Trichopterology is the study of caddisflies (Trichoptera), a group of aquatic insects that make fancy homes using silk and various materials.
I started this blog in 2008, as a sort of catch all for writing on interesting caddisfly and insect related things I discovered during my master's degree. Despite a shift in my research from caddisflies to tachinid flies I think the name's stuck, so I'm reluctant to change it. The topic matter includes book reviews, discussions related to my ongoing interest in the International Code of Zoological Nomenclature, backstories on papers I've authored, and bits and pieces of things related to insect natural history, museum collections, and the history and future of taxonomy.
Most of my "better" posts (YMMV) are categorized over on the series tab. My favorite posts are those I wrote on the complicated character CHT Towsend, called "Vandal of the Calypterates". My most read post is "Caddisfly Weirdos", about some caddisflies with strange parasitic life histories.
I'm currently at the end of a doctoral program at Wright State University in Dayton, OH. My primary research interest is insect diversity and evolution, especially of true flies (Diptera). I study the taxonomy, systematics, and biogeography of parasitic bristle flies (Tachinidae) through the lens of evolutionary ecology with their hosts, a myriad of insect orders and species. The hope is that more basic information on bristle fly diversity will lead to a better understanding of how their host relationships evolved over their 30 million year history and how parasitoid-host relationships evolve in general. I'm also interested in large scale tests of the Assembling a Taxonomic Monograph (ATM) model of taxonomic research, including the development of software to streamline taxonomic description of new species. Other research interests include the fungus gnats of North America, the systematics and biogeography of moss bugs (Peloridiidae), and All-Order Biotic Inventories (AOBIs) such as the Zurqui All-Diptera Biotic Inventory (ZADBI) in Costa Rica.
I have a broad array of hobby level interests, probably way too many for someone of my energy levels. Some of these are acoustic and classical guitar, philately (mid-20th century US stamps and cancels), spring wildflowers, Stoicism, writing (obviously!), and biological illustration. The final item has lead to a guide on using the vector image program Inkscape for insect illustration (book forthcoming) and a tumblr blog called 365 Aedeagi, which is more or less a parade of insect genitalia drawings.
In 2014, I came out as transgender. Most people have been very supportive of this. When referring to me, the names "Kai", "Zelia", "Z L", or just "Z" are all acceptable (my pronouns are she/her). You can read about my experiences as a trans academic here.
While I work towards completing my dissertation, I reflect upon all the writing I did here, and all the wonderful connections I made through people reading this blog. I'd especially like to thank Gwen "Bug" Pearson of Charismatic Minifauna (formerly of Bug Girl's Blog) and Morgan Jackson of Biodiversity in Focus for all their support and good writing over the past 9 years.
If you have any questions about the content or my research, feel free to comment on this page or send me an email (Keroplatus (at) gmail.com).