SciStarter Goes Buggy!

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Citizen science projects featuring insects, spiders and their relatives

Image by Brett Hondow from Pixabay

You can call them “insects, spiders and their relatives” or you can call them “bugs” (and incur the wrath of those who point out that the only true bugs are hemipteran insects like stinkbugs and cicadas), but no matter what you call them, they’re fascinating and critically important. Learn how you can help scientists studying them with these buggy citsci opportunities!

The SciStarter Team

Help tally these moth and butterfly babies as they gorge on greenery this fall, gaining the strength to spin their cocoons and chrysalides! Your data will help scientists understand how the abundance of these bugs varies from rural countrysides to major urban areas, and from coast to coast.

Location: United States

Image by Marc Miraille from Pixabay

Get Started!

You’ll never feel lonely again after joining Never Home Alone, the project that lets you meet your many six, eight, multi and no-legged housemates, who are now snuggling in your bed, scampering under your rug and nestling happily in your eyebrows.

Location: Global

Image by Matt Bertone

Get Started!

Submit sightings of insects, spiders and other flora and fauna while having fun playing a game! Join and create quests, earn gold, join clans/teams, compete against other players, identify sightings, gain levels, build your collection, move up the leaderboard, all while helping to document and protect your local biodiversity.

Location: Global

Image by QuestaGame

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Mathematically-inclined periodical cicadas spend either 13 or 17 years of their lives alone underground nibbling on roots, before emerging to meet and mate en masse—thereby overwhelming their predators. Help researchers learn more about them and their annually emerging cousins with Cicada Safari, a phone app that lets you collect and share data on cicada sightings.

Location: Global

Image by Gene Kritsky

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The migration patterns of monarch butterflies, the emergence patterns of other insects and the distribution of their food sources is a big part of the project Journey North, which explores wildlife migration and seasonal changes in North America. Sign up for this important, large-scale, multi-year study!

Location: North America

Image by Rachel Shamy

Get Started!

While Spring is the season we consider prime time for flowers, many flowers wait until Fall, when insects and other pollinators are especially desperate for nectar and pollen. It’s a great time of year to find species you didn’t see in the earlier months, and a perfect time to try these pollinator-themed projects.

Location: Global

Get Started!

Conduct insect surveys to help answer questions, like “How does insect diversity vary over time and in rural and urban areas?” All you need to do is give information about the bugs you see, the host plant you found them on and the location where you spotted them. Who knows what you might discover in your own backyard?

Location: United States

Image by D.R. Angelini

Get Started!

SciStarter is featured at this year’s SciFest All Access – a Virtual STEM Expo – brought to you by the USA Science & Engineering Festival. From September 26 to October 3, come visit the SciStarter and Science Cheerleader booths, online!

Get Started!

Dive into these water projects with the National Science Teaching Association! Learn how you can document plastic pollution through Debris Tracker and monitor water quality with EarthEcho International by reading SciStarter Team Member Jill Nugent’s articles in Science Scope and The Science Teacher.

Image by EarthEcho International

Get Started!

Register for this event for an introduction to citizen science, to hear about libraries as hubs for citizen science, to learn about the All of Us Research program, and to discover how to participate in the Stall Catchers citizen science project through a presentation and online Q&A.

Get Started!

Climate-Conscious NC

The Museum of Life + Science of Durham, NC is participating in the Citizen Science, Civics and Resilient Communities project with support from NOAA (SciStarter is a proud partner!). Join us for “Climate-Conscious NC” – an attempt to promote dialogue, build resilience and empower understanding and engagement on climate-related issues in North Carolina. Explore the Museum of Life + Science’s page on SciStarter and sign up to attend a webinar about these topics on Thursday, September 24 at 6:30 PM ET. RSVP today!

Study Sea-Level Rise with the Museum of Science, Boston

The Museum of Science, Boston has an upcoming event with SciStarter that uses citizen science to investigate big problems: a webinar about sea-level rise (September 29). All are welcome! Check out the Museum of Science’s page on SciStarter to sign up for this event and to explore featured citizen science projects addressing climate hazards.

New on the blogs

8 Fun Science Experiments You Can Easily do at Home, via the SciStarter Blog

3 Ways to Help Save Monarch Butterflies and Other Pollinators, via Discover Magazine

Help NASA Find Out How Planets Form, via Science Connected

Discover more citizen science on the SciStarter calendar. Did you know your SciStarter dashboard helps you track your contributions to projects? Complete your profile to access free tools. Want even more citizen science? Check out SciStarter’s Project Finder! With citizen science projects spanning every field of research, task and age group, there’s something for everyone!

Categories: Insects, Newsletter

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About the Author

Bob Hirshon

Bob Hirshon, President, Springtail Media LLC Bob Hirshon heads up Springtail Media, specializing in science media and digital entertainment. He is Principle Investigator for the NSF-supported National Park Science Challenge, an augmented reality adventure that takes place in National Parks. Hirshon headed up the Kinetic City family of science projects, including the Peabody Award winning children’s radio drama Kinetic City Super Crew, McGraw-Hill book series and Codie Award winning website and education program. Hirshon can be heard on XM/Sirius Radio’s Kids Place Live as “Bob the Science Slob,” sharing science news and answering children’s questions.