The new volunteer seemed different but then again, the Bug Night crowd was by definition “different.” He didn’t even seem to need a stereomicroscope, which was a good thing since all of the Leicas were taken. That’s what happens when Bug Night-ers arrive too late. Still, he seemed to be calm and methodical; perhaps the result of careful observation or experience.
“This specimen is not in Macroinvertebrates of the Upper Merrimack,” he said.
The sit-down and stand-up rooms were packed to the gills. The female White Coat answered without even looking up from a quality control/quality assurance check with another Bug Night-er.
“Try the dichotomous key at the back of the book,” she offered.
The new Bug Night-er flipped dutifully to the back of the book. He began at the top of the key.
“Thoracic segment covered dorsally with well-developed plates…” he began. But who could tell with a white shirt and pocket protector obscuring the view of any suspected segments. He used his dissecting needle and forceps to remove the covering.
“Hey!” yelled the bug-eyed specimen, “Stop it—I really liked that shirt!”
“I can’t take your word for it on the thoracic segments,” said the insect, “The White Coats are very proud of their citizen science data and I haven’t even got to the branched gills or humps on the abdomen.”
“This is not what I signed up for when I heard about Bug Nights,” whined the bug-eyed human.
“Turnabout is fair play,” offered the insect.
“I hate that expression,” said the human.
“I empathize,” said the insect.
The insect turned back to the dichotomous key. “Anal prolegs free and well developed…”
Don’t be late. We will see you on Wednesday, March 4, 2020 beginning at 6:00 PM sharp.