The Answers

Nov 24, 2008

Okay, what are the answers?

In a prior blog, we listed several questions asked at the Linnaean Games, a college-bowl type of quiz that’s a traditional part of the Entomological Society of America’s annual meeting. You have to know insect facts and figures and ESA history to win.

It's a fun game that draws entomologists and would-be entomologists from throughout the world. Professor Tom Turpin of Purdue, decked out in a tuxedo and a monarch butterfly bowtie, moderates the event and provides more humor than some of the late-night TV shows. This year's ESA meeting, the 56th annual, took place Nov. 16-19 in Reno.

Ready for the questions and answers?

Question: U.S. states have an official state insect.  List three states that do not have one.
Answer: Hawaii, Indiana, Iowa, Michigan, Nevada, North Dakota, Rhode Island, and   Wyoming.  Source: See

Question: What is the purpose of the process in folklore known as “Telling the Bees?”
Answer: To keep honey bees from leaving the hive when a bee keeper had died.

Question: Approximately how many beetle species have been described to date? Choices:
a. 50,000
c. 350,000
d. 500,000
e. 650,000
Answer: 350,000 (c)

Question: What is the character’s name on CSI – (Las Vegas) who is a forensic   entomologist?

Answer: Gil Grissom

Question: Imagine that you have wandered through an area where an egg mass of deer ticks has just hatched, and you find yourself in intimate association the  dozens of tick larvae.  What is your risk of getting Lyme disease?

Answer: None.  This would be their first blood meal, and Lyme disease is not transovarially transmitted.

The University of California, Riverside team won the competition, edging North Carolina State University.  The UC Riverside team included Jennifer Henke, Jason Mottern, Casey Butler and Rebeccah Waterworth.

UC Davis, our home team (Go Aggies!), also competed.  Hillary Thomas, Andrew Pederson, Dominic Reisig and Michael Branstetter gave it the ol' Aggie try but didn’t quite make the finals.  Next year! Their coach, Larry Godfrey, was on a University of Kentucky championship team.

What year was that? "Are you trying to make me feel really old?" Godfrey quipped. "Well, it was 1983 at the second annual Linnaean Games (second annual in the North Central Branch of ESA where it started). It was a few years before the other branches started this competition and several years before they did it at the national meeting.  Tom Turpin, who started this with another professor at Purdue (Rich Edwards) was my major professor for my M.S."

(Godfrey received his undergraduate and graduate degrees at Purdue and his doctorate at the University of Kentucky.)

Ready for more questions?

Question: Name three insects of the five that are athletic team mascots at universities in the United States.
Bees, Black Flies, Hornets, Wasps, Yellowjackets

Question: What well known American poet wrote a poem entitled “The Bird to the Bees” that began with the lines “There is obviously a complete lack of understanding between the bee/ And me?"
Answer: Ogden Nash

In future columns, we'll take a look at some of the other questions and answers.

Meanwhile, check out the Smithsonian Magazine article on the University of Maryland team at the Linnaean Games. The article mentions that the students crammed for the Linnaean Games by poring over  "The Insects," written by UC Davis entomology professors Penny Gullan and Peter Cranston.

By Kathy Keatley Garvey
Author - Communications specialist

Attached Images:

PONDERING A QUESTION are (from left) the UC Riverside team of Jennifer Henke, Casey Butler, Jason Mottern and Rebeccah Waterworth. UC Riverside won the Linnaean Games. (Photo by Kathy Keatley Garvey)

Pondering a Question

WE WON!--Casey Butler exults as he breaks the dead heat, giving UC Riverside the win in the 2008 Linnaean Games. From left are Jennifer Henke, Casey Butler, Jason Mottern and Rebeccah Waterworth at the moment they realized they'd won. (Photo by Kathy Keatley Garvey)


UC DAVIS TEAM--Pondering a question are (from left) Hillary Thomas, Andrew Pedersen, Dominic Reisig and Michael Branstetter. Pederson and Reisig study with their major professor Larry Godfrey, who  was on the University of Kentucky championship team in 1983 that won the second annual Linnean Games. Thomas' major professor is Frank Zalom and Branstetter's major professor is  Phil Ward. (Photo by Kathy Keatley Garvey)

UC Davis Team