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 Inactivate vaccines faster and more effectively using electron beams
23.03.2017 | Fraunhofer-Institut für Organische Elektronik, Elektronenstrahl- und Plasmatechnik FEP

nachricht Hunting pathogens at full force
22.03.2017 | Helmholtz-Zentrum für Infektionsforschung

All articles from Life Sciences >>>

The most recent press releases about innovation >>>

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

Im Focus: Giant Magnetic Fields in the Universe

Astronomers from Bonn and Tautenburg in Thuringia (Germany) used the 100-m radio telescope at Effelsberg to observe several galaxy clusters. At the edges of these large accumulations of dark matter, stellar systems (galaxies), hot gas, and charged particles, they found magnetic fields that are exceptionally ordered over distances of many million light years. This makes them the most extended magnetic fields in the universe known so far.

The results will be published on March 22 in the journal „Astronomy & Astrophysics“.

Galaxy clusters are the largest gravitationally bound structures in the universe. With a typical extent of about 10 million light years, i.e. 100 times the...

Im Focus: Tracing down linear ubiquitination

Researchers at the Goethe University Frankfurt, together with partners from the University of Tübingen in Germany and Queen Mary University as well as Francis Crick Institute from London (UK) have developed a novel technology to decipher the secret ubiquitin code.

Ubiquitin is a small protein that can be linked to other cellular proteins, thereby controlling and modulating their functions. The attachment occurs in many...

Im Focus: Perovskite edges can be tuned for optoelectronic performance

Layered 2D material improves efficiency for solar cells and LEDs

In the eternal search for next generation high-efficiency solar cells and LEDs, scientists at Los Alamos National Laboratory and their partners are creating...

Im Focus: Polymer-coated silicon nanosheets as alternative to graphene: A perfect team for nanoelectronics

Silicon nanosheets are thin, two-dimensional layers with exceptional optoelectronic properties very similar to those of graphene. Albeit, the nanosheets are less stable. Now researchers at the Technical University of Munich (TUM) have, for the first time ever, produced a composite material combining silicon nanosheets and a polymer that is both UV-resistant and easy to process. This brings the scientists a significant step closer to industrial applications like flexible displays and photosensors.

Silicon nanosheets are thin, two-dimensional layers with exceptional optoelectronic properties very similar to those of graphene. Albeit, the nanosheets are...

Im Focus: Researchers Imitate Molecular Crowding in Cells

Enzymes behave differently in a test tube compared with the molecular scrum of a living cell. Chemists from the University of Basel have now been able to simulate these confined natural conditions in artificial vesicles for the first time. As reported in the academic journal Small, the results are offering better insight into the development of nanoreactors and artificial organelles.

Enzymes behave differently in a test tube compared with the molecular scrum of a living cell. Chemists from the University of Basel have now been able to...

All Focus news of the innovation-report >>>

Anzeige

Anzeige

Event News

International Land Use Symposium ILUS 2017: Call for Abstracts and Registration open

20.03.2017 | Event News

CONNECT 2017: International congress on connective tissue

14.03.2017 | Event News

ICTM Conference: Turbine Construction between Big Data and Additive Manufacturing

07.03.2017 | Event News

 
Latest News

Vanishing capillaries

23.03.2017 | Health and Medicine

Nanomagnetism in X-ray Light

23.03.2017 | Physics and Astronomy

Pulverizing electronic waste is green, clean -- and cold

22.03.2017 | Materials Sciences

VideoLinks
B2B-VideoLinks
More VideoLinks >>>