Bugging out: farewell and thanks to Dr Andy Warren, McGuire Center

Wow. Not much else to say after a full-throttle week of natural history tweetery from Dr Andy Warren, Senior Collections Manager at the McGuire Center for Lepidoptera and Biodiversity, at the Florida Museum of Natural History, University of Florida, Gainesville. Andy took us from the field, through the McGuire’s flabbergastingly immense collection of butterflies and moths, in and around every nook and cranny of the museum, and back out into the field. Along the way we somehow managed to conflate him in our daily Storify updates with Scottish tennis player Andy Murray, which is something of a backhand compliment. For more details on Andy’s research, check out his academic webpage and his collaborative research site Butterflies Of America, and keep following him @AndyBugGuy.

Andy’s RealScientists Storify archive: Sunday | Monday | Tuesday | Wednesday | Thursday | Friday | Saturday

Remember, we’re always looking for new curators @RealScientists – and no, we don’t expect you to tweet as much as Andy! – so if you’re a science researcher, writer, communicator, policy maker or even artist please drop us a line at thisissciencetwitter@gmail.com.

Next, we head from Gainesville to Townsville, to join marine wildlife researcher Dr Mark Hamann of James Cook University, aka @turtlesatJCU

…yes, he’s originally from South Australia, how could you tell? We’ll have more on Mark in our welcome post later today.

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Lord Of The Butterflies: Dr Andy Warren of the Florida Museum of Natural History

A confession. We always start these curator intro posts by saying something along the lines of ‘We are tremendously thrilled to welcome this week’s curator…’ Because, basically, we are. Always. We started this thing because we love bringing science to people, and this is brilliant fun introducing someone new and exciting to tweet for all our @RealScientists followers every week. But even by RealScientists standards we’re tremendously thrilled (maybe that should be in all caps?) to introduce our special guest curator for next week. You’ll remember our friend Phil Torres, who tweeted for us live from the jungles of Peru back in March. Phil, as you may recall from his intro, credits his love for science and in particular for exploring and discovering new species on his friend and mentor Dr Andy Warren, who he first met while taking part in one of Andy’s Butterfly Adventures classes as a seven year old, hearing stories about Andy travelling around the world to exotic locations researching and discovering new species of butterflies.

Well, Dr Andy Warren is tweeting for us this week. ‘Tremendously thrilled’ hardly covers it.

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Andy Warren searching for bugs in an Aspen forest, western Colorado.
Photo by Sally J. Warren

Andy’s official title is Senior Collections Manager at the McGuire Center for Lepidoptera and Biodiversity, at the Florida Museum of Natural History, University of Florida, Gainesville. The McGuire Center maintains what is believed to be the world’s largest collection of butterflies and moths (over 8 million specimens and rising.) Andy’s particular interest is in the systematics and biogeography of skipper butterflies, especially Neotropical ones, but in practice he finds himself working on all families of butterflies and moths worldwide.  Andy’s research achievements can’t be done justice to in the space here – for more details check out his academic webpage and his collaborative research site Butterflies Of America – but he has described many new species and genera (and even two new tribes) of Lepidoptera, has over 200 publications in the field, and is the current President of the International Lepidopterists Society, who will be having their Annual Meeting at the McGuire in the last week of June. If my knowledge of that part of Florida is correct* it might get a bit hot and humid in Gainesville in summer, but pretty sure the butterflies won’t mind. Andy is relatively new to Twitter (follow him at @AndyBugGuy), but has been into science communication long before there was a term for it.

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Andy Warren catching bugs above treeline in the Rocky Mountains of Colorado.
Photo by Thomas W. Ortenburger

* Aforesaid Floridian knowledge is accrued entirely from Carl Hiaasen novels and as such could be entirely dodgy. Your mileage may vary

 Not only will we be likely to get behind-the-scenes tweets from the labs, collections and live butterfly rainforest  at the McGuire Center, Andy’s hoping to take us out into the field with him, as well as behind the scenes of the major flora and fauna collections at the Florida Museum of Natural History. Anyone with an interest in the natural world – stay tuned, this is going to be cool. Over to Andy!