Buggin' Out With Zoology Graduate, Rocky of The Nice Boulder

Updated: Jul 6, 2021

Inside or outdoors, for many, they may not be the favorite part of our day, but we need them.

Insects are animals that have roamed the earth for at least 300 million years, long before dinosaurs- pretty hard core, huh? We don't have any pachycephalosaurus hanging out at the park, but we do still have more than a million insects species of insects in the world today, the most diverse group of animals.

But, what makes an insect an insect? Insect characteristics are three pairs of jointed legs (six legs in total), an exoskeleton, a three-part body (head, thorax and abdomen), compound eyes and one pair of antennae.

Rocky pictured with millipedes

The lucky bunch who gets to study our favorite creepy crawlies are scientist that study entomology, a branch of zoology concerned with the study of insects. On our podcast we had the opportunity to talk with Rocky of @TheNiceBoulder, a zoology graduate who has an affinity for all things insects, especially millipedes! Here are a few of my favorite take aways from the conversation:

Insects help fight crime

True crime fans may be hip to this but, forensic entomology was definitely new to me. This scientific study observes the invasion and the change in patterns of insects and arthropods along with their developmental stages of different species found on the decomposed cadavers during legal investigations. What role do they play? Insects can help us tell the time. How? They're able to pick up the smell of dead flesh within hours and would be found in the eyes, nose, mouth and ears of a deceased human body. By observing which insects are found on the body and their developmental stages scientists are able to piece together timelines within an investigation.

We need insects

Insects are crucial components of many ecosystems, they do everything from feeding us to cleaning up waste.They aerate the soil, pollinate blossoms, and control insect and plant pests. Many insects, especially beetles, are scavengers, feeding on dead animals and fallen trees, thereby recycling nutrients back into the soil. So whether you're a vegan or eat meat, there is an insect to thank for your meal.

Welcome insects to your yard

We've grown accustomed to the sight of perfectly manicured lawns and yards, but they're actually detrimental to our ecosystems. Besides the fact that every year across the country, lawns consume nearly 3 trillion gallons of water a year, it provides nearly no habitat for pollinators and other animals and plants that make up a healthy, diverse ecosystem.

What to learn more? Hear Rocky's interview on The Good Natured Roots Podcast here!

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