When was the last time a scientist gave you tips for illustrating an insect’s genitalia? Never, you say? How bizarre. I did that just yesterday. A fundraiser for the new Urban Nature Research Center, Fine Wine and Flies was a unique experience where attendees learned about Megaselia, a genus of fly in the phorid family, and got a chance to draw the behind of a new species. Researcher Emily Hartop walked us through some of her favorite species and some basic fly tookus* anatomy. I can now say with utmost confidence where a fly's anal tubes are, thankyouverymuch.
And then we got drawing. I haven’t been to a drawing class in years in which everyone is drawing the same subject. It’s interesting how people see and render things differently. I was accompanied by my Science Brunch co-host, Mae Prynce. In the hall of North American mammals, under the watchful gaze of stuffed bison and walruses, Mae and I created our masterpieces. She went for some realism and shading; I brought my colored pencils, and things got weird.
I sincerely hope this is the first of many STEAM (science, technology, engineering, ART, and math) events at the museum. Because from my incredibly biased vantage point, the more sciart, the better! And I’m so glad I know so much about Megaselia rumps now.
*Super fun fact: I had to look up the spelling of tookus because, although I’ve heard the word quite a few times, I’ve shockingly never seen it in writing.