Orin McMonigle – Biography

Presentations given by Orin McMonigle for GAAS

– September 2016, Orin McMonigle “Crabs in the aquarium”

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Orin McMonigle’s Biography

Editor in Chief, Invertebrates-Magazine at Elytra and Antenna – Insect and Arthropod Publications. Went to ENCA BARCENA. Lives in Lansing, Michigan

Orin McMonigle has been sharing his love of invertebrates in print for over three decades. An article he wrote on invertebrates was awarded 1st place, best article for the year 1988 by FAAS. He has published invertebrate husbandry articles in publications including Reptile & Amphibian Hobbyist, Invertebrates-Magazine, International Fauna Society’s The Keeper, UK’s Insecta, Invertebrata, and the Danish Exotiske Insekter. Primary editor of Invertebrates-Magazine from 2001-2014. First book published in 1999, The Complete Guide to Rearing Grant’s Rhinoceros Beetle has been followed by more than two dozen titles concerning captive requirements and invertebrate zoology.

Through decades of research and experimentation, trial and error, methodologies for rearing some of the most spectacular microfauna have been formed. While interest has grown exponentially in the last few decades it is still almost unheard of for humans to have a modicum of appreciation for real fantastic beasts like the spectacular Eastern Hercules Beetle, Unicorn Mantis, Albino Millipede, and Gargantuan Amazonian Whipspider. The hope is that through the sharing of species details and husbandry parameters supported by first hand experience (as well as husbandry parameters tested and provided directly by other amateur and professional invertebrate enthusiasts) the offered resources will inspire a greater appreciation for our small fellow creatures in their living state and before the majority find their habitat is replaced by shopping malls and permanently poisoned by synthetic chemicals. These tiny, magnificent, creatures deserve to be nurtured, observed, and cared for; not just squashed or poisoned, dried, and pinned.

In 1996, O.M. wrote a strategy and designed a logo for a tiny venture dedicated to publishing invertebrate zoology manuals: Elytra and Antenna. The original plan was to generate interest in invertebrate husbandry through articles and display presentations, to promote the maintenance and appreciation of living inverts. Once people were exposed to these amazing creatures, how could they deny their beauty? He believed lack of experience and lack of knowledge were the only reasons people did not have a great love for invertebrates. Once educated, the new enthusiast would need to know how to keep the inverts alive and methods to rear them. The problem was identified as lack of rearing information and trial and error the solution. In 2001, E&A added a hobbyist’s journal (Invertebrates-Magazine) to document husbandry for even the more obscure.

Husbandry manuals and books have always been a hard sell. The idea a hobby could be developed by writing a rearing manual may seem a bit naive. In 1999, McMonigle wrote two chapters and provided details for multiple chapters in a massive beetle compendium that changed the face of the Taiwanese hobby in 2001. Earlier in 1999 the first edition of the first E&A title on US Dynastes spp. was published. Over the next twelve years, many E&A small manuals were published on invertebrates from whipspiders to millipedes, many titles with contributing authors, and some of these hobbies have flourished. It is prohibitively expensive to publish books only made in the dozens or hundreds, so the booklets had to be small and stapled.

“Real books,” larger texts, color printing, and hardcover were impossible before print on demand technology could make one book at a time of reasonable quality and expense. In 2011, Coachwhip approached O.M. with an idea for a book on general invertebrate zoology, asking for I.M. authors. The list provided was short. A compilation on crabs, the eleventh of the Coachwhip hardcover husbandry manuals, was copyright 2018.