The Entomology Intern’s Daily Work

indoors with pink tropical flowers and exotic butterflies with red and black wings

It’s Emmalynn again, and today I wanted to talk about my daily work and get into the nitty-gritty of what my job is actually like. I mentioned in an earlier post that while my job is to take care of the Christina Reiman Butterfly Wing, most of my time is spent in the lab taking care of our large collection of arthropods. Just to give you an idea of the diversity, we have three classes of arthropods: arachnids (spiders and scorpions), myriapods (millipedes and centipedes), and hexapods (insects). Of our insects, we have over 40 different species spread across eight different orders.

Every morning I start my day by preparing the Butterfly Wing for it to open to the public. This includes releasing the butterflies and moths that emerged during the night, filling our nectar and fruit dishes, picking up any individuals that may have died, and any other general clean-up needed so the Butterfly Wing looks good for our visitors. Next, I head back to the lab and check which insects come up in our rotation for that day and generally check all our insects to see if any need extra care. Every day the walking sticks get fed and misted. I usually start with them because in the summertime we go outside and collect plants that grow naturally in the area. We use the leaves from oak trees, wild raspberry and blackberry, and honeysuckle. It’s best to do it in the morning before it gets too hot or too busy. The rest of the day is spent feeding animals, cleaning tanks, or working on different projects like research, data management, or making creative products. There’s always lots to do in the lab and lots of volunteer opportunities!