Dr. Mathew Brust, professor of Natural Sciences at Chadron State College, will have his research work featured in an upcoming 112-page field guide. “Tiger Beetles of Minnesota, Wisconsin & Michigan,” produced by Kollath-Stensaas Publishing, will be released Feb. 15.
Sparky Stensaas, co-owner of Kollath-Stensaas Publishing, said Brust’s guide is comprehensive and easy to use. It contains distribution maps, descriptions, similar species and seasons when tiger beetles are most active. About 100 habitat photos in the guide are by co-author Mike Reese, a retired educator who has curated a website about tiger beetles for years based on Brust’s work.
“Mathew not only has an amazing knowledge of tiger beetles, but a deep and passionate love for all creatures, especially those with six legs,” Stensaas said.
Brust said he wrote the majority of the field guide, covering 21 species, when he was an undergraduate biology student at the University of Wisconsin-Stevens Point about 20 years ago. Several of his professors edited it and he looked for a publisher, resulting in a brief conversation with Stensaas.
“I got busy with grad school and forgot about publishing it. Years passed and when Sparky contacted me again, the timing just seemed right. Mike Reese was truly an asset to the project,” Brust said.
The past two years, Brust refined his original document, took some new photos, wrote additional content about several species in Minnesota, and worked with Kollath-Stensaas to condense the content for the field guide’s format.
Brust said tiger beetles are gaining popularity, thanks in part to citizen scientists.
“We scientists want to get the public involved with conservation of organisms, but it’s our responsibility to build awareness which then creates appreciation that leads to conservation,” Brust said.
This is Brust’s third field guide. He co-wrote “Tiger Beetles of South Dakota and Nebraska” and “Grasshoppers of Nebraska,” both published in 2008. His tiger beetle research has also been published online and his work played a major role in a 2015 mobile app developed to help land managers identify grasshoppers.