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News and notes from the industry and the insect world

PCT Magazine | November 22, 2013

An Ode to Arthropods

Lucas Miller, aka the Singing Zoologist, released a fun YouTube video titled “Baby, You’re an Arthropod,” an ode to insects parodying the Katy Perry hit “Firework.”

In the 3:41 song Miller marvels at the variety of arthropods around us, which make up about three-fourths of animals on our planet, including insects, arachnids, crustaceans and millipedes.

The song is educational in nature, explaining some of the important roles arthropods play in our environment, including pollinating crops, trees and important plants; and decomposing waste and recycling nutrients.

A few sample lyrics include:

“You may not have a spine, but lift antennae high because you‘re important guys.”

“Let the people go, ew, ew, ew, yeah we all depend on you, you, you.”

At press time, the video had almost 26,000 hits. Check it out at http://bit.ly/1hEPVhS.



 

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Spider-Related Problem Spurs Auto Recall

Toyota is recalling 870,000 vehicles because a problem with an air conditioner part could cause airbags to deploy unnecessarily.

In some cases, the problem was caused by spiders.

Sometimes, their webs can create a blockage in a drainage tube coming from the air conditioning condenser. That can cause water to drip down onto an airbag control module, causing a short circuit. That, in turn, could cause the airbag warning light to light up on the dashboard and it could even cause the driver‘s side airbag to deploy, something that happens with explosive force.

In some cases, there could also be a loss of power-steering force, Toyota said.
 

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Entomologists as Arachnophobes

Many entomologists are scared of spiders, according to a paper published in the fall issue of the American Entomologist, by Richard Vetter, a retired arachnologist from the University of California, Riverside.

In the paper, Vetter surveyed 41 entomologists who willingly admitted to having some level of irrational aversion to spiders. Most had only a mild fear (Vetter refers to them as “arachno-adverse”), but the aversion was strong enough to cause them to react differently to spiders than to other bugs, even such disgust-triggering insects as cockroaches and maggots.

As one entomologist who participated in the survey put it: “I would rather pick up a handful of maggots than have to get close enough to a spider to kill it.”

The reasons entomologists cite for being freaked out by spiders are the same as those cited by the rest of us: Spiders have many legs. They make fast, jerky movements and show up unexpectedly. They create webs that feel “creepy” against human skin. They are “ugly and disgusting.”