Entomology (Study of Bugs)/Expert Profile

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Eric R. Eaton


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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
Michelle 03/29/15101010Thank you so much!
samuel03/07/15101010Thanks a ton anyways, normally i can .....
Serenity 03/03/15101010Thanks so much. Good to know they're .....
Serenity 03/03/15101010Thanks for your quick response!

Recent Answers from Eric R. Eaton

2015-03-28 Mystery bug in my uncle's house:

Michelle:    The images depict an insect that does not occur naturally in Washington state.  It is a giant grasshopper, Tropidacris cristata, or something closely allied in the genus Tropidacris

2015-03-26 Los Penasquitos Canyon bugs:

Michelle:    First of all, this is a medical question.  Second, I'm not sure that your symptoms are the result of "bites" at all.  Virtually any unexplained wound, rash, or whatever is invariably blamed

2015-03-23 Big identification:

Hi, Annika:    Yes, that would be a bed bug.    It is quite possible that everyone in the household is being bitten, but you are the only one *reacting* to the bites.    Here is a blog post I wrote about

2015-03-22 Can not identify this bug:

Emily:    Thank you for including the image with your question, though it was clear to me from your description what you were talking about.    This is a carpet beetle.  Easily 80% of the questions I receive

2015-03-20 Another Ladybug question:

Debbie:    Lady beetles can always right themselves by opening their wing covers and using them for leverage to turn back over and onto their feet.  They are convex and slippery so they can get out of


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