All the Sphaeromatid News That's Fit to Print

Better reference search

1.Aug.08   ::  Much improved searching for reference database  ::

Based on work for the Decapoda AToL site (at, we have greatly improved the capabilities of the reference searching page at A three-week trip to Palau by Regina Wetzer, Dean Pentcheff, and Darolyn Striley yielded a variety of sphaeromatid isopods. Despite the rainy weather, diving was excellent, and a spring low tide permitted excellent access to reef flats. Photos of some of the animals as they were freshly collected can be viewed on the Palau isopod gallery page.

Unexpected epicarideans found

15.Jul.06   ::  NSF "Research Experience for Undergraduates" student finds epicarideans  ::

While hunting for Exospaeroma on the California shore, Laura Ponce discovered epicaridean parasites under barnacles collected on the rocky shore. Laura is an undergraduate from University of Hawaii working as an NSF-funded "Research Experience for Undergraduates" (REU) student on the Sphaeromatid Isopod project.

Fiji Expedition

18.Oct.05   ::  Short but successful expedition to Fiji  ::

Sammy De Grave (Oxford University Museum of Natural History), Niel Bruce (NIWA, New Zealand) and Heidi De Grave, visited the southern coast of Viti Levu, Fiji for 12 days, making collections along the southern coast and Beqa Lagoon under "difficult weather" conditions, which greatly reduced sampling time. Notwithstanding, good isopod (and decapod) material was obtained including new species of Cilicaeopsis and Dynamenella, and yet more samples of the widespread Neonaesa rugosa. The expedition was made possible by funding from the UK Millenium Commision, through the Oxford University Museum of Natural History.

Image credits: Niel Bruce

Sphaeromatid morphology online

11.Oct.05   ::  Images from the literature  ::

A new database of sphaeromatid isopod images from the literature is now online. It includes many images of isopods from the literature, scanned and scaled to uniform size. Expect some glitches: this is still in testing.

New specimens

18.May.05   ::  Baja California yields new important specimens  ::

A short collecting trip to the Bahia Concepcion (Conception Bay) in the Sea of Cortez has brought in some important Sphaeromatid specimens. Preliminary assessment of the collection shows that it includes an unnamed species, previously known only from specimens collected by Todd Haney some years previously.

Website updates

6.Sep.04   ::  Improved information and structure  ::

The Sphaeromatid Isopods Worldwide website has received numerous minor updates. Backlogged text material has been updated, new database information has been added, and extensive additions have been made to information about people associated with the project. Of course it is, and always will be, under construction...

East Africa Expedition returns

31.Jul.04   ::  Excellent collecting trip concludes  ::

Researchers have returned from the East African Expedition to Zanzibar (in Tanzania) and Mombasa (in Kenya) with an excellent set of specimens. By a combination of intensive shore collecting on reef flats and diving on outer reefs, numerous species and genera new to the project have been collected. All specimens are properly preserved for both molecular and taxonomic work. In Los Angeles the specimens are currently undergoing curation. Once that is complete, detailed sorting and identification will commence.

East Africa Expedition underway

13.Jun.04   ::  The 2004 East Africa Expedition has departed  ::

Researchers left Los Angeles today for Mombasa, Kenya and Zanzibar, Tanzania. We have high hopes of an excellent collecting expedition to this hotspot of isopod diversity in the Western Indian Ocean. The first leg of the trip (to Zanzibar) will be staffed by Regina Wetzer, Kathy Omura, and Dean Pentcheff from Los Angeles, joined by Niel Bruce from NIWA, New Zealand. The second leg in Mombasa will see Kathy Omura replaced by Jørgen Olesen from the Invertebrate Department, Zoological Museum, Copenhagen, Denmark.

Isopod fashion gear

4.May.04   ::  Don't be the last in your lab to wear Isopoda  ::

A fine selection of sphaeromatid isopod gear is available at Cafepress: lateral view, frontal view, and an alternate frontal view design. Enjoy!

U.S. Pacific Northwest collections

11.Apr.04   ::  New collections from San Juan Islands  ::

A collection team has just returned from the Friday Harbor Laboratories of the University of Washington on San Juan Island, Washington State, USA. The laboratory is situated on San Juan Island where the Strait Juan de Fuca and the Strait of Georgia meet, near the southern end of Vancouver Island. Several collections covered a variety of shoreline habitats on several coasts of San Juan island.

U.S. West Coast collections

16.Feb.04   ::  Improving collections of Eastern Pacific specimens  ::

Recent collections of isopods at Point Fermin on the southern California coast are expected to be yield examples of previously-collected species and genera. In addition, they may yield undescribed specimens. This collection from an area near to the home institution where molecular work is being conducted (Natural History Museum of Los Angeles County) will provide ample test material to develop consistent, repeatable molecular assays.

Singapore Collecting Expedition

20.Oct.03   ::  New collections from Singapore  ::

Thanks to the generous help of P.K.L Ng at the National University of Singapore, Niel Bruce and Regina Wetzer have been able to make a collecting visit to Singapore. We are optimistic that this will be an excellent collection of sphaeromatid isopods from a little-sampled area.

Specimen Database Online

15.Sep.03   ::  Searchable database of specimens is now available  ::

A preliminary interface to the database of specimens under consideration for the sphaeromatid taxonomic work is now available.

Site Search Enhanced

13.Aug.03   ::  Search now includes PDF file contents  ::

The "site search" feature now searches within the text of the isopod references for which we have PDF versions of the papers. Check the Literature Database page for details on the PDF files.

Sphaeromatid Literature Database Available

8.Aug.03   ::  References and some full text available  ::

The Sphaeromatid Literature Database is now online. It contains a growing list of relevant literature. In many cases (particularly older papers) we are making the full text of the papers (including figures) available for download.

A "simple" search interface provides ready access to the contents. For users with more specific search needs, an "advanced" interface provides direct access to searches on particular database fields.

New Baja Trip

1.Aug.03   ::  New specimens from Sea of Cortez  ::

A short expedition to the Sea of Cortez (Gulf of California) by Regina Wetzer, Dean Pentcheff, and Elisabeth Wetzer has yielded a new collection of Sphaeromatids prepared for molecular analysis. This trip was to the coastal area between San Felipe and Puertecitos.

Sorting of the samples should be completed soon.

Worldwide Diversity Map

20.May.03   ::  What we know about where they live  ::

A new map of Sphaeromatid diversity worldwide is now available on this website.

The data to create it were assembled by Niel Bruce, based on surveys of the relevant literature and his own unpublished work.

Sphaeromatid Website Now Online

15.May.03   ::  Welcome to the new "Sphaeromatids Worldwide" website  ::

We plan this website to be a central point of reference for Sphaeromatid Isopods around the world. It is currently funded by a National Science Foundation award to study the "Phylogenetic Systematics and Biogeography of Sphaeromatid Isopods (Crustacea: Peracarida)" (award DEB-0129317 to Regina Wetzer (PI) and Joel Martin (Co-PI)).

The web site design was donated by Kimberly Townsend, and the logo artwork was donated by Michelle Schwengel (both of the Natural History Museum of Los Angeles County). Website infrastructure and database management is provided by Dean Pentcheff.

As work progresses, more information and searchable databases will be added here. Please visit us!

Baja California Expedition Yields Good Collection

15.Feb.03   ::  Numerous specimens from the Gulf of California  ::

A successful trip down the Gulf coast of Baja California visited numerous sampling locations and yielded an interesting collection of Sphaeromatid isopods. Collectors were Regina Wetzer and Dean Pentcheff. A prior trip by Todd Haney of the NHMLAC Crustacea Lab has yielded a new species from the area (presently being described by Niel Bruce and Regina Wetzer).


::  Site design: Kimberly Townsend  ::  Logos: Michelle Schwengel  ::  Site infrastructure: Dean Pentcheff  ::


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Creative Commons License.

National Science Foundation

This project supported by grant DEB-0129317 from the National Science Foundation


Natural History Museum
of Los Angeles County