Connected on 2011-06-14 10:00:00 from Harris, Texas, United States
- Bugscope Team 'scope is pumped down, sample is in; we are now starting the presets for today's session
- Bugscope Team hello HANC
- Bugscope Team welcome to Bugscope!
- Guest Hi, I'm actually the teacher for the Arboretum but didn't have a password to logon as teacher
- Bugscope Team the password is the first name of the person who applied for the session, all lowercase
- Bugscope Team I can call if you'd like...
- Guest cool, I will log out and log back in
- Bugscope Team sweet see you soon
- Bugscope Team awesome
- Bugscope Team if you would like to start now -- to try driving, etc. -- we are good to go
- Teacher we have two classes coming in. We are going to have the 7 and 8 year olds come in firts and then the 9-12 year olds. is that ok?
Bugscope Team hey no problem at all
- Bugscope Team you can drive the 'scope and make it go to the various presets as well as moving around on your own
- Bugscope Team when the kids have questions you can relay them to us, and we will do our best to answer
- Bugscope Team the presets are on the screen you reach by clicking the blue/white arrow
- Bugscope Team if you click on a preset the 'scope will drive to that place....
- Teacher Never mind mosquito head.
- Teacher Excellent. we are bring the first class in now. What are we looking at right now so I can tell them?
Bugscope Team this is the head of a female mosqyuito. her eyes are dried out -- shrunken compared to what they would look like in life
- Bugscope Team also, I am sorry, the antennae are missing
- Bugscope Team you can see the proboscis projecting upward in the center of the screen
- Bugscope Team you can change mag, up or down; change contrast/brightness; focus, also up or down; and you can drive by clicking on the screen, which will cause the 'scope to center on that place
- Bugscope Team female mosquitoes are the ones that bite and suck blood
- Bugscope Team this is a super tiny parasitic wasp
- Teacher okay.
- Bugscope Team you can see its compound eye, and its antennae to the left; to the right is its thorax -- the 'chest' area
- Teacher trying to move toward eye close up
- Bugscope Team oh sorry I was messing with the 'scope
- Teacher no problem what are those hairs
Bugscope Team the hairs we see are usually called 'setae, and they have a sensory function
- Teacher class wants to know what all those dots are
Bugscope Team the little facets -- the dots -- are individual ommatidia -- what the lenses of the eyes are called
- Bugscope Team compound eyes are called compound eyes because they are made of lots of little lenses, each of which collects an image for the wasp to process so it can view the world
- Teacher do they see one thing or a bunch of things?
Bugscope Team we think they see a mosaic of essentially one 3D view
- Teacher whoa!
- Bugscope Team if you had compound eyes, things that came into your visual field would show up very quickly
- Teacher do they see well?
Bugscope Team so they see well, and they process motion very quickly
- Bugscope Team they may not see all of the colors we see, but some insects see more than the colors we see -- they see ultraviolet light, which sometimes comes from flowers
- Teacher moving to stinger please
- Bugscope Team this is the tip of the stinger of the parasitic wasp
- Teacher Lauren asks why there are two stingers
- Bugscope Team it is both a stinger and an ovipositor, which means it is used to inject eggs into its host
- Bugscope Team the stinger is dried, a little, and it has spread apart compared to the way it normally is
- Teacher Landon wants to know what that means. whaat is parasite
- Bugscope Team it has two sections because, in part, the eggs pass down between them
- Bugscope Team a parasite lives off of other creatures. in this case, the wasp stings a caterpillar, for example, and makes it so the caterpillar cannot move. then the wasp injects its eggs into the caterpillar's body cavity, where they grow into new wasp larvae
- Bugscope Team this is the head of a stinkbug, which is a 'true bug,' in part because it has piercing mouthparts for sucking the sap out of leaves or stems, and in some cases true bugs also attack other insects and suck the juice out of them
- Teacher rafael, where does stink get made?
Bugscope Team the stink is made in glands that are inside the body, on this side (the underside) of the insect
- Bugscope Team we can see, in another preset we made for you, the opening of one of the stink glands
- Teacher cool, let's move there
- Bugscope Team this is one of the openings on the underside of the body -- the exoskeleton -- from which the stink comes
- Teacher ShirleyAnn and Louise: how old do stink bugs get?
Bugscope Team I think they generally live several weeks to a month or so once they become adults
- Teacher Lauren: How is stink made and why?
Bugscope Team the stinkbug uses chemicals from the plants it eats and turns them into foul-smelling substances that not even it likes
- Bugscope Team the stink is there to deter birds and mice and other insects from attacking and eating the stinkbug
- Teacher What do they do with the stink? Defense?
Bugscope Team that is right!
- Bugscope Team this is so pretty; it is what we see around the opening of the stinkbug's stink gland
- Teacher are these glads shrunken like the eye was?
Bugscope Team they may be, I am not sure; they always seem to look like this. they may be there to absorb the bad smell so the stinkbug itself does not have to smell it
- Teacher Max: How much can your microscope magnify?
Bugscope Team the microscope will magnify over 200,000 times, but that (200,000) is about the limit for useful images
- Bugscope Team this right now is only 3546x
- Teacher Shirley Ann: how many eggs can female lay?
Bugscope Team stinkbugs are said to lay as many as 400 eggs in a season, in batches of 25 to 30 eggs at a time
- Teacher Sophia: how much do stink bugs weigh?
Bugscope Team I would say less than a gram, maybe a third of a gram depending on the size of the insect
- Teacher what is "Microns"
Bugscope Team microns are the same as micrometers, which means ('micro') 'one millionth.' a micrometer, or micron, is a millionth of a meter, and a thousandth of a millimeter. bacteria are generally (the rod-shaped ones) two microns long.
- Teacher so is this the top of the chrysalis?
Bugscope Team yes! isn't it cool?
- Bugscope Team the little hooks are caught in the web that the caterpillar had made before it shut itself up in the chrysalis and started to metamorphose into a butterfly
- Teacher do you know what type of butterfly?
Bugscope Team it may have been a painted lady butterfly, but I am not sure
- Teacher Max: how do caterillars develop into butterflyies?
Bugscope Team they eat a lot so their bodies will have all of the protein they need to change, and then they close themselves into their chrysalises, which they generate from their own bodies, and then it takes awhile for their body to completely change
- Teacher Landon: What are all the strings?
Bugscope Team the strings are web, or silk, produced by the caterpillar, not from spinnerets on the abdomen but actually here, on the head you have moved to
- Bugscope Team some of those things we see now on the front of the caterpillar's head, which is to the left, produce silk, or web
- Bugscope Team the bumps we see in the middle are the simple eyes, called 'stemmata'
- Teacher Do caterpillars see as well as the wasp?
Bugscope Team no really not very well at all
- Bugscope Team of course not all caterpillars are the same, but most of them have these simple eyes that probably show mostly dark and light
- Teacher Elijah: How big is your microscope and what does it mean that it is an SEM?
Bugscope Team SEM is a scanning electron microscope, which means that it uses electrons rather than light to show the details of very small samples; the 'scope is about the size of a large desk, and it is about 6 feet tall at one end
- Teacher The 7 and 8 year olds are about to be replaces by 9 to 12 year olds so you may have some repeat questions. Weill let you know when the switch
Bugscope Team hey no problem at all -- thank you
- Teacher Landon wants to know if we can zoom in as much as possible before we switch.
Bugscope Team let's go to the diatoms, or maybe the brochosomes on the wasp body
- Teacher Okay great we will switch after that. thanks so mcuh
- Teacher What are we seeing now?
Bugscope Team those tiny particles are in the nanoscale -- they are usually 300 or 400 nanometers in diameter
- Bugscope Team they are called brochosomes, and they are produced by leafhoppers; they look like breakfast cereal
- Bugscope Team the wasp they are on was probably bothering a leafhopper
- Bugscope Team the imaging would be much better if we were closer to the sample, but if we were close we would not be able to zoom out.
- Bugscope Team that is to say that we can do much better but not just now...
- Teacher Hi, Scot. We're now the 9 - 12 year old group. We would like to explore the viewing options for a moment.
Bugscope Team totally cool
- Bugscope Team yeah totally cool
- Bugscope Team let me know whenever you have questions
- Bugscope Team this is the opening of one of the stink glands on the ventral side (the underside) of the stinkbug's body
- Bugscope Team the meshwork is kind of like a filter to keep things from going into the stink gland
- Teacher What are those little hairy things across it?
Bugscope Team they are a kind of filter to keep pollen grains and other small stuff from entering the body cavity
- Bugscope Team it is interesting that stinkbugs do not like the way they smell any more than other insects, birds, and mice do
- Bugscope Team what it means is that they understand that the stink is yucky, and thus it is something they can use as a defense
- Bugscope Team because they do not like the smell, they have those little florettes on the surface of the exoskeleton to absorb the smell
- Bugscope Team these are moth scales -- the things that make a moth or butterfly wing feel 'silky'
- Bugscope Team they are the powder that comes off of of the wings
- Teacher ThatWhy are the moth scales jagged on the edges.
Bugscope Team sometimes they are and sometimes they are not; it may help lighten them, and it may help keep them flexible
- Teacher We were trying to say that it was cool to know about the absorbant part of the stink bug's exoskeleton.
Bugscope Team it is so interesting to see how these things work; totally cool
- Bugscope Team scales give the wings color, both structural color and pigment color; but the entomologists tell us that one main reason for having scales, which are loosely attached, is so that the insect can escape a spider's web -- by leaving the scales and slipping away
- Bugscope Team silverfish also have scales, and so do mosquitoes
- Teacher What are the scales attached to?
Bugscope Team they are attached to pores in the wings and in the surface of the exoskeleton; when they get pulled out we can see those pores
- Bugscope Team now you can start to see the ridges in the scales, and they have little cross-lattices in them that hold the pigment granules, if there are any
- Bugscope Team you can see that the scales have super tiny holes in them that make them light; in a way they are like a bird's feathers
- Bugscope Team the scale to the right is very bright, and also a bit distorted, because the electrons cause it to charge up with electricity
- Bugscope Team you can see, of course, that it is hard to view it now
- Bugscope Team some of the scales are better grounded and will not charge up as badly
- Bugscope Team this stinger, which is dried a bit and separated from itself, is super sharp but does not have the barbs we often see on stingers
- Bugscope Team the parasitic wasp people, who come to visit us sometimes, tell us that there is a parasitic wasp for nearly every insect species, and in some cases for every stage of that species' life
- Teacher Does a wasp die like a bee after stinging?
Bugscope Team no it does not. bees only die (because their stinger is pulled out and makes a big hole in their abdomen) when they sting mammals, like us, with thick skin
- Teacher Could you tell us about the life cycle of any parasitic wasp?
Bugscope Team what they do is sting the caterpillar or grown insect in some cases, that is their chosen host. the sting immobilizes their prey, and they then inject eggs, through the stinger, which is also an 'ovipositor,' into the body of the prey. the eggs hatch inside the prey and become larvae, which feed on the prey until they hatch out and go on to become new parasitic wasps
- Bugscope Team parasitic wasps are usually quite small and may look like gnats or tiny flies to us
- Bugscope Team what we see now is a single sensory seta on the surface of the stinger.
- Teacher What does the seta sense?
- Bugscope Team the seta, which we might also call a 'hair,' can be chemosensory (smell or chemical odor sensing), or it may be mechanosensory, which is touch-sensing, or wind...
- Bugscope Team different setae can also sense hot/cold; scales are actually modified setae; and some setae, on the pad called the pulvillus on for example the fly's arms, help the insect stick to surfaces. which is how flies can walk on ceilings and glass....
- Teacher Okay, larvae eat their host, but what do the adult parasitic wasps eat, or do they eat at all?
- Bugscope Team they may eat nectar from flowers, they may not eat at all; often the adult stage of life is very short. there are so many different kinds of wasps that all options are taken advantage of.
- Bugscope Team often, with insects, the female lays the eggs, of course, and she may need a meal to be able to do that successfully, whereas the male may not eat at all or may live on a little bit of nectar
- Bugscope Team with mosquitoes, it is only the females who need a blood meal; the males may not eat or may live on nectar, which is kind of like sugar water
- Teacher How long do parasitic wasps usually live?
Bugscope Team I am not sure -- probably a week to a month or so. it will depend on the species, of course
- Bugscope Team you can see that the mosquito's eye facets have dried and shrank since it died
- Bugscope Team the eye facets are called ommatidia
- Teacher What are the whiskers for and what is that wide thing above the whiskers?
- Bugscope Team you can see a scale (it looks like a palm frond) resting on the eye facets; the whiskers are setae that are likely also sensory; they can sense wind and touch, for example
- Bugscope Team female mosquitoes can find their prey buy sensing the carbon dioxide in the air that people and animals exhale
- Bugscope Team oops 'by' not 'buy'
- Bugscope Team I think that some mosquitoes can also sense heat, like ticks do
- Bugscope Team there are actually mosquito species in which the female does not take a blood meal, but they are not in the US as far as I know; they live on nectar from flowers as well.
- Bugscope Team the final sections of the arms/legs (there are six legs on an adult insect) are called tarsi, or tarsomeres.
- Bugscope Team most insects we look at have claws comparable to these
- Bugscope Team the claws of a fly, however, have a sticky pad between them that helps them hold onto surfaces
- Bugscope Team this beetle is not likely to be able to walk on glass, or to climb a smooth surface
- Bugscope Team the claw opens and closes when a tendon inside the leg/arm is retracted and let go.
- Teacher Lily wants to know what the hairs are for.
Bugscope Team the reason we see so many hairs on insects is because they have an exoskeleton, which would be like if you were wearing armor all of the time -- you would not be able to feel something touching your skin
- Bugscope Team oops it looks like my answer did not work
- Bugscope Team insect hairs serve as external sensory organs for insects because insects have their skeleton on the outside -- the exoskeleton
- Bugscope Team the chitin, or cuticle, is like a suit of armor would be to us. so the hairs, usually called setae, help the insect sense its environment
- Teacher McKenna wants to know when the beetle grows the claws.
Bugscope Team they grow along with the rest of the body -- when the beetle becomes an adult it will already have claws
- Teacher Those are a lot of sensory hairs! Byron wants to know how the beetle uses its claws.
Bugscope Team it uses its claws to grasp, much like we use our hands
- Bugscope Team so yes there are lots of sensory hairs, but there are lots of nerve endings in our skin; and our skin is touch and hot-cold sensory, but insects also smell using hairs
- Teacher Lily wondered if there
- Bugscope Team some of the mechanosensory hairs (like cat and rat whiskers) are also there so the insect can sense if its legs are extended or stretched too far in one direction
- Teacher is blood inside the claw that might come out if it breaks off. Can it break off?
Bugscope Team insect have something in them like blood that is called hemolymph, and it may come out if the claw is broken off. that wound may or may not heal; it is not likely, unless the insect is young and goes through a number of molts, that the claw will grow back. that depends on the life stage and the type of insect or arthropod.
- Teacher Rebecca wants to know how big this beetle would be in actual size.
- Bugscope Team this one is about as big as your fingernail. big and flat
- Bugscope Team speaking of fingernails, the chitin or cuticle that the exoskeleton is made of is a material like fingernails. like the shell of a shrimp.
- Teacher My group is ready to say thank you and so long, Scot. See ya' tomorrow.
- Bugscope Team See You Tomorrow!
- Bugscope Team Thank You All.
- Bugscope Team This is fun for us; I think Cate will be here to help as well tomorrow.