By Sara LaJeunesseUniversity of GeorgiaWasp wrangling may sound like risky business, especially forchildren. Actually, it’s quite safe. So much so that a Universityof Georgia professor is using wasps as a way to teach science.Collaborating with UGA science education colleagues and about 100Georgia middle school science teachers, UGA entomologist BobMatthews has developed 20 classroom activities using “WOWBugs,”wasps so tiny that their stingers can’t penetrate humanskin.”The first lesson is handling the organism,” Matthewssaid. Bug-racing 101Students practice sweeping the bugs across their desks with paintbrushes. In a second lesson, called WOWBug Racetrack, they learnhow to collect and analyze data. They record the time it takesfor the flightless wasps to scuttle from one end of the track tothe other.Matthews and his colleagues have studied these wasps’ biology formore than 30 years. He first recognized their potential asteaching tools when he was in graduate school.”They literally found me,” he said of the discovery that WOWBugshad infested his thesis experiment involving a bee.From this fiasco, Matthews learned of the wasps’ hardiness andshort (24-day) life cycle, which makes them convenient to study.He named thm WOWBugs because of the enthusiasm they generated. For college students, tooWOWBug use at the college level is a bit more involved. Matthewsand postdoctoral associate Jorge M. Gonzalez created four modulesfor freshman biology classes. These modules help students study: * Courtship and aggression behaviors.* Natural selection and heritability.* Ecological interactions, including competition.* Development and polymorphism (having more than one form –short-winged versus long-winged, in the case of females).One of Matthews’ animal behavior classes was taught through theUGA College of Agricultural and Environmental Sciences. Thestudents designed WOWBug experiments for their end-of-termprojects.Vanessa Reynolds, a recent UGA graduate, examined whether femalewasps would choose to lay eggs on a host that had already beenparasitized or go for a “clean” host instead. Although her studyyielded inconclusive results, Reynolds was impressed with theclass.”It influenced my goals,” she said. “Now I’d love to go tograduate school in animal behavior and incorporate that subjectinto a focus in education.”Stories like this make Matthews proud. And Reynolds is only oneamong the many students of all ages who have been wowed by thisbug.”Fifteen years ago, if you had said WOWBugs were going to gonational or international in the next decade or so, I would havesaid you’re crazy,” Matthews said. “But it’s becoming anothermodel organism for classroom use at all levels.”For more information, visit the Web site www.wowbugs.com or emailMatthews at [email protected] Ant-size non-stinging wasps”They were originally called fast wasps in allusion to theirrapid life cycle,” he said. “Unfortunately, the name didn’t havegood marketing appeal, as it conjured up a quick sting!”Not much bigger than fleas, the parasitic wasps (Melittobiadigitata) prey on many solitary bees and wasps, including muddaubers — large, black wasps that make mud nests.The tiny bugs have some fascinating characteristics. The male,for example “is most un-insect looking,” Matthews said. “He’sblind, his antler-like antennae are grotesquely modified and he’sgot little stumps for wings.”This compromised chap’s pheromones let him do his procreativeduty, however, as long as he can steer clear of other males whowill try to kill him.In any case, teachers are enthusiastic about using WOWBugs.Brenda Hunt of North Habersham Middle School in Clarkesville,Ga., teaches her students how to collect wild specimens byscraping mud dauber nests off the sides of buildings.”I also tell them,” she said, “not to use their mothers’ spatulaswithout permission.”
After a horrific crash at Bechem (‘first Point Chaud’), exactly 65km from the starting line; Samuel Anim of Young stars found himself on the floor in agony, after a precarious crash within the peloton.Knowing that he needed to preserve his red and green Jerseys, Anim was quickest out of the bunch 200m to the first hotspot.However, his attack was thwarted by Adnam Mohammed (River Park Sunyani) and Isaac Odonkor (All Stars), Anim’s teammate Isaac Sackey (Yellow Jersey) then swiftly kicked ahead of Adan and Odonkor, who was a threat to his ambition of winning the first hot spot.Unfortunately, hell broke loose on his teammate Samuel Anim, when the bunch behind run into him, leaving about 7 of the cyclists on the floor stunned and severely bruised.Four minutes later, mindful of the threat to the yellow jersey, Anim (the best bike cycling sprinter in the country) picked himself up, stomached the pain, swallowed every cyclist ahead of him and zoomed to the finish line at Jubilee Park, Sunyani to the disbelief of the Officials, coaches, fellow riders and the media.As it happened from Kumasi to Sunyani (109KM) Abuakwa (Kumasi) – Start lineAt 2.5km into the race there is a 200m lead from the main peloton by Nyamekye Fetus (Young Stars)At 5km Fetus attacks harder and extends his lead to 300mAt 6km chasing peloton increases chasing paceAt 8km Fetus kicking really hard to keep 300m lead At 10km lead of Fetus is halved by John Zormelo (veteran Rider) of Quick StepsAt 12km Zormelo is 50m away from Fetus and 100m away from the main PelotonAt 14km 10 Riders including Godwin Dzheha (city Migro), Moro Amadu (young Stars), victor Cudjoe (All Stars), Abdul Razak Umar (Die Hard) and 6 others escape the main peloton to form a new bunchAt 15km the 10 riders breakaway from the main peloton by 150mAt 20km the pace by the 10 riders (leading peloton) increases rapidly At 22km Antony Boakye (Sunyani River Park) a member of the leading 10 riders, rides of the main road and poooow, his tyre is punctured. He is out of the leading 10.At 24km Godwin Dzeheha slows down because of mud around his brakesAt 26km the 9 leading peloton is 180m away from the main bunch, where Samuel Anim, Henry (Defending Champion) and Isaac Sackey (yellow Jersey) keep each other in check.At 30km Victor Cudjoe slows down to help Godwin, by riding slowly, whilst removing the mud from Godwin’s back brake, a show of true sportsmanshipAt 36km the gap is now 120m between the nine leading peloton and the yellow jersey peloton (main bunch?) At 39km the 9 leading riders are tired and they are being swallowed by the main bunch.At 42km some riders try to escape the big bunch but they can’t sustain it.At 45km Godwin and his teammate Aryittey Akoto are ahead of the bunch by 50m.At 50km Godwin and Akoto are back in the main bunch.At 54km Prosper Agbo (Die Hard) and Agbuglah Micheal (Guten) lead the bunch by 70km. At 58km Samuel Anim is in front of the bunch but the bunch stays with him.At 60km Prosper and Michael can’t kick harder they are swallowed by the bunch.At 63km to 2 km to Beeches which is the first hotspot, the sprinting begins.At 65km Yellow jersey (Isaac Sackey) wins the first hotspot followed by Mohammed Aminu Osam (river park Kumasi) and Francis Tetteh (Migro)Samuel Anim is involve in a nasty crash. He is in pain and stunned, three minutes later, he picks himself later, bruised on his legs and hands.At 67km Tetteh Djanmah leads the leading peloton; he is informed that Anim has a problem so he takes advantage by increasing his pace. Isaac Sackey remains vigilant and stays closely behind Henry. The bunch moves together with a steady pace until at 76km when the sprinting begins because they are approaching the second hotspot.At 78km (second Hotspot: Duayaw-Nkwanta) Isaac Donkor comes in first, followed by Adnan Mohammed.At 82km the bunch splits into two.At 84km 2o riders make up leading peloton including Yellow Jersey, Emmanuel Sackey, and defending champion leading the way.At 87km the leading peloton is not visible to the second peloton of 15 riders, noticeably among them the 9 riders who broke away early in the competition.At 92 Yellow jersey tries to attack, but it is foil by the rest of the bunch. The leading bunch moves together.At 95km Samuel Anim catches up with the peloton behind the leading bunch.At 98km Anim is within reach of the leading peloton.At 100kmthe leading bunch increases their speed.At 103km Samuel Anim is 60m behind the leading bunch as his coach urges him on to finish strongly.At 105 Samuel Anim is within the leading peloton as the sprinting begins.At 107 Samuel Anim is slightly ahead of the leading peloton to the disbelief of some of the riders and officials.At 108 everyone in the leading peloton gives his best by kicking extremely fast to the finish.At 109 race ends at Jubilee Park, Sunyani. SAMUEL ANIM WINS STAGE VICTORYMohammed Aminu is second and Francis Tetteh third.