Insect Sampling

Sara and I have spent the last couple afternoons sorting frozen bugs. It’s at least an excuse to stay in the air-conditioned office…

Basically, we sample insects once each month to get an idea of fairy-wren food abundance. This means running around one afternoon with a butterfly net, sweeping it energetically through the grass (at predetermined spots along Annie Creek), then dumping the loot in a gallon-size ziplock, freezing it for two days, and picking through the subsequent mess with tweezers, carefully sifting insects from grass seeds. It’s a tedious process, but I’m learning some useful Latin. Want to know the order of grasshoppers? No worries. (It’s Orthoptera.) How about the order of beetles? Got that one, too. (Coleoptera.) And want to know what a ziplock full of half-thawed dead bugs smells like? Barfinabucketa. Official term.

2 replies
  1. Jörg
    Jörg says:

    Hey Noah!
    I love to read your blog. Sometimes I’m jealous because I’ve to sit in rainy Heidelberg and work in the lab on my diploma thesis. But I guess sorting frozen bugs is not so much more exciting than shining infrared light on metallic nanostructures ;)

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