Orono Horticultural Society’s Annual Bug Walk in Orono Park

On Saturday Entomologist Matt Bergeron educated bug enthusiasts on the creepy crawlies in our neighbourhood. Matt Bergeron started his talk showing us how we can tell insects are present. Here he is showing the group a ‘cluster gall’. This is not a flowering body. This is the tip of the plant that has been galled. A midge has burrowed in the stem and it’s causing the plant to grow this fleshy thing that keeps it safe. Cluster gulls usually have a lot of other things hiding it. Often it makes a little micro habitat for beetles and other things that want to breed in there.

Matt showing how he collects insect species for viewing. A little dollar store container rigged with some tubing and some suction power.

Getting to know the bugs in our neighbourhood. They were all fascinating but one in particular, Matt caught a Scorpion Fly. He told the group that a Scorpion Fly is in its own weird little group. Its tail looks like a little scorpion tail but it is not a stinger. It is in fact ‘the male part’ [keeping it kid friendly]. Scorpion flies have a really interesting behaviour called nuptial gifting. The males, in order to go on dates with the females, need to bring a nuptial gift. So, Scorpion flies are actually scavengers, they’ll eat dead in-sects. But the male will go around and try to find the biggest piece of food they can and they’ll give it to the female or else she won’t go out with him.

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