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Talk about a close vote! The votes from Photo 2 resulted in a tie for first and third places! That means Paul Manning and Colin each get 5 points, while Sam Droege and Greg each get a single point.

Here are the finalists for Photo 3:

Photo by Sean McCann

[polldaddy poll=6522258]

And here’s Photo 4, all quiet and lonely and in need of your caption! (Rules)

Katydid

Photo by Lee Jaszlics

Many of us appreciate insects, spiders and other arthropods for more than just their scientific, biological or ecological value: they also have an aesthetic that some of us find irresistible, inspiring us to capture them in photographs or in paintings rather than sweep nets or aspirators.

For this special feature, we interviewed Elizabeth Goluch, a Halifax artist, and asked her about her breathtaking insect sculptures.

PRAYING MANTIS
Sterling silver, copper, 14K & 18K gold
18.5″l x 12″w x 9.5″h

ESCBlog: Please tell us a little bit about your background – where you grew up, when you started doing art, where you did your formal training.

EG: I grew up on a farm in southwestern Ontario.  I have been making drawings and objects for as long as I can remember.

I took summer drawing classes at the University of Western Ontario, after which I acquired my BFA in 1976 at the Nova Scotia College of Art & Design.  However, my major was in Painting.  Much later, around 1997, I learned to solder by taking continuing education classes at NSCAD.  I also became a member of the Metal Arts Guild of Nova Scotia which is a Guild in the traditional sense.  If you wish to learn a certain skill, you have only to ask and another member will provide the help that you need.  Over time, I enrolled in several summer sessions at Haystack Mountain School of Craft thereby acquiring additional metalsmithing skills.  So I would have to say that I have had little formal training in working with metal and am, for the most part, self-taught.

ESCBlog: Why insects? Have you always been interested in insects as subjects for your art?

EG: Insects have always attracted me.  As a child I collected and examined dead insects, seeing them as objects of beauty.  An early memory is one of drawing page after page of spiders which gave me a great sense of satisfaction.

TARANTULA
Sterling silver, 14k & 18k gold, tourmaline
7.25″l x 8″w x 2.25″h

ESCBlog: Most of your sculptures have movable parts; many contain hidden trinkets that can be removed and even worn as jewellery.  Tell us about this choice to include interactive components.

EG: When I first began to make metal insect sculptures, I concentrated on the insect form.  Over time, I realized that I wanted to add another dimension to each sculpture which resulted in the secret compartments containing hidden treasure.

ESCBlog: Although your pieces are incredibly lifelike, they also include many whimsical elements (a children’s poem enacted in a lady beetle) and often embrace word-play (e.g., the violin beetle).  Tell us about your choice to blend the realistic with the fantastical.

EG: As my work has grown I have come to realize that, as much as I enjoy accuracy in building the body parts of each insect, I am also interested in telling the story of the insect.  This is accomplished by including information about the insect’s life, lore and environment in the decorative details and secret spaces, increasingly important elements of each work.

ESCBlog: Insects are so often portrayed as something dark and sinister – something to fear. Your work, however turns insects and spiders into precious things made of gold, silver, pearls and gemstones. Can you talk a bit about your choice of materials in your pieces?

EG: Conversely, I have always seen insects as living jewels. However, I enjoy the combination of fear and attraction engendered in the viewer by the juxtaposition of the subject matter (insects) and the richness of the materials used (gold, silver, gemstones) in the making of the object.

ESCBlog: You’ve tackled many different types of insects, and even arachnids, in your work. Is there anything you haven’t attempted to sculpt yet that you’d like to?

EG: There are so many insects in the world that I can’t imagine ever running out of options for the next piece.

(However, I must confess that after repeated requests, I recently completed a commission that was not an insect.  I made a Snail which turned out to be one of the most complex pieces that I have made to date.  It will appear on my website in the near future.)

ESCBlog: Do you have a favorite piece? If so, why is it your favorite?

EG: I can’t say that I have one favourite piece.  What I will say is that I enjoy the increasing complexity of story and detail incorporated in each new piece.

LADYBUG
sterling silver, 18k gold, garnets, enamel, ceramit
4.75″l x 3.75″w x 2″h

ESCBlog: Can people purchase the work your have shown on your website? Do you ever do commissioned pieces?

EG: Much of the work on my website has been sold or was a commissioned piece.  I have, on occasion, made a second or third version of one insect (Dragonfly, LadyBug). However, no two pieces are ever the same, each differing in size, details and story.

ESCBlog: Is there anything else we should know about you or your work?

EG: I have won numerous awards including Finalist for the Lieutenant Governor of Nova Scotia Masterworks Arts Award, the Frank Phillips Award for Excellence in Craftsmanship,  Best in Show in many Metal Arts Guild of Nova Scotia Competitions/Exhibitions, grants from the Nova Scotia Department of Tourism, Culture and Heritage, and from the Canada Council for the Arts.

My work has been exhibited internationally, including the 2009 Cheongju International Craft Biennale in South Korea where Canada was invited as the guest country, the Cultural Olympiad in the Museum of Vancouver BC to coincide with the 2010 Olympics, Cesky Krumlov in the Wenceslas Cellars of the State Castle of the Czech Republic, SOFA New York and the Mary E. Black Gallery in Halifax NS.  One of my works was included in the Metal Arts Guild of Canada Exhibition in Print 2011 curated by Gloria Hickey.

My sculptures can be found in public and private collections in Canada, the USA, Denmark, Australia, Turkey and Hong Kong.

I have given lectures in Halifax at the Joint Annual General Meeting of the Canadian Entomological Society & the Acadian Entomological Society and at NSCAD, in South Korea at the 2009 Cheongju International Biennale, in New York at SOFA, and in Cornwall ON as the keynote speaker at the Artpreneur Conference.

I sit on the Exhibition Review Committee of the Mary E. Black Gallery Halifax NS and on the Standards Committee of the Nova Scotia Designer Crafts Council.

ESCBlog: Where can we go to see some of your work?

EG: My work will be included in upcoming exhibitions at the Mary E. Black Gallery Halifax NS and at The Rooms Provincial Gallery in St. John’s NL, both of which will subsequently travel across Canada.

I am in the Studio Rally Map and will participate in the upcoming Studio Rally Weekend.
Dates:  Saturday September 29th and Sunday September 30th
Hours:  10:00 am to 5:00 pm – by chance or appointment
more info:  www.StudioRally.ca

BUMBLEBEE
Sterling silver, 14K & 18K gold
7″l x 7″w x 4″h

If you’d like to reach Elizabeth, here is her contact information:
Website:  www.elizabethgoluch.com
email:  e@elizabethgoluch.com
Representation:  Mobilia Gallery,Cambridge/Boston MA.

Availability in Halifax:  my Studio – 6913 Tupper Grove, Halifax, NS.

Visitors & commissions welcome.
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Do you know any other incredible Canadian artists who feature insects in their work? We’d love to hear about it?

Greetings fellow entomologists,

The 149th annual meeting of the Entomological Society of Ontario is fast approaching!

The venue: Bonnenfant Outdoor Education Centre, West Carleton, Ottawa, Canada.

The dates: September 28-30th, 2012.

Registration is now open at the official meeting website.

Submit your Posters and Oral Presentations before September 17th to be assured of getting onto the program.

Students: enter the President’s Prize competition and win cash!

Don’t be disappointed – register early as we are limited to 100 participants.

See you in September!

Bruce Gill
ESO President
Chair ESO 2012

By Chris Buddle, Editor-in-Chief, The Canadian Entomologist

———————–

As Editor-in-Chief for The Canadian Entomologist, I have the privilege of knowing what papers will be appearing in our journal in the future… in this post, without saying too much, I wanted to give you a ‘sneak peek’ of what to expect in the future.

First up, ground beetles (Carabidae) in eastern Canada:  Chris Cutler and colleagues studied the communities of ground beetles associated with wild blueberry fields in the land of the Bluenose (Nova Scotia).  They collected over 50 species in their study fields, and a high proportion of these species were not native (this is a pretty common trend with ground beetles in agroecosystms).   They also considered whether ground beetle communities differed between the interior and edges of their study fields – another important consideration in these systems.  In the discussion of their paper, the authors place their work in the context of conservation biological control.  It is a fascinating and important paper, and I know you will enjoy it when it appears on-line and in print.
In our Systematics and Morphology Division, you will soon see a paper by Art Borkent on biting midges (Diptera: Ceratopogonidae) in cretaceous amber.   In this paper, he describes two new species (and provides a key to the genus) based on specimens from many amber specimens.  These lovely flies are diverse and abundance in Amber, and in this case, Art Borkent looks into amber from southern Alberta.  This paper includes some lovely images and drawings, and you will be delighted when it appears in the journal.
Because I am quite fond of spiders, I am delighted to report that we will have a paper appearing about the dispersal behaviour of young Dolomedes triton (the ‘fishing’ spider), written by Carol Frost, Alice Graham, and John Spence.  The authors used a sophisticated laboratory set-up to understand the dispersal of this ubiquitous species, and tested what sort of cues could relate to the spider’s dispersal propensity.   It’s a very nice study, and one that will be of interest to the broader arachnological (and entomological) community.
Katherine Bleiker and colleagues at the Canadian Forest Service in Victoria BC will have a paper appearing in TCE about the mountain pine beetle -this destructive species is well known to the entomological community in Canada.  In this study, the authors investigated pre-emergence behaviours among females and completed this work completed this work in northern Alberta.  This area is in the ‘newly established’ habitat for the species, so it is important to fully understand the species and its behaviours at these locations.  This will be an exciting paper for researchers working on the mountain pine beetle, and we are delighted that it will appear in our journal.
Finally, I am pleased to report that one of our very own Subject Editors (Gilles Boiteau) will have a paper coming out in TCE on the Colorado potato beetle and its movement.   Gilles and co-author Pamela MacKinley using plant models to test how plant architecture affected the beetle’s movement patterns.  This is an important question given that management of this species in eastern Canada is a key priority, and a full and comprehensive examination of its movement behaviours provides important insights for researchers.
We have many, many more papers in our “production queue”, but this little sneak peek will hopefully get you excited about our Journal.  You can view papers on-line by clicking here, and members of the Entomological Society of Canada have full access – another great reason to join the society!

Living in metal-contaminated lakewater is just another day’s work for phantom midge larvae. 

In the lakes surrounding Sudbury, Ontario and Rouyn-Noranda, Quebec, over 75 years of smelter operations have left their mark by contaminating soil and water with the trace metals cadmium, nickel, copper, and zinc.

This contamination led Maikel Rosabal, Landis Hare, and Peter Campbell, all from the Institut national de la Recherche scientifique in Québec, to study how aquatic animals tolerate these contaminants.  To do so, they needed a study organism that was abundant, easy to collect, and could accumulate and tolerate trace metals.  The best option turned out to be larvae of the phantom midge Chaoborus.

“The lakes in the area, and their watersheds, have been contaminated by the deposition of atmospheric aerosols and particles.  Metal concentrations in lake water tend to be higher in the lakes that are downwind from and close to the smelters, than in lakes that are upwind and distant from the smelter stacks,” says Dr. Peter Campbell. “The presence of Chaoborus in lakes with high metal concentrations implies that they are highly metal tolerant.”

The researchers chose a total of 12 lakes around Sudbury and Rouyn-Noranda with differing concentrations of trace metals, and collected water samples, using diffusion samplers that excluded particles, and midge larvae using a plankton net. After homogenizing the larvae, the researchers used a series of centrifugation, heating, and sodium hydroxide digestion steps to separate the subcellular components of the larvae.  They then measured the amount of metal in each fraction as well as the concentrations of dissolved metals in samples of lake water.  This allowed them to relate the concentrations of each trace metal in lake water to the concentrations in larvae.

They found that the majority of each metal accumulated in the cytosolic heat-stable protein fraction that they isolated from the larvae—a fraction that contains large amounts of metal-binding proteins. And while other fractions also contained small amounts of metals, it was in the heat-stable protein fraction that metal concentrations responded most obviously to the increasing metal concentrations in lake water. This suggests that the Chaoborus larvae were able to bind and detoxify increasingly large amounts of these potentially toxic metals.

“This suggests an important role for these metallothionein-like proteins in the detoxification of metals,” says Dr. Campbell.  “Presumably this contributes to the presence of this insect in highly metal-contaminated lakes.”

While laboratory studies usually focus on the effects of exposure to a single trace metal (usually dissolved in the water), animals in this study were exposed in the field to many trace metals both in the water and in their planktonic food. The researchers suggest that Chaoborus larvae would be effective “sentinels” for estimating trace-metal exposure to lake plankton, which is a key component of ecological risk assessments.

“Rough estimates of trace metal exposure are often obtained by measuring total metal concentrations in the water or the sediment.  Such values usually overestimate metal exposure because much of the metal present is not available for uptake by organisms because they are bound to substances such as organic matter or iron oxides,” explain the researchers. “For these reasons, measurements of trace metals in organisms are increasingly used to estimate exposure in risk assessments.”

Rosabal, M., Hare, L. & Campbell, P.G.C. (2012). Subcellular metal partitioning in larvae of the insect Chaoborus collected along an environmental metal exposure gradient (Cd, Cu, Ni and Zn), Aquatic Toxicology, 120-121 78. DOI: 10.1016/j.aquatox.2012.05.001

Pubmed: http://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/pubmed/22647479

Chaoborus larvae

Photo: Maikel Rosabal

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