Emily Hartop is a native Angeleno currently working as an entomologist at the Natural History Museum in Los Angeles, California. She received her B.S. in Entomology from the University of California, Riverside in 2005. At UCR, Emily worked in a systematics lab studying a genus of parasitic wasps. She also studied Pierce’s disease in grapevines (transmitted by a “true bug’, the glassy-winged sharpshooter) and worked for a honey bee lab. After graduation Emily took a break from the sciences to explore creative pursuits. This included going to culinary school and spending eight years working as a cook, pastry chef, cake decorator, executive chef, and culinary arts faculty at a community college. In 2014, Emily returned to the insect world when she accepted a position at the Natural History Museum of Los Angeles County as a part of the BioSCAN Project (Biodiversity Science: City and Nature), an urban biodiversity survey focused on insects.

At the Natural History Museum, Emily works under Dr. Brian Brown, a world expert on phorid flies. Emily quickly became enamored with these tiny, remarkable flies and devoted herself to learning about the genus Megaselia, an “impossible” genus known for their difficulty of study. Emily considered this a worthy challenge, and soon found herself drawing fly genitalia -- and lots of them! Emily uses Micron pens to ink all her drawings, and keeps her set in a “burrito decoy” pen roll that nobody is allowed to touch! She also uses Micron pens to do all her species tallies in notebooks, so that the occasional 95% ethanol spill won’t ruin her data. All handwritten labels for specimens, whether dried and on pins or in ethanol, are also done with Micron pens. Microns not only withstand dangers like ethanol (that will bleed out other inks), but they allow tiny writing on tiny labels to be clear and archival.

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AuthorLeslie Crumpler