Most people see aphids as pests. Here I explain why aphids are wondrous animals worthy of our admiration. Did you know that there are soldier and sailor aphids? Did you know that not all aphids are green or black? Did you know that not all aphids live on leaves?Views: 271 | Enquiries: 0
My name is Simon Leather. I am an applied entomologist, but by that I don’t mean someone who can identify a huge number of species. I am not a taxonomist. Rather, I am a competent field entomologist who can recognise most insects to Order, some Orders to Family and within some families I am able to recognise individual species, especially if they are of economic importance. I fell in love with insects when I was a child in Jamaica, and discovered the complexity of ant societies, although I was also a great fan of crab spiders.
From the very beginning I was much more interested in how insects worked and behaved rather than in collecting and pinning them. My first degree from Leeds University, is in a subject that is no longer taught, Agricultural Zoology, essentially parasitology and entomology related to agriculture. It was at Leeds, in my second year, that I fell in love with aphids. My PhD at the University of East Anglia, was on the ecology of the bird-cherry-oat aphid Rhopalosiphum padi. I then did a post-doc, courtesy of the Royal Society, in Finland, developing a prediction system for R.padi, followed by a short post-doc back at UEA before a ten year stint with the Forestry Commission where I worked on the pine beauty moth, Panolis flammea and the large pine weevil, Hylobius abietis as well as doing advisory work and supervising research students. This was followed by twenty years at Imperial College, based at their Silwood Park campus where I worked on agricultural, horticultural and forest pests. I also conducted a twenty year study on the herbivores associated with sycamore trees and discovered the joy of urban ecology. I have been Professor of Entomology at Harper Adams University in Shropshire, since September 2012. For my full academic profile follow this link http://www.harper-adams.ac.uk/staff/profile.cfm?id=201220
I have been the Editor of EntoPath News, Antenna, and Ecological Entomology and am currently one of the Senior Editors of Insect Conservation & Diversity. http://onlinelibrary.wiley.com/journal/10.1111/(ISSN)1752-4598 I am also the Editor-in-Chief of Annals of Applied Biology and an Associate Editor of Agricultural & Forest Entomology, Ecological Entomology and until 2014, Journal of Animal Ecology. I have also written and edited a number of books that don’t make me a lot of money.
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