Friday, April 8, 2011

just learned about this loss: Tom Eisner, amazing entomologist

A truly delightful article, "The Man Who Dreamed He was a Beetle," explains a bit about the phenomenon that was Tom Eisner. Found it at, written by Robert Krulwich, that same (seems-to-be-fabulous) writer I just discovered this a.m. through the tall trees article.

STUNNING tiger beetle I chased in Kansas, 2007. WOW.
Color changes depending upon angle.

Tom Eisner passed away last month.

But, not before contributing a TON to our understanding of insects (seriously, mind-boggling contributions).

Or, before taking an early-days cross-country exploration of the inverts of the U.S., a veritable transect-on-wheels, with his buddy-in-bugs, E.O. Wilson, where they discovered many new species and had QUITE the adventure (brief account of same in article). Epic.

Not necc. a beetle, but cool lookin' Kansas bug.

Tom Eisner's also taken SUCH amazing photographs of bugs, which I first noticed in the Xerces Society's Wings magazine. IN-CRED-I-BLE! It's totally worth it to join JUST for that magazine.

Beetle I found in the Anza-Borrego desert in California.

I have a friend who does just this. It's ("Wings") SO beautiful, small, with conversation-starting, full color, STUNNING photographs of the most amazing creatures, & short, fascinating articles aimed at the lay person. JUST charming. My friend reads it then passes it all around 'cause everyone loves it.

The Xerces Society (which you join if you subscribe to the mag, which we do) is also an awesome cause* and heaven knows inverts could use a voice on this planet which they, largely, run. Anyhow, you will see Mr. Eisner all over that magazine.

(same individual as 1st tiger beetle pic--see what I mean about different color
depending upon the light? swoon!)

Tom Eisner sounds like he was an unusual,
uniquely perceptive person.

Like Horton Hears a Who, but for beetles.

NOT the greatest pic, but tiger beetles (different one than previous)
are FAST, so you don't always get close or much time to shoot.

And I'm so glad for the bugs that he was here.

And so grateful that he shared his insights into their world with us.

Again, not a beetle, but tiny, charming, voiceless, and important.


*"The Xerces Society is a nonprofit organization that protects wildlife through the conservation of invertebrates and their habitat. Established in 1971, the Society is at the forefront of invertebrate protection worldwide, harnessing the knowledge of scientists and the enthusiasm of citizens to implement conservation programs." (from

1 comment:

  1. Your photos are utterly beguiling. Makes me want to dig round in my garden and find some beetles to adopt as pets;-)
    Can't say I'm familiar with Tom Eisner, but I'm very curious now about his writing .. and Wings.
    ...your posts are providing an education in biology/ecology/naturalism.


Cool people write inside rectangles....