Bombo’s Big Question in 5 languages


Hey everyone!

Bombo’s Big Question is now also available in Spanish, Mandarin, Korean, and Norwegian.          Links below.


English original:





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Bombo’s Big Question

On behalf of the Carabid-Q research Team* I am very pleased to present a book about a bombardier beetle for children that is beautifully illustrated by Ainsley Seago and chocked full of facts and fun. This beetle tale is suitable for children and those of us that never grow up.

bombo overviewBombo’s Big Question” is a fable about the adventures of a beetle named Bombo who is in search of an explanation for what she sees as her “superpower.” It’s an allegory that intends to promote curiosity, critical thinking, and natural explanations. Ultimately Bombo does find a good answer and one that goes beyond a mechanistic explanation in that the answer connects her personally to the rest of life.

The story is about how evolution provides the answer, but it is not a primer on evolutionary theory or any specific topic. Aside from reading for entertainment, the story of Bombo can be a companion to a full lesson plan on evolution, or a way to facilitate discussion between adults and children on the topic.  Also provided are supplemental materials for anyone that wants dig into more information about the beetles and other animals introduced in the story. There is a guide to pronunciation of the scientific names and hopefully, answers for some of the many questions curious readers will have.

Get the ebook and print on demand versions from these links or sites

Free PDF is available hereBombo-ebook-low res (smaller file) or  Bombo-ebook-high res (big file)

Free eBook file hereBombo epub (big file)

Get a print copy and/or Kindle version hereAmazon print copy or Kindle format

Why the print and Kindle versions are not free.

Distributors may charge a distribution fee and all costs of printing and shipping must be paid by the purchaser. In most cases the book itself is “free,” i.e., cost are for production and distribution only, no royalties are paid to the author and illustrator. Because the book was published and distributed via CreateSpace  and on Amazon, some distributors do not allow royalty-free books (see image of rules below). If there are any purchases made with those vendors then all royalties will be donated to the NCSE.


To be transparent, here are the royalty rules at CreateSpace (above) and the minimum prices allowed (below)


Some great resources for teaching evolution can be found at the following sites:

Understanding Evolution:



Talk Origin

National Center for Science Education



The C-Q research team is headed up by the following PIs (click name to see web sites and lab members): Wendy Moore, Tanya Renner, Athula Attygalle, and Kip Will

NSF logo

This project is supported by funding from the US National Science Foundation: DEB1556957 DEB1556813, DEB1556931, DEB1556898

Posted in Carabids, Children's Science book, Coleoptera, Entomology, Evolution, Uncategorized | Tagged , , , , | 1 Comment

Vote now for a bombardier beetle genome

Vote daily from now until 5 April here

Bombardier beetles are among the world’s most impressive chemists. They repel predators with rapid-fire, precisely-aimed explosive discharges of a toxic chemical mix at over 100°C, earning them lead roles in media and culture. Yet the genomic basis of this extraordinary ability remains a mystery. We need YOUR help to sequence the Explosive Bombardier Beetle genome.

Our team’s bombardier beetle proposal has been selected as one of five finalists to undergo a popular vote for the world’s most interesting genome! The final winner receives Pacific Biosciences (PacBio) SMRT Sequencing and genome assembly.

Vote YES for the Explosive Bombardier Beetle! Vote here today:

You can vote once per day through April 5th. Help SDSU/UC Berkeley/University of Arizona/Stevens Institute of Technology win this exciting competition! Please announce to your students, friends, etc. Our team will be sending periodic reminders throughout the voting period.

Social Media:

Follow the Explosive Bombardier Beetle team on Twitter:
Dr. Tanya Renner (San Diego State University): @TanzRenner
Dr. Wendy Moore (University of Arizona): @paussus
Dr. Kipling Will (University of California, Berkeley): @Cerabilia
Dr. Aman Gill (University of California, Berkeley): @amanomenon
Dr. Athula Attygalle (Stevens Institute of Technology)

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New Pterostichus for Hilary

Modified by CombineZP

Pterostichus (Leptoferonia) hackerae

In 2015 David Maddison blogged about a trip we took to meet Hilary Hacker in Northern California (A Love of Leptoferonia). It was so amazing to meet her after being an admirer of her field work and her publication on Leptoferonia.

I am very pleased to announce that my small contribution describing a new species of Leptoferonia from Oregon that honors Hilary Hacker has been published. The tiny-eyed, soil-dwelling beetle is named  Pterostichus (Leptoferonia) hackerae and together with a key for the species of the subgenus and a phylogeny, the description is published in the Pan-Pacific Entomologist in a paper titled “Description of a new microphthalmous species of Pterostichus Bonelli, 1810 (Coleoptera: Carabidae) from southwestern Oregon and key to species of the subgenus Leptoferonia Casey, 1918.” It’s available here or if that is pay-walled ask me for a PDF. Even better, join the Pacific Coast Entomological Society and get the journal.

Also in the paper I follow up on the question of P. (Leptoferonia) enyo‘s sister-group relationships. Spoiler alert- I proved my original hypothesis wrong. So goes science.


Meeting Hilary Hacker in 2015. Image by D.R. Maddison.

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Support the Essig Museum, Cal’s Big Give

For more about the Essig Museum click here or to donate now click the image below. Thanks for your support!



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Enigmatic La Brea Tar Pit Insect Fossils

Anna Holden who recently wrote a guest post here  on insects from the La Brea Tar Pits as paleoenvironmental indicators has a lot more stunning insect fossils that have turned up during her studies. She is looking for help to identify more of the specimens. You can check out images of some of the material and if you have expertise in a group offer some suggestions as to the identification. Visit the Flickr account that she has created of ~44,000k year old insects from a unique assemblage. Comment there or for non-Flickr members you can email Anna comments aholden[at]

Some examples of the fossils on the Flickr site.

Some examples of the fossils on the Flickr site.

These insect fossil fragments are in near pristine preservation due to a rapid entrapment event that compacted this material into a camel (Camelops hesternus) skull.

Clyde the camel's skull from La Brea (Camelops hesternus)

Clyde the camel’s skull from La Brea (Camelops hesternus)


Posted in Entomology | Tagged | 1 Comment

Talk slides from I.C.E. 2016

I’ll be speaking tomorrow in a chemical ecology session about the carabid-Q project, in part.


Here is a reduced size pdf of the slides for preview or review. Enjoy.




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