About Chris Grinter

I am an entomologist and collection manager at the Illinois Natural History Survey, part of the University of Illinois Urbana-Champaign. My particular interests are tiny moths and I’ve been fortunate to be a regular instructor at the Lepidoptera Course in SW Arizona. I have a passion for encouraging science education, critical thinking and reason in every day life.  Too often I find myself cringing at the news; always due to a gross inaccuracy, either entomologically or scientifically based.  With so few entomology or skeptical blogs, I decided to get off my lazy butt.

I have also begun, roughly, to pick up some photography and hope to incorporate it more into this blog.  Please do not hesitate to offer constructive criticism of my photos, I probably need it.

If you were wondering about my banner photo, this is the moth Xanthothrix neumoegeni (Noctuidae).

Also, you should hopefully know where the idea for my subtitle comes form.  If not, smack yourself on the head, and read more Carl Sagan.


Comments expressed on this site are those of the author and should be read as personal opinion of his alone.

24 comments to About Chris Grinter

  • Hi Chris

    I enjoy your blog. You’ll see my name on many many micros in the CAS as I lived in SF for most of my life before coming to Australia in 1978. Vince can fill you in! I took many fieldtrips with Don MacNeill and Jerry Powell over the years. Your photo of Adela trigrapha has prompted this.

    I’ll list your blog as there are many “mothologists” up this way.

    Good luck at the CAS. You are working at the best place in the world in the best city in the world.

    Dave Rentz

  • SO want a copy of:
    Rubinoff D., Schmitz P., Multiple aquatic invasions by an endemic, terrestrial, Hawaiian moth radiation. PNAS March 2010.

    Could only view the abstract. Thanks SO much for your site. Much enjoying. =)

  • I actually thought your subtitle was a nod to Eleanor Roosevelt’s “Better to light a single candle than sit and curse the dark,” but the general idea applies to both quotations. Love the site, I’ve been following for a while but haven’t started commenting till today.

  • I saw Jim Hayden’s posting that added you to his facebook, and I also sent a request. I really like your blog and your techniques section. I remain fascinated by your method for pinning micro’s upside down. Good to see you in San Diego.

  • John Snyder

    Chris, I’ve just discovered your great blog site. As webmaster for The Lepidopterists’ Society, I’ve added a link to this site to the “Internet Resources” portion of our society website (www.lepsoc.org). Hey, you ought to join the Lep. Society–your co-collector Jerry Powell is a long-time and active member.

    John Snyder

  • Jim Wiker

    I just ran across this site of yours, how nice! You’ve come along ways since the days at Sand Ridge.
    Thanks for listing the Illinois field guides in your favorite books, do you have the Sphinx Moth book we did yet? Let me know if not.
    Keep me posted on what you are up to and I’ll keep my eye on this website.
    All the best,
    Jim Wiker

    • Thanks for the comment and I’m glad you’re enjoying the blog. I actually haven’t seen the Sphinx book yet – had no idea it was out. I remember back in those Sand Ridge days Sternburg was hard at work photographing sphingids for the book. Great to see new volumes, and you’re working on the second edition of the butterflies?

  • Bill Rhodes

    Chris – enjoyed your site – we lived in the Bay area for six years until we moved back East in 2009. The CAS was always a favorite destination for my wife and me, and we often took our grandkids. My career didn’t take me in the direction I had expected (my undergraduate degree is in entomology from Cornell), but I get to live vicariously through folks like you :-). Thanks, Bill Rhodes

  • Hi Chris! Great blog 🙂 I nominated your blog for a Liebster award on my site. The Liebster is a way to spread the word about other great blogs…technically with less than 200 followers, but I haven’t figured out how to check this, so forgive me if I estimated incorrectly. Keep up the great work!

  • Christine McGuire

    thanks for the info. Nice photographs.

  • I appreciate your informative website. I am trying to plan a trip to Costa Rica, and if I am correct in what you are saying, it is possible for a private collector to obtain the proper permits for catching and export, or do you have to be affiliated with some University, or have an Entomologist degree? Is there a specific authority that I could contact? My two Grandkids and my wife are part of this and we usually prepare a frame for the kid’s class rooms to have and learn about what we catch, so there is some what of an educational slant. I would appreciate any info you could give me. Thanks, Tad

  • Jennifer Capps

    Do you have a Facebook page? Like a public one just for your entomology photography and everything else that you do for the museum? I’d like to follow that on Facebook, as I do not use Twitter. Please let me know. Thanks!

    • That’s a good question. I don’t have a public page as of now and haven’t really been planning on making one. You should be able to follow me on facebook without actually friending and that should give you my daily twitter photos since they are public posts.

      Otherwise my photos are also going up on Flickr: http://www.flickr.com/dmnszoology

  • Kelly

    I have this picture, not such great quality, of this large moth which happened to land on our screen at camp bedroom under the push out window. I hope I can get it sent to you. Let me know your thoughts if you wouldn’t mind, that is. https://www.facebook.com/photo.php?fbid=918939538184466&set=a.468229509922140.1073741831.100002052865274&type=3&size=1280%2C720. Highlight right click cut and paste into browser…it will bring u to my FB page showing this chilling (to me), in that if the moth man curse also oomes with this creature to me looks like a skeleton on his back side, underneath his eyes were red. All black I believe, but definitely made me think of this myth/real moth man existence is. I believe anything can be real…its a mere choice.

  • Helder Cardoso

    Hello Chris,

    I just want to thank you all the info on your page. I’m starting a moth reference collection, and found a lot of usefull inf here.

    All the best,


  • Hartmut Wisch

    Wonderful website, Chris, and I enjoy the obvious reference to Carl Sagan. His ‘The Demon-Haunted World’ has been on my bookshelf for ~ 21 years, still one of my favorites.
    Also reminds me of one of my favorite quotes, from Wallace Stegner:
    “Verifiable knowledge makes it way slowly, and only under cultivation, but fable has burrs and feet and claws and wings and an indestructible sheath like weed-seed, and can be carried almost anywhere and take root without the benefit of soil or water.”
    Though mostly interested in bees now – hiked up Mt. Pinos a couple of times recently to observe a little bee, Perdita calochorti, collecting pollen in Calochortus invenustus – I recalled your name when looking at a little Lithariapteryx moth in Calochortus flowers. Have observed this moth for a number of years now in the Mt. Pinos area, always in one of the Calochortus species up there. Based on Jerry Powell’s key & description (1991), it may be L. mirabilinella. Will post again at Bugguide.
    Sorry, I never followed through sending you the little Cauchas specimens. They’re still with Jim Hogue at CSU Northridge. Saw more of them this spring, in flowers of Camissoniopsis bistorta as expected.

  • Chris,

    Nice to read your blog post on collecting. I was a graduate student there at Illinois in systematics and spent many years in the collection. You might come across some SL Heydon collectors labels in your time. That is me. I needed up as collection manager of the Bohart Museum of Entomology at UC Davis. Anyway, I am assuming that the rules for collecting in national grasslands are the same as those for national forests. Do you have any information on that?

    Sorry about CA. The new regulation has thrown the collecting community here in some disarray. How can undergraduate students afford $400 for a collecting permit? What seems to be the case is that if one person has a permit, they can then add associates onto that permit. There are several large aggregations of collectors doing that.


    • I do believe that National Grasslands are the same as National Forests given they are administered by the same organization. Never hurts to ask and have a copy of the statement on collecting from the Forest Service.

      And the $400 permit really is onerous and unreasonable. While I’ve never heard of it being enforced, it’s certainly a system that seems to be broken, and one that we need to fix!

  • […] species in the genus Anacampsis had a pretty close color resemblance. But, then entomologist Chris Grinter left a comment on this page that he thought it looked more like something in the family Pyralidae, […]

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