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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    K = Knowledgeability    C = Clarity of Response    P = Politeness
Ann07/26/14101010THATS IT!!! What a great site! I .....
Ronn07/25/14101010Thank you very much for all the .....
Pat07/23/14101010Thank you. To me it seemed other-worldly! .....
Dan07/23/14101010Eric, Thank you for your time and .....

Recent Answers from Eric R. Eaton

2014-07-25 large flying insect resembling a wasp:

Casey:    Without seeing at least an image of the insect in question, I can't offer a responsible guess as to its identity.  That said, cicada killers should be active now, and that could very well be

2014-07-25 Yellow and black flying insect:

Ann:    You are describing a type of sphinx moth in the genus Hemaris.  There are several species, so I'll direct you to this link to start with:    http://bugguide.net/node/view/2637    They are

2014-07-24 insect?:

Ronn:    Well, I am not sure what the object is in your picture, but I can tell you what is packing your window tracks with grass....    That would be a grass-carrier wasp in the genus Isodontia

2014-07-24 unfamiliar bugs mass from compost bin:

Hi, John,    Thank you for including the image with your question, but I knew immediately what you were talking about even before I saw the picture.    They actually *are* maggots, those of the Black Soldier

2014-07-21 Weird Bug:

Hi, Dan:    Thanks for including the image with your question.  Your description is wonderful, I never thought of it that way (looking like a lizard).    The insect is a "sharpshooter" leafhopper in the


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