SITE VISIT: The Buzz on Bugs

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Science  04 Dec 1998:
Vol. 282, Issue 5395, pp. 1779
DOI: 10.1126/science.282.5395.1779d

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Want to know why raucous bands of cicadas show up in late summer in 13-year and 17-year cycles? For answers to such questions that may be bugging you, or if, for example, you want to peruse the mosquito's genome, look up a beetle fossil, or find a yummy insect recipe, pay a visit to The Entomology Index of Internet Resources.

This no-nonsense directory—it's all text for speedy downloading—offers over 1200 links, says co-Web master John VanDyk of Iowa State University in Ames, which hosts the site. Scores of databases include ones on Drosophila's nervous system and a list of insect pheromones. The medical entomology section offers everything from links on arboviruses (viruses transmitted by arthropods) to a home page about “delusional parasitosis,” the irrational belief that one is being hounded by parasites. There are checklists—from Butterflies of Catalonia to Fleas of South Africa—and links to insect collections in museums. Another section leads to resources on integrated pest management—such as strategies to control bugs by siccing them on each other.

The Index, which is searchable, also has compiled links to insect images and movies, including German mutant cockroaches and insects in amber. Then there's the sound page, which offers the whines and chirps of mosquitoes, Japanese crickets, and more. “Some of these things are just a curiosity,” VanDyk says. But others are used by researchers to detect insect attacks—for example, the creepy sounds of larvae munching on orange tree roots.

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