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Ugly Bug Contest 2014

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  • Insect: major group of animals with a pair of wings and three pairs of legs... more
  • Taxonomy: the practice and science of classification which includes identifying and grouping like things. Its roots are in the Greek, taxis (order, or arrangement) and nomos (law or science). Biological classification... more

The city is in jeopardy and only the ugliest bug can save the day! Which of these super insects has what it takes to rescue the city? Cast your vote for your favorite Ugly Bug today.

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Credits: Yue Huang for video production, Jacob Sahertian for video editing, Sandra Leander for voice over, and James Baxter for transcript. Thank you to this years sponsors for making it possible to continue the "Ugly Bug Contest".


The video opens on a destroyed city. The sky is cloudy and dark.

Drums and synthesizers play. It sounds like the opening to a local news report.

There are a number of multi-storied buildings and skyscrapers, each one with visible damage. On the far left, a skyscraper is cracked and leans to the right. The building in the center of the frame is waving an American flag. Smoke is coming from it, and it appears to be on fire. On the far right side of the frame, we see a building with a large chunk missing.

A headline slides onto the screen from the right. In capital letters it reads, “UBC LIVE: BREAKING NEWS A CITY’S FATE IN QUESTION.”

A reporter breaks in, "This just in; A sudden storm has hit the city."

Lightening flashes down from the storm clouds and momentarily brightens the sky, as thunder crashes.

The reporter continues, "Severe lightening is causing structural damage to some of our buildings."

[music plays in the background for the rest of the video]

Lightening comes from the storm clouds and momentarily brightens the sky. We hear thunder. New cracks appear on the buildings where the lightening hits.

With a creaking noise, the skyscraper on the left of the screen begins to lean further to the right. It is on fire.

The reporter continues, "We need the help of the Ugly Bugs."

Words appear in the center of the screen. In capital letters, they read, “UGLY BUG CONTEST.” There is a whooshing sound as each word appears and then fades out.

The reporter goes on, "I understand that they've arrived on the scene. Let's watch now as the story unfolds."

Two red beams light up the screen from the lower left corner. As they move into the frame we can see that the beams are coming from the eyes of a bug with a blue body and yellow head (Flyclops – Sarcophagidae).

Flyclops flies to the center building.

We hear an electronic beeping noise and the beams coming from the bug’s eyes sweep over the part of the building that is still smoking and cracked. As they do, the building appears to heal – smoke stops coming out, and cracks disappear.

Flyclops flies left and out of the frame. From the left side another bug emerges. This one is green and twice as large as the first (Astonishing Treehopper— Membracidae)

Instead of flying, it walks. The screen shakes each time it moves, and it makes a deep thumping sound. It stops in front of a burning building.

The treehopper leans toward the fire, and appears to blow it out. We hear wind whistling, and the fire goes out. The treehopper fades out of the frame.

There’s another flash of lightening, and a new bug comes down from the sky along with it. This bug is red with yellow legs (Mega – Megalostomis subfasciata), and appears to land on the top of the central building.

For a couple seconds Mega glows red. Then the storm stops, and the whole city gets brighter and cleaner. Mega then fades out of the frame.

A bright blue bug (Waspique – Chrysis australis) flies into frame from the left side, and turns to face the leaning skyscraper.

Waspique uses its head to push the building until it’s standing up straight.

The screen darkens, and the other three bugs reappear. A bright spotlight lights each of the bugs.

With a whooshing sound, words appear on the screen. First, “WHO WILL SAVE THE DAY?” and under it, “YOU DECIDE.”

A final line of text scrolls into the frame from the right. It says, “Vote by December 15 at askabiologist.asu.edu.”

The text stays on screen as the background fades to black.

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Share to Google Classroom

Be part of Ask A Biologist

by volunteering, or simply sending us feedback on the site. Scientists, teachers, writers, illustrators, and translators are all important to the program. If you are interested in helping with the website we have a Volunteer page to get the process started.