One of the joys of spring is observing the antics of insects and their relatives as they resume their activities outdoors. To celebrate this annual renaissance, the Department of Entomology hosts an Insect Petting Zoo as part of the Maryland Day Gala at the College Park Campus of the University of Maryland on Saturday, April 28, from 10 am to 4 pm. This year’s petting zoo will feature an incomparable ensemble of friendly, ferocious, and creepy crawly creatures. A visit to the petting zoo is sure to delight insect aficionados of all ages.
This year's extravaganza features bugs from around your home and around the world. Giant Lubber Locusts straight from the Everglades of Florida will reveal their favorite delicacies and how they defend themselves from being eaten. Meet Rosalita the Chilean Rose Tarantula. This feisty little gal is heir to America’s most famous tarantula, Rosie. Come and find out why! Asian Walking Sticks are true masters of disguise as they hide in the branches of trees. See if you can spot one hiding somewhere in the zoo. Watch out for the whip scorpion that has a clever trick up its sleeve, or should we say its tail, to scare enemies away. If you are lucky, you might catch a glimpse of a black widow spider with a bright red hourglass tattooed on her abdomen. The arts of trickery, mimicry, thanatosis, and other feats of deception and disguise will be revealed by Blue Death Feigning Beetles, Robber Flies, Polyphemus Moths, and Flower Flies.
The Insect Zoo is not just a treat for the eyes alone. Children will have the chance to hold and touch (with parental permission of course) a giant millipede from the desert or a hairy caterpillar from a cherry tree. If touching isn’t your thing, then you can listen to the buzzing of a bee or the hissing of a cockroach from Madagascar. Curious smells are on the menu as well. Learn what unwelcome house guest has the aroma of cilantro and discover an arachnid with the pungent odor of vinegar. Investigate the wonders of a honey bee colony and meet industrious carpenter bees. Stop by the invasive species corner and meet Asian Longhorned Beetles, Emerald Ash Borers and the most nefarious home invader of them all – the Brown Marmorated Stink Bug. Children can collect insect stickers and the first 200 visitors may take home a Terrapin Lady Beetle to release in their garden.
So come one and all and explore the Insect Petting Zoo!
To learn more about Maryland Day and the location of the Insect Petting Zoo, please click on the following links:
Maryland Day: http://www.marylandday.umd.edu/
Insect Petting Zoo: http://www.marylandday.umd.edu/misc/plan_detail_sci.cfm?event_id=31505