Monthly Archives: January 2011

Spineless? Invertebrates

Insects are often described as “spineless” because they lack a backbone and internal skeleton. It is true that insects lack a backbone but they do have spines. In insects, spines are cellular outgrowths of the insect exoskeleton that are coated … Continue reading

Posted in Biomaterials, Environment | 11 Comments

Gaining Traction

Winter in the Midwest includes below freezing temperature and slipping on ice. Why is ice slippery? Loss of friction! When we put pressure on ice with our foot, the thin layer on top melts due to the increase in pressure. … Continue reading

Posted in Biomaterials, Environment | 14 Comments

New Monarch Overwintering Site?

Fargo, North Dakota is famous for its long cold winters. The high temperature forecast for next Tuesday is -3 degrees (F). Fargo is far away from Sierra Chincua, Mexico, the famous overwintering site of the Monarch butterflies where the winter … Continue reading

Posted in Environment, News | 18 Comments

Insect Inspired Micro-Robots

The Swiss Federal Institute of Technology has announced a new robotics center to develop robots designed to do useful things. Rather than producing a single large robot that will multitask, the institute is focusing on swarms of insect inspired micro-robots … Continue reading

Posted in Uncategorized | 27 Comments

Living With Change

Metamorphosis, changing from one life stage to another, is taken to the extreme by insects. The study of the metamorphosis process is fascinating. The changes that occur are substantial and rapid. Many of the pupae of moths and butterflies are … Continue reading

Posted in Education | 8 Comments

Merging Insects, Art, Science and Fashion

The charming colors, fancy flight and soothing sounds of insects often inspire artists. Concern about the environment, fascination with nature, a love of gardening and the plight of our pollinators are all brought together by artist Karen Ingham and her … Continue reading

Posted in Art, Environment, Food | 9 Comments

The Motes in the Moths Eyes

The compound eyes of insects consist of multiple units, called ommatidia. The units are covered by a thin layer of cuticle called the “facet.” Facets that are smooth and flat create a reflective surface (like a mirror) that flashes light … Continue reading

Posted in Biomaterials | 3 Comments