We are doing our annual thing in the Missouri Agriculture Building this Saturday. Since we cannot work with fin-fish in a manner that is easy on animals or as good at pulling people in to discuss aquaculture, we resort to using a touch table exhibition of "charismatic meso-fauna". We sucker people in educating and entertaining as we angle them in for the pitch about our aquaculture program. We expect to people to touch and in many cases spell our display. Sometimes they get pinched or bit and thank us for the opportunity.
This round the stars will be as follows;
1) Virile Crayfish (we show people how to sex them)
2) Golden Crayfish (35+ plus species in Missouri alone and hint about diversity of NA's aquatic assemblages)
3) Long Pincered Crayfish (we insult peoples concept of a large crayfish)
4) Seed shrimp (associated with late season wetlands)
5) Glass Shrimp (lowland critters most people seldom see)
6) Whirlygig Beetles (smell so sweet, really cool propulsion system, two visual systems, extreme metabolic rate)
7) Hexagenia Mayfly (nymphs, subimagos and imagos; we talk about burrowing, feeding as well as importance to animals like sturgeon and animals consuming drift / hatch near bodies of water)
Water Scorpions (feeding system and breathing system)
9) Dragonfly Nymphs (multiple species; specializations at genus level and general feeding and breeding systems)
10) Bladderwort (carnivorous plant one of our producers cultures)
Whirlygig Beetles demonstrate ability to consume a mayfly in seconds putting even piranhas to shame.
Our display is always popular and having few hundred people come by is not a big deal. Will be on station from 1000 to 2000 h. We leave exhausted.