The Entomology Intern’s Leadership Project

close up of different incects including a green and gold beetle and larva

Hello again, it’s Emmalynn the Entomology Intern. My leadership project is the culmination of a year’s worth of data collection, analysis, and the combined effort of every entomology assistant at Reiman Gardens. I am writing a research paper about jade-headed buffalo beetle (Eudicella smithii) larva nutrition. A less glamorous but crucial part of my job is creating substrate for our beetle grubs. Basically, I make dirt. Something important to know is that beetle larvae are grubs which live underground and feed on the soil until they are ready to pupate. You’ve probably seen them while gardening or digging in the dirt. Some grubs prefer woody soils, soils made from broken-down trees. Jade-headed buffalo beetle grubs prefer leaf-based soils. So, I go out and collect dead oak leaves and grind it down to make oak mulch. For our study we looked at different ways of processing that oak mulch to see if any of those methods would stimulate growth and produce bigger adult beetles for our display. We processed some mechanically with filters and some biologically through fermentation. In total, we tested over 8 different substrates. We have found some statistically significant differences, but I won’t give away all our findings just yet!

The species in the photo is Eudicella smithii