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Time To Call the Bug Guy

Expert at Texas Parks and Wildlife keeps us from getting stung by mistakes

Meet Michael Warriner, invertebrate biologist for the Texas Parks and Wildlife Department. He’s a member of Pedernales Electric Cooperative—and Texas Co-op Power’s go-to “bug guy.”

You might be asking yourself, “Why does my favorite magazine need a bug guy?” Well, the answer is simple: because of readers like you.

Our monthly Focus on Texas department is a hit with readers. But sometimes, those reader-submitted photos contain bugs—or birds or snakes or trees or flowers—that must be identified. Last month Rebecca Steele said the butterfly in her picture was a hackberry emperor. We’d like to take her word for it, but, as sticklers for accuracy, we have to be absolutely sure. That’s where our bug guy comes in. One quick email, and BOOM!, we have our answer. Hackberry emperor it is, Warriner confirms.

Another recent Focus featured what the reader said were dragonflies. An editor wondered whether they might be damselflies. Turns out the reader was right. And Warriner was precise: “Easy one. Common green darner (Anax junius) male (left) and female (right).”

“One of the biggest things I enjoy about my job is helping people identify what they see,” says the Austin scientist. For example, that’s a Texas brown tarantula on the back of his hand. “It’s a fun part of my job. Sometimes I know what it is and sometimes I don’t, and I have to identify it. It’s a challenge.”

Glad to hear we’re not bugging you, Michael. Thanks for all your help.

Ashley Clary-Carpenter | Field Editor

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