Science Channel - InSCIder

26 Jan

Getting Buggy

Come closer...I'm hungry! Spiders. Cockroaches. Giant Centipedes. Scorpions. Do the words give cold chills? Ever since I saw the movie "Arachnophobia" as a teenager, I've struggled to make peace with the insect denizens of our planet. As a science enthusiast, I appreciate the role they play in our ecosystem; I can even appreciate the curiously alien expressions that insects have (if you don't believe me, check out this amazing macro photo of a midge from our SciSpy community). Everyone seems to have one "kryptonite" critter - a creepy crawler that can turn you into a frozen weakling with one unexpected tickle. For me, terror marches in on long, skinny legs ... harvestmen, millipedes, and silverfish reduce me to squeaks and hand-rubbing.

That said, I've really enjoyed working on the fansite for Monster Bug Wars these past two seasons! Surprisingly enough, in our weekly team meetings, no one volunteered to take this project on. Like Ben Stein's character in "Ferris Bueller's Day Off," I heard nothing but silence in response to my request for a volunteer. So, as a gardener and an amateur beekeeper, I felt it was my duty to give the bug world its proper respect, and I took it on myself.

What I love about this show is the way it brings together detailed explanations of each critter's natural defenses - and weapons - with smackdown fights to the death. It's a perfect combination of entertainment and education. The 3D animations bring out incredible detail in even the smallest insect's physiology; Drs. Grieg Fry and Linda Rayor bring home the remarkable strength, power, and deadly natural weapons that nature has bestowed.

There are over 900,000 known species of insect in the world. They're armed with venom, stingers, pincers, super-strong mandibles, and can lay traps that are stronger than steel and stickier than super-glue. Watching them fight to the death each week in Monster Bug Wars, I'm just glad they're not running for political office. It would get ugly! Who do you think would win in the ultimate bug smackdown?

Joy Montefusco
Site Director

Image: Thinkstock

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