Illinois Natural History Survey - University of Illinois

Taylor Lab: News

26 June 2017: Katz awarded Cave Conservancy Foundation Academic Fellowship in Karst Studies


Aron Katz, doctoral candidate in the Taylor lab through the Department of Entomology, has been awarded the $20,000 Cave Conservancy Foundation Fellowship to pursue his project entitled "Cave springtail phylogeography across the Mississippi River valley." By incorporating geographical, morphological, and ecological information with molecular data, he will use comparative phylogeographical methods to evaluate the relative roles of ecological dependence and geographic barriers in shaping patterns of subterranean springtail diversity, and ultimately, shed light on evolutionary processes driving speciation in caves.


19 June 2017: Swanson awarded grant by American Museum of Natural History


Dan Swanson, doctoral student through the Department of Entomology, has been awarded an AMNH Collection Study Grant for $997.  His project is entitled "An updated, photographic key to the New World genera of Harpactorinae (Heteroptera: Reduviidae), with additional focus on five annulate genera" incorporates several different projects/objectives, including gathering a loan of material for his dissertation and examining the museum holdings of described and undescribed fossil Reduvioidea.

Rhynocoris cuspidatusa photo (CC by 2.0) by Ettore Balocchi, 28 May 2007

16 June 2017: eDNA of groundwater amphipods in Washington DC

See story from University of Illinois News Bureau

Former Taylor lab post doc Matt Niemiller and several collaborators, including Steve Taylor, have published a paper in which environmental DNA was used to detect endangered groundwater amphipods in Washington, DC.  The paper published in the journal Conservation Genetics Resources.


09 June 2017: Groundwater crayfish in southern Georgia

Cambarus-cryptodytes_by_DanteFenolio.jpgCambarus cryptodytes (c) Danté Fenolio

A multi-author paper by several collaborators, including Steve Taylor documents new distributional records for a stygobitic crayfish, in the Floridian aquifer in southern Georgia (USA), based on trapping in wells.  The paper, published in the Southeastern Naturalist, also includes former Taylor lab post doc Matt Niemiller among the authors.


25 May 2017: Dan Swanson is lead author on two newly published True Bug papers


Entomology doctoral student Dan Swanson has had two papers come out recently, one with advisors Steve Taylor & Sam Heads documents the first records of several True Bugs from Illinois, the other reviewing a group of True Bug families, the Cimicoidea, in Michigan.


11 May 2017: Aron Katz awarded 2017 Dissertation Completion Fellowship


Entomology doctoral candidate Aron Katz has been awarded a $20,000 Dissertation Completion Fellowship by the University of Illinois' Graduate College, in support of the completion of his dissertation, focused the use of springtails (Hexapoda: Collembola) as a model group of organisms for the study of evolution, speciation, biogeography, and conservation through studies of coastal marine springtails in Panama and cave-inhabiting springtails in the midwestern USA.


17 April 2017: Matt Safford awarded Grad College Master’s Project Travel Grant

Diastictis-argyralis_Small.jpgCrambidae: Diastictis argyralis
(White-spotted Orange Moth)

Entomology graduate student Matt Safford has been awarded a travel grant by the University of Illinois' Graduate College, in support of his thesis work examining impacts of vegetation structure and bat acoustics upon habitat use by macromoths.


11–13 April 2017: Matt Safford at Illinois Chapter of the Wildlife Society Annual Meeting


Entomology graduate student Matt Safford represented the Illinois Bat Conservation Program at the Illinois Chapter of the Wildlife Society's annual meeting at Western Illinois University (Macomb, Illinois) where he presented this year's summary of our work as a posters.

HohoffEtAl_2017_IBCP-Poster-MWBWG.jpgclick on poster to see larger

6–7 April 2017: Illinois Bat Conservation Program at Midwest Bat Working Group Annual Meeting

SaffordEtAl_2017_MothCommunityResponseBatPredation-IBCPPoster-MWBWG_small.jpg click on poster to see larger

Most of the Illinois Bat Conservation Program folks were in attendance at the Midwest Bat Working Group, Annual Meeting. Madison, Wisconsin (6–7 April 2017), where we presented two posters.

HohoffEtAl_2017_IBCP-Poster-MWBWG.jpgclick on poster to see larger

5 April 2017: Katz awarded Ralph Stone Graduate Fellowship


Aron Katz, a doctoral candidate through the Department of Entomoloy, has been awarded the Ralph Stone Graduate Fellowship by the National Speleological Society. The fellowship helps support the development of a molecular dataset for springtail (Collembola) populations collected from 24 caves in a regional karst area spanning portions of Illinois and Missouri.


30 March 2017: Swanson receives Ross Award

John Flannery (CC BY-SA 2.0) 2008

Dan Swanson, doctoral student through the Department of Entomology, has recieved the Herbert Holdsworth Ross Memorial Award, given by the Illinois Natural History Survey and the University of Illinois at Urbana-Champaign School of Integrative Biology. The $1,200 award funds his proposal "Gathering a band of assassins: evolution and systematic of five annulate New World genera of assassin bugs (Heteroptera: Reduviidae: Harpactorinae)".



27 March 2017: Swanson receives Graduate College Conference Travel Award


Dan Swanson, doctoral student through the Department of Entomology, has been awarded a conference travel grant.


1 February 2017: Research team publishes finding on groundwater contaminants


A new paper on pharmaceutical, personal care product, and hormone contamination in a karst aquifer of southwestern Illinois has been published by a team of Prairie Research Institute researchers, including: Laurel Dodgen, Walt Kelly, Sam Panno, Steve Taylor, K.N. Wiles, Don Armstrong, Y. Zhang, and Wei Zheng. The paper, published in Science of the Total Environment, is available online.


2 November 2016: New cave harvestman named after Steve Taylor

Dr. William Shear, a leading expert on millipedes and harvestmen based in Virginia, and Joseph Warfel of Massachusetts, have reviewed and revised a harvestman genus, Taracus, with species occurring across portions of western North America. In the paper, several new species are described, including Taracus taylori Shear, 2016 — a single-site endemic, cave adapted species.  See full paper by Shear and Warfel here.


Watch an 8 second video of this harvestman!

11 August 2016: New groundwater amphipod described from India

In collaboration with Russian colleagues Dmitry A. Sidorov and Mikhail V. Chertoprud, Aron Katz, Department of Entomology doctoral candidate in the Taylor lab, and Steve Taylor coauthored a paper describing a new species of groundwater amphipod. The paper includes a global re-analysis of genera within the family Bogidiellidae, demonstrating that currently available morphological characters across the family lack phylogenetic utility in resolving generic level relationships.  This open access article is available here.

Eobogidiella_venkataramani.pngEobogidiealla venkataramani n. sp.

2 August 2016: Katz research featured in Missourian newspaper


Aron Katz, Department of Entomology doctoral candidate in the Taylor lab at the University of Illinois, is featured in an article — "Biologist braves caves to shine light on animals living in the dark" by Tom Hellauer — about Missouri caves, caving, cave research and conservation published in the Missourian (Columbia, Missouri).  Aron is sampling springtails from various caves in Illinois and Missouri as a part of his dissertation research project.  A pdf of the article can be downloaded here.


13-17 June 2016: 23rd International Conference on Subterranean Biology


Matt Niemller and Steve Taylor served on the organizing committee for the biennial meeting of the International Society for Subterranean Biology, held this year for the first time in the United States (Fayetteville, Arkansas), with 125 scientists from 17 countries around the world. In addition, Matt Niemller presented two talks & authothored a poster and Steve Taylor was an author on a poster and was elected to serve for two years on the Council of the society.
More information is available at the 23rd International Conference on Subterranean Biology's website.


26 May 2016: Book, Cave Life of the Ozarks published


A new book, Cave Life of the Ozarks, authored by Mike Slay,  Matt Niemller, Mick Sutton, and Steve Taylor has been published.  The book serves as a popular guide to common cave animals, to be used by resource managers, cavers, and the general public.
The book will become available at Speleobooks and the NSS bookstore some time in the summer of 2016.


4 May 2016: Vertrabrate cave fauna of eastern Tennessee, paper published


A paper reviewing the cave vertebrates of eastern Tennessee was published in the Journal of Cave and Karst Studies.  Lead author Matt Niemller and various other contributing authors, including Steve Taylor, includes a review of literature records as well as a decade-long effort to sample 56 caves in the Valley and Ridge and adjacent Blue Ridge Mountains.  A total 54 vertebrates were recorded including various fishes, amphibians, reptiles birds and mammals.
Niemiller, M.L., K.S. Zigler, C.D.R. Stephen, E.T. Carter, A.T. Paterson, S.J. Taylor and A.S. Engel. 2016. Vertebrate fauna in caves of the eastern Tennessee within the Appalachians karst region, USA. Journal of Cave and Karst Studies 78(1): 1–24. DOI:

24 April 2016: Cave snail paper published.


A paper examining pigment pattern inheritance, fecundity, phenotypes and growth rates of snails (Physidae) inhabiting Illinois' Fogelpole Cave has been published. The paper, authored by Bob Weck and  Steve Taylor, is in the open access journal Speleobiology Notes.
Weck, R.G. and S.J. Taylor. 2016. Life history studies of a cave-dwelling population of Physa snails (Gastropoda: Basommatophora: Physidae) from southwestern Illinois. Speleobiology Notes 8: 1–9. DOI: 10.5563/spbn.v8i0.83

Photo (c) Matthew Niemiller 2015

20 April 2016: Swanson recieves MacLeod/Dupont award for Outstanding Teaching


Dan Swanson (Department of Entomology), graduate student in the Taylor lab at the University of Illinois, has received the Department of Entomology's MacLeod/Dupont award for Outstanding Teaching which recognizes Dan's outstanding teaching as a graduate assistant. The award is supported by funds from the Dupont Corporation along with donations from alumni and honors the memory of Dr. Ellis MacLeod, whose outstanding accomplishments in the classroom inspired generations of students.


19 April 2016: Scott Cinel recieves Graduate Fellowship


Scott Cinel, Department of Entomology master’s student in the Taylor lab at the University of Illinois) has received a National Defense Science and Engineering Graduate Fellowship administered by the American Society for Engineering Education and the US Department of Defense. This prestigious fellowship will support three years of Scott's upcoming doctoral work at the University of Florida while allowing him to focus his efforts on developing and carrying out his research on predator-induced stress, prey demography, and the behavioral, physiological, and transcriptional dynamics that occur during and after predator-prey interactions. After completing his master's degree here at the University of Illinois in the summer of 2016, Scott will be utilizing this fellowship while pursuing his PhD as a member of the Kawahara Lab at the University of Florida starting in Fall 2016.


7 April 2016: Aron Katz receives Ross Grant


Aron Katz, Department of Entomology doctoral student in the Taylor lab at the University of Illinois, has received $1880 in grant support through the Herbert Holdsworth Ross Memorial Fund which provides research support for graduate students in the field of systematics, including taxonomy, phylogeny, biogeography, and related subjects.  This grant will support part of Aron's doctoral research on the comparative phylogeography of codistributed cave-adapted springtails (Collembola).


29 March 2016: Scott Cinel recieves Fulbright Grant


Scott Cinel, Department of Entomology master’s student in the Taylor lab at the University of Illinois) has received a Fulbright U.S. Student Grant to support 10 months of research abroad in Panama while hosted by the Smithsonian Tropical Research Institute. This grant will support travel, living, and research costs while Scott studies behavioral, genomic, and transcriptomic patterns of predator-related stress in wild populations of ultra-sonic sensitive moths under predation pressure by bats in various landscapes throughout Panama. Specifically, Scott will be measuring distributions of both wild moth and bat populations while correlating these with stress-related patterns of gene expression and resource use. 


25 March 2016: Lava tube springtails described from Galápagos Islands, Ecuador


A paper on Galápagos Island springtails in the superfamily Entomobryoidea has been publshed.  The paper, authored by Aron Katz, Steve Taylor, and others, described three new species from lava tubes, building on the efforts of several expeditions to this archipelago.  You can read the open access article in the journal Subterranean Biology.

Katz, A.D., S.J. Taylor, F.N. Soto-Adames, A. Addison, G.B. Hoese, M.R. Sutton, T. Toulkeridis. 2016. New records and new species of springtails (Collembola: Entomobryidae, Paronellidae) from lava tubes of the Galápagos Islands (Ecuador). Subterranean Biology 17: 77–120. DOI: 10.3897/subtbiol.17.7660


18 March 2016: Big Mouth Cave Salamander paper published


A paper on the life history of the of Big Mouth Cave Salamander (Gyrinophilus palleucus necturoides) has been published by Matt Niemller and other authors including Steve Taylor in the journal Copeia.  You can read the abstract here.

Niemiller, M.L., B.M. Glorioso, D.B. Fenolio, R.G. Reynolds, S.J. Taylor and B.T. Miller. 2016. Life history and demography of the Big Mouth Cave Salamander (Gyrinophilus palleucus necturoides) from the type locality in Grundy Co., Tennessee, USA. Copeia 104(1): 35–41.


2 March 2016: Cave cricket phylogeography paper published


A paper evaluating phylogeographic patterns of cave crickets in Texas karst regions, by multiple authors including Steve Taylor has been published in the Journal of Biogeography.  See a news article on this from Drexel University and a blog entry at Science News.

Weckstein, J.D., K.P. Johnson, J.D. Murdoch, J.K. Krejca, D.M. Takiya, G. Veni, J.R. Reddell and S.J. Taylor. 2016. Comparative phylogeography of two codistributed subgenera of cave crickets. Journal of Biogeography.

We examined the biogeography and genetic patterns of two subgenera of cave crickets across Texas, and found some unexpected results. The more cave-adapted taxon (Geotettix) was expected to have greater genetic divergence among caves due to the presumed inability to disperse overland. However, we found that Geotettix, the more cave adapted species had less genetic divergence, indicating either a recent bottleneck, or more migration between regions than is currently understood. The opposite was true for the less cave-adapted trogloxene, Ceuthophilus. That subgenus had very high divergence and in some cases even had multiple species groups inhabiting the same cave. These results indicate a long history of migration, high population size, and periodic recolonization of caves.

The geneologies constructed from DNA sequences for both subgenera of crickets showed definitive geographic structure, including strong support for many yet undescribed species in central Texas. Considering these results and that most of the species in this genus were described more than 75 years ago, the taxonomy for this group is desperately out of date. If the best management practices for endangered cave invertebrates are to include protection of cave cricket foraging ranges, further work is needed to describe which species occur in different areas, and what the differences are in their foraging behavior, migration, and habitat use.




2 March 2016: National White Nose Syndrome map updated with new Illinois counties


A recent update of the nationwide map of the documented spread of the devestating bat disease, White Nose Syndrome, has been updated to include two addiitonal Illinois counties, based on field suveys in February 2016 through a grant to Steve Taylor, Matt Niemller and Jill Deppe.




26 February 2016: Swanson authors paper on evolution of raptorial legs in Assassin Bugs


Dan Swanson (Department of Entomology), graduate student in the Taylor lab at the University of Illinois), is one of several authors on a paper examining the evolutionary history of raptorial legs in assassin bugs (Reduviidae).  The family-wide molecular study, published in the journal Scientific Reports, used transcriptomic data to better resolve relationships and infer the multiple origins of predatory limbs in the family.

Zhang, J., E. R. L. Gordon, M. Forthman, W. S. Hwang, K. Walden, D. R. Swanson, K. P. Johnson, R. Meier & C. Weirauch. 2016. Evolution of the assassin's arms: insights from a phylogeny of combined transcriptomic and ribosomal DNA data (Heteroptera: Reduvioidea). Scientific Reports 6: 22177. doi: 10.1038/srep22177.




8 February 2016: Illinois Water Resources Center story on new worm species

The Illinois Water Resources Center's Illinois Water Magazine contains a story on a new species of aquatic worm discovered during research by Scott Cinel (Department of Entomology graduate student) and Steve Taylor funded through the Illinois Water Resources Center.





2 February 2016: Groundwater amphipod paper published


Steve Taylor & Matt Niemiller have published a paper on the conservation status and biogeography of the groundwater genus Bactrurusa group of eyeless amphpods occuring in caves and other groundwater.  The work builds on previous studies going back as far as 1876, when Stephen A. Forbes, an early ecologist and the first Director (Cheif) of the Illinois Natural History Survey, published a paper on this genus based on material from central Illinois.  Our new paper provides new distributional data, a biogeographic assessment, threats assessments of individual species, and points toward the need to consider several species in the genus for protection with state or federally listing status.

You can read the paper online, as it is published in the open access international journal of the International Society for Subterranean Biology, Subterranean Biology.



Bactrurus-angulus-small.pngBactrurs angulus. Photo (c) Matthew Niemiller 2015


23 January 2016: Presentation on the biology of Fogelople Cave


Steve Taylor, gave a presentation about the biology of Fogelpole Cave to an audience of 88 residents of southwestern Illinois, many of whom are members of Clifftop NFP, at the Monroe County Annex building in Waterloo, IL. Clifftop has made the presentation available on youtube, where Steve's presentation starts at the 56 min 19 sec timestamp.



21 December 2015: Ilinois bat hibernaculum monitoring to continue this winter


Steve Taylor, postdoctoral fellow Matt Niemiller, and Jill Deppe have received funding to continue monitoring Illinois bat hibernacula in the face of population declines associated with White Nose Syndrome. Fieldwork will take place statewide early in 2016, continuing research efforts undertaken the preceding four winters.



7 November 2015: Niemiller publishes chapter on cavefish hearing


Matt Niemiller , a postdoctoral fellow in the Taylor lab, is an author on a recently published book chapter reviewing hearing in cavefishes.



20 October 2015: Niemiller and Taylor present on conservation and management of groundwater amphipods


Matt Niemiller and Steve Taylor presented a paper on findings of a genus-wide assessment of Bactrurus (Amphipoda: Crangonyctidae) in relation to conservation and management of groundwater habitats, at the 21st National Cave & Karst Management Symposium in Cave City, Kentucky.


18 September 2015: Scott Cinel receives NSF grant to study neuropeptide stress responses to bat ultrasound by Fall Armyworm

Scott Cinel feeding corn to S. frugiperda

Scott Cinel (Department of Entomology graduate student in the Taylor lab at the University of Illinois) has received an NSF IGERT Vertically Integrated Training in Genomics Research Support Grant. The funding will support his research project on transcriptomic and downstream neuropeptidomic stress responses to bat ultrasound by an agricultural pest, the Fall Armyworm (Spodoptera frugiperda). Specifically, the funding will support extraction, library preparation, and sequencing of mRNA transcripts to quantify differential expression of predator-cue induced stress responses in Fall Armyworm moths exposed to recorded bat ultrasound.



31 August 2015: Taylor et al. compare cave & surface populations Western Slimy Salamander (Plethodon albagula)


Steve Taylor and collaborators Jean Krejca, Matt Niemiller, Mike Dreslik and Chris Phillips published a study in the August 2015 issue of the journal Herpetological Conservation & Biology focusing on a comparison between two populations of the Western Slimy Salamander (Plethodon albagula) in central Texas, one in a cave and the other associated with a springrun. The article can be downloaded as a pdf file.



12 July 2015: Scott Cinel featured in Smithsonian Tropical Research Institute magazine


Scott Cinel (Department of Entomology graduate student in the Taylor lab at the University of Illinois) had his research on chemical ecology in Panama were featured in Smithsonian Tropical Research Institute (STRI) magazine Trópicos.  The magazine issue can be downloaded as a pdf file.



1 May 2015: First record of the seed bug Sisamnes claviger (Heteroptera:Rhyparochromidae) from Illinois


Dan Swanson (Department of Entomology graduate student in the Taylor lab at the University of Illinois), former graduate student in the Taylor lab Alan Yanahan (now working towards a PhD in the Wendy Moore lab through the Graduate Interdisciplinary Program in Entomology and Insect Science, University of Arizona), and Steve Taylor published a new state record for this odd little ground dwelling True Bug.  This publication emerged out of a larger project on terrestrial insect groups at Braidwood Dunes & Savanna, a Nature Preserve owned and managed by the Forest Preserve District of Will County (see the final report for thas project (pdf) or check out the interactive website).

Swanson, D.R., A.D. Yanahan and S.J. Taylor. 2015. First record of the dirt-colored seed bug, Sisamnes claviger (Heteroptera: Rhyparochromidae: Myodochini), in Illinois. Entomological News 124(5): 357–363.



28 April 2015: New cave inhabiting amphipod described from the south-western Caucasus


Steve Taylor is one of several co-authors on a paper published in Subterranean Biology describing a new speces of Zenkevitchia (Typhlogammaridae) from caves in Abkhazia, a disputed territory located on the eastern shore of the Black Sea.



14 April 2015: Niemiller presents at 51st Illinois Chapter of the Wildlife Society Annual Meeting


INHS postdoctoral research associate Matt Niemiller and Steve Taylor gave a presentation focused on the subterranean fauna of Illinois during the 51st Illinois Chapter of the Wildlife Society Annual Meeting in Champaign Illinois.



13 April 2015: Cinel receives research support grant


Scott Cinel (Department of Entomology graduate student in the Taylor lab at the University of Illinois) has received the Francis M. and Harlie M. Clark Research Support Grant through the School of Integrative Biology at the University of Illinois.  This grant will provide financial support for Scott's graduate research during a critical period of field data collection and laboratory analyses.



13 April 2015: Cave ecology inventory and monitoring framework published by National Park Service


Steve Taylor is 2nd author on a multi-author Cave Ecology Inventory and Monitoring Framework published by the National Park Service to assist its' cave managers in deciding what to inventory and monitor in National Park Service caves and provides ways to do this work in a nationwide, cohesive manner.  The document available here (2.3 Mb pdf file).



11 April 2015: Conservation article features new cave preserve


Steve Taylor coauthored a popular article in the NSS News, the monthly magazine of the National Speleological Society, in which the recently designated Paul Wightman Subterranean Nature Preserve (Monroe County, Illinois) is featured.  The article describes both the importance of the site and how local grass-roots support made it possible for Clifftop – an Illinois 501(c)3 non-for-profit organization –  to complete the the $2.7 million purchase.

DauBach, C., P. DauBach, and S.J. Taylor. 2015. Acquisition of the Paul Wightman Subterranean Nature Preserve. NSS News, April, 73(4): 14–16.



27 March 2015: Poster presented at Smithsonian Tropical Research Institute Fellow's Symposium


Scott Cinel (Department of Entomology graduate student in the Taylor lab at the University of Illinois) presented a poster about his research on butterflies and bats at the STRI Fellow's Symposium, held at the Tupper Conference Center, Panama. You can view a larger version of the poster here.



2 March 2015: Unique-headed bugs recorded from Michigan and Ohio for the first time


Dan Swanson (Department of Entomology graduate student in the Taylor and Heads labs at the University of Illinois) has published a short note recorded this rarely-encountered true bug family from two midwestern states where it was not previously known.

Swanson, D.R. 2015. First record of the Enicocephalidae (Heteroptera) in Michigan and Ohio.  The Great Lakes Entomologist 48(1–2): 1–8.



25 February 2015: Review of Extremophile Fishes in Cave Environments.


INHS postdoctoral research associate Matt Niemiller is lead author on a book chapter reviewing global cave environments of extremeophile fishes.

Niemiller M.L., & D. Soares. 2015. Cave Environments. Pp. 161-191 in Riesch R., M. Plath & M. Tobler (eds.). Extremeophile Fishes - Ecology and Evolution of Teleosts in Extreme Environments. Springer International Publishing, Switzerland. DOI 10.1007/978-3-319-13362-1_8



21 January 2015: Note on Onycophora inhabiting lava tube caves of the Galapagos published.

(c) Rick Toomey, NPS

A multi-author (including Steve Taylor) paper on cave-inhabiting Onycophora, or Velvet Worms, was published in Subterranean Biology.  This is the first publication to come out of our most recent expedition to these famous Ecuadorian islands.

Espinasa, L., R. Garvey, J. Espinasa, C.A. Fratto, S.J. Taylor, T. Toulkeridis, and A. Addison. 2015. Cave dwelling Onychophora from a lava tube in the Galapagos. Subterranean Biology 15: 1–10.



19 January 2015: Dan Swanson publishes generic key and a synonymy for Australian Reduviinae (Reduviidae).


Within the Assasin Bug (Reduviidae) subfamily Reduviinae in Austrailia, Dan Swanson (Department of Entomology graduate student in the Taylor and Heads labs at the University of Illinois) synonymized two genera and produced a key to the genera of the subfamily in Australia.

Swanson, D. R.  2015.  A new generic synonym in the Reduviinae of Australia, with an updated key to genera (Heteroptera: Reduviidae).  Zootaxa 3911(2): 262–272. doi: 10.11646/zootaxa.3911.2.7



17 January 2015: Research team presents findings of cave & karst groundwater study to the public.


Within Research collaborators Sam Panno (Illinois State Geological Survey), Walt Kelly (Illinois State Water Survey), and Steve Taylor gave a presentation to the public, focused on groundwater issues in southwestern Illinois' Salem Plateau karst area.  The presentation has been made available on youtube by the hosting organization, Clifftop NFP.



15 January 2015: A major revisionary study of the katydid genus Dichopetala (Orthoptera: Tettigoniidae) coauthored by Dan Swanson.


The katydid genus Dichopetala has been revised by Ted Cohn (deceased), Dan Swanson (Department of Entomology graduate student in the Taylor and Heads labs at the University of Illinois) and Paolo Fontana.  Published through the Museum of Zoology at the University of Michigan, this 180 page tome will allow species of this visible, sometimes common genus to be correctly identified by ecologists and other biologists, and sets a baseline for future taxonomic and systematic studies within the Tettigoniidae.

Cohn, T. J., D. R. Swanson, and P. Fontana. 2014. Dichopetala and new related North American genera: a study in genitalic similarity in sympatry and genitalic differences in allopatry (Tettigoniidae: Phaneropterinae: Odonturini). Miscellaneous Publications of the Museum of Zoology, University of Michigan 203: 1–180.


Dichopetala_brevihastata_C_Dave_Beaudette.jpgObolopteryx brevihastata
(formerly Dichopetala brevihastata)
(c) Dave Beaudette, used by permission

17 November 2014: Dan Swanson presents poster on fossil assasin bug at Entomological Society of America meeting.


Dan Swanson (Department of Entomology graduate student in the Taylor and Heads labs at the University of Illinois) is lead author on a poster about a fossil heteropteran that is the focus of his current research.  You can view a larger version of the poster here.



04 November 2014: Matt Niemiller is a coauthor on a paper focused on improvement of graduate teaching assistant effectiveness.


Postdoctoral research associate Matt Niemiller is an author on a paper recently published in The American Biology Teacher titled Helping graduate teaching assistants in biology use student evaluations as professional development (The American Biology Teacher 76(9): 584-588).



14-15 October 2014: Scott Cinel presents poster at Illinois Water 2014 conference


Entomology graduate student Scott Cinel presented a poster on our preliminary findings from an ongoing, grant-funded study of shallow subterranean karst fauna associated with epikarstic drips in the sinkhole plain of Monroe County, Illinois.  Click on the poster thumbnail below to download a pdf of the poster.



14 October 2014: Terrestrial insect bioinventory completed.

 Hoplistoscelis_pallescens_Small_Braidwood.jpgHoplistoscelis pallescens (Nabidae), a damsel bug

Steve Taylor, former graduate student Alan Yanahan (now working towards a PhD in the Wendy Moore lab in the Department of Entomology at the University of Arizona), and graduate student Dan Swanson (Department of Entomology graduate student in the Taylor and Heads labs at the University of Illinois) – along with a list of collaborators (Sam W. Heads, Felipe N. Soto-Adames, James R. Wiker, James N. Zahniser & C. Scott Bundy) – have completed a final report detailing findings from an inventory of select terrestrial insect groups at Braidwood Dunes & Savanna, a Nature Preserve owned and managed by the Forest Preserve District of Will County.  The report details the documentation of 823 species from the 315 acre preserve, nearly all of which are new records for this natural area.  You can view the final report for this project (pdf) or head on over and check out the interactive website where you can explore the diversity of this unique natural area.


Udeopsylla_robusta_LatSmall_Braidwood.jpg Udeopsylla robusta (Rhaphidophoridae),
the Robust Camel Cricket

12 October 2014: Niemiller publishes Grotto Salamander paper.

 E-spelaea_ByDanteFenolio.jpgEurycea spelaea (Grotto Salamander) Photograph © Danté Fenolio

Matt Niemiller, postdoctoral research associate in the Taylor lab, is an author on a new paper in Herpetological Conservation and Biology describing details of the life history and demography of Eurycea spelaea (Grotto Salamander) in an Oklahoma cave.  You can read the whole paper via Matt's website (pdf).



16 May 2014: Steve Taylor appears in David Attenborough's Galapagos 3D movie


Steve Taylor was involved in a 3D movie about the Galapagos Islands, starring David Attenborough.  Steve Taylor appears in a segment of the movie that is about lava tube caves.  The movie was released for North America in 2014 at a limited number of 3D theaters, listed on this website.

A YouTube movie trailer is available (1 min).

You can also view the whole (~3 hrs) movie, in 2D:

Episode 1 (52 min, 11 sec)

Episode 2 (52 min, 12 sec) Steve Taylor appears starting around 25:34

Episode 3 (52 min, 12 sec)


9 May 2014: Alan Yanahan and Steve Taylor publish in Biodiversity & Conservation:


Alan Yanahan (now working towards a PhD in the Wendy Moore lab in the Department of Entomology at the University of Arizona), who was awarded an MS Entomology at the University of Illinois last year, along with Steve Taylor, published an article in the journal Biodiversity and Conservation:

Yanahan, A.D. and S.J. Taylor. 2014. Vegetative communities as indicators of ground beetle (Coleoptera: Carabidae) diversity. Biodiversity and Conservation 23(6): 1591-1609.

The paper, based on Alan's thesis research at Braidwood Dunes and Savanna Nature Preserve, comes out of a larger grant through the Taylor lab in collaboration with others to study insect biodiversity at the Forest Preserve District of Will County site.


11 November 2013: Alan Yanahan presents thesis research at 61st Annual Meeting of the Entomological Society of America:


Former Department of Entomology graduate student at the University of Illinois, and outgoing master's student in the Steve Taylor lab, Alan Yanahan presented on his thesis research on ground beetles conducted at Braidwood Dunes & Savannah (Will County, Illinois).  The presentation took place during the Entomological Society of America's annual meeting in Austin, Texas as a part of the Graduate Student Ten-Minute Paper Competition: SysEB. Alan is presently pursing a PhD in the Wendy Moore lab in the Department of Entomology at the University of Arizona.


4 November 2013: Cave Ecology Inventory and Monitoring Framework outlined at National Cave and Karst Management Symposium:


A national team of cave & karst specialists and National Park Service resource managers, including INHS macroinvertebrate biologist Steve Taylor, presented a preview of the forthcoming National Park Service's Cave Ecology Inventory and Monitoring Framework at the 20th National Cave and Karst Management Symposium in Carlsbad, New Mexico.  The peer-reviewed article was published in the symposium proceedings.


30 September 2013: Two papers have been published in the Fall/Winter 2013 issue of The Great Lakes Entomologist:


Working with various collections of Heteroptera (True Bugs) from Michigan, Dan Swanson, an Entomology graduate student in the Taylor & Heads labs, reviewed the Ambush Bugs of the state in one paper:

Swanson, Daniel R. 2013. A review of the Ambush Bugs (Heteroptera: Reduviidae: Phymatinae) of Michigan: Identification and additional considerations for two common Eastern species. The Great Lakes Entomologist 46(3&4): 154–164.

And, as lead author on a paper with two others, Dan Swanson reports the occurence of a Palearctic Stink Bug in another paper:

Swanson, Daniel R., Oliver Keller, and Jessica D. Rowley. 2013. First record of the Palearctic predatory Stink Bug, Picromerus bidens (Heteroptera: Pentatomidae: Asopinae), in Michigan. The Great Lakes Entomologist 46(3&4): 231–234.


27 September 2013: Four new species of springtails described from Illinois caves


INHS scientists Felipe Soto-Adames Entomology and Steve Taylor published a 30 page article in the Journal of Cave and Karst Studies, describing four new species of springtails known only from Illinois caves.  In the same paper, they also document 5 new state records for springtails review information for numerous other species.  See press release here, and the full scientific paper here.


13 August 2013: New species of springtails described from caves in Belize

Collections from expeditions to caves in southern Belize have produced many new discoveries. The latest to be published in the scientific literature are the descriptions of two springtail (Hexapoda:Collembola) species from caves, one of which is a troglobiont. Reviewing the chaetotaxy and distribution of the genus Trogolaphysa and redescribing several known species, INHS scientists Felipe Soto-Adames and Steve Taylor published their findings in a 40 page article in the journal Zookeys.

4 June 2013: New record of an odd silverfish recoded from a cave in southern Belize.


A silverfish collected during a 2012 expedition to caves in southern Belize, led by INHS scientists Steve Taylor and Sam Heads, resulted in the discovered of what appears to be the first record of the family Nicoletiidae (Thysanura) in one of the tropical caves. Using molecular data, authors Luis Espinasa (Marist College), Steve Taylor (University of Illinois, Illinois Natural History Survey) and Monika Espinasa (State University of New York Ulster) compare the Belize population to other collections of this cryptic, cave-associated species.

You can read the whole paper in the online journal Speleobiology Notes.


12 April 2013: New spider described from a Belizean cave.


A new spider collected during a 2011 expedition to southern Belize has been described as a new species in a paper published in the online journal ZooKeys. The authors Jason Bond (Auburn University) and Steve Taylor (University of Illinois, Illinois Natural History Survey) named the species in honor of major financial supporter, Ira Taylor, whose backing made the fieldwork possible. This is the first record of the genus from Belize, and also a southern range extension for the genus.

You can read the whole paper in the journal Zookeys.


28 February 2013: WNS confirmed in Illinois bats.  

A University of Illinois research team led by Steve Taylor, with Andrew Miller, Anthony Yannarell, Ed Heske, Joe Merrirtt, and Nohra Mateus-Pinilla, collaborating with Joe Kath (IDNR Endangered Species Manager/Bat Specialist), Rod McClanahan (Shawnee National Forest Wildlife Biologist), and the US Fish & Wildlife Service, have documented White Nose Syndrome of bats in overwintering Illinois mines and caves.  See the research team web page more information from USFWS and official announcement from IDNR.

10 February 2012: New orthopteran is first member of its family from Belize.

zookeys cover

EurkaAlert press release
News article in The Gaurdian
Watch Belizian TV newscast on YouTube.
Scientific article in Zookeys

A new species of Neotropical Orthopteran has been described by INHS Entomologists Sam Heads and Steve Taylor.  Ripipteryx mopana belongs to a group of small and unusual insects related to grasshoppers that includes the North American pygmy mole crickets.

This new species comes from the Toledo District of southern Belize, an area of tropical rainforest that is largely unexplored by entomologists.  It was named in honor of the Mopan, a Mayan people that live primarily in the area of Belize where the species was discovered.  The entomologists will return to the region this coming spring to study the local insect fauna in more detail.

Ripipteryx mopona. Photo by Sam Heads.

20 January 2012: INHS researchers to survey caves for evidence of White Nose Syndrome.


Prairie State Outdoors article
More from the INHS WNS Group webpage

White Nose Syndrome, a fungal infection devastating to bat populations, has not yet been detected in Illinois bat populations.  As a preventative measure, Illinois caves on public lands have been closed to the public since 2010.  This winter an interdisciplinary team of INHS researchers will begin surveying caves in Illinois for evidence of White Nose Syndrome, taking tissue, air and soil samples. Their goal is to form a more complete understanding of the cave environment including the fungi, bacteria and other microorganisms present.


20 March 2011: INHS biologist discovers new species of freshwater amphipod.

National Park Service new release
Scientific article download from Subterranean Biology

INHS Macroinvertebrate Biologist Steve Taylor and John Holsinger (Old Dominion University) described a new species of amphipod, the White Pine Amphipod (Stygobromus albapinus) known only from one cave in Great Basin National Park, Nevada.  Less than 5mm long, these tiny, eyeless crustaceans were collected from the mud and silt at the bottom of a subterranean pool.  The park superintendent believes the new discovery highlights the importance of protecting unimpaired habitats.  Steve Taylor said, "Because they are in water and water is scarce, they are vulnerable to changes in water use practices."  Further surveys of the invertebrates in these remote habitats are sure to reveal additional undescribed species.


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