David Moskowitz: Entomologist / Bug Addict
What insect/bug/arthropod best describes you (or what’s your favorite one(s)?
Honestly, my favorite insect is the one I am looking at. But I do hold the beautiful Tiger Spiketail dragonfly (Cordulegaster erronea) in special esteem. The Tiger Spiketail was the focus of my Ph.D. research at Rutgers University where I obtained my degree in Entomology. This amazingly beautiful and fascinating insect has provided me with countless hours of pleasure studying its life history and behavior in its amazingly beautiful woodland stream habitats. A few years ago, my son Sam helped me with a video that spotlights my research and has an awesome sound track too. It actually won 1st place in the Entomological Society of America competition in the Research Division.
As for my Bug Addiction, I wrote this some time ago and it still holds true:
I admit it. I am a bug addict. I am deeply and profoundly addicted to the six-legged things. And I have been for a very long time. I often find myself daydreaming about bugs, and the instant one passes my way, I lose focus on everything around me, except the bug, much to the annoyance of my very tolerant wife, family and friends. It is often butterflies and moths and dragonflies and damselflies, but beetles, and bees, and even woodlice cause the same reaction. I can’t help it. Give me a bug and everything I should be doing fades into the background. I am quite certain I am addicted, that this is not some passing fad, or hobby. But fortunately, the cure is pretty simple. I just need to find more insects!
What is your “job description”
I am a Partner and Senior Vice President with the environmental consulting firm, EcolSciences, Inc. I have been with the company for 30 years and have been lucky to find a place that has provided an endless array of cool ecological studies and the opportunity to work day in and day out with other amazing ecologists. I am also the Co-founder of National Moth Week , the global Citizen Science Project focusing much needed attention on moths. I also created the Bug Addiction – Confessions of a Bug Addict Facebook page that spotlights my adventures with insects and entomology and that is a group of some of the coolest bug addicts on Earth.
If I had to add anything to my “job description” I would hope it would be an “entomological educator.” I love sharing the world of insects with others and hopefully turning them on to a life-time of wonder and excitement.
What do you study now?
My career provides me with a wonderfully diverse opportunity to study many different things including wetlands, vernal pools, insects, reptiles and amphibians, birds and more. But my current entomological focus is to utilize my research on the Tiger Spiketail dragonfly to develop a predictive model of its habitats that can be used by resource managers for conservation efforts.
What is the best thing about your job?
The opportunity to be constantly outside reveling in the natural world around me.
What is the worst thing about your job?
I can honestly say that there really isn’t a “worst thing” about my job. Every day isn’t perfect, but on balance I can’t imagine doing anything else. My wife and I have always told our children to do something that they are passionate about. You have to swing your feet off that bed every morning and get up and head to work, so it better be something you want and like to do. It’s pretty much that simple and I’ve been lucky to find that in my career.
What inspired you to first study science?
My interest in nature goes back as far as I can remember. I think I was probably inspired the most early on by my dad, who always shared his love of the outdoors with me. I don’t think there was ever a specific moment that inspired me to pursue a career in the sciences, I think it just came from a deep-seeded passion for nature. As Lady Gaga sings “I was born this way”.