Late last year—almost exactly 12 months ago, in fact—we received a generous donation of specimens and financial assistance, from Penn State alumnus Kerv Hyland. Dr. Hyland received his entomological training at Penn State in the 1940s, from none other than our namesake, Stuart Frost, and went on to an illustrious career at the University of Rhode Island. Dr. Hyland is perhaps most well known for his research on ticks, including the diseases they often vector.
His personal collection, minus the ticks, which went to the U.S. National Tick Collection, is now at the Frost Entomological Museum. It is quite diverse taxonomically and includes, primarily, specimens he collected in Pennsylvania as an undergraduate and specimens from what is now the Democratic Republic of the Congo. There are some real gems in there! It’s hard to pick just one, but I think my favorite is a series of GIGANTIC crickets, tentatively determined by me as Brachytrupes membranaceus (Drury, 1770), from Africa:
Wowza. I’ve never seen such amazing crickets! Based on my quick reading of a few articles this species, commonly referred to as the tobacco cricket, is both a pest (e.g., of tobacco) and a food source in many parts of Africa. I’d love to hear the call of this beast, which I imagine is quite painful. (Piotr Naskrecki, in fact, has a great blog post about this insect, which includes a sound file. Check it out! And be sure to wear ear protection.)
Anyway, we’re still in the process of databasing and sorting this collection, but we’re extraordinarily pleased with this donation. Thanks, Dr. Hyland!