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Beetle Mania: Sunday Afternoon with a Scientist at the State Museum

Brett Ratcliffe
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“Beetle Mania” took over Morrill Hall at the University of Nebraska State Museum on 15 August 2010 for a presentation for children and families that celebrates the beauty and diversity of beetles and other insects. Approximately 300 visitors had the opportunity to interact with scientists and ask questions about the insects they collect and study from across the globe for purposes of education and biodiversity research. Some children brought their small collection or a “backyard bug” for a scientist to identify. This program was part of the Museum’s monthly "Sunday with a Scientist" series.

"Beetle Mania" was led by Dr. Brett Ratcliffe (Curator of the Museum’s Entomology Research Collections); Dr. M. J. Paulsen (Entomology Collections Manager); Dr. Mary Liz Jameson (Wichita State University) and her graduate student, Matt Moore; Steve Spomer (Research Technician, UNL Department of Entomology); and UNL entomology graduate students Jesus Orozco and Ken Miwa.

Exhibited were a small selection of the most colorful and striking beetles and other insects from all over the world. Included were large tropical rhinoceros beetles (part of a large, National Science Foundation funded project to document rhinoceros beetle diversity in Mexico and Guatemala), metallic wood born beetles, long horn beetles, stag beetles, and minute rove beetles. Other insects on display included giant silk moths, metallic blue morpho butterflies, giant spiders, and even insect candy. Specialty exhibits included live insects, insect musicians. and Nebraska’s endangered Salt Marsh Tiger Beetle and American Burying Beetle.

The NU State Museum’s Division of Entomology research collections were begun in 1887 and are comprised of approximately two million pinned, fluid-preserved, papered, and slide-mounted insects and arachnids, including the U. S. National Collection of Scarab Beetles from the Smithsonian Institution as part of an open-ended, off-site enhancement loan. Research programs of the lab, known as Team Scarab, focus on the systematics of Neotropical scarabaeoid beetles from Central and South America. A special Web page, Scarabs for Kids, has been created to help youth discover more about beetles:
http://www-museum.unl.edu/research/entomology/Scarabs-for-Kids/scarabs.html
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Brett Ratcliffe
Brett Ratcliffe at Beetle Mania. Photo S. Gardner.
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Jesus Orozco
Jesus Orozco at Beetle Mania. Photo BCR.
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Mary Liz Jameson and a visitor
Dr. Mary Liz Jameson with visitor at Beetle Mania. Photo BCR.
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Steve Spomer
Steve Spomer discussing endangered species at Beetle Mania. Photo BCR.
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Matt Moore
Matt Moore at Beetle Mania. Photo BCR.
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Mary Liz Jameson identifying a bug
Mary Liz Jameson identifying a garden bug at Beetle Mania. Photo: P. Grew.
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Beetle Mania
Beetle Mania. Photo BCR.
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M J Pulsen
M. J. Paulsen preparing specimens at Beetle Mania. Photo BCR.
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M J Paulsen preparing specimen
M. J. Paulsen preparing specimens at Beetle Mania. Photo BCR.
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Ken Miwa showing life beetles
Ken Miwa showing live beetles at Beetle Mania. Photo BCR.
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Ken Miwa showing life beetles
Ken Miwa showing live beetles at Beetle Mania. Photo P. Grew.
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beetle mania
Beetle Mania. Photo: P. Grew.
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beetle mania
Beetle Mania. Photo: P. Grew.
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Brett Ratclife at beetle mania
Brett Ratcliffe at Beetle Mania. Photo: P. Grew.
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insect candy
Hmmm, Insect Candy!! Beetle Mania. Photo: P. Grew.
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beetle envy at beetle mania
Beetle envy at Beetle Mania. Photo S. Gardner.
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beetle mania
Beetle Mania. Photo S. Gardner.
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Comments about this site can be sent to Brett Ratcliffe
Generated on: 28/SEP/2010
University of Nebraska-Lincoln State Museum - Division of Entomology