Backyard Orchard News
Okay, what are the answers?In a prior blog, we listed several questions asked at the Linnaean Games, a college-bowl type of quiz that’s a traditional part of the Entomological Society of America’s annual meeting. You have to know insect facts and figures and ESA history to win.
It's a fun game that draws entomologists and would-be entomologists from throughout the world. Professor Tom Turpin of Purdue, decked out in a tuxedo and a monarch butterfly bowtie, moderates the event and provides more humor than some of the late-night TV shows. This year's ESA meeting, the 56th annual, took place Nov. 16-19 in Reno.Ready for the questions and answers?
Question: U.S. states have an official state insect. List three states that do not have one.
Answer: Hawaii, Indiana, Iowa, Michigan, Nevada, North Dakota, Rhode Island, and Wyoming. Source: See http://www.statesymbolsusa.org/Lists/state_insects.html
Question: What is the purpose of the process in folklore known as “Telling the Bees?”
Answer: To keep honey bees from leaving the hive when a bee keeper had died.
Question: Approximately how many beetle species have been described to date? Choices:
Answer: 350,000 (c)
Answer: Gil GrissomQuestion: Imagine that you have wandered through an area where an egg mass of deer ticks has just hatched, and you find yourself in intimate association the dozens of tick larvae. What is your risk of getting Lyme disease?
Answer: None. This would be their first blood meal, and Lyme disease is not transovarially transmitted.The University of California, Riverside team won the competition, edging North Carolina State University. The UC Riverside team included Jennifer Henke, Jason Mottern, Casey Butler and Rebeccah Waterworth.
UC Davis, our home team (Go Aggies!), also competed. Hillary Thomas, Andrew Pederson, Dominic Reisig and Michael Branstetter gave it the ol' Aggie try but didn’t quite make the finals. Next year! Their coach, Larry Godfrey, was on a University of Kentucky championship team.What year was that? "Are you trying to make me feel really old?" Godfrey quipped. "Well, it was 1983 at the second annual Linnaean Games (second annual in the North Central Branch of ESA where it started). It was a few years before the other branches started this competition and several years before they did it at the national meeting. Tom Turpin, who started this with another professor at Purdue (Rich Edwards) was my major professor for my M.S."
(Godfrey received his undergraduate and graduate degrees at Purdue and his doctorate at the University of Kentucky.)Ready for more questions?
Question: Name three insects of the five that are athletic team mascots at universities in the United States.
Answer: Bees, Black Flies, Hornets, Wasps, Yellowjackets
Question: What well known American poet wrote a poem entitled “The Bird to the Bees” that began with the lines “There is obviously a complete lack of understanding between the bee/ And me?"
Answer: Ogden Nash
In future columns, we'll take a look at some of the other questions and answers.
Meanwhile, check out the Smithsonian Magazine article on the University of Maryland team at the Linnaean Games. The article mentions that the students crammed for the Linnaean Games by poring over "The Insects," written by UC Davis entomology professors Penny Gullan and Peter Cranston.
Pondering a Question
UC Davis Team
In football lingo, a curl is a spin on a football, which makes it swerve when it's kicked.
Honey bees can also "curl."
I took this photo today of a lone bee curled on purple sage. The worker bee was gathering nectar in the summerlike weather.
"That's the same position a bee has to get in to sting you," observed UC Davis apiculturist Eric Mussen. "She can't lie flat to sting. She curls up and stings."
Like a comma.
A death "sentence" for her; a little pain for the victim.
Branstetter delivered an illustrated presentation on “Phylogeny and Biography of the Ant Genus Stenamma: Uncovering the Evolutionary Origins of Mesoamerican Taxa.” Stenamma is a little studied genus of leaf litter ants.
He competed in the Revisions and Evolution Section, moderated by scientists from Laurentian University, Ontario, Canada, and the Smithsonian Institution, National Museum of Natural History, Washington, D.C. Following his presentation, judges and spectators asked questions, an integral part of the competition.
Fourteen graduate students from throughout the
A fourth-year graduate student, Branstetter studies with UC Davis entomology professor
Branstetter, a native of
The recipient of several grants, Branstetter has collected ants in
Branstetter’s next collecting trip will be a two-month excursion in
This is the second consecutive year that a UC Davis graduate student in systematics has won the President’s Prize at the ESA meeting, said Lynn Kimsey, chair of the Department of Entomology and director of the Bohart Museum of Entomology. Last year
Profile of an Ant
The movie, "Sideways," has nothing on a spotted cucumber beetle climbing up, down and sideways on a rock purslane.
The spotted cucumber beetle is a pest, while the rock purslane has to be among the world's most beautiful flowers. (And also very attractive to insects.)
The 2004 movie is about two guys on a life-altering journey through the wine country of Napa. They drank copious amounts of the adult beverage.
The spotted cucumber beetle was just feeding on nectar, the insect's version of wine.
Spotted cucumber beetle
Spotted cucumber beetle inside rock purslane
Quick! Name three states that have no official state insect.
That was one of the questions at the Linnaean Games, a traditional part of the Entomological Society of America's annual meeting.
This year's meeting, the 56th annual, is now under way in Reno. The Linnaean Games have begun. This is a "bug bowl" type of quiz pitting university teams (graduate students in entomology) against one another.
UC Davis competed in the semi-finals. Several of us from UC Davis watched in the spectator section.
The questions included:
1. How many beetle species have been described to date?
2. According to folklore, what does "telling the bees" mean?
3. Name the main character, the forensic entomologist, in the TV show, CSI.
4. If you walked past an egg mass of deer ticks, what's the risk of getting Lyme disease?
The moderator is noted Purdue entomology professor Tom Turpin, who makes the Linnean Games informative, educational and entertaining.
Turpin, a Cooperative Extension entomologist, is an award-winning teacher and writes a well-read newspaper column, "On Six Legs."
More locally, Turpin served as a mentor for Larry Godfrey, a UC Davis professor who received both his bachelor of science degree and master of science degree from Purdue (and then his doctorate at the University of Kentucky). Godrey was a member of the University of Kentucky championship team in1983. That was the second annual Linnaean Games (second annual in the North Central Branch of ESA, where it all began). The national meeting adopted the Linnaean Games several years later.
Know the answers to the questions above? Fire away! (We'll answer them in another blog.)
Meanwhile, the finals of the Linnean Games take place tonight.
May the bugs be with them.