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Insects

Studying the effects of temperature shifts on the calling behavior of central New York insects.

Cool Cockroaches by Elliot Hunsinger

December 20, 2016

Cockroaches. Just the mention of them is enough to elicit a negative response. Bringing them up in almost any situation often leads to stories of revulsion from the first time someone saw them running across their kitchen floor, or flying directly at them (more often than not touched with a bit of exaggeration). When I tell people that I did research with them and would like to continue doing so I get the same responses from nearly everyone: Why?! They’re so disgusting! Then a story of how disgusted they were when they saw one in their kitchen, or bathroom. It’s a shame really that everyone associates the relatively few pest species, only about 30, with a group that encompasses at least 4,600 species.

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Adventures with Crickets by George El-Amir

December 6, 2016

Yesterday, I went into the cricket room like I normally do to check on my crickets and switch out their boxes for the anthropogenic noise behavior experiment. I didn’t expect to see anything special or out of the ordinary happen with the crickets-except maybe the terrifying amount we now have-but I was in for a surprise during my husbandry routine.

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The Meredith Symposium - Spotlight on Undergraduate Research by Alexandra Logan

November 28, 2016

On Saturday, October 22nd I was lucky enough to present the research I had been working on in Dr. Parks lab at the Meredith Symposium. The Meredith Symposium is put on by Syracuse University and it focuses on undergraduate research in Chemistry and Biological Sciences. In the first week of October I submitted an abstract to the symposium for my research on the effects of temperature on female preference of male calls in Metrioptera Roeselii katydids. When I submitted my abstract, I had to choose whether I wanted to present my research with a talk, a poster or either one and since I do not like to make decisions I selected the “either one” option. I did not hear back for weeks and I thought for certain that my research had not been selected. Then on October 14, about a week before the Symposium date, I received an email saying that I was selected to be one of the eight speakers at the Symposium. I was extremely excited, but I also felt a lot of pressure because I had never given a professional talk before. Not only did I have to prepare for something that was new to me, I had to do it in less than a week.

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Back in Business by Dana Cusano

May 15, 2014

The business of catching bugs, that is. We officially started up our 2014 insect acoustics field season this week and went on our first bug catching expedition just this morning. We planned on just heading out to a couple of our favorite sites from last year and setting up traps for spring field crickets. We also set out to deploy an acoustic recorder which we will leave up for the next few months to monitor the soundscape. We are lucky we planned ahead (good thinking Jess) and brought some port-a-bugs. We ended up finding 9 male spring field crickets at the very first site, and we weren’t even there for that long! We are getting pretty good at this I think…Hannah actually caught three in one swoop. She is just weirdly awesome like that.

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Spotlight on Steve by Dana Cusano

July 23, 2013

Who is Steve, you ask? Well Steve is one of our two true katydid nymphs that we have had here in the lab for a few weeks now. He lives in a nice double-decker cage with his buddy Sampson on the windowsill next to my desk where they can get lots of sun. We give them fresh food every other day and mist them with water to hydrate them. Our goal is to make them happy so that they molt. Steve and Sampson are only nymphs, and won’t make noise until they are adults. It’s actually a lot like growing a plant, except even better because you can interact with them (no offense to plants). And since we aren’t sure which life cycle stage they are in, what they look like after a molt will be a surprise.

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Crickets and Gladiators by Jessica McCordic

July 19, 2013

Today was a lesson in patience, perseverance, and thermoregulation.

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Lessons Learned by Dana Cusano

July 11, 2013

Yesterday was another long day of bug hunting and cage cleaning, but like every day on this project it was also a day filled with surprises. Jess, Tricia and I headed out early to try to catch some more male crickets and katydids, and maybe even something new along the way. We reached our new spot and were disappointed to hear nothing. No crickets. No katydids. Jess has a hypothesis that they all stop calling when it is cloudy, and it was definitely cloudy. In fact, before too long we had to stop and wait for a bit while it rained. Luckily it only lasted about 10 minutes and we were ready to go.

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Another day, another bug by Dana Cusano

July 9, 2013

Last I left you we had several species of insects, but as is often the case in science, we wanted more. So last Friday we ventured out into the field again to see what new things we could uncover. After pulling up to a new spot, we immediately heard what the sound we wanted to hear: crickets! Now the hard part came. Every time we came close to where we heard one, it stopped. Waiting it out didn’t work either; we stood still and quiet for 10+ minutes before giving up on one only to have it start calling again as soon as we had walked away. Maddening. They don’t flush out the way grasshoppers and katydids do either. Rather than hopping around when you shuffle forward towards them, they hunker down and crawl away. Since they also blend in so very well they are nearly impossible to see, nonetheless catch! Persistence pays off though. Jess was able to catch one after over two hours of trying AND it was a male. We were pretty plum pleased, albeit grossed out a bit…I mean look at it…

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To Catch a Bug by Dana Cusano

June 19, 2013

Well we are officially beginning our venture into bug-dom. I will be the first to admit, I dislike insects. To be frank they gross me out. I really prefer things with spines…but hey, it isn’t really possible for us to bring a right whale into the lab, is it? So we will expand our horizons and our minds and branch out into the world of Orthoptera (a particularly noisy order of insects).

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