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Stick Fly

Entomology, Insects, and Stick Fly


“Look, baby, you just have to look at everyone like they’re bugs under a microscope. Like ants. Figure out the patterns.” – Taylor

In Stick Fly, Taylor is an entomologist, a scientist who studies insects. The title of the play is taken from the technique she uses to observe the movement of flies, gluing them to sticks because their motions are too fast even for cameras.

Taylor specializes in flies, but entomologists also study beetles, butterflies, ants, grasshoppers, and other like animals that compose more than half of all known living organisms on earth. In fact, though scientists have classified more than a million different species, they estimate that there are five to nine million more yet to be studied.

Insects feature a number of shared characteristics, including a hard exoskeleton, a body divided into three parts, and two antennae. Since they live in nearly every climate around the world, they are connected to almost all systems of life: they pollinate flowers, decompose dead matter, and serve as food for many other animals. But insects can also be harmful, destroying crops and spreading disease.

The work of entomologists provides critical information useful to help preserve natural ecosystems, reduce the use of pesticides, increase crop productivity and quality, control the cost of food, and prevent disease. Find out more from the Entomological Society of America, which has newsletters, YouTube videos, and other resources for entomology enthusiasts.

Extras & Insights is funded, in part, by a grant from the National Endowment of the Humanities.

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