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Benjamin Puttler, founder of Aphis Mizzou

This article is written by a student writer from the Her Campus at Mizzou chapter.


Mizzou is well known for many things. Between The Columns, Homecoming or our MIZ-ZOU chant, we have made a name for ourselves. But did you know that we have an insect named after us? Yes…an insect!

Benjamin Puttler, a researcher in the Division of Plant Sciences, discovered an unknown species here on our very own campus back in 2005. In 2012, it was officially announced as a new species. It’s official name? Aphis Mizzou.

HerCampus caught up with Mr. Puttler to learn some more about the insect named after our beloved school.

Her Campus Mizzou: Mr. Puttler, when did you first realize that you wanted to study Entomology?

Benjamin Puttler:  Growing up in New York, I didn’t see very many insects. Right after graduating high school, someone mentioned Entomology to me. I did some research on it and it was very appealing. I knew it was what I wanted to do.


HCM: I wish it were that easy for me! Where did you attend college and when did you come to Mizzou?

BP:  I attended the University of California Berkley. After college, I did some work in California and then New Jersey. I intended to work my way back West, to California, but I got delayed in Columbia in 1965. I’ve been doing research at Mizzou ever since 1990.


HCM:  So how exactly did you discover this new species?

BP: I was studying an insect on a plant called Hypericum when I observed a second insect on the plant. It looked different to me and after a few other studies it was determined to be a new species.


HCM: What made this insect different?

BP: The insect was located on different parts of the plant, it was also colored black whereas the other insect was a reddish color.


HCM: So how did you and your colleagues come up with the name Aphis Mizzou?

BP: Doris Lagos, a researcher at U of I, is the senior describer. She asked me what we should name it and I thought since it was found on our campus, might as well name it Mizzou!

HCM: Cool! I can’t believe we have our own insect named after us! Thanks for your time!


Photo : http://cafnrnews.com/uploads/2012/11/BenPuttler2WEB.jpg

Brooke Hofer is a senior at the University of Missouri. She is majoring in Strategic Communications through the School of Journalism while also pursuing minors in Classics, Psychology and a general Honors degree. In addition to writing for Her Campus, Brooke is an active member of Kappa Delta Sorority (Epsilon Iota chapter), Vice President of Sigma Alpha Pi, and she is a barista in the Columbia, Missouri area. Brooke loves working out, writing short stories, reading old books, and spending time with her family and friends in Kansas City. She hopes to eventually travel the world while working in the advertising or public relations industry.