backyardnature.com is   backyard nature,  backyard wildlife,   and green business for consumers
backyard lawn and garden plants including mushrooms in forestry and urban natural areas
Homepage

HOME & GARDEN
Animals: Pets & Wildlife
Home Improvement
Natural Housing
Gardening
Lawncare
Conservation Tips

Green & Sustainable
Urban Agriculture & Farming
Organic Food
Energy Efficiency
Transportation
Community
Nature Tips
Health
TRAVEL to SoCal
Eco & Nature Travel
California Nature
California Beach Communities
Hiking & Camping
Events Calendar
California Green Solutions
KIDS EYE VIEW
Squirrels
Birds
Bird Profiles
Buddy's Diner
Insects & Weird Critters
Plants & Green Stuff
Other Fun Stuff
Nature Education Center
Naturalists
INSPIRATION ETC.
Scrapbook
California Scrapbook
Japan Scrapbook
Naturalists & Heroes
Backyard Blessings
Nature Education
Nature Art & Illustration
Nature Films & Video



"Every child should have mud pies, grasshoppers, waterbugs, tadpoles, frogs & turtles, elderberries, wild strawberries, acorns, hickory nuts, trees to climb, animals to pet, hayfields, pine cones, rocks to roll, sand, snakes, huckleberries and hornets – and any child who has been deprived of these has been deprived of the best part of his education." -Luther Burbank 1849 - 1926
ABOUT US
Published by
Solutions For Green We also publish California Green Solutions and a series of blogs about healthy living solutions.

PRIVACY POLICY
We don't share your information with anyone else. We ask that parents subscribe to the newsletter. We respect our community's children. We believe we are part of "our village" and need to care for one another.

california native plants are poppies for wildflowers and native plant ecosystem

For more sustainable business information, visit CaliforniaGreenSolutions.com for Sustainable Workplace and Green Products, www.SunshineByDesign.com and ~ Movie Industry Marketing for Indie Filmmaking Tips Arkansas Pet Services ~ BLTNetwork.com for Lifestyles ~ Home and Garden Habitat, Organics and Sustainability
organic foods, organic landscaping, organic farming and organic products for babies, kids and adults.

Ugly Bug Contest - Til December 15

“You’ve just entered another dimension – a dimension of insects, a micro dimension, where milkweed bugs, assassin bugs, crickets and fruit flies crawl, walk or fly side by side to show off features that are the envy of the insect world and quite possibly beyond.” This is the introduction of a video announcing the 2010 Ugly Bug Contest.

Last year’s Ugly Bug Contest attracted insect enthusiasts from around the world. Some 8,025 insectophiles cast their vote for their favorite ugly bug. This year, voters will have until Dec. 15 to show their support for the bug they deem the most fascinating, unique, or downright detestable. Until then, each bug’s fate hangs in a virtual balance.

The adaptation of the Twilight Zone theme for this year’s video is well-suited for a contest whose contenders, all somewhat alien to a human viewer, resemble creatures one might see on the show. The house cricket, for example, with its passion for decayed insects while dining, resembles a flesh-eating zombie; while the assassin bug, whose beak-like mouthparts inject toxic saliva into its prey, becomes multiply monstrous in multifaceted eyes of insect victims.

Other creatures determined to be crowned the ugliest bug of 2010 include the earwig, flour beetle, fruit and house flies, male ant, milkweed bug, jewel wasp and yellow dragonfly. The Ugly Bug video is at.

The annual contest, now in its third year at Arizona State University, was created by Marilee Sellers of Northern Arizona University in Flagstaff, Ariz. For 10 years, it was a local fixture – part of the Flagstaff Festival of Science and the Mount Campus Science Day. In 2008, Sellers teamed up with ASU’s Charles Kazilek to bring the competition to the Web.

The contest is housed online in connection with ASU’s popular children’s science education website “Ask A Biologist” created by Kazilek, director of technology innovation and outreach in ASU’s School of Life Sciences, in the College of Liberal Arts and Sciences.

Sporting the moniker “Dr. Biology,” Kazilek says the contest not only provides a chance for individuals to become engaged in viewing insects, but is also a great opportunity for learning to occur.

Visitors to “Ask A Biologist” have access to downloadable wallpapers, a poster and coloring pages. The site also houses modules designed to improve students’ basic reasoning skills and a variety of experiments and “how-to” projects. Additionally, viewers find stories about scientists and their career paths. The entire website activities offer students of all ages insight into the capacious field of biology, says Kazilek.

The True Bug Story

The creators of the Ugly Bug Contest added something new to the contest this year: the True Bug Story. The story teaches visitors that the word “bug” has a very specific usage within entomology, says Kazilek. The tale also explains that while all bugs are insects, not all insects are bugs. “True bugs” belong to a very specific subset of insects and the contest allows viewers to see some of them up close, explains Kazilek.

Each of the contest’s 10 competitors has a personal photo and biography on the website, complete with details such as its size, weight and Latin, genus and species names. The biographies also include interesting facts about the insects, which range from the enlightening to the somewhat frightening.

The images of the insects are taken using a scanning electron microscope, which allows viewers to explore a magnified view of the competitive world of bugs – a world that would otherwise be unattainable with the human eye. Viewers are provided with colorful mug shots of the bugs, as well as the original black-and-white images of the bugs as actually seen through the microscope. The two contrasting images provide viewers a kind of before and after view that few can see outside of a laboratory.

Bugbook for Personal Thoughts and Comments from the Bugs themselves

Bugbook, another new feature of the contest, gives viewers a look at bugs as they’ve never been seen before. Modeled after the homepage of the social networking site Facebook, Bugbook is filled with the bug’s own status updates and comments to each other. The comments reveal each bug’s personal thoughts about the contest, while giving viewers some unique insights into the life of a bug. “What’s on your mind” comments include some of the bug’s thoughts on the current results of the contest.

With more than 400 votes, the jewel wasp was leading in the polls. Also known as Nasonia vitripennis, this winged stinger is one of the spookiest critters in the contest. The jewel wasp lays its eggs inside a living host. As the eggs hatch, the larvae eat the host from the inside out.

Will the jewel wasp win the title of Ugly Bug Champion 2010? Only the public can decide. To seal this bug’s fate, a vote can be cast at http://askabiologist.asu.edu/activities/ubc. There, a new, real-time tabulation feature will show how each vote is counted toward making “some lucky bug’s dream come true,” says Kazilek.

2009 Champion: The Snake Fly/h2> Last year’s champion, the snake fly, might be considered by some far less fearsome in the insect world in comparison to the jewel wasp. Kazilek admits that his favorite bug this year, the yellow dragonfly, resembles a character one might see in the Disney movie “Monsters Inc.”

When asked what draws people to the competition, which has already received almost 1,800 votes, Kazilek said: “Most people don’t have a scanning electron microscope. The contest presents an opportunity to see these insects up close in a way that you typically are unable to.”

The Ugly Bug Contest for Intimate Looks at Weird

The Ugly Bug Contest offers an intimate look at some of the insects who inhabit our world and who are often overlooked, he says. While one main objective of the contest is to allow visitors to become engaged in science, Kazilek notes that another goal is “capturing the imagination.”

The contest is sponsored by Northern Arizona University Imaging and Histology Core Facility, Dow AgroSciences, and ASU’s International Institute for Species Exploration, School of Life Sciences and W. M. Keck Bioimaging Laboratory.

ARIZONA STATE UNIVERSITY

College of Liberal Arts and Sciences

School of Life Sciences