Name That Bug!

Dec 31, 2010

Emcee Tom Turpin of Purdue University stood at the podium and acknowledged he might mispronounce an entomology student's name.  "If it sounds anything like your name and I’m looking at you, that’s you."

So began the Linnaean Games, a college-bowl type competition that's as lively as it is entertaining and educational.

And it's all about insects, entomologists and entomological facts.

The Linnaean Games, held at the annual Entomological Society of America (ESA) meeting, is an event that pits student-teams against one another until a winner is declared. The 2010 event, hosted in San Diego, ended with Ohio State University winning the championship.  

Students buzz in with the answers to questions such as:

What’s the loudest insect in the world? What is the egg case of a cockroach called? Kissing bugs, in the family Reduviidae, are vectors of what disease? About how long have insects been on earth?  Give three official common names for Helicoverpa zea.

Ohio State defeated UC Davis, Pennsylvania State University and the University of Georgia and finally, in the championship game, toppled the University of Nebraska. 

But first, the Ohio team of Joshua Bryant, Glene Mynhardt, Kaitlin Uppstrom and Nicola Gallagher had to get by the UC Davis team of Meredith Cenzer, Matan Shelomi, Andrew Merwin, and Ralph Washington.

As the crowd cheered them on, the two teams tied the score several times. Finally, with the score knotted at 90-90, Ohio correctly answered the final question to advance to the next round.

Tom Turpin of Purdue emceed the program while a trio of judges--J. E. McPherson of Southern Illinois University, Carol Annelli of Washington State University and Susan Weller of the University of Minnesota--scored the answers.

Each ESA branch sponsors a Linnaean Games competition and sends up to two teams to the nationals. 

Pacific Branch sent UC Davis and Washington State University.

Southeastern Branch: University of Georgia and University of Florida

Eastern Branch: Pennsylvania State University (University of Maryland also won at the branch level but did not participate in the nationals)

North Central Branch: Ohio State University and the University of Nebraska

Southwestern Branch: New Mexico State and Texas A&M

Answers to the above questions (see sixth paragraph):

What’s the loudest insect in the world?
African cicada (Brevisana brevis); it has been measured at 106 decibels,  (equivalent to a gas mower at 3 feet away).

What is the egg case of a cockroach called?

Kissing bugs, in the family Reduviidae, are vectors of what disease? Answer:
Chagas disease

About how long have insects been on earth?
Some 400-380 million years ago.

Give three official common names for Helicoverpa zea?
Corn earworm, tomato fruitworm, and cotton bollworm

Other questions and answers included:

Which sexes of cicadas have tymbals and which have tympana?
Males have both. Females have only tympana.

What term is used to describe the antennae found on male mosquitoes? Answer:

Crickets are well-known music makers. What are the names of the two specialized structures that allow them to make that wonderful noise and where specifically on the body are they located?
File and scraper, located on the forewings.

At what American school was the first entomology class taught and who was the teacher?
Harvard (1805-1822) W.D. Peck.

In the Amazon rain forest, what are the common names of two groups of insects that make up about 1/3 of the biomass of all animals in the habitat?
Ants and termites.

Problems with honey bee hives in what state led to the recognition of colony collapse disorder?

Name two orders of insects that are entirely predatory.
Odonata and Mantodea

The monarch is actually the second-most popular state insect.  What insect is the most frequently adopted state insect?
Honey bee.

Robert Frost wrote a poem that begins with the lines:  “An ant on a table cloth ran into a dormant moth of many times his size.”  As you might guess the poem is about ants.  What is the title of the poem?

By Kathy Keatley Garvey
Author - Communications specialist

Attached Images:

2010 CHAMPIONSHIP LINNAEAN TEAM is Ohio State. From left are Joshua Bryant,  Kaitlin Uppstrom,  Nicola Gallagher and Glene Mynhardt, battling with UC Davis. Ryan Caesar (not pictured) later participated on the team. (Photo by Kathy Keatley Garvey)

Championship Team

UC DAVIS Linnaean Team listens to a question. From left are Ralph Washington, Andrew Merwin, Matan Shelomi and Meredith Cenzer. The team narrowly lost to the Ohio State team, which advanced to the finals and defeated the University of Nebraska to win the championship. (Photo by Kathy Keatley Garvey)

UC Davis Team

SCORE between UC Davis and Ohio State teams stood knotted at 90-90 before Ohio State answered the next question correctly. The 2010 Linnaean Games drew an enthusiastic crowd. Ohio State toppled the University of Nebraska for the championship. (Photo by Kathy Keatley Garvey)

Tied Score

EMCEE Tom Turpin (right) of Purdue University confers with judge J. E. McPherson of Southern Illinois University. (Photo by Kathy Keatley Garvey)