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 Answers from Eric R. Eaton

2014-09-29 mass spider drowning:

Belinda:    Early morning (dawn) is when the birds would have found them, if that is what happened....    These can be abundant spiders, and often locally common, in small "colonies," so this is not an

2014-09-27 mass spider drowning:

Belinda:    I grew up in Oregon, so I am familiar with this...Thanks for including the images.    The spiders are all male "folding-door spiders," related distantly to trapdoor spiders and tarantulas.

2014-09-27 Looking for a good place to ID bees:

John:    There are many resources for identifying bees (and other insects).  I am biased, but I think the Kaufman Field Guide to Insects of North America is a great book (I am principal author)

2014-09-26 bugs EVERYWHERE!:

Sierra:    If you had intended to attach an image with your question, it did not come through; and, without at least some kind of clear, fairly detailed visual clue, I cannot possibly give you a definitive

2014-09-26 mysterious white bug:

Derrick:    Thank you for including the image with your question.    I believe this is the larva of the "Mealybug Destroyer," a kind of lady beetle in the family Coccinellidae.  It could also be the larva


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