizens Advisory Council as well as on boards of the Big Bend Natural History Association, the Big Bend Conservancy, and the Chihuahuan Desert Research Institute. They conduct Golden-cheeked Warbler and Colima Warbler surveys, guide hikes, restore native habitat, map invasive plants, and manage their privately owned 8-acre preserve. Their nature photography and writing have appeared in several publications, and they have co-authored Nature Watch Austin (2011), Nature Watch Big Bend (2017), and Native Host Plants for Texas Butterflies (2018).
- Nov. 26, 2018, 7 PM meeting: Member's Show & Tell.
- This is a fun meeting that we have every year. Any member can show their favorite photos of the year or to tell about their a trip or butterfly experience. You have 5-10 minutes. There will be a projector and laptop so just bring your flash drive. Plus, the club provides pizza for this year end meeting! If you plan to participate contact .