Entomology (Study of Bugs)/Expert Profile

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I can answer most questions related to the identification of "mystery bugs" in NORTH AMERICA, including spiders. Attach images if possible. No "what bit me?", "what do I feed this bug in captivity?", or science fair project questions please. No technical questions about insect physiology.

Experience in the area

Principal author, Kaufman Field Guide to Insects of North America. Professional entomologist employed previously at University of Massachusetts, Chase Studio, Inc., and Cincinnati Zoo; contract work for West Virginia Department of Natural Resources, Smithsonian Institution, and Portland (Oregon) State University.


Author, Kaufman Field Guide to Insects of North America, Missouri Conservationist magazine, Ranger Rick, Timeline (journal of the Ohio Historical Society). I have contributed to several books as well.


Oregon State University, undergraduate major in entomology, did not receive degree.

Awards and Honors

One of the top 50 experts in all categories for AllExperts.com, 2009.

Past/Present Clients

Principal author of the Kaufman Field Guide to Insects of North America, Smithsonian Institution (contract), Cincinnati Zoo (employer), Portland State University (contract), Chase Studio, Inc (employer), Arkansas Museum of Discovery (guest speaker). Currently seeking speaking engagements, leadership roles at nature festivals, workshops, and ecotours.

What do you like about this subject?

Insects and related creatures are so diverse that it is impossible to become bored learning about them; and there is a great deal left to be discovered about them.

What do you still hope to achieve/learn in this field?

I am a writer/illustrator, and hope to publish more books and articles on natural history, especially insects and spiders.

Something interesting about this subject that others may not know:

You share over 20% of your DNA with common "fruit flies," genus Drosophila. You like bananas?:-)

Something controversial or provocative about this subject

Chemical insecticides do more harm than good in most cases. Returning agriculture to a smaller scale (largely doing away with agri-BUSINESS), would solve many pest problems without chemicals.

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Recent Reviews from Users

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    K = Knowledgeability    C = Clarity of Response    P = Politeness
Kay12/01/14101010Thank you!!!! :) Sorry it took so .....
Marcus10/31/14101010I have heard that they were good .....
Kristin Dahlen Ellis 10/28/14101010Thanks for your reply Eric :) Good .....

Recent Answers from Eric R. Eaton

2014-11-28 bug in hair:

Kim:    I'm sorry, but without seeing at least a clear image of the insects in question, or better yet an actual specimen, I cannot possibly make an accurate identification.    I don't know of any human

2014-11-25 Red spider, clear abdomen:

Hi, Kay:    The spider is a "hacklemesh weaver" in the genus Callobius, family Amaurobiidae.  They are extremely common in Oregon (I grew up in Portland), and generally make their webs on tree trunks

2014-11-24 Insect found this evening:

Jane:    I'm sorry, but without seeing at least an image of the insect, it is impossible to give you an accurate identification.    Furthermore, Florida is full of insects found nowhere else and my experience

2014-11-23 Red Spider in Central Coast California:

Kari:    I never received e-mail notification that your question was pending, so apologies for the delayed response....    Unfortunately, your image does not provide nearly enough detail for me to give

2014-11-20 What is this bug:

Hi, Carol:    I never received e-mail notification that your question was pending, so apologies for the delay in replying....    The image certainly depicts a beetle of some sort, but does not give enough


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