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Poot Poot!

Help the Jo Daviess Conservation Foundation restore more native prairies in Illinois:


The Brain Scoop is written and hosted by:
Emily Graslie

Special Guests and huge thanks to:
Jim Louderman and Rebekah Shuman Baquiran, Assistant Collections Managers of Insects
and River Ridge Middle School :)

Created By:
Hank Green

Directed, Edited, Animated, and Scored by:
Michael Aranda .

Filmed on Location in Hanover, IL
and Supported by:
The Field Museum in Chicago, IL

Photo Credits:

Nicrophorus tomentosus: Image by Laszlo Ilyes

Family Salticidae:

Family Papilionidae

Family Mantidae: Image by Luc Viatour

Family Staphylinidae, the rove beetles:

Translated captions by Katerina Idrik, Rosa McGuire, Tony Chu, Seth Bergenholtz, and Kelleen Browning. You da bombbb.

Jim: What we're going to do is I've got some insect traps set out in the field, and we're going to go pick up the traps, take out the insects that are in there, re-set the traps, and then we're also gonna do some sweep netting, which is some nets that you walk through the field, and you sweep it back and forth, and then you bring it back and dump it on a sheet and we see what you've collected. And all of these things that we do to collect insects, anybody can do them.

Emily: Yeah.

J: It's really inexpensive to set up the traps. Anybody can do it, and you can find out what's living in your backyard, what insects are living around your school and things like that. 

E: I really want to show how easy it is for everybody to feel like a scientist and be a researcher and discover all of this diversity that you have right here. So I'm just, I'm really glad to be here, so thank you.

J: The aerial nets, like that one, you don't want to sweep through the vegetation because they'll get all ripped up. But these are canvas nets and you'll go out, just walk out and sweep through the vegetation, through the plants. Okay, so here's the trap.

Child: Holy c-

Child: Are those worms and stuff?

E: They're millipedes.

J: And you see, you see it's all full of stuff?

Child: Auugggh.

E: Look at all those insects.

J: Look at all those insects in there.

Child: Are those all dead?

J: Those are all dead insects and millipedes.

E: That's a tea strainer.

J: That's a- yeah. That is a carrion beetle. This one's actually called Nicrophorus tomentosus, and it gets its name because it has yellow hairs on its back. Okay, this chicken liver is 3 days old, so get ready... Ahhh, does that smell good.

Child: Wow, that does reek.

Child: (Coughing)

J: Doesn't that smell good?

Child: Yeah.

E: That's great.

J: So this is what attracts the insects to the trap.

[Ambient music and conversation]

E: I got a lot of bees.

Child: That's scary!

E: I probably got too many bees, I think.

Child: There's a lot of them over there.

Woman: There are, yes, and we've been seeing quite a bit in these last two days. So you'll see these a lot, they're a little bit different than normal bees, but they're pretty important for pollination still. Okay, um... Oh! Yeah, okay, go ahead and try getting him. Suck it, there ya go, now look at- is he in the bottom?

Child: I got quite a bit of bugs.

Woman: Very good. Okay, so he's just hanging around.

Child: Ah, suck, suck, suck!

Woman: Look at him. Oohp! There he goes!

Child: Where- Where was that?

Woman: Is he gone or- ohp, there he is on your hand.

Child: Ugh, what?!

Woman: Oh, now he's on my hand.

Child: It's the bugs that we all collected. There's two dead mice, there's this grey one right there, he's kinda hard to see though. Most of them are centipedes, and there's a black one in there somewhere.

Rebekah: And you have something there called a "pooter."

E: A pooter!

R: A pooter, or an aspirator. The Germans call it pooter because the word "poot" means to aspirate in German.

E: Oh, okay. Alright.

R: It's like onomatopoeia. Um, so,

E: Poot, poot!

R: What you do is you take the rubber end, put it to your lips, and suck in really sharp. Yep, just like that. And it'll suck everything up through this and into here.

E: Yeah.

R: There's a little grate that keeps them from getting into the rubber.

E: From crawling into my mouth?

R: Yeah, so you won't swallow anything this way. Okay?

E: Good. Good.

R: So what you do is you put this under where you're going to beat. You just-

E: Just hit, hit the tree.

R: Mhmm.

E: Like, "hey, bugs. Hey, bugs. Hey, bugs." This is very sophisticated. Something.

R: Alright, now take a look.

R: We've got- oohp! Woo.

E: Whoops!

R: Alright, I don't know if you'll be able to get him. Little crickets, grasshoppers.

E: Those are all kinda big.

R: Yeah. This guy- if you- Sometimes they'll just sit there long enough you can get a shot. Hey!

E: I got him! That was a big spider.

R: Yeah, it is a good size spider. Here's another little spider, another jumping spider. Sometimes you get big things, sometimes you get little things. This isn't quite the tropics where you can flog an entire tree and get hundreds of new species.

E: Wow, yeah.

R: But it's enough where you can see what's up here.

E: Yeah.

R: So if we want to move on to another tree.

E: I got lots of spiders and bugs in here!

R: And we're just gonna dump it right in. Very good. Okay.

E: Nice.

R: Very good. And you've just collected your insects in alcohol. This is a larva!

E: Ooh!

R: Yeah, so this is a caterpillar larva, I don't know if you can see it. It looks exactly like bird poop.

E: It does look like poop! It's got the white bit and like the runny parts.

R: Yeah, it's even got the big solid mass right here.

E: Yeah! And that's done by design, it's supposed to look like bird poo.

R: Yes, yes, but then they grow into bigger bird poop, and bigger bird poop. And this is close to about as big as they're gonna get.

E: Okay.

R: They're gonna get a little bit bigger before they pupate, but these are swallowtails.

E: Oh! Yeah.

R: Yeah, so those beautiful butterflies that you can see 'em, and those nice long tails on 'em. Sometimes they're yellow.

E: Great.

R: This is a mantis egg case.

E: Ohh.

R: Yeah, so this is- even this looks a little bit like poop. It's kinda hard, right?

E: Yeah.

R: It's like that foam, when you squeeze it out and it turns into this hard mass.

E: Yeah. Mhmm.

R: That's exactly what their mantis cases are like. And inside can be quite a few. From a couple dozen to hundreds in there. Yeah.

E: Really?

R: And they all scatter really fast because they are carnivorous. They will eat each other.

E: Oh jeez!

R: Yeah. This is a type of "true bug."

E: Is he related to stink bugs?

R: Yes. Very much so.

E: Okay.

R: He has full wings, which means he's a fully grown adult. Yeah.

E: Ohh. He's pretty big.

R: This polypore fungus is like, the most amazing houses for beetles who like to eat fungus.

E: Ew. Okay.

R: It's hard on the top but it's still moist inside still. We'll go ahead and open this one. This is actually relatively dry. Some of the things that we can catch through looking in these are Staphylinidae, here's one. R: Oh, did he jump? Or did you get him?

E: I think I got him.

R: Okay. Staphylinidae, little beetles, little maggots. These are entire ecosystems all to themselves sometimes, yeah.

E: All in one fungus. It's some giant black wasp thing! Kind of looks like an animal of death.

R: He probably is.

E: Oh, that's not reassuring at all. He's on the underside of that goldenrod. Right there.

R: Alright, I'll if we can get him.

E: You see him?

R: Yep, I see him.

E: Woah, there he goes. Woah! Jeez.

R: Oh, shoot.

E: Oh, god! Oh you have- something else flew out. There... Where'd he go?

R: I see him over there.

E: We gotta go get him.

R: I don't think we have anything that big yet.

E: You see him?

R: Wait, that's something else. That's a honey bee.

E: Damn.

R: Nope, there he is. Ohp! Do you have the container?

E: Yeah. Yeah.

R: See that's why we have two different types of bags.

Michael: Why didn't you just suck him up with your pooter?

E: He wouldn't fit in the pooter!


E: It still has brains on it.