In an effort to direct individuals to outstanding sites containing information on the insects, mites and nematodes that the personnel of the UF/IFAS Entomology and Nematology Department work with, and to reward those individuals and organizations that are contributing significantly to the knowledge of entomology and nematology available on the
World Wide Web (WWW), we instituted the UF/IFAS "Best of the Bugs" WWW site award.
The sites listed here are judged to be in the top 5% of insect- or nematode-related WWW sites by a committee of professional entomologists and nematologists.
New sites selected for UF/IFAS's "Best of the Bugs" will be added to the top of the list.
There are many other fine sites devoted to insects, mites and nematodes, and their not being on this list does not in any way infer that the information on those sites is not scientifically correct or useful.
- Australian Ants Online: This site developed by the Commonwealth Scientific and Industrial Research Organization (CSIRO), Australia's national science agency, "...provides an overview of the fascinating and diverse Australian ant fauna. It includes information on all genera and many of the species known to occur on mainland Australia, Tasmania and nearby islands." Plus, as one the members of our committee added, "...it is a great model for taxonomic encyclopedias as a replacement for taxonomic monographs. Good layout, easy naviagation, and great content."
Online Guide to Insect Songs: This site lets the user see and hear 76 species of U.S. crickets, katydids, and cicadas. A separate window for each species displays a stunning photograph of the songster, the wave form of the song, and a verbal description of the song. As the song plays, a rider moves beneath the wave form in synchrony with the audio output. The species windows is accessible from a master list or from a photographic key to families, species groups, and species. Lang Elliott and Wil Hershberger developed the site to complement their book, The Songs of Insects.
- Beetles & Rock Art in Libya: Webmaster Jean-Claude Ringenbach did an excellent job compiling lists and images of the beetles of Libya. Posed dorsal images are presented of the adults of most species and many of the beetle pages also include images of live adults.
The site includes a bibliography as well as slide shows of many of the other groups of insects of Libya.
A chapter of the site, made by Jean-Loic Le-Quellec, deals with rock art. So far no beetles painting or engraving were found in the Libyan desert, but the site originated in the collaboration of JCR and JLLQ for environment surveys. The work is still ongoing and new species will be added.
- Beetle Science: This site states that, "The abundance of beetle species and their countless interactions with other life forms make the study of beetles important to the biological sciences overall." So entomologists at Cornell University developed a wonderful Web site that allows you to better appreciate this diverse order of insects. You can examine beetle time lines, videos, interaction with other life, 360 degree views and carbon dust illustrations. However, you will need both the Flash and Quick Time plug-ins to view the better aspects of this site. Fortunately, links to the plug-ins are available on site.
- Koday's Kids Amazing Insects: Ed Koday is the technology director at Ivy Hall School, an elementary school in Buffalo Grove, Illinois. He has spent considerable time developing a Web site on several subjects, of which Amazing Insects is only one section. The Amazing Insect's site contains numerous images on many popular insect species and groups as well as text to train budding entomologists, or kids of any age, about the beauty and importance of insects. (This site is apparently disabled.)
- Robber Flies: The robber flies comprise a group of active insects that attract considerable attention in that the larvae and adults are predators of many other insects. Webmasters Fritz Geller-Grimm and Torsten Dikow have complied a site that includes everything you might want to know about this large group - from ID keys to art depicting these insects. The site also contains many beautiful color photographs.
- Butterflies of North America: Whether you are a professional lepidopterist or butterfly hobbyist interested in adding to the information on the Web, or someone who just wants to know the name of the butterfly you saw in the garden, this site should be your first stop. The USGS North Prairie Wildlife Research Center constantly updates this site with distribution maps, photos, species accounts and checklists.
- Dennis Kunkel Microscopy: Not only can you now have your very own Scanning Electron Microscope, but you can learn how to use it online while zooming in for beautiful closeups of the details of several insects. The site also provides the description, diet, habitat and the economic importance of the insects featured on the site. This is a great way to expose students and the general public to the magnificent detail of insect structure. (NOTE: This site has gone commercial since it was first reviewed. However, you can still view SEM images of many differrent organisms for free.)
- Insecta Inspecta: There are university entomology departments that would kill to have their Web sites garner as much attention as this one. And the fact that it was developed by seventh-graders at the Thornton Jr. High School in Fremont, California makes it even more impressive. From developing and judging insect art to answering questions that bug us, these kids are well on their way to becoming the professional entomologists of tomorrow. Remember these are seventh graders, so overlook the occasional entomological mistake. However, if there is a down side to this site, it is that seventh graders should not be making or listing pesticide recommendations. (This site is apparently disabled.)
- Alien Empire: This is a multimedia Web companion to the fascinating three-week PBS mini-series on insects. This site includes graphics, sound and animation, enhanced video, and activities for children. There are animated musical multimedia presentations on monarch butterflies, mayflies, and bee anatomy and behavior. You can also view video clips from the program.
- Tales From The Hive:
Nova's web spinoff of its television program is full of basic information about honey bees. This includes everything from the anatomy of their nest to how honey is produced. Perhaps most interesting is the section on how cinematographer Wolfgang Thaler and his team got extraordinary shots of bees flying and mating. The site features an explanation of bee dances, and provides quicktime movies so that you too can experience beeing a honey bee.
- Using Live Insects in Elementary Classrooms: Using live insects in the classroom is not innovative, but this University of Arizona site has taken an interesting new approach. Here, live insects are used as tools to teach physical and mental health topics to children in kindergarten through third grade. The site provides teachers with 20 detailed lesson plans, plus information and rearing sheets on all the arthropods used in those lessons. The site is available in both English and Spanish.
- Monarch Watch: Brimming with activities and information about monarchs, the Monarch Watch Web site has everything from kindergarten class projects to a complete scientific bibliography of monarch literature. Also included is information about several monarch research projects that need volunteers from all over North America.
- The Antlion Pit: This "Doodlebug Anthology" is a wonderful collection of resources related to antlions. It includes exclusive videos of antlion feeding behavior and metamorphosis, as well as information on how and where to find antlions. The site also provides detailed information on antlions in human culture and imagination.
- Radcliffe's IPM World Textbook: This University of Minnesota site provides an excellent electronic textbook on Integrated Pest Management (IPM), featuring contributed chapters by internationally recognized experts. As such, it has become an important resource for IPM specialists in research, teaching and extension.
- Digital Dragonflies: The Texas Digital Dragonflies site provides biological information about, as well as striking digital scans and photographs, of a number of species of Texas dragonflies. Odonata collectors will find this a tremendous resource, and so will any audience wishing to learn more about these fascinating insects.
- Entomology Index of Internet Resources: Located at Iowa State University, this site is, by far, the best gateway to the world of entomology on the Internet.