Photo Synthesis

How to attract an entomologist


Step 1. Locate a suitable patch of forest, field, or desert.

Step 2. Wait for a warm, moonless summer night.
Step 3. Using a long extension cord, plug in a blacklight. Or even better, a mercury-vapor lamp.
Step 4. Sit back and watch your prey arrive.*

i-b0a4b2fcb5bc831266def6e6811d7c4c-Warm night.jpg

*disclaimer. This technique works generally for most entomologists, but if your needs are more specific, you will wish to employ more specialized methods. Forensic entomologists prefer roadkill, for example.


  1. #1 James C. Trager
    May 1, 2009

    And then there are those that study dung beetles…

  2. #2 Romeo Vitelli
    May 1, 2009

    I thought that all you had to do to attract an entomologist was to rub your legs together.

  3. #3 ctenotrish
    May 1, 2009

    Loved this post! Catching an entomologists sounds both fun and easy. Must try it sometime. :)

    Romeo – very very funny!

  4. #4 Julie Stahlhut
    May 1, 2009

    Ab fab, Alex! (And the cicindelid is really gorgeous, BTW!)

  5. #5 ihateaphids
    May 1, 2009

    this doesn’t work for me… i’m more of a tree beater

  6. #6 rodney dyer
    May 2, 2009

    catching them is the easy part. It is the taping of the kill jar to the nose that takes a bit of skill..

  7. #7 Psi Wavefunction
    May 4, 2009

    Thanks for a wonderful summer vacation idea!

    Must do this, in addition to scoping protists and hanging out around mycologists… I really need to ‘grow up’ or something… =D
    (hey, there’s a world outside the lab sometimes!)

  8. #8 Atila
    May 4, 2009

    Some of them really love strange places like caves :)

  9. #9 Henrik Erlandsson
    May 6, 2009

    Hah. The title alone does it for me :) Very Gary Larson-esque, just had to comment. Lacks some macro photos of entomologists though ;)

  10. #10 B. Moisset
    May 8, 2009

    Specialists on pollinators are attracted to flowers. They leave the roadkill and blacklights to others.

  11. #11 alex
    May 8, 2009

    i see an orb!

  12. #12 Kevin
    May 9, 2009

    good one..

    but u should know entomologists shld be attracted to the tropics yah? I am assumingly there’s alot more insect biodiversity here..

  13. #13 Glen
    May 15, 2009

    Herrik nailed it with the Gary Larson reference. I bet your blog attracts a lot of entomologists too. I’m like a moth buzzing around a candle flame between this blog, your blog, Flickr, and… And I’m not even an entomologist!

  14. #14 Monado
    May 20, 2009

    Don’t forget the mashed fermenting peaches mixed with beer.

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