David Hawks at Parque
Cusuco in Honduras, 1998.
Photo by Ron Cave.
Dave Hawks has a general interest
in scarab beetles, but his present research goals relate to
the systematics and ecology of ruteline scarabs, primarily the
100 or so species in the genera Plusiotis, Chrysina,
Pelidnotopsis, and their nearest relatives. He is conducting
taxonomic and phylogenetic studies involving both morphological
and molecular character sets. Some of this work is in collaboration
with John Heraty, Chris Babcock, Miguel-Angel Morón, José Monzón,
Guillermo Nogueira, and Guy Bruyea. In 1998-99, he and Ronald
Cave (Escuela Agricola Panamericana, Honduras) were funded by
the National Geographic Society to study several aspects of
population dynamics, distribution, life histories, and behavior
of Plusiotis and Chrysina species in Honduras.
They used mark-recapture methods and obtained estimates of local
population sizes and effectiveness of 175-watt mercury vapor
lamp attraction. In addition to numerous field trips to Honduras,
Dave has visited most other Central American countries to collect
and observe these beetles in the field. He became "hooked"
on this group of scarabs after two very exciting trips to Costa
Rica in 1986 and 1987.