Forum for Science, Industry and Business

Sponsored by:     3M 
Search our Site:

 

With Venom and Vigor Bugs Vie to be Crowned ‘Ugliest’

02.11.2009
Deadline is Dec. 15 for public to vote online for 2009 Ugliest Bug

"The Shocker," a paper wasp whose sting can cause anaphylactic shock and "The Stinger," a scorpion that crushes it's prey with pincers and injects them with a neurotoxic venom, are just two of the 10 contenders in this year’s Ugly Bug Contest.

The champion will be determined by how passionately the public appreciates the atrociousness of their traits and uniqueness of their attributes. The ability to inject enemies with poison, suck the blood of innocent bystanders, or crawl under the skin of unsuspecting hikers are some of the characteristics that could earn one bug the crown and title: 2009 Ugliest Bug.

Until Dec. 15, insect enthusiasts around the world have the opportunity to vote and learn more about some of the planet's most creepy creatures, including "The Hammer," a carpenter bee and "La Cucaracha," a cockroach.

To cast a vote or gain insight into the lives of these cuticle-covered organisms visit the contest's Web site at Arizona State University: http://askabiologist.asu.edu/uglybugs.

Other creatures on this year's roster of repugnant gladiators are "The Blade," an aphid; "Stretch," a snakefly; "The Ringleader," Jerdon's jumping ant; "Sweetness," a honey bee; "The Leaf Foot," a coreidae; and "The Gollywopper," a crane fly.

Each has a photo and a bio on the Web site, with details including their size, weight and Latin genus names. Most of the bugs in this year's contest weigh less than 3 grams – the weight of 10 average grains of table salt.

The images of the bugs are made possible by a scanning electron microscope, providing a view of the bugs unattainable with the human eye. The colorful close-ups allow students and teachers an intriguing new level of intimacy with creatures often dismissed as detestable.

There’s also a YouTube video (http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=s1z8cSwV6I8) that imitates an Ultimate Fighting Championship® bout, with each bug emerging into the octagon at the sound of a bell.

In addition to serving as the contest's voting hub, the “Ask A Biologist” Web site is a scientific sanctuary for students and teachers alike. Complete with downloadable wallpapers, a poster and pages to color, and inter-active reasoning modules designed to improve student's skills, the site is laden with material aimed at introducing students of all ages to the capacious field of biology.

The Ugly Bug Contest was started in Flagstaff, Ariz., by Merilee Sellers of Northern Arizona University. For 10 years, it was a local fixture – part of the Flagstaff Festival of Science and the Mount Campus Science Day.

Last year, she teamed up with Charles Kazilek to bring the contest to the Web. Kazilek, a senior research professional in ASU’s School of Life Sciences, sports the moniker “Dr. Biology” to host the popular children’s podcast “Ask a Biologist.”

In its first year on the Ask a Biologist Web site the contest accumulated more than 3,000 votes.

"We are talking about bugs here," Kazilek says when asked why kids are attracted to the contest.” You are either excited by them or scared to have one next to you. They certainly can get under your skin. It is fun to see these really tiny animals in a way that just is not possible with the unaided eye."

Last year, the winner was “The Tick” with 1,056 votes – more than twice the amount any other bug received.

"I think it was the blood sucking ability that gave it the edge," Kazilek says.

“There is a lot of science hidden in the contest, but maybe the best part is people get to participate by looking and reading about each of the bugs before they vote,” he says. “It is also a fun way to get up close and personal with the bug that might be walking, crawling or flying next to you.”

Pointing out that many of the bugs contending for the crown are far from ugly, Kazilek adds: “In fact, they are very elegant and often quite beautiful. Somehow calling it the Beautiful Bug Contest seemed contrary to most people’s idea of bugs.”

Other sponsors for this years contest include Dow AgroSciences, NAU's Imaging and Histology Core Facility, and ASU’s W.M Keck Bioimaging Laboratory and International Institute for Species Exploration in the College of Liberal Arts and Sciences.

Arizona State University (www.asu.edu)
College of Liberal Arts and Sciences (http://clas.asu.edu)
School of Life Sciences (http://sols.asu.edu)
International Institute for Species Exploration (http://species.asu.edu)
Tempe, Arizona USA
SOURCE:
Charles Kazilek, kazilek@asu.edu
480-965-1710

Charles Kazilek | Newswise Science News
Further information:
http://www.asu.edu

More articles from Life Sciences:

nachricht Ion treatments for cardiac arrhythmia — Non-invasive alternative to catheter-based surgery
20.01.2017 | GSI Helmholtzzentrum für Schwerionenforschung GmbH

nachricht Seeking structure with metagenome sequences
20.01.2017 | DOE/Joint Genome Institute

All articles from Life Sciences >>>

The most recent press releases about innovation >>>

Die letzten 5 Focus-News des innovations-reports im Überblick:

Im Focus: Traffic jam in empty space

New success for Konstanz physicists in studying the quantum vacuum

An important step towards a completely new experimental access to quantum physics has been made at University of Konstanz. The team of scientists headed by...

Im Focus: How gut bacteria can make us ill

HZI researchers decipher infection mechanisms of Yersinia and immune responses of the host

Yersiniae cause severe intestinal infections. Studies using Yersinia pseudotuberculosis as a model organism aim to elucidate the infection mechanisms of these...

Im Focus: Interfacial Superconductivity: Magnetic and superconducting order revealed simultaneously

Researchers from the University of Hamburg in Germany, in collaboration with colleagues from the University of Aarhus in Denmark, have synthesized a new superconducting material by growing a few layers of an antiferromagnetic transition-metal chalcogenide on a bismuth-based topological insulator, both being non-superconducting materials.

While superconductivity and magnetism are generally believed to be mutually exclusive, surprisingly, in this new material, superconducting correlations...

Im Focus: Studying fundamental particles in materials

Laser-driving of semimetals allows creating novel quasiparticle states within condensed matter systems and switching between different states on ultrafast time scales

Studying properties of fundamental particles in condensed matter systems is a promising approach to quantum field theory. Quasiparticles offer the opportunity...

Im Focus: Designing Architecture with Solar Building Envelopes

Among the general public, solar thermal energy is currently associated with dark blue, rectangular collectors on building roofs. Technologies are needed for aesthetically high quality architecture which offer the architect more room for manoeuvre when it comes to low- and plus-energy buildings. With the “ArKol” project, researchers at Fraunhofer ISE together with partners are currently developing two façade collectors for solar thermal energy generation, which permit a high degree of design flexibility: a strip collector for opaque façade sections and a solar thermal blind for transparent sections. The current state of the two developments will be presented at the BAU 2017 trade fair.

As part of the “ArKol – development of architecturally highly integrated façade collectors with heat pipes” project, Fraunhofer ISE together with its partners...

All Focus news of the innovation-report >>>

Anzeige

Anzeige

Event News

Sustainable Water use in Agriculture in Eastern Europe and Central Asia

19.01.2017 | Event News

12V, 48V, high-voltage – trends in E/E automotive architecture

10.01.2017 | Event News

2nd Conference on Non-Textual Information on 10 and 11 May 2017 in Hannover

09.01.2017 | Event News

 
Latest News

Helmholtz International Fellow Award for Sarah Amalia Teichmann

20.01.2017 | Awards Funding

An innovative high-performance material: biofibers made from green lacewing silk

20.01.2017 | Materials Sciences

Ion treatments for cardiac arrhythmia — Non-invasive alternative to catheter-based surgery

20.01.2017 | Life Sciences

VideoLinks
B2B-VideoLinks
More VideoLinks >>>