B.U.N.K. Volume 3, Number 1 (1986)

Editorial: Our Emblem

In the peaceful times since the appearance of Volume 2, Number 1 of our journal, we, the editors, have received a flurry of queries about the publication. Some of you have asked the whereabouts of Volume l; others have puzzled over our hallowed emblem: What does rnorare lente mean, and why is the date of founding 1450, and of incorporation 1452? And what is this beetle pictured on the emblem? As this issue of B.U.N.K. is in part a response to the last question, I will not deal extensively with that most delightful of animals, Otiorhynchus ovatus. Instead, I will turn my attention to more historical matters: the founding of B.U.N.K., and its emblem.

The drama opens in the Swiss Alps. The year is 1450; it is early spring. The air is filled with the freshness of the new season: the sun is shining, the snow melt is trickling in rivulets across the newly-awakened ground, the birds are playing cheerfully about, the leaf buds of trees are about to greet the warm air. People are around and about, yodelling, herding sheep, building quaint chalets, and making beer.

All, that is, except for one lonely soul. In the corner of a dark, musty study sat Høwärd Mäcginteesburger (Howard McGinty's most illustrious ancestor; see Acorn 1984, B.U.N.K. 2(1):11-15 for the description of an astounding beetle named after Howard). Høwärd was depressed. Today, he had tried to shift a paradigm in biology, and failed. What to do? Should he attempt to...

Suddenly, an Otiorhynchus ovatus thundered onto his desk (Høwärd had very acute hearing). For the moment, Høwärd let rest his worries, and watched the gentle movements of this lumbering creature. As its plodding gait carried Høwärd from harsh reality into peaceful sleep, the quiet man began to dream visions of the magnificence of beetles, and the sweeping grandeur of their intricate connections to the universe around them.

So astounded was Høwärd by his dream, that, upon awakening, he felt he must impress upon the rest of mankind his view of the glory of beetles. But how to spread the woId? For this, Høwärd turned to a hobby of his, the mechanical impression of the written word upon paper.

The rest is history. In no time at all, Høwärd had produced one hundred copies of Volume 1, Number 1 of his new Biologie Und Naturwissenschaft der Käfer. (It should be noted that, contrary to popular belief, the Gutenberg Bible was thus not the first mechanically printed book in Western culture, having appeared about 4 years later, and the first issue of the Philosophical Transactions of the Royal Society of London was not the first periodical, being a full 215 years the junior.) Two years later, in 1452, the Incredibly Tremendous Society for Biologie Und Naturwissenschaft der Käfer was formed.

Unfortunately, a freak accident with pinning forceps and 3000 kg of cork packing chips brought about a quick end to Høwärd's work, and his life.

Høwärd's work lay dormant, and for the most part unnoticed, until 1984. In that year, a certain coleopterist (who wishes to remain anonymous) was searching for some Chaudoir types in the Paris Museum. After several hours of cursing, with eyes sore from searching through Schmitt box after Schmitt box (a recently consumed bottle of red wine no doubt contributed to the visual difficulties), he happened upon a box containing not beetles, but a tattered, crumbling manuscript. It was the last surviving copy of Volume 1, Number 1 of Biologie Und Naturwissenschafl der Käfer! Carrying back a photocopy of the perishing work to the New World, the coleopterist showed his discovery to the three current editors. So moved were we by B.U.N.K. and Høwärd's vision, that we took it upon ourselves to humbly revive his ambitious project.

Høwärd chose as the symbol of his quest for knowledge of beetles and their universe his beloved Otiorhynchus ovatus; in keeping with this tradition, and for the reasons outlined by my esteemed colleague in the ensuing editorial, an individual of Otiorhynchus ovatus was included in our emblem. Included too were the prominent dates in the history of B.U.N.K.: the years of Høwärd's pioneering efforts (1450, 1452), and the resurrection date of 1984. And below the elegant, plodding beetle, waves the words, "morare lente", the motto of the editors in our work with B.U.N.K.: "Go slowly with leisure" (1,2).

David R. Maddison
January 1986

1. Some readers have told us that "morare" is misspelled that it should right1y be "morari". However, in Switzerland in the 1400's there was a local dialect of Latin with slightly different declension from the classical language; as it was this dialect that Høwärd came to know and love, we have decided to maintain his original spelling.

2. Any resemblence of our emblem to those of other entomological societies is purely coincidental, and at most reflects the chance placement of an American Entomological Society logo under my tracing paper.

Copyright © 1986, 1996, David R. Maddison, John H. Acorn, and Robert S. Anderson.