One of the most fun parts of an Entomological Society of America Conference is the Linnaean Games, a competition between entomology departments of different universities.  The Smithsonian Magazine just had a great story about this:nebraska 2006 team

Before a crowd of more than a thousand, the larval scholars – mostly PhD candidates – struggle with categories like “Name That Pest” and “Know Your Bug Families.” They tackle current events – this year, expect questions on the emerald ash borer, a beetle poised to wipe out the nation’s ash trees – and high culture. Who wrote the poem “My Butterfly?” (Robert Frost.) Who composed “Flight of the Bumblebee?” (Nikolai Rimsky-Korsakov.)

You can look at the official Linnaean Games page of the ESA to see the rules–it’s run just like College Bowl, with buzzers and time limits.  And, extremely esoteric questions:

“Name the portion of the insect brain that receives both sensory and motor fibers from the antennae.”

When the teams get stumped by a question, the moderator turns it over to the audience–which is full of entomology faculty, who then erupt into an argument over the proper answer.

Very good fun.

Posted by Gwen Pearson

Writer. Nerd. Insect Evangelist. Have you heard the good news? BUGS!


  1. The answer to the final question: deutocerebrum.


    Is taking insect morphology right now (I know, no fair).

  2. Would be really fun to go to one of those. haha!

    I’ve always found myself really interested in Rhino beetles for some reason.

  3. Dear BugGirl,

    I am just writing to let you know that I added you to my non-profit’s blogroll at Yes, it’s a long name but we’ll probably shorten it after we relaunch our website. We would love for you to include us in your links, if you’d like. Our blog includes topics about arthropods, endangered habitats, and other eco-related topics. The non-profit’s mission is to save rainforests and coral reefs around the world. We have an outreach program called the Insect Discovery Lab that uses live arthropods to encourage children to save biodiversity in the habitats the animals come from… we LOVE bugs!

    Anyway, if you have any questions about us and what we do, you’ve got my email. I really love your blog… keep up the great work!

    Best wishes,
    – Judy –

  4. […] make sure that buzzing sound is actually the buzzer, and not somebody’s thesis…(Via Bug Girl) Entomology students aren’t normally the ones under the microscope, but at the annual Linnaean […]

  5. That sounds so cool!

    Off-topic: I have been infected with the 6 random things meme, and now I’m tagging you. The rules are here.

    Your turn!


Comments are closed.