'Sunday Scientist' program celebrates beetles, other insects Aug. 15

Released on 08/03/2010, at 2:00 AM
Office of University Communications
University of Nebraska–Lincoln

WHEN: Sunday, Aug. 15, 2010

WHERE: NU State Museum, Morrill Hall, south of 14th and Vine Streets [map]

Lincoln, Neb., August 3rd, 2010 —
"Sunday with a Scientist" logo
"Team Scarab" logo
Members of
Members of "Team Scarab" team collecting in Honduras. Pictured left to right are Federico Ocampo, Andrew Smith, Mary Liz Jameson and M.J. Paulsen (Photo by Brett Ratcliffe)
Nebraska's largest stag beetle (Photo by S. Spomer)
Nebraska's largest stag beetle (Photo by S. Spomer)

Did you know that one of every four living things on the planet is a beetle? There are more than 350,000 species of beetles known and many more remain to be discovered and studied.

"Beetle Mania" will take over Morrill Hall when the University of Nebraska State Museum presents a program for children and families that celebrates the beauty and diversity of beetles and other insects 1:30-4:30 p.m. Aug. 15. Visitors will have 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. This program is part of the Museum's monthly "Sunday with a Scientist" series. Morrill Hall is south of 14th and Vine Streets on the University of Nebraska-Lincoln City Campus [map]. Museum Sunday hours are 1:30-4:30 p.m.

"Beetle Mania," will be led by faculty and staff of the State Museum's Division of Entomology and UNL's Department of Entomology. The scientists will showcase a small selection of the most colorful and striking insects from the entomology research collections, which contain more than 2 million specimens. Beetles collected from all over the world will be on display, including large tropical rhinoceros beetles, metallic wood boring beetles, long horn beetles, stag beetles, and more. Other insects on display will include giant silk moths, metallic blue morpho butterflies and giant spiders. There will also be information on Nebraska's endangered Salt Creek tiger beetle and present efforts to aid in their conservation.

Children are encouraged to bring a "backyard bug" of their own to the museum for a scientist to identify. All insects must be in stored in closed containers and may be alive or dead.

The State Museum's Division of Entomology research collections were begun in 1887. The collections are comprised of approximately 2 million pinned, fluid-preserved, papered, and slide-mounted insects and arachnids, including the U.S. National Collection of Scarab Beetles from the Smithsonian Institution that is part of an open-ended, off-site enhancement loan. The collections rank in the top 10 university research collections in the United States. Research programs focus on the biodiversity of neotropical scarabaeoid beetles from Central and South America. The lab, known as Team Scarab, is internationally recognized for its scarab beetle research and publications.

For more information, visit the division's website www.museum.unl.edu/research/entomology/index.htm. A special Web page, "Scarabs for Kids," was created in May to help youth discover more about beetles: www.museum.unl.edu/research/entomology/Scarabs-for-Kids/scarabs.html.

Sunday with a Scientist is a series of presentations that highlight the work of museum scientists and those from other institutions, while educating children and families on a variety of topics related to science and natural history. Presenters will share scientific information in a fun and informal way through talks, demonstrations, activities or by conducting their science on site. Sunday with a Scientist programs are 1:30 to 4:30 p.m. at Morrill Hall on the third Sunday of each month through December.

Upcoming Sunday with a Scientist Topics: Sept. 19 -- Archeology; Oct. 17 -- Ancient People; Nov. 21 -- Native Americans; Dec. 19 -- Nebraska Amphibians.

For updates on the Sunday with a Scientist schedule through the year, visit www.museum.unl.edu.

Morrill Hall is offering free museum admission Thursdays from 4:30 to 8 p.m. through Aug. 26; however, regular admission to Mueller Planetarium fulldome shows will apply. After Aug. 26, Morrill Hall will continue to be open until 8 p.m. Thursdays, but beginning Sept. 2, regular admission will be charged.

The University of Nebraska State Museum in Morrill Hall is open 9:30 a.m. to 4:30 p.m. Monday-Wednesday and Friday-Saturday, 9:30 a.m.-8 p.m. Thursdays, and 1:30-4:30 p.m. Sundays. Admission is $5 for adults (19 and over), $3 for children (5-18 years, 4 and under are free), and $10 for families (up to two adults and children). UNL staff, faculty and students are admitted free with valid NU ID. There is an additional charge for planetarium shows. Parking is free. For further information, telephone the museum at (402) 472-3779, visit its website or Mueller Planetarium's website, www.spacelaser.com, or contact Kathy French, Education Coordinator, at (402) 472-6647 or by e-mail.

WRITER: Dana Ludvik, Public Relations Coordinator, NU State Museum, (402) 472-3779