Multimedia

This page contains three sections whose only connection is that they involve the presentation of RDA’s work or ideas in another form besides writing: namely, his audio recordings of insects, his artwork, and his audio or video presentations.  Currently the representation here is depauperate, providing only the slightest indications of what could appear here in the future.

Like most young people, RDA was a lover of song and drawing long before he took seriously to writing. During college and graduate school, before he ever published a single word, he was a collector of the sounds of nature, especially those of the singing insects; and in those same days he was also briefly employed as a scientific illustrator. Not all of his forays into the arts were entomological, however. Throughout his life he drew pictures, some of which appear in the popular or nostalgic works of his retirement. Even more extensively he wrote songs and preserved those he had heard, especially in his childhood. References and links to these works can be found on the page among his writings, although I hope opportunities for a direct experience of RDA’s audio and visual creations will accumulate here.

Audio Recordings:

Between 1954 and 1979, RDA made thousands of recordings of insects. 774 of these he deposited into what is now the Borror Laboratory of Bioacoustics. This institution was established by RDA’s doctoral supervisor, Ohio State University Professor of Entomology Donald J. Borror. This Laboratory, part of the Museum of Biological Diversity at OSU, is one of the most important acoustic biology repositories in the world. The collection is particularly extensive in the area close to both Borror’s and RDA’s hearts: the sounds of the singing insects. A fully referenced spreadsheet of all of RDA’s annexed bioacoustic specimens can be found here (XLSX) and here (tab-delimited TXT). To obtain digital files of these recordings, please request them from the Borror Lab.

A portion of RDA’s (and Borror’s) recordings were incorporated into commercially available phonograph records:

1956. The songs of insects. Calls of the common crickets, grasshoppers and cicadas of the eastern United States. LP Phonograph Record: 40 species, 29 min. (R.D. Alexander and D. J. Borror).

1960. Sound communication in Orthoptera and Cicadidae. In Animal Sounds and Communication (W. E.. Lanyon and W. H.. Tavolga, eds). AIBS Publ. 7: 38-92, 16 figs., including 5 sets of sounds on a phonograph record.

 

Illustrations

1951. Illustrations for An Introduction to the Study of Insects by Donald J. Borror and Dwight M. DeLong, Ohio State University (1954 edition): 80 outlined, stippled, and line-shaded pen and ink illustrations.

(As RDA mentioned in his 2003 cv, “This job was terminated prematurely by a perfectly rational decision by the Piatt County, Illinois, Military Draft Board that corn picking in Illinois is more important than graduate school in Ohio, whether or not the latter includes scientific illustrating.”. In 2008 he added, “Two more illustrations were solicited for the post-2007 edition of this outstanding textbook, in print continuously since 1954.”)

Some of RDA’s illustrations are indeed still in print in the 7th edition of Borror and DeLong’s Introduction to the Study of Insects, by Charles A. Triplehorn and Norman F. Johnson (2014), such as the katydid sound producing morphology to the right, and the field cricket below.

2004. The Red Fox and Johnny Valentine’s Blue-Speckled Hound, 88 pp. Illustrated by John Megahan. Pencil drawing by RDA of fox hound on p.76.

2005. Pop’s Story: A Midwestern Farm Boy’s Memoris of Times with His Father. x+261 pp. 27 pencil and ink drawings by RDA, and 33 photographs.

2006. Playin’ Cowboy: The Coontail Blue and Other Horse Tales, xii+321 pp. Profusely illustrated with pen-and-ink drawings by RDA.

Audio-Visual Presentations

Insect Sounds (Audio, 30 minutes). A WOSU radio program from 1955, while RDA was a graduate student of the show’s host, Donald J. Borror. Courtesy of the Borror Laboratory of Bioacoustics.

The Future of Human Behavior (Audio, 28 minutes). From the Complexity Digest Virtual Conference entitled “Illuminating the Shadow of the Future”, Ann Arbor, MI, 23-25 September 2005.

On Spending a Year in Australia with the Ottes (Video, 56 minutes). From the Dan Otte Symposium at the University of Lethbridge, Alberta, Canada, 16 June 2009.

 

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