Monday, June 29, 2015

A Break from Birds: Insect Addition

 A special post today about the recent Nature Walk hosted by the Peabody Museum West Campus Education Center.  On June 19th Tom Parlapiano organized a nature walk at West Campus focusing on insects that was lead by Peabody entomology collection manager Dr. Raymond Pupedis.

Ants quickly moving their pupae after their nest was disturbed.

Dr. Pupedis answering questions while examining the beating sheet.
Heading from the nursing school over to the trails by the West Campus Farm, Dr. Pupedis illustrated a number of ways that insects can by collected for study.  He demonstrated the techniques of 'sweeping' using an insect net through foliage, 'beating' a branch to make insects fall onto a white cloth, and the 'pooter' or aspirator that uses an apparatus to suck up the insects into a collecting jar.

Tom took a swing with the net.

An insect temporarily placed in a vial made it easy for participants to see.
Participants at the walk were able to see insects up close and learn about their natural history and techniques to help identify species.  They learned that it's possible to identify different wood-boring beetles based to the patterns left behind by larvae from feeding.

A small bee species seen during the walk.

Questions about the damsel fly being lightly held in hand.
Dr. Pupedis had also set up two light traps the evening before and described how the different traps worked.  The insects from the traps were then put out on the sheet for everyone to examine.  Even though it was relatively 'slow' for insects that day, at least 100 different species of insects were seen.  A species "Thank You" to Dr. Pupedis for leading the walk and to all the participants who came!  Now back to the birds.

Dr. Ray Pupedis and Mark Plummer examine insects collected in a trap.

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