Amazing Arthropods

Amazing Arthropods 

Description: Students will be required to demonstrate an understanding of the major arthropod groups including some taxonomy ecology, life history, and the economic impacts from them.


bugs super
Event Supervisor: 
Kariann Anderson




 event supervisor info
 Download the current rules here.  
 Download the Study Guide
     Video from our Supervisor- Using vials
     Video from our Supervisor- Prepare your specimen to pin
    Video from our Supervisor- Pin your specimen
Advanced Entomological Techniques
Preserving Your Insects
 Clarifications & Tutorials (from the Event Coach workshop)
 Booklet (from the Event Coach workshop)
 Booklet (blank) (from the Event Coach workshop)
Designed And Built By The Students policy
 This event uses a ZipGrade optical answer sheet  Learn more
more event info be careful
Event Coach Workshop recapbe sure you're using the latest rules
  Sample tests from past district tournaments
  There may be a "Quick Start Kit"  available for this event. 
 See the Elementary Workshop List for this season
 Report problems at This email address is being protected from spambots. You need JavaScript enabled to view it.


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Can teams get feedback from the Event Supervisor on how the collection scored at the tournament in May?

We are currently working on a solution to this good idea.  Teams should expect to receive some type of scoring summary when they pick up their collection on Tournament day.

UPDATED There are two insect species which are listed in the study guide but are not included in the rules: "Brown Marmorated Stink Bug" and "Emerald Ash Borer". Are they in scope?

Because of the error in the rules, the Brown Marmorated Stink Bug and theEmerald Ash Borer will not be in scope.


This information is contrary to what event coaches were told in the workshop on January 6.  


May we include more than 30 specimens in our collection, in case a few of their original 30 are not correct or not worthy of full point value?


If a student includes more than 30 unique specimens, they will not all be evaluated.  They should present their best effort with the 30 that are included.

May soft body specimens and very small specimens be presented in a vial with alcohol?

Contrary to what is stated on page 29 of the Study Guide, you my use insect vials for displaying soft-bodied speciments.  

At what level of classification should our student be able to identify an Arthropod? Are species & genus species questions possible?

The study guide provides, on page 1, a specific list of Classes and Orders with which students should be familiar.


In addition, there is a narow list of species, for which students should know in regards to naming.  

That is, the Class and Order to which they belong, and their scientific name (which also happens to be the Genus & Species of the insect).  

If the students create a collection of photographs, must they be displayed on poster board, or are other formats allowed?

A poster board is not the only option, as described in the study guide: 

"The collection should be housed in a photo album or combined onto a poster (not to exceed 24”x36”) or otherwise professionally put together.  For instance, a bunch of printed pictures paper clipped together is NOT acceptable."

Do the labels for the specimen box need to be typed or is hand printed ok?

Handwritten notes (assuming they are legible) shouldn't be graded any different than typed. 

Will two different kinds of butterflies both count for points even if they are from the same order? For example a Monarch butterfly and an Eastern Comma butterfly?

Duplicates only pertain to the same species. Two different species of butterfly each count as separate specimens.  In contrast, two monarch butterflies would only be counted for one. 

When contradictory information is provided, what takes precedence?

The order of precendence is: 

  1) the event rules (which includes what is posted here in the FAQ)

  2) the study guide

  3) information found elsewhere, including at links we have posted


May larval stages be used in the specimen collection? For instance if we found a Dragonfly naiad by pond dipping, can that meet the criteria for Odonata?

Quite a few larval stages look very similar, making them difficult to identify.


Any immature specimens of species which would undergo either complete or incomplete metamorphosis will not be accepted.  That would include the Dragonfly which is an example of a species which undergoes incomplete metamorphosis.


However, an immature specimen of a species which undergoes gradual metamorphosis will be accepted.  


This is a change from what is published in the study guide which only allows adult specimens, and from previous postings here.

Will students need to know about sub-orders?

Students are not required to know the suborder level of detail.

What is meant by "basic biology"?

Students should be familiar with habitats, what they eat, the time of year they are active, the type of metamorphosis, and their ecological role (free living, parasite, etc.).

How will duplicates of the same type of specimen be scored?

Duplicate specimens will not be awarded points.

Will the specimen collection be part of the practice (District) competitions?

No.  The practice competitions will only include  the Part 1 multiple choice test.  Students should not bring their specimen collection to the practice tournament because they will not be evaluated.  We are not able to ensure consistent feedback across all practice tournaments. 

Will students be allowed to compete if they do not have a specimen collection to submit?

Yes. However, the student will not receive any of the possible 92 points (30% of overall) awarded for the collection portion. 

Designed and built by the students policy

We have received numerous questions and concerns about whether adults will feel compelled to build Arthropod specimen collections for their students, and the details of what is allowed by policy.  

The intent and practice of  our "designed and built by the students" policy is to let students have the experience.  Please resist the temptation for perfection, or the need to win at all costs.


Our priorities:

1) Your student should be safe.  There may be a few instances where a tool is required that is too advanced for your student to operate.  Cutting a piece of wood might be a good example of this.  Even so, you should involve the student in the planning and design work, and confirmation that the item turned out as planned.


2) Your student should do the work.  That doesn't mean you should stand back and let your student flounder.  Coaches have an important role in teaching skills.  Organize your work so you can demonstrate a skill, and then give your student the opportunity to practice.  You might need a few extra bugs to pin to learn from.  

It is not acceptable for you to do the same work as your student, in parallel, and then submit the coach's effort as the student's.  For instance, if the student doesn't take as good of a photgraph as the coach, it is not acceptable to substitue the coach's.  Digital photography is almost costless, so let your student practice.



Is it okay to use specimens that are found dead?

Yes.  A dead specimen can be used in your collection provided that the specimen is not missing vital body parts that are required in identifying. 

Are students allowed to move to the next station if they finish before the time limit is announced?

No.  At all station-based events, students are expected to stay at their current station until they are told to move, regardless of whether they have finished the questions, or whether the station in front of them is open.



Is it appropriate to submit a specimen box that does not have a removable lid?

No.  In the process of judging the specimen collection, the Supervisor will want to be able to open it, and possibly remove a specimen.  Using a box that does not open will limit the Supervisor's ability to award full points.

Should students be able to recognize both juvenile and adult forms of the organisms?

They should know the juvenile forms of the insects listed by name. They should also be able to identify, if shown a juvenile or adult specimen, which form metamorphosis it goes through.

What size specimen is too big to glue to tab rather than pin? If a specimen is being stubborn and is not "relaxing", can it be glued to tab instead, even if it is large?

If a pin can go through it without destroying the specimen, use the pin. If it's too small for a pin or not relaxing and you are nervous the specimen would crumble, a paper tab would suffice. Make certain that the materials used are stiff and will not allow the insect to wiggle and bounce around, and be destroyed.

What types of questions might be asked in the subject area of "taxonomy"?

Questions may focus on Carolus Linneaus and the hierarchical naming system that he created.

May we purchase insect larva online for the students to grow to adult life stages in an aquarium at home, and then use as pinned specimens?

Yes you may, provided that the specimens are from our local region.  The weather is warming up quite nicely and there are plenty of bugs emerging now so you may find that it is unecessary. 

How should the specimen collection be labeled? Will it be returned?

Please list your school name, team number, and student names on your collection.


There will be a time posted in the final tournament schedule for collection pickup, after they have been judged and scores reported.

Is a worker bee or ant considered to be an adult? Can we include them in our collection?

Yes, worker bees and ants are in the adult phase, and would be accepted in a specimen collection.



Will our team be able to get feedback on their collection at the practice tournament?

No.  Please do not bring your insect collection to the practice tournament.

The Event Supervisor will not consistently attend the practice events, and there may be no one present with Entomology experience.