Dr. Jaret C. Daniels, entomologist, UF professor, author of “Vibrant Butterflies”

Dr. Jaret C. Daniels—an entomologist and professor at the University of Florida, as well as accomplished nature photographer, whose new book is ‘Vibrant Butterflies: Our Favorite Visitors To Flowers And Gardens”—recalls how growing up in a rural section of Wisconsin, amidst plenty of room to roam, exploring nature and assorted critters, likely spawned the interest that evolved into a career in entomology and academia. Indeed, the more Daniels recounts his formative years, the more a portrait emerges of an entomologist as a young man, including, as a high school student, launching a business that involved breeding and providing butterflies for various operations. He explains that he also became intrigued by photography during his high school years, and his interest in photographing various aspects of nature—particularly insects—grew over time, and now serves as an ideal complement to his academic/professional pursuits. For example, “Vibrant Butterflies” presents an array of Daniels’ stunning, close-up pictures of butterflies (and he answered a technical photography question, from a listener, during this interview). In discussing the genesis of the book project, Daniels discusses his commitment to providing information about butterflies and other insects in a way that would interest and help educate a more generalist readership, beyond the research he conducts (his emphasis is insect ecology and conservation), and the attendant scholarly papers he writes. He also addresses a few of the many details in “Vibrant Butterflies” that I found most revelatory, including how extraordinary butterflies’ vision is (the book notes that they see more of the visual spectrum than almost any animal, and can see ultraviolet light), how mimicry works in the butterfly world, some of their courtship and mating behavior, and more. (http://entnemdept.ufl.edu/people-directory/jaret-daniels/)

 

ALSO: I spoke with Ornella Varchi, Special Events Manager for The Humane Society of Tampa Bay, about the organization’s then-forthcoming event, Bark In The Park, set for March 24 at Curtis Hixon Park. As I observed to Varchi on-air, Bark In The Park would seem to be the granddaddy of outdoor animal events in the Tampa Bay Area—this is the 31st annual Bark! (https://humanesocietytampa.org)

 

COMEDY CORNER: Beth Stelling’s “Beth’s Pests” (https://www.sweetbeth.com)

MUSIC: Rebekah Pulley’s “Talking Animals Theme,” instrumentals

NAME THAT ANIMAL TUNE: EELS’ “I Like Birds”

AUDIO ARCHIVE:

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About the author
Duncan Strauss is the producer-host of “Talking Animals,” which he launched at KUCI in California in 2003, combining his passions for animals, radio, journalism, music and comedy. The show has aired since late 2005 on Tampa’s WMNF. Strauss lives in Jupiter Farms, FL with his family, including four cats, two horses and one dog. He spends each day talking to those animals, and maintains they talk right back to him, an as yet unverified claim.

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