Cicada Symphony – Let’s celebrate Brood V!

The year 1999 was an iconic year, just at the turn of a century. The same year as long running TV shows Spongebob and Family Guy made their debut, Wayne Gretzky retired from the National Hockey League, and the Columbine High School massacre occurred. It was also the last time Brood V emerged from the ground. Now, seventeen years later, billions of periodical cicadas (Magicicada septendecim) are emerging in parts of western Maryland, eastern Ohio, southwestern Pennsylvania, northwestern Virginia and most of West Virginia as we speak. In Radford, Virginia, where we are located, they started to come out last night!

Chelse documented some of the first emerging individuals last night.
A cicada during its final molt on the first night of Brood V emergence in Radford, VA.

A cicada during its final molt on the first night of Brood V emergence in Radford, VA.

Most people are not comfortable with the idea of billions of insects emerging from holes in the ground all at once, and lots down right loathe periodical cicada emergence. They might be annoying, but they don’t sting or bite (and don’t believe the media’s overblown hype about hearing damage. Unless you get inches away, their call will not hurt your ears). In fact, we think this is the perfect time to appreciate…no, celebrate!… the amazing life history of these creatures, and the beauty of nature.

Chelse caught a time lapse of a cicada molting here:

Most people hear annual cicadas every summer. Periodical cicadas, however, can have a 13 to 17-year life cycle depending on the species in which they remain underground for the majority of their time. A great presentation on the highlighting the differences in annual and periodical cicadas can be found here. They emerge as nymphs and shed their exoskeleton, revealing a new pair of wings. As adults, their goal is to find a mate and reproduce. A cicada makes their mating sound by flexing their tymbals, which reverberates in the hollow abdomen of the insect. This sound is incredibly loud due to the sheer number of them making it an extraordinary experience. They also have profound effects on the forests in which they emerge. Their emergence causes a resource pulse in forests: many animals take advantage of these suddenly abundant meals, nutrients are made available in the soil, and microbes and plants thrive on these available nutrients after these emergences.

Besides being an important resource pulse in forests, cicadas can also be a fun, nutritional source of food for humans. In many other cultures, other species of cicada are a normal part of people’s diets (as are many other insects!). They are gluten free, low fat, low carbohydrate and high in protein. If you are thinking how you could possibly prepare a cicada to eat, you’re in luck because there are plenty of recipes available. Entomologist and author Jenna Jadin wrote a cookbook Cicada-Licious: Cooking and Enjoying Periodical Cicada. They are in the same phylum as shellfish (arthropods) so they are rather similar in how they cook. They can be baked and added as a crunchy topping to salads or pizza, or deep-fried and dipped in cocktail sauce. Jadin even recommends using them in themed cocktail beverages.

Even if you’re not willing to try and eat a cicada (we understand, really), try to enjoy something about their emergence. Enjoy the sound of the cicadas. Let them inspire you to make a cicada-themed craft, like so many people already do. If nothing else, think about how important their emergence is to plants, animals, and lots of other organisms in forests. Instead of being annoyed, try and celebrate Brood V if you’re in the emergence zone this year!

Reference: Yang, Louie H. “Periodical cicadas as resource pulses in North American forests.” Science 306.5701 (2004): 1565-1567.

Other great resources for periodical cicadas:

http://www.cicadamania.com

http://www.cicadamania.com/cicadas/brood-v-17-year-cicadas-due-in-spring-of-2016/

http://news.nationalgeographic.com/news/2013/04/130515-cicadas-recipes-food-cooking-bugs-nation-animals/

http://www.nydailynews.com/life-style/cicada-cooking-pizza-tacos-jello-article-1.1314334

By Carly Stevens and Chelse Prather

This post is the part of a series of posts written by students in my Insects and Society class. The topics were chosen by the students, and expanded on material covered in this class. This post was originally written by Carly Stevens, a junior biology major at Radford University, and expanded upon by myself, Chelse Prather.

There’s a Buzz in My Speakers… (Guest Post)

The expanse of the sea separates the wife and son of Tsar Saltan from home, after wrongful exile by the jealous sisters of the Tsaritsa. The Tsarevich laments this great distance and longs to return to his father. The Swan-Bird, a mystical creature which has helped him and his mother to prosper by raising up a city in the son’s name, assists him once more by changing him into a bumblebee, so that he can traverse the sea and see his father, albeit in secret. This is the part of the opera The Tale of Tsar Saltan which leads into one of the most famous and instantly recognizable pieces of classical music, “Flight of the Bumblebee”.

For much longer than you’ve been alive, insects have provided inspiration for music of every conceivable genre, spanning from classical to heavy metal, from popular music to the most obscure and experimental musique concrète.

One way that insects provide inspiration in music can be through the varied sounds that they make, many of which come from either their flight or through the rubbing together of body parts, which is called stridulation. In the example in my introduction, composer Nikolai Rimsky-Korsakov is inspired by the buzzing heard from a flying bumblebee. He imitates this sound with the rapid alternation of musical notes which are close in pitch, also called trill. In many Eastern cultures, the sounds of many different Orthoptera, comprising crickets, grasshoppers, and katydids, are so loved that many are kept in cages as pets, so that their sounds may be heard more often. Combinations of different caged orthopterans will yield a new song. Many musical recordings will utilize the sounds of insects to invoke a certain tone in their sound, whether it is the beginning of the song “1st of tha Month” by Bone Thugs-n-Harmony, where crickets provide a relaxed, summery vibe to the song, or the ending of “East Hastings” by Godspeed You! Black Emperor, where the sound of an overwhelming swarm of flies plays in with the apocalyptic tone of the whole album. In a more extreme example, there is a whole album made entirely of manipulated insect sounds titled Adaptation and Survival by the experimental outfit Tribes of Neurot. The artist is a side project of the band Neurosis, whose typical metal-oriented crescendo is traded for an expansive droning soundscape that is left open to interpretation by the listener. My classmate, Caroline Leggett, has posted an article to this blog which touches on appreciation of the sounds and bioacoustics of insects, linked below. The sounds of insects, whether directly or figuratively, are heard in many kinds of music.

A number of artists reference insects in their name. Of course you can’t discuss insects and music without mentioning one of the most influential bands of all time, The Beatles. The Fab Four are most likely the first example anyone will think of when associating the two. Inspired by the late Buddy Holly and The Crickets, John Lennon thought to make a portmanteau of a musical beat and beetles. It seems appropriate that they named themselves after the most diverse insect order in the world, given that they produced such a varied musical catalog over the mere decade in which they were active. Representatives of different insect orders are found in all genres. Wu-Tang Killa Bees, which are affiliates of the Wu-Tang Clan, are aptly named in that Wu-Tang Clan works with so many artists, making them like a swarm, and because they possess a highly aggressive approach to hip hop, akin to the hostile Africanized honey bees which they take their name from.

A vast number of songs show their insect inspiration in their name or lyrics, with countless thematic variations. “March of the Fire Ants” is a sludge metal song by the band Mastodon, so named for the intro riff which sounds like marching, as well as the lyrics which could be loosely taken as a statement on humans as being trivial yet passionately ambitious creatures in the grand scheme of the universe, much like the industrious fire ant. Typically, insects will be referred to by their common names, but occasionally, the more entomologically inclined artists will incorporate scientific classifications into their work. Such is the case with the song “Oh, Odonata” by the relatively little known indie rock band The Brave Optimistic, off of their album Odonata which bears a wood-burned image of a dragonfly as its artwork. In this tune, the lyricist compares himself to a burrowing land creature which desires the lifestyle of a dragonfly, “[flipping] and [flittering], eating all the bugs out on the lake.” In context, it actually seems to be about an ex-significant other portrayed as heartless and cheating. A great number of instrumentals will also take on insect names. “Dance of the Honeybees” is an old Irish folk tune said to be based on the figure eight-shaped “waggle dance” of the honeybee, which could be gleaned from the cyclical nature of the tune. There are countless songs with insect names that aren’t quite as evident in their connection, aside from acknowledgement of the creature by the composer.

As I said, virtually all genres touch on insects in some capacity, and specific orders seem to have particular connotations and patterns in their usage. Hymenoptera, comprising bees, wasps, ants, and sawflies, seems to have the greatest representation of all insects in music. Bees and ants are both noted for industrious, busy behavior, with the former sometimes taking on more aggressive tones. Wasps are often used in reference to their stinging and swarming behavior. Lepidoptera, which include butterflies and moths, are also quite common. Most references to these creatures use their aesthetic beauty and generally more carefree flight patterns for inspiration, but they appear to be the order to go to for an example of metamorphosis. Diptera, including flies, mosquitos, gnats, and midges, are vastly used in order to invoke pestilence, likely due to their association with carrying disease and being attracted to rotting things. Many songs, however, seem to use the old “fly on the wall” idiom, to show themselves as unwatched observers. Hemiptera, which are cicadas (the most common example in music), aphids, shield bugs, leafhoppers, and planthoppers, are used similarly to the order Orthoptera, including crickets, katydids, grasshoppers, and locusts. Examples in these orders are typically referenced specifically for their stridulations in order to give that relaxed, muggy, summer night kind of vibe. Conversely, the destructive behavior exhibited by some towards crops may inspire more to write of loss and devastation. Beetles, which are from the order Coleoptera, are most often represented in music by fireflies and ladybugs, both of which have positive associations which tend to invoke playfulness and good spirits. Many songs simply use the term “bug”, which may connect to any number of themes, but most often seems to refer to pests and swarming to express stress.

Certain genres seem to use particular orders more. Metal music has a strong tendency to use orders with negative associations, such as Diptera and Orthoptera. This plays in with the themes of death and devastation so often approached in the genre. Hip hop has surprisingly often used bees in its lyrics, but with the frequent name-dropping that occurs in the genre, it is possible that Wu-Tang Killa Bees has made the insect symbolic. More danceable forms of electronic music will often include fireflies in names and iconography, likely a testament to the light shows put on by gatherings of fireflies which are akin to those seen at EDM shows. Country music shows a liking for stridulating insects, honeybees, ladybugs, and fireflies, which ties into the love of relaxing summer evenings and enjoying the outdoors which can be found in these songs. Clearly, the cultural connotations of different insects are magnified when used in song.

On the flip side of insect-inspired music, there are at least two examples of music-inspired insects. Scaptia beyonceae is a horse fly with a golden bunch of hairs at the end of its abdomen (basically the butt). For the entomologists who discovered this fly, another posterior was brought to mind, which was that of Beyoncé Knowles. Her “Bootylicious”-ness was enough to have this species named after her. Aleiodes shakirae is named after Shakira for the way that this wasp makes caterpillars twist their abdomens like the singer. Anacroneuria carole and Anacroneuria taylori are both stoneflies named after Carole King and James Taylor. Cephalonomia pinkfloydi is a wasp which takes its name from one of the most influential progressive rock bands of all time. Each of the four members of Queen has a damselfly named after them. Metallichneumon neurospastarchus is a parasitic wasp which references Metallica in both its genus name and species name. The species name is roughly Greek for “ruler of puppets”, an allusion to the song “Master of Puppets”, as well as the way the wasp takes over its host. Many other examples exist; clearly entomologists love their music.

Dr. Prather has a Spotify playlist comprising just a sampling of the huge number of songs and bands drawing some inspiration from the insect world. In addition, her and her students have provided some of the first entries on a growing list on Wikipedia of insect-inspired songs. Far larger, however, is the list compiled by Dr. Joe Coelho, which includes well over 1,000 entries of songs, bands, and albums which all pertain to insects. Coelho published a wonderful paper about insects in rock (Coehlo 2000). It touches on many genres outside of rock & roll and shows the representation of each order in song, artist, and album names.

Insects may be generally small and initially unnoticed by humans, but they are absolutely ubiquitous and endlessly diverse. People build myriad connotations with the various members of Insecta, drawing positive and negative connotations from their behaviors and appearances. While these creatures carry out the same routines which they have for millennia, we can’t help but take note and pay homage. So the next time you hear the buzzing of a bumblebee, you can simply smile knowing that it might just be the lost Tsarevich frenetically returning home to see his father.

–Sean Aaron, Biology Major/Chemistry Minor, Radford University ’16

Reference

Coelho, J. R. 2000. Insects in rock and roll music. Am. Entomol. 46: 186-200.

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This post is the part of a series of posts written by students in my Insects and Society class. The topics were chosen by the students, and expanded on material covered in this class. We’ve written about insect sounds previously here.

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BioBlitz at Tandy Hills Natural Area

Last week I helped out with a BioBlitz at the Tandy Hills Natural Area in Ft. Worth, Texas.  Tandy Hills is a beautiful160 acre prairie remnant.  The Friends of Tandy Hills Natural Area organized a weeklong BioBlitz, which was the largest in Texas history.  The Friends of Tandy Hills is a great organization that works to protect the area and teach locals about the importance of the prairie.

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Wildflowers at Tandy Hills Natural Area.

So what is a BioBlitz?  A BioBlitz is a concerted effort to document as many species as possible in a given area.  Naturalists, scientists, and volunteers all work together to find and identify as many species as they can.  It’s a great way to promote citizen science and get people engaged in nature.  It’s also really important to document local biodiversity, which can help improve management or highlight species or habitats that are in need of improved conservation efforts (it’s also something that’s really difficult to do without the help of citizen scientists).

Over the course of the week, 155 people helped to identify over 600 species at Tandy Hills Natural Area.  It was a blast!  I was invited to participate in the BioBlitz as a grasshopper expert.   At this time of year, most the grasshoppers are nymphs (immature), which makes it very difficult to identify them to species.  But I was able to identify the nymphs to subfamily, and we did find a few adults that could be identified to species.

While I was supposed to be there looking for grasshoppers, I admit I spent a lot of my time looking at other plants and animals.  I learned a lot from the other naturalists participating!  It was great to meet so many people who were really excited about documenting the biodiversity around them.  It was especially fun to meet so many people who liked photographing and identifying insects.  Many of the people participating were not biologists by training, but were self-taught (and they really knew their stuff).  I met one guy who just enjoyed photographing different plants, which he let others identify on iNaturalist, which is the app we used to document species at the BioBlitz.

iNaturalist is a free app that lets you record species that you see.  You can upload a picture or sound file (which is useful for animals like a bird or frog that you can hear but not see), the time and date that you saw it, as well as the gps location.  Then you can give your identification of the species.  If all you know is that it’s a plant, you can put that.  But if you know the family, genus, etc., you can put that too.   Other people can then comment on or add to your identification.  For example, I found a lovely spider and listed it on iNaturalist as a spider (Arachnid), since I didn’t know what family it was from.  Within a few days, other helpful folks on iNaturalist had helped to identify it as a male black widow.  It’s an awesome app and I’m officially addicted!  I started downloading pictures of plants and insects that I had taken at UHCC.  Thanks to some dragonfly experts, I learned that I misidentified this dragonfly as a comet darner, but it is actually a common green darner (Anax junius).  Comet darners lack the bullseye pattern on the frons (the upper half of the face) that common green darners have, and have a bright red abdomen.

The US National Park Service is conducting a series of BioBlitz events in national parks across the country to celebrate the 100 year anniversary of the National Park Service.  I’m going to try to help out with the one at Big Thicket, since it’s not too far from where I live.  It’s a really fun way to spend a few days, and I highly recommend that you participate in a BioBlitz if you have a chance.

 

Sound of six legs singing (Guest Post)

A picture is worth 1,000 words and a soundscape is worth 1,000 pictures.  Nature sounds are so much a part of our sensual world, yet we take them for granted or drown them out with headphones.  The field of bioacoustics is not new, we just have much more affordable and portable recording equipment these days.  And we also have much more sophisticated computer programs to analyze the recorded audio.  We can now combine this deluge of new discoveries with other methods of scientific analysis to enhance our environmental understanding and stewardship. This TedTalk by Bernie Krause will give you an idea of the power of audio recording.  Speechless; I was speechless when I learned how we are using technology in such a useful way.
 

As we spend more and more time with our digital devices dragging us around inside, we are also producing mountains of research supporting our biological need for nature.  There is something in our DNA, souls, immune systems, hearts, skin that yearns for the natural world.  You can read about it in this Atlantic article.  But today children can identify more corporate logos than things in nature.

I caught fireflies in jars as a kid.  Do kids do this anymore?  Let’s go from Krause’s animal orchestra to those maligned and misunderstood insects.  For me, a summer night just wouldn’t be without katydids and crickets singing.   And the buzz of a bumblebee hard at work.

And these are only the sounds the human ear can hear unaided.  What about everything we can’t hear?  Rex Cocroft, a biologist at the University of Missouri, uses a phonograph needle to listen to plant stems.  Specifically, vibrating insects on those stems.  Just one example is the tiny treehopper which uses thorax and abdomen muscles to shake the abdomen like a tuning fork.  In fact, many insects belonging to the order hemiptera communicate through sound.

 

What if we couldn’t listen?  What if the machine clanking of urban sprawl and habitat destruction silenced them?  Silenced these lullabies.  We won’t know the environmental, cultural, and psychological effects until it’s too late.

You can spend just a few minutes learning the basics to insect song identification.  Or how insects gave us rhythm and noise.  Or a Smithsonian Folkways insect sound recording released in 1960.  Or NPR’s decoding nature through sound series.

Spring is sounding here and summer will soon serenade us.  Go outside.  Listen while you can.

Caroline Leggett, Senior Interdisciplinary Studies Major / Biology and Appalachian Studies Minor, Radford University

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This post is the first in a series of posts written by students in my Insects and Society class. The topics were chosen by the students, and expanded on material covered in this class. We’ve written about insect sounds previously here.


References

Fieldwork begins at UHCC

We’ve been very busy at the University of Houston Coastal Center over the last few weeks with field work for this project.  It’s a huge field experiment that requires the application of tons of fertilizer (10 tons, actually).  We’re adding nitrogen and phosphorous, potassium, calcium, and sodium in all possible combinations and then measuring the effects of these nutrients on plant and insect communities.

The first step was to weigh out fertilizer into 5 gallon buckets.  Each day, we transported the buckets for about 16 plots to the field site.  Some of the fertilizer can be applied with a spreader pulled by an ATV, but some of it needed to be spread by hand.  It was pretty grueling work, and I was acutely aware of how much I am no longer in my twenties during the whole process.  But it is fun to spend so much time in the prairie, especially with spring in full swing.  We get to see newly flowering plants, such as violets and prairie rose gentians and many insects as well.  The highlight last week was a gorgeous green dragonfly, which landed near the plot I was working on and very obligingly rested on some grass while I took several photos.

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Coment Darner (Anax longipes) Common green darner (Anax junius)

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Gulf fritillary (Agraulis vanillae)

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Prairie rose gentian (Centaurium pulchellum)

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A violet (Viola spp.)

It took us about 3 weeks to fertilize all 128 plots in the experiment.  All of the hard work will be worthwhile once we get to start collecting data.  The role of micronutrients in determining insect herbivore diversity in grasslands is largely unknown and an experiment like this has not been done before.  It’s really exciting to be part of such new and interesting research and I can’t wait to see what we learn.  We’ll begin sampling the insects in early June.

What determines which insects are found where? A new(ish) grant about insects in prairies.

We (both Angela and I) have been working on an exciting new project funded by the National Science Foundation this past year. We are working on determining how insect herbivore communities are affected by micronutrients (those nutrients that are at relatively low concentrations in the environment, such as calcium, potassium, and sodium). If you are interested, see more details below. Thus far, we’ve set up huge (30m x 30m or 100ft by 100ft) experimental plots; sampled plants, insects and soils before any fertilizer was put down; and, just this week, we’re finishing up putting ~20 tons of fertilizer on our plots! Angela will post more about what this field work is like very soon (as I’ve been stuck mostly in the lab while much of this has been occurring). This summer, we’ll start collecting data to see if our treatments are having any effect on insect communities. We’ll keep you updated on our results through out the next few years as this study continues!

Also, check out this drone footage of some students sweepnetting insects in our plots. It gives you a good idea at the large scale of this experiment!

Are micronutrients important in structuring plant and herbivore communities? A test in coastal tallgrass prairies.

Understanding what controls herbivore communities is important because herbivores both eat plants and serve as food for higher trophic levels. In addition, many herbivores are pests that eat agricultural plants or compete with livestock for food in rangelands. Past research has focused on three factors that might control herbivore communities: 1) the total amount of plant material available for them to eat, 2) the number of different types of plants available for them to eat, and 3) how much nitrogen and phosphorus (two important nutrients known to be important to herbivore growth) is available in plant material. However, knowing these 3 things about a particular location has not proved to be enough information to allow scientists to accurately predict how many and what type of herbivores will be present. Recent research has suggested the possibility that other “micronutrients” like calcium, potassium, and sodium may help explain how herbivore communities are structured. In the past, scientists thought that these other nutrients were common enough in all plants that they would not affect herbivores. This research will test the hypothesis that some of these micronutrients help to determine herbivore densities and species composition. If this hypothesis is supported, it will transform our understanding and future research by suggesting novel explanations for what controls herbivore abundance and species composition.

Soil micronutrients may benefit or harm herbivores directly (by affecting plant food quality) or indirectly (by altering plant community structure). Preliminary data from a coastal tallgrass prairie in Texas showed that foliar micronutrients were better predictors of herbivore community structure than were plant biomass, diversity or macronutrients, and that soil micronutrient concentration affected feeding of grasshoppers when host plant identity was held constant. This project will support a large, multi-factorial field experiment in a coastal tallgrass prairie located south of Houston that will rigorously test the importance of micronutrients in mediating herbivore abundance and diversity, and determine if the importance of micronutrients 1) depends on macronutrients and 2) varies among herbivore feeding modes and guilds. Complementary mesocosm and laboratory experiments will test potential mechanisms of micronutrient effects; that is, whether micronutrients affect herbivores directly (through plant food quality) or indirectly (through plant community composition). This study will be the first to manipulate macro- and micronutrients in concert, and will do so in the field at an unprecedented scale.

Insects and Society Challenge 2016!!

This semester, I have been teaching a new course, Insects and Society (new as in, new to me and the university at which I’m teaching). All semester long, the students have been learning about insects and the complicated relationship that exists between insects and humans. In particular, the students have had to learn about each order of insects (at least, those that currently still exist on the Earth). They have each been subsequently assigned 3 orders of insects, and they are responsible for (1) researching how that order of insects affects humans, and (2) updating the Wikipedia pages for their assigned orders of insects (you can see our class Wikipedia page here; the pages that the students have edited have been viewed around 400,000 times since their edits have taken place at the time of this post).

We’ve been examining how insects affect humans through the lens of ecosystem services. Ecosystem services the benefits we, humans, receive from ecosystems that support our life and well-being. These services are roughly divided into 4 categories:

  • Supporting services—those services that support all the other services. Think of things like primary production (the rate at which plants in an ecosystem build their tissues), nutrient cycling (where nutrients are stored in an ecosystem, and how they move through these different components), and decomposition (the rate at which dead materials break down into their constituent nutrients. All of these processes are necessary for any of the other categories of services to occur.
  • Provisioning services—these are any material good that comes out of an ecosystem. If you can buy it in a store, it is a provisioning services. Think of organisms, part of organisms, or products of organisms that you eat or use for something in your life.
  • Regulating services—these are services that come from how ecosystems are regulated. These types of services are a bit more tough to wrap your head around, but envision things like food web regulating, water quality, pest and disease control, and the like.
  • Cultural services—these are any nonmaterial benefits humans receive from ecosystems. Think about art, music, recreation, etc. inspired by or taking place in ecosystems.

(If you are interested, we have a paper that reviews the many ways in which insects affect ecosystem services.)

Every few weeks, students have been researching how their assigned orders affect a different category of ecosystem services. We’ve been having fun learning some really interesting ways in which insects affect humans (and I’ve posted about some of the different topics we’ve been reading about previously). This past week, the students participated in the Insects and Society Challenge, 2016. (Hopefully, the first annual such challenge that I will hold!). The point of this challenge was for the students to use the knowledge they’ve been gaining about insects all semester to identify as many insects or evidence of any of the ecosystem services they affect on our campus over a class period. The rules were as follows: the students had to take pictures of any insect or evidence of their services they found and text them to me during the class period, as well as write down the correct identification or type of services and where they found this insect or evidence.

Insects correctly identified to order = 1 point
Evidence of a correctly identified insect-affected service = 2 points
Insect correctly identified to order provided a correctly identified service = 3 points

**No using insects from science labs on campus.**

I’m not sure about the students (I’ll get their feedback in class next week), but I had a great time watching the students scramble around campus hunting insects and their services, and watching the stream of pictures come to my phone. The winning student (announced in class next week) identified 14 insects correctly to order and found 17 pieces of evidence of insect-affected services on campus within the ~70 minutes they had to complete the challenge. I live tweeted the event using #insectsNsocietychallenge, but here are some of my favorite pictures from the bunch.

Pollination services by hymenopterans.

Pollination services by hymenopterans.

Coleopteran-inspired band name.

Coleopteran-inspired band name.

Lepidopteran-inspired greeting cards.

Lepidopteran-inspired greeting cards.

Blattodean-inspired literature on campus.

Blattodean-inspired literature on campus.

Dipteran on campus.

Dipteran on campus.

Hymopteran-inspired university branding.

Hymopteran-inspired university branding.

Hymenopteran-inspired tequila brand symbol on a keychain.

Hymenopteran-inspired tequila brand symbol on a keychain.

Lepidopteran-produced clothing material

Lepidopteran-produced clothing material

Hymenopterans modifying habitat for other organisms (a supporting service).

Hymenopterans modifying habitat for other organisms (a supporting service).

Hymenopteran-inspired artwork on the student newspaper.

Hymenopteran-inspired artwork on the student newspaper.

Insect-inspired brand name, and hymenopteran-produced ingredient!

Insect-inspired brand name, and hymenopteran-produced ingredient!

Coleopteran-inspired TV show name.

Coleopteran-inspired TV show name.

Hymenopteran-inspired publication name and artwork.

Hymenopteran-inspired publication name and artwork.

A coleopteran hitching a ride on a snail.

A coleopteran hitching a ride on a snail.

Lepidopteran on the jacket artwork for Silence of the Lambs.

Lepidopteran on the jacket artwork for Silence of the Lambs.

Have a look around your neighborhood or campus—how many pieces of evidence can you find of services that insects affect? It may surprise you how prevalent insect-affected services are in your own life!