Connected on 2012-06-07 10:00:00 from Harris, Texas, United States
- Bugscope Team we are all set to go!
- Bugscope Team hello!
- Teacher sorry we are late. We are having technical difficulties but are almost ready to go
- Bugscope Team no problem
- Teacher we have 3 classes. the first will be 9-12 year olds. the second will be 5 and 6 year olds then the 7 and 8s will be last
- Bugscope Team this is the head of a parasitic wasp. The 3 bumps on top of the ocelli, which are simple eyes
- Bugscope Team the ocelli read the light to tell which way it is going
- Teacher 9-12 year olds here. My name is Mr. Riley. How are you this morning?
- Bugscope Team these are scales from a butterfly wing. I'm not sure what type of butterfly. It had orange and white on it
- Bugscope Team Hi Mr. Riley and everyone!
- Bugscope Team these scales are found all over moths and butterflies. They give color to the insect and also help it to fly more efficiently- like the feathers on a bird
- Teacher Perhaps it's a Monarch butterfly, says one student.
Bugscope Team no it wasn't, but that's a good guess
- Teacher "Thank you". :)
- Bugscope Team the scales sometimes have pigment granules in them, but most often they provide structural color. That means that the lights bends off the ridges in such a way that you see color
- Teacher Do the scales help to keep the butterfly dry as well?
Bugscope Team insects are very small- most water just beads on them. They don't often get wet like we do. I think the scales would help repel the water a little
- Teacher Cool! Thanks!
- Bugscope Team this ant came from houston. Scott, who isn't here right now, got them while visiting his family
- Teacher Neat! Nice to see a local on here.
- Teacher "Ants don't sting-they bite" says one student. So what type of ants sting instead of biting for defense?
Bugscope Team Unlike many other ants, which bite and then spray acid on the wound, fire ants bite only to get a grip and then sting
- Teacher Wow! That's really interesting!. "i never knew that". :)
- Teacher I*
- Bugscope Team most ants you see are female. Same is true for wasps and bees
- Bugscope Team their stinger also works as an ovipositer- where the eggs come out
- Teacher Also: "How do they mate if they are mostly female? Don't you need males to mate?"
Bugscope Team the males stay in the colony or hive. Their only purpose is to mate
- Teacher "How do these ants mate if there is a nasty stinger in the way?"
Bugscope Team only the queen mates, but all the girls have a stinger anyway. I don't think the stinger hurts the male, but I'm not entirely sure about how their mating works. Sorry
- Teacher That's ok. That's really interesting. Thanks!
- Teacher That's from a student.
- Bugscope Team here is salt from wendy's restaurant
- Bugscope Team it has an anticlumping agent in it that gives it this aztec shape
- Teacher That's really neat! "How many atoms is this crystal made of?"
Bugscope Team lots! sadly we can't see individual atoms with this microscope. If we were to use the atomic force microscope we could begin to see all the little bumps of the atoms
- Teacher Do you know what the anti-clumping agent is? That's really interesting.
Bugscope Team no and sadly wendy's recently changed their salt to a type of sea salt and it doesn't look cool anymore. It looks like normal salt with is just a cube with rounded edges
- Teacher Wow! That's really sad, but it's probably for the best. :)
Bugscope Team yeah it's probably healthier
- Teacher Indeed! So what are we looking at here?
- Bugscope Team here is a head from a houston ant. The little rounded bumpy area in the upper area of the screen is the eye
- Bugscope Team the lower part of the screen is the start of the mandibles
- Bugscope Team hanging off towards the left is a broken antenna
- Bugscope Team the antenna would normally attah where it looks like it has a nose
- Teacher "What is the curved line running down the middle of the head?"
Bugscope Team that is a piece of debris. Maybe lint or a plant fiber
- Teacher "What did this ant eat?"
Bugscope Team In general they like sweets. Some farm honeydew from aphids. Others will grow a fungus to eat. Or they forage for plants and fruit
- Teacher Very neat! Well, we have to go and relinquish the scope to the 5-6 year olds. Thank you so much! Have a great rest of your morning! Bye!
- Bugscope Team thank you for your great questions!
- Teacher Hi! this is Tiffany & the 5 & 6 yr old class!
- Bugscope Team Hi Tiffant and everyone!
- Teacher what are we looking at today?
- Bugscope Team This is an ant, most likely a fire ant since one of the others has a stinger.
- Bugscope Team these came from Houston
- Teacher we certainly have a lot of those!
- Teacher can we see a stinger?
- Bugscope Team the head is here. You can see the round eye near the top middle of the screen
- Bugscope Team sure!
- Bugscope Team So you can see the sharp stinger poking out
- Teacher wow! can ants sting over and over, or ar they like bees?
- Bugscope Team almost all ants we see are females
- Teacher how many times can they sting? do they keep producing the poison? Or is it a one time sting and then they die?
Bugscope Team They can sting multiple times. These ants use acid, but if it's anything like wasp and bee venom, they can run out of it. They will not die until you squish them :)
- Teacher what other bugs do you have?
- Bugscope Team honeybees have barbs on their stingers, which when they sting you, cause them to get stuck in your skin. So when they pull away, the muscle attached to the stinger gets pulled out of them and they die.
- Teacher ouch!
- Bugscope Team here is a ladybug larva, which doesn't look as cute as their adult form
- Teacher are those spikes on it's back?
Bugscope Team yes! They probably help protect the larva from being eaten
- Bugscope Team some caterpillars have big spikes on their backs like these to help protect them in the same way
- Bugscope Team we also have salt crystals, pollen grains, a fly, a beetle, a small lizard foot to look at
- Teacher we have a lot of Gulf Coast Fritallary caterpillars here! They're very spiky
- Bugscope Team oh and some aphids and butterfly scales
- Teacher we would like to see a fly mouthpart
- Bugscope Team so this fly has a sponging mouthparts, but there are some flies that bite like horseflies
- Teacher why aare they so "hairy"?
Bugscope Team good question! Insects have a lot of hairs on them. The hairs help them feel things through its tough exoskeleton.
- Bugscope Team there are also specialized hairs that help them to taste or smell on some places on the insect
- Bugscope Team insects do not have skin like we do, with nerve endings in it that sense touch, and hot/cold
- Teacher neat! kind of like cat's whiskers? Okay, can we also see the beetle?
Bugscope Team exactly
- Bugscope Team insects do not have noses, either
- Bugscope Team so the setae (the 'hairs') that stick through the exoskeleton can sense touch, hot/cold, and also chemical scents, or smell
- Bugscope Team specific setae sense specific things
- Bugscope Team some of the bristles we see are also for self-sensing, so that an insect can tell when it is overextending one of its limbs, for example
- Teacher so all insects have them?
Bugscope Team yes and many other arthropods like spiders and scorpions
- Bugscope Team spiders have lots and lots of hairs that help them sense and then interpret vibration
- Teacher what kind of beetle is this?
Bugscope Team this is some sort of small plant beetle, like a cucumber beetle
- Bugscope Team spiders, some of them, also have what are called 'urticating hairs' that they release as airborne irritants. So for example if a dog is sniffing a tarantula, the tarantula releases urticating (means 'itching') hairs that get caught in the dog's nasal passages and discourage it from bothering the tarantula.
- Teacher how would you describe this mouthpart?
Bugscope Team you can see the mandibles in the middle- they open like a hinged gate. There are also 2 sets of palps that look like feelers. Those are responsible for tasting or moving around food
- Bugscope Team you can see how the mandible is shaped like a fork, or like a 'spork'
- Teacher that thing about the tarantulas is SO cool!
Bugscope Team they are very fragile, easily breakable, as you know
- Teacher beetles
- Teacher How many eyes do they have?
Bugscope Team they have two compound eyes with perhaps 200 or 250 individual facets that are like lenses, called ommatidia
- Bugscope Team many flying insects, especially, also have three simple eyes, called ocelli, on the top of the head
- Bugscope Team if you had compound eyes like this, you would have a much better view of what is around you without having to turn your head
- Teacher another question from the group is why are some insects so scary looking?
Bugscope Team there is an advantage in looking fierce, with big eyes, for example; think about the butterflies with eyespots on their wings
- Bugscope Team insects may be scared by the same things that scare us. sometimes when you surprise a grasshopper, it takes off quickly and spreads its bright orange wings. that might be enough to make a potential predator pause for a split second so the grasshopper can get away
- Teacher thank you! do you have any antennae to look at?
Bugscope Team yes we do!
- Teacher we are curious how they work and what they are used for
Bugscope Team antennae can be turned in directions that might be useful, and they are often loaded with scenet receptors. Male moths often have ornate antennae that not only look cool to females, presumably, but also are very sensitive to pheromones, which are like perfume from females, attracting males
- Bugscope Team oops you can see that I misspelled 'scent'
- Bugscope Team these antennae are on a male mosquito. Yiou can tell it's a male when the antennae are all frilly
- Bugscope Team they are probably the mosquito way to attract mates
- Teacher I like male mosquitoes! It's the females I wish we had less of :)
- Bugscope Team yes i think we could all do without the females
- Teacher what do male mosquitoes eat?
Bugscope Team some males don't eat anything, others may eat some plant nectar
- Teacher 1 last question and then we will send in the 7-8 yr old class: What is the biggest moth in the world?
Bugscope Team it's called the atlas moth. they are found in the tropics of asia
- Teacher :) Thank you so much Cate & SJ!!! Ya'll are fantastic!
- Bugscope Team their wingspan is around 10 inches
- Bugscope Team the white witch moth has a slightly larger wingspan but the wings aren't as big surface area-wise
- Teacher Hi Cate and SJ the 7 and 8 year olds are here
- Bugscope Team Hi everyone!
- Teacher what is the function of the sort of oval shaped thing below the antenna?
Bugscope Team above the mandibles there is kind of a lip type of overhang on the beetle. It might help to keep the food from falling out
- Bugscope Team now the big ball that is bumpy is the eye
- Bugscope Team insects have compound eyes, which means it is made up of many lenses
- Teacher Harper wants to know how many eyes the beetle has
Bugscope Team they have 2 compound eyes, but there are probably a couple facets between the 2
Bugscope Team and when i say between the 2 I mean in total
- Teacher Izzi notices that by the mandibles there are two large pointy things and two smaller pointy things below. are these part of the mandibles or something else?
Bugscope Team those are palps. They help taste or move around the food
Bugscope Team there are special hairs on them that help with the tasting. Similar to tastebuds
- Bugscope Team here we can see one of the same things on the ladybug face
- Bugscope Team the thing that looks like a vacuum cleaner nozzle is one of the palps that Cate mentioned
- Teacher we know this is a ladybug but exactly what are we looking at?
Bugscope Team this is the ladubug's face, but it has lots of stuff on it, mostly food
- Bugscope Team you can see the ladybug's right eye just to the left of center
- Bugscope Team ladybugs eat other insects, smaller ones, and they prefer aphids because they are small and softbodied and presumably tasty
- Bugscope Team at the end of almost all insect legs are claws
- Bugscope Team so a lot of the stuff we saw was aphid parts
- Teacher So is this one foot of the fly?
Bugscope Team yes it is!
- Bugscope Team it's so cool because we can see how the fly clings to the ceiling
- Teacher Harper asks what the furry things are in the middle
Bugscope Team that is the right place to look! the 'fur' is tenent setae that are sticky
- Bugscope Team the furry things are called pulvilluses
- Bugscope Team an individual pad is called pulvillus
- Teacher we know this is the underside of the fly so what are all the hairs?
Bugscope Team the hairs help the fly sense its environment
- Teacher so the pulvillus is the foot?
Bugscope Team they are the little pad of fur on the foot
- Bugscope Team some of the hairs, or bristles, help the fly feel when it has something in its grasp
- Teacher so is the background the rest of the foot or the thorax that we are seeing?
Bugscope Team it is most likely the thorax, which is what all of the legs -- all six legs -- are attached to
- Bugscope Team in this case the background was another leg!
- Teacher Cool!
- Bugscope Team in flies, the females' eyes are often far apart, whereas those of males are often close together
- Bugscope Team now we are looking at butterfly scales. when you stroke the wings of a butterfly and fine powder comes off, it it these things
- Teacher Can you give them an idea of the actual size of this scale? We see that it is magnified 2211x but hard for them to fathom
Bugscope Team to us the scales seems like tiny flakes of powder
- Bugscope Team scales are kind of like feathers but quite small
- Teacher so is the middle one scale?
Bugscope Team yes now we see it a little better
- Teacher why are the scales curved and scalloped instead of flat?
- Bugscope Team you can see at the bottom of the image that 50 micrometers (the scalebar) is about the width of a human hair
- Bugscope Team scales are loose, and one reason for that is so that if the butterfly flies into a spiderweb, it might be able to slip out by leaving its scales stuck to the web
- Bugscope Team mosquitoes, moths, and silverfish also have scales
- Bugscope Team some scales aren't as ridged as this
- Teacher clara wants to know what the scles are for.
Bugscope Team scales help the insect to fly more efficiently. They also give color to the insect- by using both pigment granules and structural color
- Bugscope Team the spacing of the ridges in the scales produces colors that can change with the angle at which you are viewing the wing
- Bugscope Team when light hits the little structures on the scales, the light bounces back in such a way that we see color
- Teacher how many scales are on one wing?
Bugscope Team there are many thousands of scales
- Teacher what type of butterfly is this?
Bugscope Team I'm not sure. It's not a monarch. Though it has white and some brownish orange color
- Bugscope Team scales are actually setae as well
- Bugscope Team they are considered modified setae
- Bugscope Team if a butterfly loses too many scales it cannot fly
- Teacher what is a setae?
Bugscope Team setae are the things that we call hairs or bristles on insects
- Bugscope Team 'see-tee' is how it is pronounced, and a single one is called a seta
- Teacher Thanks so much for all your time and answers. We love Bugscope at the Arboretum. See you again later this summer! Have a great weekend.
- Bugscope Team Thank You!
- Bugscope Team See you later! We look forward to it.
- Bugscope Team Bye!