“It’s not rocket science,” breathed the insect, “We’ve been through this more times than I have compound eyes.”
The insect was so close that the man could feel and smell the insect’s hot breath. The insect held the man in its mandibles and considerable tarsi. It was no surprise that it smelled of rotten leaves. Oddly, it smelled also of denatured alcohol. The White Coats looked up from their quality control stations. This was nothing they had not seen before. It could end one of two ways. They continued checking samples.
The insect continued with its controlled but rage-filled tirade. “Did you even count my legs? Check the length of my antennae? How about checking my underarms and abdominal segments for gills?”
The man would like to have answered but he did not. First, he could not given that the insect’s mandibles were closing over his throat. Second, well, second didn’t really matter but second, he didn’t have a good answer. The insect was correct. They had been through this identification exercise more times than he could count. Instead, he reached down and flipped open his Macroinvertebrates of the Upper Merrimack to the dichotomous key pages. The insect glanced down and seemed to understand. It loosened its grip. The man pointed to the first question.
“Abdomen with branched gills and scattered hairs” or “Abdomen without gills, small,” the man choked out aloud. The insect released him with a hiss of approval and stood by, waiting for the disposition of its abdomen assessment.
We have line drawings, photographs, and dichotomous keys. You can do it. We will see you on Wednesday, April 24, 2019 beginning at 6:00 PM sharp.