Visit the bizarre, bad and beneficial world of bugs at Insectapalooza 2016

WHAT: Insectapalooza 2016 to feature “Battle of the Bugs” display, live Anthropod Zoo, Butterfly Room, and hands-on learning activities

WHEN:
Saturday, Oct. 22, 9 a.m. to 3 p.m.

WHERE: Comstock Hall, Cornell University, Ithaca

VISUALS: To view and download images from previous Insectapalooza events, visit https://cornell.box.com/v/insectphotos.

MEDIA: The event is open to the public. Interviews previewing Insectapalooza are available. Contact Melissa Osgood in Cornell’s Media Relations Office at (607) 255-2059 or mmo59@cornell.edu.

ITHACA, N.Y. – Insectapalooza, an annual event hosted by the Cornell University’s Department of Entomology, is an interactive, hands-on experience for all ages. Now in its 13th year, the event draws upward of 2,500 people to Cornell to witness hundreds of live insects, spiders and other fascinating arthropods.

A celebration of bizarre, bad and beneficial bugs, Insectapalooza will be held in Comstock Hall on Cornell’s Ithaca campus on Saturday, Oct. 22, from 9 a.m. to 3 p.m.

Insectapalooza favorites include the Butterfly Room; the “Battle of the Bugs” display showing off the diverse, resourceful and just plain weird ways some insects prey on other bugs; and the Arthropod Zoo, featuring an impressive collection of creatures that most people never have the chance to see.

Linda Rayor, senior lecturer research associate in entomology and director of the Naturalist Outreach Program, says the event is an exciting way to communicate science to the public.

“We have worked hard to make Insectapalooza a community outreach event where we can engage the public of all ages in not only the wonders of arthropods, but also the value of current research in entomology,” Rayor said. “We aim for a mix of infotainment for the younger set with giving people access to the amazing diversity and value of insects.”

John Sanderson, associate professor of entomology and an expert in biological control, will host the popular “Battle of the Bugs” display. Through evolution, insects have developed many strategies for feeding and reproduction, and Sanderson and others will show some of the tactics deployed by insect predators.

Those familiar with the 1979 science-fiction classic “Alien” will be aware of the strategy used by insect parasitoids: These creatures lay their eggs inside other insects, and eventually their spawn chew their way out of the host to start the process again.

Other insects hunt prey in a manner familiar to us but at a size far below our usual awareness. Visitors can watch predation unfold at human scale, as a camera attached to a microscope will show orange predaceous mites hunt and eat another species of mites that are pests of plant leaves.

“Visitors will see projected on a big screen the equivalent of a lion hunting a gazelle on the Serengeti, but the hunt takes place in less than a quarter of an inch,” said Sanderson.

The cost of entry to Insectapalooza 2016 is $3 per person, and free for children age 3 and younger. For more information, visit the Cornell Entomology website.

For interviews contact:
Melissa Osgood
office: 607-255-2059
cell: 607-882-3773
mmo59@cornell.edu

Cornell University has television, ISDN and dedicated Skype/Google+ Hangout studios available for media interviews. To learn more about Insectapalooza 2016, see this Cornell Chronicle story.

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