Respect Tha Insect: A Semester in Review

Ah, yes, liberal arts schools.  Where no matter your specialty, you must at some point dabble in the awkward.  Where regardless of your apparent inability to nurture anything away from its inevitable death, you must inescapably take a general biology lab class in which you raise insects inside your dorm room.

Aaron, meet insects.  Insects, meet Miller 420.

Because by some miraculous stroke of nature, I managed to keep all of these creatures alive, I thought it would only be right to blog about them.  This is also a product of the embarrassing separation anxiety I now feel as a result of being required to turn them in to the Biology Department.  Though they will probably all be dead within a matter of weeks due to an inherently hasty life cycle, I predict the blogosphere’s lifespan to last much longer.  Let’s make my public tears worthwhile.

My first occupant was Papa Roach, a glorious little Madagascar Hissing Cockroach (Gromphadorhina portentosa).  For a more detailed photo, go here, though I far prefer the character of this one.  Interestingly enough, Papa Roach never did hiss, even after hours and hours of pipette prodding.  So, apparently he was a mute, though he sure as hell knew how to eat dog food.  Papa Roach, you were silent, low-maintenance, and preferred the darkest of desk drawers.  You are missed, my friend.  I hope your new owner, unlike me, is brave enough to de-feces your dish so you don’t have to constantly lay in it.  (Sorry)

It was around this time that we learned about pesticides in class, and my frustrations with modern chemical application, combined with the picturing of my insect companions falling victim to a very lung-damaging death, could only become adequately expressed in the form of gangsta rap (logically).  A visit to my friend Andrew Prahlow’s hybrid dorm room / studio produced this angsty nugget:

Yes, that is me on the piano, and yes, that is me rapping the first verse.  And yes, I promise to stop exploring this genre in my music career, no matter how temporarily amusing it seems.

My second assignment involved not just one or two organisms, but a whole damn family of them.  Raised in a tiny petri dish equal in size to Papa Roach’s, I was given the task of breeding Milkweed Bugs (Oncopeltus fasciatus).  And as I found out very quickly, what began with two adults (male and female) and one nymph would prove to be the most raunchy rave-orgy I have ever witnessed.  And I’ve seen a few raunchy rave-orgies.  In case you think I’m exaggerating, I’ll point out that the two adults mated for OVER 24 hours straight on one occasion, only to outdo themselves a couple days later.  It is for this reason that I dubbed the male Marvin Gaye, and the female, respectively, Ke$ha.  Eggs were laid, more nymphs were born, and my own little incestuous Brady Bunch lived happily in their dish of sin.

My third and final guest was easily the prettiest, though I never figured out if it was a male or female.  This was not a problem, as I settled on the name Laser Jesus within the first day.  LJ, a Painted Lady butterfly (Vanessa cardui) started as a caterpillar that literally swam in its combined food/beverage mush, like so.  I should note that I loved this little creature; I did not have to take care of it in the slightest. Eventually, Laser Jesus pupated, and I transferred it to a wire cage so the butterfly could escape without imminent death.  When he and/or she emerged about 8 days later, this was my new friend.  HOW AWESOME IS THAT?!  Needless to say, I had half a mind to let LJ go, partially because it would flip shit every time the sun hit its cage, and partially because I couldn’t get it to eat.

In summary: mute cockroach, pesticide rap, milkweed bug orgy, dieting butterfly.  My sad life.  Thanks for listening.



~ by hewhonever on May 19, 2010.

One Response to “Respect Tha Insect: A Semester in Review”

  1. Gosh that makes my day everytime i read it.

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