Featured Research

from universities, journals, and other organizations

Maggot art used to educate youngsters

Date:
October 6, 2010
Source:
Southeastern Louisiana University
Summary:
Typically, most people don't warm up to the idea of handling blow fly larvae, known better as maggots. But for one biologist and entomologist, the wiggling insect larvae are tools that are an integral part of crime scene investigation and, for children, a basic introduction into the life cycle of insects and the valuable role they play in nature.

Southeastern Louisiana University forensic entomologist Erin Watson, right, and senior biology student Megan Harvin of Kentwood demonstrate the use of blow fly larvae or maggots as educational tools for children. The insects will be used in a Southeastern educational demonstration project at the National Science and Engineering Festival in Washington, D.C. in October.
Credit: Image courtesy of Southeastern Louisiana University

Typically, most people don't warm up to the idea of handling blow fly larvae, known better as maggots.

But for Southeastern Louisiana University biologist and entomologist Erin Watson, the wiggling insect larvae are tools that are an integral part of crime scene investigation and, for children, a basic introduction into the life cycle of insects and the valuable role they play in nature.

Watson takes her larvae to fairs and demonstrations, incorporating them into "maggot art." With children surrounding her, she puts drops of diluted water-based poster paint on paper and places a maggot in a drop. Soon it's traveling across the paper making designs and trails that look like abstract paintings.

"It doesn't take too long for the kids to get over the 'ick' factor and jump right in with the project," she said. "Pretty soon the teenagers and even adults get over their squeamishness. Then they all want to create maggot 'Monets' as we call them."

While the children are involved in the project, Watson exploits their natural intuitiveness and explains how maggots and insects play important roles in helping to decompose trash and dead animals. It often leads to a brief lesson on the lifecycle of a fly.

Watson is the only doctoral-level forensic entomologist in Louisiana and serves as a consultant to the FBI and area law enforcement agencies. Forensic entomology is often used to estimate a date of death in homicide cases.

Watson and several of her biology students will take their maggot art project on the road next month when they participate in the USA Science & Engineering Festival on the national mall in Washington, D.C. Oct. 23-24. The festival will feature more than 1,500 hands-on science and engineering activities.


Story Source:

The above story is based on materials provided by Southeastern Louisiana University. Note: Materials may be edited for content and length.


Cite This Page:

Southeastern Louisiana University. "Maggot art used to educate youngsters." ScienceDaily. ScienceDaily, 6 October 2010. <www.sciencedaily.com/releases/2010/10/101006113633.htm>.
Southeastern Louisiana University. (2010, October 6). Maggot art used to educate youngsters. ScienceDaily. Retrieved August 27, 2014 from www.sciencedaily.com/releases/2010/10/101006113633.htm
Southeastern Louisiana University. "Maggot art used to educate youngsters." ScienceDaily. www.sciencedaily.com/releases/2010/10/101006113633.htm (accessed August 27, 2014).

Share This




More Plants & Animals News

Wednesday, August 27, 2014

Featured Research

from universities, journals, and other organizations


Featured Videos

from AP, Reuters, AFP, and other news services

Raw: Firefighters Rescue Puppy Stuck in Tire

Raw: Firefighters Rescue Puppy Stuck in Tire

AP (Aug. 26, 2014) It took Houston firefighters more than an hour to free a puppy who got its head stuck in a tire. (Aug. 26) Video provided by AP
Powered by NewsLook.com
Have You Ever Been 'Sleep Drunk?' 1 in 7 Has

Have You Ever Been 'Sleep Drunk?' 1 in 7 Has

Newsy (Aug. 26, 2014) A study published in the journal "Neurology" interviewed more than 19,000 people and found 15 percent suffer from being "sleep drunk." Video provided by Newsy
Powered by NewsLook.com
Great White Shark Spotted Off Massachusetts Coast

Great White Shark Spotted Off Massachusetts Coast

Reuters - US Online Video (Aug. 26, 2014) A great white shark is spotted off the shore at Duxbury beach in Massachusetts forcing beach goers out of the water. Linda So reports. Video provided by Reuters
Powered by NewsLook.com
Raw: Elk Wanders Into German Office Building

Raw: Elk Wanders Into German Office Building

AP (Aug. 25, 2014) A young bull elk wandered inside the office building of a company in Dresden, Germany on Monday. The elk became trapped between a wall and glass windows while rescue workers tried to rescue him safely. (Aug. 25) Video provided by AP
Powered by NewsLook.com

Search ScienceDaily

Number of stories in archives: 140,361

Find with keyword(s):
Enter a keyword or phrase to search ScienceDaily for related topics and research stories.

Save/Print:
Share:

Breaking News:
from the past week

In Other News

... from NewsDaily.com

Science News

Health News

    Environment News

    Technology News



    Save/Print:
    Share:

    Free Subscriptions


    Get the latest science news with ScienceDaily's free email newsletters, updated daily and weekly. Or view hourly updated newsfeeds in your RSS reader:

    Get Social & Mobile


    Keep up to date with the latest news from ScienceDaily via social networks and mobile apps:

    Have Feedback?


    Tell us what you think of ScienceDaily -- we welcome both positive and negative comments. Have any problems using the site? Questions?
    Mobile: iPhone Android Web
    Follow: Facebook Twitter Google+
    Subscribe: RSS Feeds Email Newsletters
    Latest Headlines Health & Medicine Mind & Brain Space & Time Matter & Energy Computers & Math Plants & Animals Earth & Climate Fossils & Ruins