Near the house I grew up in stood a giant, sprawling Boxelder tree. The proximity of the tree to our house meant that we had a constant, overflowing supply of boxelder bugs. In the spring and fall these creatures would congregate to form a black and orange blanket covering the Southern wall of our house. As kids we collected them, tying string around their middle and keeping them as pets. One fall we decided to see how many of our little friends came back the next year, so we marked them with large yellow dots of acrylic paint. To our disappointment, no bright yellow bugs appeared in the spring. Our Father suggested to us that they probably didn’t have that long of a life span; sticking their wings together with paint probably didn’t help either.
I hadn’t thought of this early foray into population tracking for years until I saw a Scienceshot on ScienceNOW Continue reading “As Simple as Connecting the Dots: Nail Polish, Lice and Brown Mouse Lemurs”