Connected on 2015-04-14 12:45:00
from Douglas County, Nebraska, United States
- 11:41 am
- Bugscope Teamsetting up
- 12:01 pm
- 12:07 pm
- 12:12 pm
- 12:17 pm
- 12:24 pm
- 12:29 pm
- 12:36 pm
- 12:41 pm
- TeacherWe are just returning from recess, thanks
- Bugscope Teamhi!
- Bugscope Teamwe are all set to go
- Bugscope TeamTrap-Jaw ants! Yay :)
- Bugscope Teamthis is cool
- Bugscope TeamMrs Pickett please be sure to let us know when you need anything, and we are here to answer questions.
- 12:48 pm
- TeacherThank you, can you please let us know which animal we are observing
- Bugscope Teamthis is a trapjaw ant, which happens to be Josh's specialty
- TeacherThank you, Scot, can you or Josh tell us please if the trapjaw ants ever fight each other? What would make them do this?
- Bugscope Teamlooking up
- Bugscope TeamIts too bad you guys have to see the trap-jaw ant dead. Theyre quite spectacular to observe when theyre alive.
- 12:53 pm
- TeacherWhy is it called trap jaw?
Bugscope TeamTrap-jaw ants have a specialized prey capture mechanism in which they are able to lock their mandibles open in a 180 degree gape and store energy in them until prey come intocontact with long intermandibular trigger hairs, which causes the ant to release her mandibles at pretty astounding speeds. hence the name trap-jaw, they basically have miniature bear traps attached to the front of their faces :)
Bugscope TeamSince she is dead she has her mandibles closed at the moment. Scott, is there a way I can post pictures on here? I have a nice stacked image of a trap-jaw with her mandibles locked open
- TeacherThe students are pretty impressed with her!
- Bugscope TeamJosh the only way to post images is if they have a url...
- TeacherCan you describe what they eat?
Bugscope TeamThis lineage of trap-jaw ant belongs to the genus Odontomachus. Specifically I think she is Odontomachus chelifer. Anyways Odontomachus species tend to be generalists, although some preferentially forage for termite workers. I know that O. chelifer will forage for many different types of insects but do prefer termites.
- 12:59 pm
- Bugscope Teamthe background the insects are sitting on is carbon tape (the stuff that looks bubbly) and there is also some small amounts of silver paint underneath them to help them stay down
- TeacherJosh, thank you so much for the picture!
- TeacherAnother question is, do they bite humans?
Bugscope TeamThey sting humans and can also bite, I believe. At least this species.
Bugscope Teamyes, they will bite and sting if you disturb them. I'm currently doing an experiment that requires me to label ant larvae with paint and when I was returning the larvae to their nest one of the workers of this species both bit and stung me. Its not that bad, a little worse than a papercut for about a minute
- Bugscope Team'Odonto-' means 'tooth,' or 'tooth-related,' and 'machus' means 'thrower.'
- TeacherWhat is the maximum length they can gro to?
Bugscope Teamthis is the largest described species of Odontomachus. they get to be about an inch long I think. Im bad with estimating measurements :/
- TeacherWhere are these ants found?
Bugscope TeamOdontomachus are found throughout the tropics and subtropics around the world. we have five species in North america, most restricted to florida. This particular ant was collected in Brazil
- TeacherNathan would like to know, are the ants venomous?
Bugscope Teamyes they are venomous
- TeacherI have an email, it is PickettB@ctkomaha.org if that helps :)
Bugscope Teamsweet, Ill send you the pic :)
- Bugscope TeamI sent the pic, let me know if you get it :)
- Bugscope Teamthese are the jaws, closed tightly
- 1:05 pm
- TeacherI did thank you so much!
Bugscope TeamYay :) happy to share
- Bugscope TeamHere we can see the three apical teeth located at the tip of the mandible. Trap-jaw ants tend to have relatively few teeth that are restricted to the tips of their mandibles. This helps them concentrate the force of their strikes at these points, increasing the preasure they exert on their prey
Bugscope Teamtechnically, they are not really teeth
Bugscope TeamNot in the sense that you think of people or dogs having teeth. I think thats still the technical term we use for them though.
- Bugscope Teamthis is a female mosquito
- TeacherWhich part?
Bugscope TeamThis is the head
Bugscope Teamthis is the head of a female mosquito
Bugscope TeamWe can see the eyes ( the bumpy structures on either side) as well as the bases of the antennae (in the center between the eyes)
- TeacherWhy do they eat blood?
Bugscope TeamFemale mosquitoes do eat blood. They use it to provide nutrients to develop their ovaries and lay eggs. They can also feed on nectar when they are not trying to lay eggs. Males, since they do not lay eggs, feed exclusively on nectar and do not bite
- TeacherIs it a compound eye?
Bugscope TeamYes! Each is composed of many individual facets called ommatidia.
- 1:11 pm
- Bugscope Teamthe two rounded things in about the middle of where we are looking now are called pedicels
Bugscope TeamPedicels are the basal segment of the antennae
Bugscope Teamso the antennae come out of the centers of the pedicels
- TeacherWhat it the life span of the average mosquito?
Bugscope TeamI'm not entirely sure, but I believe that, depending on the species, they spend about a week or two as larvae, and then maybe three weeks to a month as adults (assuming they don't get swatted first and meet an untimely demise ;)). The males probably have a shorter life span, although they are less likely to get killed by people since they do not take blood meals so the actualized life span may be higher in males
- Bugscope Teamwe can tell male mosquitoes from female mosquitoes, usually, because the antennae of the males are fancy, kind of frilly, and those of the females are simple, not fancy at all
Bugscope TeamThe males use their frilly antennae to detect females by sensing the frequency of vibrating female mosquito wings using a sensory organ at the base of the antennae called Johnston's organ.
- Bugscope Teambutterflies, moths, silverfish, and mosquitoes, along with very few other insects, have scales
- TeacherWhat is the structure in the very center of the screen, bottom? It has scales or layers.
Bugscope Teamthat is either one of the palps or it is the distal portion (the part closest to the body) of the proboscis
Bugscope Teamand those are indeed scales\
Bugscope TeamYou can tell a mosquito from other similar flies such as midges by the presence of scales. Mosquitoes are the only flies that have them
- Bugscope Teamscales often confer color to their bearer, as we see with butterflies and moths; but scales also protect the insect that has them from getting caught in spiderwebs
- 1:17 pm
- TeacherThanks so much!
- TeacherHow many eggs does a female lay?
Bugscope TeamNot sure :/ It probably varies between species. I know many of the medically important groups of mosquitoes lay eggs groups that form floating rafts on the water, but not how many eggs on average
Bugscope Teamone reference says about 50 to 200 per egg-laying, in this case per day
Bugscope Teamand between 1000 and 3000 in a female's lifetime
- TeacherWhat is the overall size of this insect?
Bugscope Teamprobably less than half an inch. maybe a fourth of an inch? bleh I suck at estimating sizes :( blood feeding mosquitoes cant get too big though or they will be easier to feel when they land on you.
Bugscope Teamthey definitely vary in size. in Florida there are larger mosquitoes that specialize in feeding on reptiles like snakes
- Bugscope Teama few millimeters-ish
Bugscope Teamyeah I would say 8 or 9 millimeters to 1.5 or so centimeters
- TeacherMay we click on one of the pictures on the left of the screen?
Bugscope Teamgo ahead and click the blue left arrow and select another area to go to
- Bugscope Teamthis is a sugar crystal; we added it to the stub to show that it does not form cubic crystals
- TeacherVery interesting to see the structure
- Bugscope Teamsugar cubes are thus formed from a lot of non-cubic crystals, perhaps like this
- Bugscope Teamthis is totally cool
- 1:22 pm
- Bugscope Teamthese are sodium chloride crystals -- table salt -- from a Wendy's restaurant a few years ago
- Bugscope Teamwe like them because they form cubic crystals, as we would expect, but they have what look like incisions in the crystals
- Bugscope Teamwe think that the incised portions of the crystals are due to the addition of an anti-caking ingredient, perhaps
- Bugscope TeamWendy's, presently, and at least in our area, does not have this kind of salt anymore.
- TeacherThat was one of the questions that was asked, and you answered it, thank you!
- Bugscope Teamsalt for use in food usually has iodine added to it, but I believe the iodine does not affect the crystal structure
- TeacherWhat are the little hairs on the antennae?
Bugscope Teamthose mostly look like mechanosensory setae/hairs
Bugscope Teamsense of touch
- Bugscope Teaminsects do not have skin, like we do
- 1:27 pm
- Bugscope Teaminstead of skin they have a thin shell, called cuticle, kind of like if we were wearing armor
- TeacherThank you very much for talking with us today. We have to dismiss early for a guest speaker coming to our school. Thank you for working with us!
- Bugscope Teamif you were wearing armor, you would not be able to feel things touching its surface
- Bugscope Teamso insects have tiny setae that help them sense their environment
- Bugscope Teamthank you for joining us today
- Bugscope TeamThank you, Mrs. Pickett
- Bugscope Teamsee you next year!