Beetlemania: One Professor’s Tale of the Carabidae of VT and NH

MONTPELIER, Vt. – Author and entomologist Ross T. Bell left no stone unturned during his lifetime of research on the 495 species of ground beetles in Vermont and New Hampshire. Bell and his wife, Joyce Bell, are the world's leading experts on the carabid tribe Rhysodini, the Wrinkled Bark Beetles, and have described over three quarters of the world's 360 species. Ross Bell’s newest work, Carabidae of Vermont and New Hampshire, is an indispensable resource to anyone interested the habitat and distribution of all carabid beetles in New England or in the broader ecology of where these beetles are found.

As a Professor Emeritus of the University of Vermont, Bell’s influence reaches far beyond the covers of his book. During his tenure at UVM, Bell’s entomology students found endless expertise and inspiration in his teaching style that peppered the academic study of natural history with memorable anecdotes of his time in field. Former student Jessica Rykken, now a research associate at the Museum of Comparative Zoology at Harvard University, said, “Ross told us about a thousand amazing stories about insects, played us records of singing insects, took us out to interesting places to catch insects, and sat down patiently with us to work through insect keys. His knowledge and passion and enthusiasm were really what set me down the road to wanting to become an entomologist. The next year, with Ross’s help, I ended up collecting almost 10,000 carabids in the Green Mountains for my final project. I couldn’t turn back.”

Carabidae of Vermont and New Hampshire contains a wealth of biological and distributional information on ground beetles, expanding on currently available data with new state records and confirmation of historical catalogue records that were in doubt. The book’s introduction discusses topography, mountains, wetlands, vegetation, soils, life zones, and biophysical regions of Vermont and New Hampshire. The main text follows with brief tribal and generic summaries and individual accounts of the 495 carabid species known from the two states. Each species account includes general range, local range, habitat, life cycle, behavior and dynamics. Occurrence dot maps were compiled for each species from the author’s records and digitized by the Vermont Atlas of Life project at the Vermont Center for Ecostudies.

Publication of this book was supported by the Vermont Department of Forests, Parks and Recreation, Vermont Monitoring Cooperative, Vermont Center for Ecostudies, Vermont Entomological Society, and the Carnegie Museum of Natural History.

Published in hardcover by Shires Press, the 385-page book is available for $50, shipping included for U. S. orders, from Shires Press at:


Media Contact Information:

Trish Hanson, VT Dept of Forests, Parks and Recreation, 802-879-5687
 Carl Waite, VT Monitoring Cooperative, 802-656-0683