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L.A. Insects

November 20, 2013

A massive three-year project will document the insect population of Los Angeles.



A close look at L.A.’s bugs. I’m Bob Hirshon and this is Science Update.

Los Angeles. (Matthew Field/Wikipedia)

A new three-year project is taking an unprecedented look at one of the largest urban communities in Los Angeles: insects. It’s led by Brian Brown, Curator of Entomology at L.A.’s Natural History Museum.

BRIAN BROWN (Natural History Museum of Los Angeles):

We started this project because basically we didn’t know what was in the city. We did a quick survey in the backyard of one of our trustees, and we found all kinds of crazy stuff: species from Africa, species from Europe, new species to science as well. So we figured, okay, we’ve got to look at this in a more systematic way.

His team’s now trapping bugs from thirty different sites all over L.A. The detailed bug census will establish a baseline for future efforts to attract helpful insects and repel pests. It’ll also help scientists understand how insects adapt as they migrate from rural to urban areas. I’m Bob Hirshon for AAAS, the Science Society.