Bug Night #9: It’s as plain as the invertebrate on your face

“But see, the brush-like labrum is clearly visible so it is definitely a Philopotamidae,” said the male White Coat.

It was clear that the female White Coat was not convinced. “I can’t see any labrum,” she said but there was something there—it could have been detritus on the bug or her poor eyesight. Maybe it was the reflection of her own eyelashes projecting onto the organism. She should have known better. He was always right, especially when it came to caddisflies.

“A little lubrication goes a long way,” he said as he squirted denatured alcohol onto the bug to relax its morphology, “See how the labrum is broad and flat and resembles a vacuum cleaner attachment?”

“No,” she said. She seemed tired and closed off to the head capsule details. The entire roomful of Bug Night-ers kept their heads down and tried to look busy.

“But,” he began and then stopped himself. He could see where this was going. She wanted to use the Wiggins textbook and possibly the new Upper Merrimack Monitoring Program Digital Image Library™. Who could blame her, after all? It was a teaching moment for everyone. Her fingers twitched over the smooth, kelly green book cover and she looked over her shoulder at the notebook computer opened to the macroinvertebrates images.

“Nothing’s ever easy is it?” he said, “Let’s start again: the labrum is broad and flat, resembling a vacuum cleaner attachment and it may be withdrawn when preserved…”

The doors open at six on Wednesday. Please click rapidly on the windows with your tarsi should you arrive a bit late. We are on a serious roll thanks to you. We can’t wait to see you there.