My name Is Josiah Kilburn. I am a high school student in colorado. I focus on macro insect photography and my favorite subjects are ants, spiders, and beetles. I am also an ameture taxonomist, and am currently working towards an eagle scout project where I aim to survey the ants of Castlewood Canyon, and then add that to my overall project to survey the ants of Colorado. I am the president LHS Entomology Club, and I aspire to become a myrmecologist (ant scientist) when I graduate and photograph insects around the world. I am an avid ant keeper and am constantly collecting ants everywhere I go I have been collecting ants since 2016. I use a Canon EOS 70D as my camera, and usually use a 60mm macro lense with a flash and diffuser. Many of my photos were taken with different lenses though.
As an ameture myrmecologist, I follow many avenues to familiarize myself with the science. I am one of the youngest active members of the Entomological Society of America, and am in contact with many experts to help me answer any questions I may have about entomology. I have visited 4 collections around the united states, and have met many experts in myrmecology. I also have been given an ant wiki contributor account and my posts an photos are not very widespread across the site, but they can be seen on the Carebara longii page (for now). In the future I wish to study one of the most understudied ant family, proceratiinae, because those ants are some of my favorites. When it comes to the study of myrmecology, I don't leave any area unexplored. I am constantly learning more about the science, including but not limited to; phylogenetics, taxonomy, paleo myrmecology, photography, and behavioral ecology of ants.
If I would chose three main experts who have inspired me along my journey... that would be very difficult... But I would chose Alexander Wild, Brian Fisher, and Miles Maxcer. I would choose Alex Wild because his photos are what sparked my curiosity in ant photography and ant behaviour, and first showed me just how many ants were found around the world (minus most of Asia). Brian Fisher is a superhero to me and should be considered an inspiration to many myrmecologists around the world, as he was one of the first people to take the world of field guides online and started a project that has photographed over 225,000 ant images of over 16,000 valid genera, making ants one of the most documented sciences ever. I would choose Miles Maxcer because he started with ants as early as me, and even attended ant course when he was 17! But there are various other experts who have helped guide me on my journey to become a myrmecologist which I cannot fail to mention, as without them I would have never learned all of the info I know now. So I also acknowledge Frank Krell, Sky Stephens, Jack Longino, Phill Ward, George Snelling, David Lubertazzi, Ann Mayo, Mikhail Kujawa and my parents, who are very supportive of my odd hobbies and career choice. Thank you everyone for your support, and those who will continue to help me in the future, without you I would have never found such an amazing science of myrmecology and looked deeper into the study.
As you might have determined from any of the paragraphs above, insects are my passion and I spend a lot of time with them. We often overlook insects and how they affect our everyday lives so I want to make people aware of them with my photography. We as humans have given insects a ridiculous stigma as being useless pest, when in reality they are probably the most important animal group in the tree of life. Insects fill so many niches that otherwise wouldn't happen without them, they pollinate our crops, inspire our inventions, networks, optimization, and are even used in medical research. Without them we simply cannot survive...
- Josiah Kilburn, Entomologist and Photographer