No title

I have no title for this post because I haven't thought about what I'm going to write.

I guess I'll start off with a big ol' hug 'n thanks to Jim. Not my Jim; his dad. Hugs for coming out all this way to visit us. Hugs for enduring getting in and out of cars, Hugs for not pointing out my lack of organization and lack of attention to household matters. Hugs for coming to Paul's race.  And thanks for the candy. It didn't last long.

Also last weekend, and completely unrelated to the visit from Granddaddy, we learned that there exists a parasite that lives in grasshoppers and they emerge when the grasshopper dies. Matt was dismayed this past weekend when he opened his container of dead insects for his insect collection and found two long writhing whitish worm-like creatures where there had previously been none. He was even a little panicky.

"Mom, there's something in my bug jar," he said with an uncharacteristic complete lack of humor in his voice.

It was gross. I saw that one of the things looked like it was emerging from the back end of one of the dead grasshoppers. I said, "I think it's a parasite." I vaguely remembered reading somewhere about parasitic nematodes living inside insect and driving them insane.

We googled "grasshopper nematode parasite" (I dare you to do it) and discovered all kinds of information on what we had there in the container. It is indeed called a grasshopper nematode. Once Matt realized that the nematodes weren't any harm to a) his bugs for his science class and b) himself, he relaxed and read up on the grasshopper nematode. In the end, he actually took the nematodes to school (which by Sunday night had writhed themselves up into a ball and died) for show and tell. The science teacher let him have a few minutes at the beginning of class to share what he had. The kids were impressed and grossed out.

Ok, I'm all typed out. My plans for today: Go for a walk, shower, eat food, watch Paul run. Then sleep.


Dennis said…
I have seen (on TV) stories about nematodes and how some of them emerge from the head and look like tiny mushrooms and how they drive the insect insane. How cruel is that? Poor bugs.
Jenni said…
Thanks for the science lesson and the gross factor all in one. I'm sure Matt's class was very impressed with the discovery. However, I can imagine Matt's shock and horror upon finding such a horrid thing going on in his bug jar - because bugs aren't gross enough on their own.
Jen said…
All I can say is EEEEWW about the nematodes. I now will never go near a grasshopper again for as long as I live. Good learning experience for Matt though, but thankful I didn't have to experience it firsthand. Shiver!

Glad you had a fun visit with Jim and that he made it safely.